11:25 AM

Computer, Data Science Students Earn Top Honors at National Conference


By Mark Kramer

The Great Minds in STEM National Conference was an award-winning experience for University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) data analytics and computer science students.

Three UHD students earned top honors out of more than 100 participants from across the country in the conference’s Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) Data Analytics competition. The challenge was a hands-on competition in which students find patterns and answer questions about a predetermined set of raw data.

UHD students Phi Le captured first place honors for her analysis of random forest regression, while the team of Dung Dang and Zan Zan took second place for their evaluation of the same topic.

In addition, Gator students also received awards for their efforts in the Hackathon competition, which is an interactive learning event where students work in teams to solve challenges to test their cybersecurity skills. The team of Randy Phan-Huynh and Zan Nathar, along with Veronica Rivas from The University of Texas-El Paso captured the top spot in the password cracking category. This event also included students from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

“We are very proud of these students,” said Dr. Dvijesh Shastri, Associate Professor and Assistant Department Chair for Computer Science. “These competitions give our students the opportunity to take what they’ve learned and put it into practice.”

Along with the competitions, students were able to participate in workshops, networking sessions and a two-day career fair. More than 110 students from UHD and partner institutions including the University of Houston, University of Houston-Victoria and Lone Star College were in attendance.

“This conference has become the place for computer and data science majors to thrive and help open doors for many students,” said Dr. Mary Jo Parker, Executive Director of the UHD Scholars Academy.

For more information on GMIS, visit the website.


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.