Computer science graduate student wins Google scholarship

Photo of Jessica Gonzales

Jessica Gonzales, graduate student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has been awarded a GHC Google Women of Color Scholarship to attend the 2011 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women in Computing.

This scholarship is highly competitive, and Gonzales was one of a handful of women chosen from a group of more than 1,100 applicants.

The Google-sponsored scholarship will provide for a portion of the payment of conference registration, hotel, meals and travel to this year's Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Portland, Oregon, Nov. 9-12.

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conferences are designed to help advance the careers and research of women in computing. Informative presentations are given by leaders in industry, academia and government, while special sessions focus on the role of women in today’s technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering.

Gonzales said she is honored to be one of the few women chosen for this important scholarship. Gonzales also has cerebral palsy, making her road to a Ph.D. just that more difficult. She credits her advisor and lab mates for their support in helping her achieve her dreams.

"I know I wouldn't be where I am today without those that have influenced and guided me in my research and academic pursuits, specifically in the department and in my lab," she said. "So much of who I am is due to the dedication, time and efforts my faculty advisor Dr. Murphy and my team members. They've taken the time to teach me and guide me in the right direction, knowing that I would require a more effort to work with and understand, because I'm a student with multiple special needs. I know it hasn't been easy, but they've done everything in their ability to give me the resources I need to excel as an individual in this lab and as I pursue my Ph.D."

Gonzales is a first-year Ph.D. student under the direction of Dr. Robin Murphy in theCenter for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) at Texas A&M. She is funded by an NSF grant, "The Social Medium is the Message," which focuses on human-robot interaction with trapped victims of disasters and bedridden or shut-ins. She received her bachelor's degree in computer science from Texas A&M in May 2011.