CSEE professor Marie desJardins has received an Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award from the Computing Research Association (CRA). The award recognizes faculty who have provided exceptional mentorship, undergraduate research experiences, and, in parallel, guidance on admission and matriculation of undergraduate students to research-focused graduate programs in computing. The award will be presented to Dr. desJardins at the CRA Conference at Snowbird in July.
Dr. desJardins is a professor in UMBC’s Computer Science and Electrical Engineering department and Associate Dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology. Her research is in the area of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer science education. Currently, her research group includes six undergraduates and five graduate students. Since 2005, she has mentored over 70 undergraduate students. At least 29 of them have enrolled in graduate programs in computing, with eight of the 29 having pursued a Ph.D. in computer science.
In announcing the award, the CRA noted that
“Many of the undergraduates Marie has mentored never imagined that they would be involved in research and consider graduate education. Marie’s strategy for working with undergraduate majors involves engaging with students in their first two years and building teams in which her more senior research students (graduate and undergraduate) help train and lead the junior students. She is known for her unconditional support, encouragement, and dedication. She encourages students from underrepresented minorities to get involved with national organizations and programs, including CRA-W, NCWIT, Grace Hopper, IJCAI and AAAI. She stays in touch with her mentees beyond their graduation, and she has helped some to become effective mentors themselves.”
This is the first year for the CRA Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award, which was also given to Pieter Abbeel of the University of California, Berkeley and Judy Goldsmith from the University of Kentucky.
Founded in 1972, CRA‘s membership includes more than 200 North American organizations active in computing research: academic departments of computer science and computer engineering, laboratories and centers (industry, government, and academia), and affiliated professional societies (AAAI, ACM, CACS/AIC, IEEE Computer Society, SIAM, USENIX). Its mission is to enhance innovation by joining with industry, government and academia to strengthen research and advanced education in computing. CRA executes this mission by leading the computing research community, informing policymakers and the public, and facilitating the development of strong, diverse talent in the field.