Research Fellows Show Their Stuff

Research Fellows Show Their Stuff

Event at Fulton provides a demonstration of program's appeal

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

Count Peter Fleming, '00, as one more satisfied graduate of the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program.

A computer science major, Fleming worked this past year with Asst. Prof. Margrit Betke (CSOM) to devise a computer program that could locate the pupil of a person's eye in a video transmission and then track it as the person moves. The work, which involved sophisticated analysis of video frames sent through the computer, could someday be useful in improving medical imaging technology

Now Fleming, having received his bachelor's degree Monday from the College of Arts and Sciences, is preparing to start a job as an information technology consultant with some unique hands-on training already on his resume.

"I really learned a lot from this experience," said Fleming. "It was good to apply what I have been studying in the classroom to something that I can use later. I hope that other students next year can build off of my work."

Since it began in 1994, the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program has offered students like Fleming the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on a research project. During the recently completed academic year, 173 students served as research fellows in BC's four undergraduate schools, performing tasks such as computer programming, designing survey instruments and assisting in data gathering and analysis.

A highlight for Fleming and other CSOM research fellows was the April 18 Undergraduate Faculty Research Poster Session held in the Honors Foyer of Fulton Hall. The room was transformed by a panorama of interactive computer projects and colorful poster displays, and the commentary of students explaining their projects to interested attendees.

Christopher Fagiani, '02, explains his project to Carroll School of Management Assistant Dean for Administration Barbara Viechnicki during the April 18 poster session at Fulton Hall, which showcased the work of Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program members. (Photo by Justin Knight)

"It's good to actually have a chance to do research on something I'm interested in," said William Mullally, '01. "I'm hoping to go to graduate school and this was a good way to prepare."

Mullally displayed a project called "Real-time Monitoring of a Driver in City Traffic," which employed some of the same video technology Betke used for her work with Fleming. In this case, the computer was programmed to track a person's bodily movements while he or she drove an automobile.

"Through this program my students have the opportunity to explore whether they enjoy independent work and have the stamina to do research," said Betke, Mullally's faculty mentor. "In addition, their graduate school applications are more competitive with this kind of work on their resumes."

Bharath Srikrishnan, '00, displayed a project he had worked on with Assoc. Prof. William Wilhelm (CSOM) which examined the technological development of financial markets. With the rise of networking technology, the days of the "trading floor" are gone, explained Srikrishnan, replaced by a new digital marketplace.

"We could come to a time when the stock market is open around the clock and we have to look at the implications of that," said Srikrishnan, who is planning a career in investment banking.

Srikrishnan said that the work he did this year as a CSOM research fellow gave him an inside view at how the future could look in his chosen field.

"It was good to have this chance to study what is ahead. I think it will be a definite advantage for me," he said.


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