14:22 PM

Data & Computer Science Students Earn Awards at National Conference


By Mark Kramer

The Great Minds in STEM (GMIS) 2020 National Conference provided great learning and networking experiences for University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) Data Science and Computer Science students. In addition to gaining new knowledge, students came away from this conference with national awards.

UHD student Michael Giraldi earned honors in the Forensics category of the GMIS Hackathonan interactive learning event where students work in teams to solve challenges to test their cybersecurity skills. The event, hosted by the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI), included students from throughout the United States and as far away as Puerto Rico.

Two UHD students, Jacquelyn Johnson and Nhi Le, took third place honors in the GMIS poster competition. The students were required to submit an abstract and a poster of an ongoing research project and present their conceptual research to a panel of judges.

According to Dr. Mary Jo Parker, Executive Director of the UHD Scholars Academy, more than 50 UHD-sponsored undergraduates participated in this year’s conference.

Not only did UHD students win awards at the conference competition, but several students had interviews for either jobs or internships with large companies and organizations including Chevron, General Motors, JP Morgan Chase, Google, NASA, Oracle, Boeing and Northrup Grumman. Four UHD students were offered full-time positions as a result of the interviews, and three were presented with internship opportunities.

Prior to the GMIS conference, UHD students competed in the CAHSI Data Analytics Challenge. The team of UHD’s Mark Vazquez and University of Houston-Victoria’s Prabha Sapkota took first place in the event, while the team of UHD's Anh Nguyen and California State University-Fresno captured second place.

“This year there were many overlapping virtual conferences that allowed students to participate in multiple opportunities, but by far, the GMIS has become the place for computer and data science majors to participate for job interviews, internship acquisitions and full-time job offers,” Parker said. “This conference has helped open the door for many students.”

For more information on GMIS, visit the website.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) – the second-largest university in Houston – 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 more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 61,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.