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) 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.