CSE hosts high school researchers

High School ResearchersThis summer, there are five high school rising seniors who are participating in a ten week summer research internship with the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M.

The summer interns include Jonathon Colbert, who is a student at A&M Consolidated High School and also returning summer intern, and Juan Aguilar, Leslie Escalante, Ricardo Gonzales and Ariana Ramirez who are all students from Jimmy Carter Early College High School in La Joya, Texas.

“I am planning on becoming a future aggie after graduation,” Aguilar said. “This university feels like home, people here are so nice and helpful, making the atmosphere friendly.”

The La Joya high school students are staying at The Stack with the students participating in the CSE Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program and all of the high school researchers are working with CSE interim department head, Dr. Nancy Amato, as well as two graduate student mentors, Jory Denny and Read Sandstrom, who are working with them on a daily basis. All the students are working on various parts of the same general research project, User-guided Motion Planning.

“In robotics, we often need to find valid paths for the robot to move in the world, which avoids obstacles,” Denny said. “Humans do this quite effectively everyday, so this research looks at combining human intuition with fully autonomous planners to arrive at more effective and customizable robotic motions.”

These individuals are top students who are able to participate in research projects just like undergraduate students. If they decide to pursue their higher education here at Texas A&M for their undergraduate studies, then they will be already prepared to join a lab and be productive in the classroom.

“They are very bright individuals with a lot of passion and drive to work on graduate level research in high school,” Denny said. “They have exceeded my expectations and are progressing quite well. I am excited to be able to help mentor these students, and can't wait to see where they end up in life.”

“The most influential and rewarding part of this internship has to be the opportunity to have conversations and be inspired by the department head, faculty and speakers who talk to us about admissions, graduate school and lessons on how to get the most out of being in College Station,” said high school participant, Ricardo Gonzales. “I've gathered a lot more than just the research project by joining this program.”