Friday, February 13, 2015

Student Spotlight- Michael Menarguez


Michael Menarguez – M.S. in Computer Science

Michael was born in the United States but spent his life in Madrid, Spain. His parents and his brother are all in the medical field but Michael was drawn to computers. He has always wondered what happened when you push the buttons. Michael has been naturally good in Math and Physics, which he considers good tools for Computer Science. He became very interested in Computer Science in preparatory school where he first learned to code. With this new knowledge, Michael designed a new database for his father’s job and created video games for himself.
Michael studied Computer Engineering in Madrid and then he had the opportunity to study in Bordeaux, France and at the University of Oklahoma as an exchange student. He enjoys discovering new perspectives conveyed by different languages. He thinks that the different universities he has visited have made him a well-rounded person. In Spain, he found that his curriculum focused on the theoretical background, while in the U.S. it has been more practice and research oriented.
Although Michael misses the Madrid big city feel, he came back to OU to pursue his M.S. in CS guided by passion for computers and love. He enjoys CS classes because they always have a very motivating project. For example, in CS 5013 Artificial Intelligence, Dr. McGovern divided the class into teams to see which one would perform best competing at a spaceship game. CS 5023 Intro to Robotics and CS 5970 Artificial Neural Network Evolution, both taught by Dr. Hougen, are also among Michael’s favorite classes because they gave him the opportunity to play with robots and to do more than coding - it was very practical. Michael is also working on his thesis with Dr. Lakshmivarahan and Dr. Xiao. For this, he chose to focus on applying algorithms to improve the mapping of multi-spectral satellite imaging of permanent water bodies at 30 meter-pixel resolution from 1984 to present at a global scale.
Michael is the recipient of a CS Graduate Alumni scholarship and an active member of the Software Studio. He is also a research assistant for the Earth Observation and Modeling Facility on campus; he manages the maintenance and development of their website eomf.ou.edu and helps with the development of programs for their data sets and scripts to update and create new remote sensing products. Michael would like to work for a big company after graduation to gain experience while he works with his girlfriend creating a startup.

During his free time Michael enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and playing rugby. He loves to travel and discover different cultures. He has already been to 14 different countries and speaks 3 languages fluently: English, Spanish, and French. He also likes dancing and cooking.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Student Spotlight

Katie Trivitt – Minor in Computer Science

Katie is from Oklahoma City, OK. After attending Bishop McGuinness High School, she joined OU where she is pursuing a B.S. in Mathematics with minors in Spanish and Computer Science. Her mother, who graduated from SWOSU with a degree in Computer Science and is a computer programmer, encouraged Katie to take Intro to Computer Programming. Katie’s father is an Electrical Engineering graduate from OSU. It seems evident that science and mathematics are a strong suit in the Trivitt household; Katie grew up participating in science fairs and other engineering hobbies.
Because of her father’s alma mater, Katie grew up wanting to attend OSU. However, she kept an open mind and came to Norman to visit the OU facilities. A friend of her father, Dr. John Fagan told her: “Everybody can train you to be an engineer, only OU can train you to be a whole person.” This piece of advice convinced Katie to come to Norman, as an Engineering-Undecided major before switching to Mathematics. She is an OU Regents Scholar and part of Alpha Gamma Delta. Katie also studied abroad in Madrid, Spain during the Spring 2014 semester.
Katie’s change in major was motivated by her passion for teaching. She is a math tutor for UC Action and got a very sought after internship with Breakthrough in Summer 2013 and 2014. At Breakthrough in Fort Worth, TX she had the opportunity to teach science to underprivileged middle school students with strong academic potential. Katie will be done with her degrees in May 2015 and she has applied for Teach for America and to the masters in education program at Notre Dame University, which would allow her to teach during the academic year. Her dream job would be teaching math and Spanish at a low income Catholic school. However, Katie realizes that teachers are not paid adequately and sees her minor in computer science as a tool to make her more marketable if needed.
Katie loves coding and building her own software. She particularly enjoyed classes with Dr. Trytten and Dr. Radhakrishnan. She has made good friends in Computer Science and some of her favorite moments in college have been spent struggling with them all night on projects.

Katie is very busy outside of school and likes to spend time dancing, including swing, ballroom and salsa, when she is not volunteering for the Food Bank, Americorps, or St Thomas More’s Catholic Church. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

CS to Feature a Student Every Week

Hello all,

Here at the School of Computer Science we are excited to announce that we will be featuring a student every week. We are very proud of our students and want everyone to see what CS is all about, our students.

So here we go with our inaugural post:



Mamta Yadav – Ph.D. in Computer Science
Mamta is from the Indian province of Rajasthan, a hill station in the north-west part of the country. When she was a little girl, Mamta dreamt of becoming a medical doctor. She inherited a love for mathematics from her dad and was so talented in computer science that after solving many problems for her teachers, they encouraged her to pursue engineering. She received a very high score on the regional placement test, which opened the opportunity for her to go study Computer Science at Rajasthan University. She was convinced it was the right track when she got the chance to work on the university web portal.
After receiving her B.E. there, Mamta followed the advice of her father and her spiritual teacher and came to the U.S. to pursue further her education. She completed her M.S. in Computer Science at Oklahoma City University and after a year working in the industry, she decided to go back to school to complete her lifelong dream: getting a doctor title. She joined OU as part of the School of Computer Science Ph.D. program in Fall 2010. Mamta is currently conducting research for her dissertation under the supervision of Dr. Krishnayan Thulasiraman. She focuses on community detection in network science.
Mamta originally chose to come to Oklahoma because she wanted to study in a peaceful environment. She enjoys the close-knit community and feels like the OU School of Computer Science is a family. According to her, the faculty and staff members are always very helpful and focused on maximizing the students learning experience. Mamta also appreciates all the opportunities that have been offered to her within the department. Working with Dr. Thulasiraman, for example, allowed her to participate in the writing of his new book. She is also very involved in the Computer Science Graduate Student Association for which she was president of the organization in the academic year 2013-14. Her position as a teaching assistant for many CS classes throughout the semesters also convinced her to pursue a career in academia upon graduation.

Mamta puts her skills to good use by volunteering for the Divyajyot Cancer Research Foundation founded by her spiritual teacher. Mamta speaks fluently Hindi, Gujrati, and English. She enjoys writing poems and articles, meditating, cooking and singing.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hitachi Distinguished Lecture Series- Cancelled

The Hitachi Distinguished Lecture for tomorrow has been cancelled.

Paycom Lunch

Paycom will be joining us today for lunch and a Tech Talk discussion covering Mobile Development. I hope everyone can join us.