CRA-E’s “Undergraduate Research Highlights” series showcases outstanding research done by undergraduate students at universities and colleges across North America.  It is one of a number of CRA-E’s activities that foster and recognize  talented computing researchers with the goal of increasing the research pipeline, promoting graduate education, and advocating research-based careers.

Each article features the story of a successful undergraduate researcher and offers personal insights into their experiences with finding an advisor, undertaking new research projects, and discovering how research can impact their personal and professional futures. In addition to helping students understand the process of getting involved in research, the articles also serve as a venue for students to pass along advice to others who aspire to become involved in research themselves. Students selected for the research highlights include those receiving recognition in the CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award competition.

This series is written and edited by CRA-E Graduate Fellows.


Empowering Caregivers and Promoting Privacy

Zaina Aljallad, a recent University of Central Florida (UCF) alumna, researched ways to empower all users, regardless of technical background, with strategies to protect their personal data while using a multitude of apps and services. She published two papers and presented her work at ACM conferences and the National Science Foundation (NSF).


From COMP105 to Programming Languages Research in Haskell

After taking an Intro to Programming Languages class, Marilyn became interested in programming languages. Her teaching assistant participated in PL research and recruited her to their project. Over a period of two years starting in her sophomore year, Marilyn collaborated with her research advisor, who is also chair of the CS department at Tufts, Kathleen Fisher on research problems in Haskell optimization.

Overcoming Adversity and Finding a Path to Research

Diego showcases the persistence and determination of a researcher. As an immigrant from Venezuela, finding financial support and resources during his academic pursuits has been difficult given the current status of his home country. This has created uncertainty at times, but Diego has been able to persevere. He balanced his studies with a full-time machine learning developer position.


Moving into the Realm of Privacy and Security

Kimberly is in her final year of undergraduate studies at the University of Washington (UW), where she double majors in Computer Engineering and Mathematics. Within UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, she has been working with Professors Franziska Roesner and Tadayoshi Kohno on problems related to privacy and security, in particular, to identify and address the risks that future computer systems might raise before they become pervasive.

Using Exploration as a Catalyst Toward Research-Definition

Andriy Mulyar, a proponent of supportive research environments, is currently  pursuing a dual degree in Computer Science and Mathematics at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). His research journey began during his senior year in high school where he participated in a natural language processing project under Dr. Bridget McInnes through an outreach program coordinated by the Computer Science program at Andriy’s high school (CIT at Deep Run High School). The experience ignited an intrigue in machine learning which Andriy began to further explore in college.