Computer science graduate students awarded NSF EAPSI Fellowships

Danielle Cummings and Paul Taele, graduate students in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, have been awarded NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (EAPSI) fellowships for 2012. Cummings and Taele on a pre-departure orientation visit to Washington, D.C.

Cummings will conduct research in biosensor data visualization via augmented reality in Christchurch, New Zealand, with Dr. Mark Billinghurst in the Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Canterbury. Taele will carry out research in beyond-surface sketch recognition and interaction techniques at Taipei, Taiwan, with Dr. Mike Chen in the Mobile, Social & HCI Research Lab at National Taiwan University. (Pictured: Cummings and Taele on a pre-departure orientation visit to Washington, D.C., for EAPSI Fellows in March 2012)

Both students are Ph.D. candidates in computer science and research members of theSketch Recognition Lab directed by Dr. Tracy Hammond, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

"It's a great honor for our research lab and especially for our department to receive not just one, but two fellowships for this prestigious and competitive fellowship this year," Taele said.

Cummings added, "This is an amazing opportunity to collaborate with some of the best research labs in the world. We're very excited to represent Texas A&M and the U.S. as we conduct research with our partner universities overseas this summer."

Cummings has two bachelor degrees from The Ohio State University in computer science and in multimedia design, and an M.S. in software engineering from the University of Houston. Her research interests are in mobile computing, data visualization and augmented reality. Cummings has been recognized for her work on GeoTrooper, which won best poster awards in 2011. She has been honored with the People's Choice Award at the Tapia Conference for Diversity in Computing in April 2011 and elected to the Anita Borg Institute Board of Advisors.

Taele earned dual bachelor degrees in computer science and mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006 and an M.S. in computer science from Texas A&M in 2010. His research interests are in sketch recognition, natural user interfaces and interaction design. Before beginning his studies at Texas A&M, he pursued Chinese Mandarin language studies as a non-degree option at National Chengchi University in Taiwan under a full scholarship awarded by Taiwan's Ministry of Education.

EAPSI awardees receive a $5,000 stipend and roundtrip international airfare. Foreign co-sponsoring organizations will provide additional support to cover EAPSI fellows' living expenses. The National Science Foundation's EAPSI provides U.S. graduate students in science and engineering with first-hand research experiences in Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore or Taiwan. It introduces the students to the science, science policy, and scientific infrastructure of the respective location as well familiarizes the students with the society, culture and language of the location. One of the primary goals of EAPSI is to help students initiate scientific relationships that will better enable future collaboration with foreign counterparts.