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.


Making Waves with Undergraduate Research


This Q&A highlight features Baicheng Chen, a Finalist in the 2021 CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers award program. Baicheng graduated from the University at Buffalo in May 2021. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of California San Diego. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Discovering the (Virtual) Realities of Undergraduate Research


This Q&A highlight features Lauren Baron, recipient of an Honorable Mention in the 2021 CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers award program. Lauren is currently completing her junior year at the University of Delaware in the College of Engineering and Honors College, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Cybersecurity. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Supported Research Experiences Cultivating Confidence in Computing


This Q&A highlight features McKenna Lewis, recipient of an Honorable Mention in the 2021 CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers award program. McKenna is a computer science major and currently works as an undergraduate researcher in the UCSD School of Medicine. In McKenna’s interview, she shares how she has benefited from showing resilience through faltering confidence and how supportive research programs and mentors helped her succeed. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.