Computer Science Students Receive Prestigious Awards

Two BYU Computer Science students recently received prestigious awards for their academic excellence. Kendall Clement and Tanja Brown were each honored for their individual collegiate accomplishments in May.

Brown, a Ph.D. candidate and research assistant in the university’s interdisciplinary IDeA Labs, received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation for her research proposal entitled “Cooperative Differential Games.” The three-year fellowship recognizes the top science, technology, engineering and math graduate students nationwide and will provide Brown with a $30,000 annual stipend and a $10,500 cost-of-education and travel allowance.

The NSF grant will allow Brown to continue her research exploring cooperation and conflict in competitive environments. She will be presenting her first paper on the topic at the American Control Conference this summer. The paper was coauthored by another student, Nghia Tran, and their advisor, Professor Sean Warnick.

Clement, also a BYU Computer Science student, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. As a result, he will work in the computational sciences laboratory of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin, Germany, while also studying bioinformatics at the nearby Freie Universitat. He will be in Berlin from September 2009 through July 2010, at which point he will return to the United States to claim his spot in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology graduate program.

Clement said he is excited to join the Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics (BIG) Ph.D. Training Program upon his return from Europe.

“When I went out to Boston for interviews, I felt relatively under-qualified because it seemed as if most of the other interviewees had some sort of post-undergraduate experience like working at a biotech company or having earned a master’s degree,” he said. “As I talked to the professors and other students, and visited the research labs, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the research there. As the result of certain divine intervention, I was admitted into the program as one of seven BIG class members for 2009.”

The newly minted Fulbright Scholar has deferred his matriculation to the Harvard-MIT program until the fall of 2010, after the completion of his time in Germany. Clement attributes many of his opportunities to his professors and classmates at BYU.

“I am grateful for the help and support of my professors and classmates, as well as the great research opportunities provided by BYU and the [Computer Science] department that have contributed to my qualification for these opportunities,” he said.

By Steve Pierce Posted on