2023 Celebration of Excellence

2023 Honoring our Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Donors

Nancy Amato

Illinois Computer Science students, alumni, and faculty have long been recognized for their leadership contributions to computing and information technology in the classroom, in the research lab, and in industry. We are honored to celebrate these accomplishments, as well as the work of the staff and the generosity of our donors. We are deeply grateful for these contributions and immensely proud of these collective achievements. We are excited to be gathering for an in-person celebration on Friday, April 21, 2023. Please join us in recognizing all these stellar accomplishments.


Nancy M. Amato
Head, Department of Computer Science
Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering


Watch the 2023 Celebration of Excellence Recording



Undergraduate Students

Each year, the Department of Computer Science recognizes several outstanding undergraduate students for their academic achievements and leadership contributions in the classroom, research lab, and the community. Many of these scholarships and awards are made possible by generous donations from alumni, friends, and corporate partners, and make a significant difference in supporting students during their academic and career pursuits.

Keli is a National Merit Scholar in her second year at Illinois. On campus, she is a member of ACM, event photographer, and competitor for Illini Esports, with whom she won an invitational tournament in Fall 2022. Her current academic interests lie in the application of probability in computing and she looks forward to broadening her understanding of the field in her classes.

Felipe is a junior studying Computer Science. At school, he is a member of Latinos in Computer Science and a research assistant at the Computer Vision and Robotics Laboratory. In summer 2023, he is doing a Software Engineering internship at Google.

Ruchika is conducting research in the area of Computers and Education with Professor Geoffrey Herman to investigate which testing strategies are best for student learning.

Deeya is a sophomore and part of the CS STARS program working with the DALI Lab's TorchGeo project group. At Illinois, she has also been involved in a variety of RSOs such as HackIllinois, ACM, R|P and A.O.E.

Emmanuel is in his second year of the Computer Science BS degree program.  At Illinois, he is the Post/Pre Collegiate Chair for the National Society of Black Engineers. He is a current intern at Motorola Solutions and will be an intern at Pfizer in summer 2023.

Angie received a BS from the University of Illinois in Math and Computer Science with minors in Statistics and Business. She served as a Course Assistant for Professor Abdu Alawini's CS 411 course for 2 years and completed a senior thesis with Professor Wade Fagen-Ulmschneider on data visualization infrastructure. She is currently completing her MS in Computer Science at the University of Illinois while working as a Software Development Engineer at Amazon.

Samuil is a 3rd-year undergraduate student who has been part of SHPE's Graduate Development team for 2 years. He has also researched soft robotics and social networks with Professor Golecki, and computational biology with Professor Mohammed El-Kebir. He will return to Microsoft this summer for a 3rd time as a software engineering intern.

At Illinois, Hania served as a course assistant for CS 124/125 for five semesters, and now works for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics as a Software Developer. She is a 4-year member of the Illinois Women's Rugby Team, and is an avid knitter.

Jaelyn is a junior undergraduate student studying computer science. At Illinois, she is involved with the Illini Cycling club as the club social chair and a member of the National Society of Black Engineers. She is extremely passionate about DEI in the field and volunteers with WYSE to overcome the opportunity gap in underrepresented communities.

Steven is a sophomore pursuing a BS in Computer Science. He's passionate about deep learning, immersive computing, tech policy, and the intersection thereof. At Illinois, he researches the next generation of Extended Reality in the ILLIXR group.

Grace is a senior majoring in Statistics & Computer Science. After graduation, she will continue her research for a Master's at Illinois.

Arshiya is a freshman studying Computer Science. She is a James Scholar and a current member of the CS STARS community where she is working as a research assistant under the able guidance of Professor Elahe Soltanaghai. At Illinois, she is involved in Women in Computer Science, Girls Who Code, and Society of Women Engineers. She is passionate about empowering women and minorities to pursue STEM and strives to help others as a computer scientist and leader.

Justin is a junior studying Computer Science. At Illinois, he is a lead course assistant for CS 225, contributing to infrastructure development. With previous experience at TSMC, he will be interning at Amazon in the upcoming summer.

Joanna is a 3rd-year undergraduate Computer Science student, double minoring in Disability Studies and Interdisciplinary Health Technology She is passionate about accessible computing and assistive technology and seeks to support people with disabilities to live with increased independence. Currently, her research aims to implement autonomous robotic capabilities for completing independent activities of daily living to Stretch RE1 with Dr. Olatunji, Dr. Mahajan, and Dr. Angrave. Previously, she served in the ClassTranscribe and ScribeAR research groups. Joanna is also passionate about CS outreach, inclusivity, and mentorship, and is also involved with Reformed University Fellowship as a Community Group and Ministry Team Leader. She also is an NCWIT 2023 Collegiate Award Finalist.

Ruidi is a senior studying Computer Science. He is interning at YoDJ and AI-4-ALL, working as a CA for CS411, and also serving as the president of PURE (Promoting Undergraduate Research in Engineering). He loves startups and is going to found his own one day!

Ethar is a junior majoring in computer science. She is a winner of the Illinois Space Grant Consortium Scholarship. Ethar has served as a teaching assistant for introduction to programming classes for three semesters. Her team won the congressional app challenge for district 11 in Illinois and she also won the hackathon at Stanford University. She has already conducted four research projects during her undergraduate career and was in the PURE research program in Fall 2022. She is in the AI4ALL Program and is also continuing her human-computer interaction research in the CS STARS Program.

Edwin is a 2nd year student studying Computer Science at the Illinois. His interests are in computer graphics and virtual reality. He has been involved in ACM Gamebuilders and TBP.

Yoshee is a first-year Chancellor’s Scholar majoring in Computer Science. She is involved with various RSOs, including AI@UIUC, R|P, ACM, etcetera, to inspire girls to take up STEM fields as careers. As a self-motivated learner, she is seen thriving while researching on instructional tools for conversational programmers with her mentor, Professor Cunningham. Her learning took a leap as she collaborated with peers in tech teams of startups like Panthea Health and VOCA. Though she is still determining where she’ll be after four years, she strives to benefit the world by combining her hands-on technical background and humanitarian spirit to pay forward.

Nancy is a junior working on her CS + Math BS program at Illinois. She has been a course assistant head for CS 124. She has been an undergraduate student researcher at the Illinois Geometry Lab and a recipient of the Mrs. E. J. Hoover Scholarship.

Mansi is in her first year studying Computer Science. She is an ambitious individual; in her spare time, she is either working on robots for Illini Vex or researching for her I-Made Projects. This summer, she is looking forward to exploring her interest in fintech by interning at CME Group.

Eli is an undergraduate studying Math and Computer Science. They currently serve as a course assistant for CS 173, and assist in research in computational geometry with Professor Jeff Erickson.

Charles is a third-year CS student who will graduate from the  BS/MCS program in 2024. Recently, he has joined Illini Student Musicals as Captioning Coordinator, combining his Python knowledge with his passion for the music & arts. He currently has a specialization in Intelligence and Big Data but he is also interested in UI Design, Signal Processing, and Cybersecurity.

Keerthana is a sophomore currently conducting motion planning research with Professor Nancy Amato. Her work is focused on improving the efficiency of algorithms used in applications of robotics and computational biology. She is also an active member of the entrepreneurship community on campus and won the Edwin Moore Innovation Prize at the 2022 UIUC Cozad New Venture Challenge.

Vy is a freshman in Computer Science. She is currently a software developer at Hack4Impact UIUC and will be interning as a Google Step Intern in Summer 2023 to further explore and pursue her passion in CS.

Cristian Ortiz is a third-year James Scholar undergraduate student in CS. He is currently a member organization such as the Chicago Engineer Foundation, iCause, the Ecuadorian Student Association. With his interest in cybersecurity, he hopes to help improve the security industries in developing Latin American countries and continue to empower the undocumented and Hispanic communities in STEM.

Jessica is a 1st year Computer Science undergraduate, minoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is also a student in the Cancer Scholars Program at the Cancer Center at Illinois. She hopes to become an Oncologist and to use her Computer Science background to facilitate Cancer research.

Kajal is a freshman in the Computer Science Department. She researches the effects academic testing have on student motivation to learn through the Computers and Education research area. A Stamps Scholar, she is heavily involved in community and educational outreach both within the department and without.

Gauri is a third-year undergraduate with the Computer Science Department. She interns at Motorola Solutions and was a research assistant for the HPVM Compiler Research Group, and presented at the FOCA 2022 workshop.

Eisha is currently in her second year of her Bachelors degree studies in Computer Science. On campus, she is heavily involved in the Illinois Space Society, as the avionics electronic hardware subteam lead for Spaceshot; she is also in the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She is also a past winner of the 2022 UIUC Undergraduate Research Symposium. In summer 2023, she is excited to be interning for Collins Aerospace, where she will be writing flight software for mission computers of aerial vehicles.

Sowmya is a junior studying Computer Science. She has been a part of CS STARS since Fall 2021.

Mihir is a freshman studying Computer Science. After coming to Illinois, he decided to join a competitive dance team where he travels around the country dancing. Mihir was also a national qualifier for website development for BPA.

Ansh is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science. During his time at UIUC, he has been involved in various research projects and internships centered around applying ML techniques to biomedical and health problems. His research interests include interpretable AI, clinical ML, and meta-learning.

Garima is a junior in CS + Advertising student with interests in product marketing and management, as well as research interests in Interactive Computing! She has certification in Technology Commercialization from the Technology Entrepreneurship Center and has been a part of CS STARS since its inaugural program. She has conducted research under Professor Angrave in CS Education through the 2021 SRP program and currently participates in Interactive Computing with Professor Hari Sundaram. Garima is also passionate about student involvement, and is currently part of CS CARES and ACM, and was previously involved in Reflections | Projections, HackIllinois, and WCS.

Xiuyi is a first-year computer science student with an interest in human-computer interaction. At UIUC, she's been involved in WCS and VSA and will be interning at ComEd in the summer of 2023.

Ishani is a junior studying Computer Science. At Illinois, she has been a part of WCS and HackIllinois. She also interns as a software developer in Research Park.

Anushree is investigating how language affects experience in guided meditation using NLP methods, working under Professor Roxana Girju. She is a course associate for CS 124, and an intern for Amazon.

Nishi is a freshman studying Computer Science and Linguistics. On campus, she is involved in CS124H, HackIllinois, and undergraduate NLP research at the BLENDER.

Neha Vardhaman is a 1st year undergraduate student. At Illinois, she is involved in interdisciplinary research, and RSOs Hack4Impact and WCS. She has a strong passion for using computer science for social good.

Shreya Vinjamuri is a sophomore studying Computer Science at UIUC. Fueled by someday making an impact in the high-tech world, she is undertaking research at the Parasol Lab to help open-source the Parasol Motion Planning Library by writing unit test cases and pseudocode mappings for motion planning algorithms. On campus, she has been involved with WCS where she helps plan technical workshops for students. She will also be interning at Meta in summer 2023.

Jingtong is a freshman majoring in Computer Science. She is involved in ACM's infrastructure and marketing committees and is currently working on research involving remote sensing applications of machine learning.

Shalini is a 3rd year undergraduate studying Computer Science, and is a CS Star, working in Professor Nancy Amato's lab on the Mind in Vitro Project. At Illinois, she is a Girls Who Code Facilitator, on the Deans' Student Advisory Committee, and a volunteer at Carle Hospital. In summer 2023, she will be interning at Mastercard as a Software Engineering Intern.

Kyler is a first year Computer Science undergraduate. In the past, Kyler participated in research where he helped develop neural networks that estimated the number of habitable exoplanets in the galaxy. His current research/career interest is applying computer science, particularly machine learning, to the medical field. At Illinois, Kyler is currently a course assistant for MATH 257.

Zora is in her 2nd year studying Computer Science at Illinois. She has been a tech lead and product manager at Hack4Impact, a course assistant for CS225, and a research assistant under Prof. Ranjitha Kumar's data-driven design group. She will also be interning at Amazon in the upcoming summer.

Victor will be graduating with his Bachelors Degree in Spring 2023, and will continue his studies pursuing a Masters degree. At Illinois, he has been a course assistant for CS 357 for four semesters. With this experience, he is ready to start his future in improving CS education.

Athena is a junior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Music. She is working on image processing research with Professor Eric Shaffer, and is looking forward to interning with Microsoft in summer 2023.


Graduate Students

Each year, the Department of Computer Science recognizes the achievements, leadership, and potential of graduate students who have earned prestigious fellowships and awards. Fellowships offer students the opportunity to focus on their graduate studies and research, while awards recognize the progress or overall excellence toward outstanding research or leadership contributions to the field. Many of these fellowships and awards are made possible by generous donations from alumni, friends, and corporate partners, and make a significant difference in supporting students during their academic and career pursuits.

Garvita is a 1st year PhD student and former MS student. She is a past recipient of Siebel Scholarship and has prior experience with Microsoft and Amazon. Her current research focuses on making visual recognition methods robust with minimal supervision.

Nathanael is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science studying Scientific Machine Learning. He is interested in employing and furthering computational linear algebra and numerical analysis to harmonize Numerical and Machine Learning Models. He evaluates these techniques on differential equations in Physical Applied Mathematics and in Mathematical Finance.

Gargi Balasubramaniam is a 2nd year MS student working with Prof. Han Zhao in the field of transfer learning. Her research focuses on reliable and trustworthy machine learning through generalization and robustness. Prior to joining Illinois, Balasubramaniam graduated as the Gold Medalist from BITS Pilani, India. Her work has appeared amongst venues like the NeurIPS '22 DistShift workshop and UAI '22. She has also interned with Meta Reality labs and worked with Microsoft. Her performance has been recognized by 2 prestigious national awards - the K.C. Mahindra Fellowship (given to 4 students in India) and the J.N. Tata Scholarship.

Naina is a 3rd year PhD student working with Professor Hari Sundaram on problems at the intersection of social network analysis and applied game theory. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2020 with degrees in Applied Mathematics and Philosophy.

Jackie is a 3rd year PhD student studying human-computer interaction, more specifically social computing, with Dr. Eshwar Chandrasekharan. His research relates to understanding the behaviors exhibited within online communities. Jackie completed his undergraduate degree at Carleton College in his home state of Minnesota.

Xiaohong is studying the logical foundation of programming languages with Professor Grigore Rosu. His work has been funded by Ethereum Foundation for its potential to make smart contracts more secure and trustworthy.

Federico is a PhD Candidate researching wireless network privacy in Wi-Fi protocols with Professors Robin Kravets and Deepak Vasisht. While at Illinois, he interned at Apple, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and Sandia National Labs. He also served as the Graduate Ambassador in the SHPE chapter on campus between 2018-2022 to support and maintain a community of Hispanic and Latin American graduate students in engineering. Federico earned his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2018.

Sourav Das is a PhD candidate working with Prof. Ling Ren on applied cryptography and consensus algorithms. He received his Bachelor's degree from IIT Delhi, where his "Scaling smart contracts in Proof-of-work Blockchains" won the best undergraduate thesis award in the department. He is also a recipient of the best paper runner's up at ACM CCS 2021. He was a young researcher at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum 2022 and a Meta Ph.D. fellowship finalist. Previously, he has interned in Visa and Meta research.

Saikat Dutta is a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Illinois, advised by Prof. Sasa Misailovic. Saikat’s research interests lie at the intersection of Software Engineering and Machine Learning. Saikat’s current research focuses on improving the reliability of Machine-learning based systems by developing novel testing techniques and tools. Saikat has received the Facebook PhD Fellowship, the 3M Foundation Fellowship, and the Mavis Future Faculty Fellowship for his contributions.

Viyath is in the second semester of the iCAN program, and hopes to be admitted to the MCS program at Illinois in Fall 2023. He has worked as a tutor for the past several years, providing instruction in CS, math, and natural sciences, among other subjects. He holds a BS in Chemistry from Cornell University and a graduate certificate in Linguistics from Boston University.

Ibtihal is a first year PhD student working with Professor Lav Varshney. Her research interests lie at the intersection of causality, machine learning, and policy evaluation. She received her MS degree from Illinois and her BS degree from Prince Sultan University.

Peter received a BS in Mathematics from the University of Illinois and an MS in Mathematics from Illinois State University. He worked as a high school math and computer science teacher for the last 6 years. He is a current student of the iCAN program and hopes to be admitted into the on campus MCS program to continue his studies in Computer Science. While taking classes, he works as a software engineering intern with State Farm at Research Park and is teaching a CS course at the University of Illinois Lab HS on campus.

Morgan received her BA in Computer Science at UC Berkeley, and is currently a 4th year PhD student in the Computers and Education area at the University of Illinois. She was previously awarded the Richard T. Cheng Fellowship and Teacher Ranked as Excellent by the Computer Science Department.

Max is a 4th year PhD student in CS. He has served as a TA and co-instructor for CS105, a course designer and co-instructor in the College of Education, and a coordinator for summer camp programs. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the department's BPC Policy Committee. Max's research is aligned with his teaching interests with a focus on fair, large scale assessment and policies for broadening participation in computing.

Dongqi is a 4th year PhD student majoring in Computer Science and supervised by Prof. He Jingrui. His research focuses on graph mining, graph representations, and graph neural networks. He aims to investigate natural dynamics and artificial dynamics in graphs to boost the performance of graph-based application tasks. He used to be a research intern at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and will be a research scientist intern at Meta AI.

Emmanuel is a 2nd year MS student working in the Parasol Lab under Prof. Nancy Amato. His research primarily focuses on utilizing cloud and edge computing to solve motion planning problems for robotics applications. He is a Siebel Scholar, Broadening Participation in Computing Fellow, and former UIUC Graduate College Fellow. Emmanuel also serves as the treasurer for B[U]ILT (Black, Indigenous, and Latinx in Tech).

Silas is a fifth year PhD student in the area of Human Computer Interaction. His wide variety of research interests include user agency in AI systems, music education technology, and genome visualization.

Ethan is pursuing a MS to learn more about machine learning and algorithms. He wants to explore this world every day.

Ali is a first year PhD student and the recipient of Ray Ozzie Computer Science Fellowship. His research interests are Machine Learning, Software Engineering, and Explainable Deep Neural Models, and he is working with Professor Reyhan Jabbarvand.

Adil is a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science at Illinois. He is advised by Prof. Adam Bates and a part of The Secure & Transparent Systems Laboratory. His research interests include system security, intrusion detection, system auditing, forensic analysis, and data provenance.

Kathleen is in the 3rd year of the CS PhD program. She is interested in broadening participation in computing. Currently, she is engaged in work studying students’ sense of belonging in CS and social-psychological interventions to change students’ beliefs about the potential to do social good and collaborate with others in a computing career. She hopes to carry her passion of inclusive teaching with her to a career in academia.

Mahnoor is a first-year PhD student in the Computer Science department. She received her BS in Computer Science from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). At Illinois, she is working in usable security and privacy, and threat hunting.

Jinghao is a 3rd year PhD student working with Professor Tianyin Xu. His research focuses on OS kernel extensions. Jinghao has been a TA for CS 423 and a research intern at IBM Research.

Jian Kang is a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science advised by Prof. Hanghang Tong. His research interests lie in trustworthy learning on graphs. His works have been published at several top conferences and journals (e.g., ICLR, KDD, WWW, TKDE, TVCG), and have been deployed online (e.g., Instagram Reels) to benefit millions of people. He is the recipient of several awards and honors, including Rising Star in Data Science by the University of Chicago, Mavis Future Faculty Fellowship by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and five top reviewer awards (ICML'20, ICLR'21, CIKM'21, NeurIPS'22, LOG'22).

Apostolos Kokolis is a Research Scientist at Meta. He did his PhD at CS working with Professor Josep Torrellas. His research focuses on non-volatile memory (NVM) technologies and distributed storage systems.

Charlotte is a third-year PhD student studying Computer Science. Her research in social computing with Professor Eshwar Chandrasekharan focuses on the ways in which social platforms can foster good behavior through proactive moderation strategies. Charlotte is a past recipient of the Saburo Muroga Endowed Fellowship.

Hyechin Lee is an iCAN student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Duksung University and a Master's degree in Math Education from Kyunghee University in South Korea. Before joining the iCAN program, she worked as a math teacher.

Tiffany is a fifth year PhD student advised by Prof. Hari Sundaram and Prof. Karrie Karahalios. Her research interests lie at the intersection of human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and education. She is excited to design human-centered AI to enhance access to quality education.

Shelby recently defended her dissertation titled "Reducing Communication Bottlenecks in Iterative Solvers." She was recognized by the international organizations ACM and IEEE for being an exceptional PhD student due to her contributions in parallel communication design, parallel numerical algorithms, and advancing capabilities of large-scale predictive scientific simulations.

Ian is a sixth-year PhD student in the Theory and Algorithms Group working with Professor Sheldon Jacobson on graph partitioning with applications to political redistricting. He is an NSF Graduate Fellow, and he earned his BS in Computer Engineering and Mathematics from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, where he will return this fall as an assistant professor.

Eric Magutu is an experienced network and systems engineer with over 15 years of experience. He received a BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Nairobi and an MBA from Edith Cowan University. Currently an iCAN student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he plans to continue with the MCS program, focusing on Distributed Systems and Machine Learning.

Ryan Marten is a MS student and a member of the Hoiem AI Lab and recently a research intern at the Allen Institute for AI. Previously, he earned his bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Toronto and was a research intern at Oxford University and MIT.

Maleeha is a 2nd year PhD Student in the CS Department. She recently received her bachelor's degree from the Lahore University of Management Sciences. At Illinois, she explores her interests in Systems and Networks.

Yu is a PhD candidate working with Professor Jiawei Han. He has been awarded the Google PhD Fellowship in 2021 and the Yunni and Maxine Pao Memorial Fellowship in 2023. His research interests lie in machine learning and natural language processing.

Mihigo is in his second semester with the iCAN program, with plans to pursue a MS in Computer Science with a focus on Digital Agriculture. He earned his Bachelor of Economics with a minor in Statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jaron Mink is a PhD Candidate and investigates users’ perception of emerging computer security and privacy threats. His work has appeared in venues such as CHI, USENIX Security, IEEE S&P, and WWW, and has been reported on by the Scientific American news organization. He is an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) awardee. Jaron also serves as a consultant, investigating ways to better anticipate AI safety risks with Partnership on AI. He has spent two summers working with faculty at the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy (2021) and the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (2022).

Samraj is in his final year of the BS/MS joint degree program working with Professor Hari Sundaram in the Crowd Dynamics Lab. His primary research interests lie in leveraging natural language generation to combat misinformation and make scientific knowledge more accessible. Previously, he worked with Professor Wen-mei Hwu in the IMPACT group and has taught multiple courses at Illinois. He has also interned on the Ad Privacy and Responsibility team at Meta and on the Multimodal Commerce team at Facebook AI.

Rafae is a 3rd year PhD student in the department of Computer Science. His research interests span the intersection of compilers, program synthesis and machine learning.

Malachi is a fifth year PhD student and works on GPU-accelerated fluid simulations in nekRS. He is also an intern at Sandia National Labs.

Seth Poulsen is a PhD student at University of Illinois Computer Science interested in Computing Education. His current research focuses on improving the teaching and learning of mathematical proofs, specifically using the Proof Blocks tool which he created.

Harita Reddy is a Masters Computer Science student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has been a teaching assistant for courses including CS 222, CS 242, and CS 410. She completed her Bachelor’s program at the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, India, in 2019.

Margie is a third-year student in the Computer Science PhD program. With her advisors, Profs. Gang Wang and Kirill Levchenko, she works on research focused on evaluating and developing  security and privacy implementations, for which she has earned the 2022 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Jay is a PhD candidate at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign CS, advised by Prof. Deepak Vasisht. His research interests broadly involve wireless systems, signal processing, and machine learning. His work aims to design novel techniques for satellite networking and Earth observation image analysis. He's also interested in security and privacy against wireless sensing. Additionally, he has interned with the Networking Research Group at Microsoft Research in summer 2022. Before coming to UIUC, he received his BS in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin, where he worked on visible light communication with Prof. Christine Julien.

Navjot is a 3rd PhD student. He obtained his masters in Applied Mathematics from Illinois, as well. He is working with Prof. Edgar Solomonik, and his research interests include optimization, high performance computing, and numerical analysis.

Jinghan is a PhD candidate in Comptuer Science, advised by Prof. Marc Snir and Prof. Jian Huang. He is working towards building high-performance, learning-based storage systems across the storage stack.

Xudong is a 4th year PhD student studying Computer Science. His research is mainly about improving the reliability of modern cloud systems.

Adarsh is a first-year MCS student and the head TA for CS 128. He was a Math & CS undergraduate at UIUC along with being a course assistant and developer for CS 128 since Spring 2021 working with Professor Michael Nowak. He has interned at SimBioSys, Google, and IMC Trading, and will be a SWE at Citadel Securities starting in September.

Yasamin is a 2nd year PhD candidate advised by Prof. Tandy Warnow. She is currently working on algorithmic problems in computational biology, in particular, phylogenomics and species tree estimation.

Thymios is a 5th year PhD candidate working on unsupervised and multi-modal machine perception for audio problems. In the past, he was also been conducting research for Google, MERL and Meta Reality Labs.

Saif is a 1st year PhD student studying Computer Science. His research interests are in machine learning and wireless networks, and is working with Professor Elahe Soltanaghai.

Vaibhav Vavilala graduated from Columbia University with a BS in Computer Science in 2017 and is currently a 3rd year PhD student and NSF Fellow at Illinois, studying computer vision. He previously worked at Pixar and was credited for his work in lighting & rendering optimization on Coco, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, and Soul.

Jason is a first year CS PhD student working on trustworthy artificial intelligence research, and is currently exploring robustness to real-world distribution shifts in computer vision. He graduated from UC San Diego this past June with a BS in Computer Science. Some of his interests include playing the violin, watching movies and going out for walks, runs and hikes.

Laxmi Vijayan is an iCAN student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received a Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences from University of South Florida. Before joining the iCAN program, she worked in clinical research at the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Talha received his BS from LUMS, Pakistan. He is now a PhD student at Illinois, working in Networks and Systems with Professors Radhika Mittal and Brighten Godfrey.

Zifeng is a CS PhD student supervised by Prof Jimeng Sun. He works on AI for drug development and healthcare. He is a past recipient of the Yunni & Maxine Pao Fellowship.

Eleanor is in her 1st year of our PhD program after completing her MS in Computer Science in May 2022. She works under Professor Tandy Warnow on problems in both phylogeny estimation and scientometrics.

Ananya completed her BS degrees in Computer Science and Brain and Cognitive Science at Illinois Her senior thesis work, a hierarchical method for guided motion planning, was presented at IROS 2023. As an undergraduate, Ananya was a Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholar, a member of the STARS program, and a recipient of several undergraduate awards. She is currently continuing her work as part of Dr. Nancy Amato’s research group.

Sophia is a highly motivated and dedicated PhD candidate deeply committed to advancing the area intersection between Computers & Education and Database Systems. Her research aims to identify and address the unique challenges that students face when learning SQL, and she has utilized various algorithms and techniques to extract insights and provide recommendations for improvement. As a result of her research, Sophia has published several first-authored papers in top conferences. She is passionate about including diversity, equity, and inclusion in both her teaching and research endeavors.

Ali is a 3rd-year PhD candidate, advised by Prof. Karrie Karahalios and Prof. Ranjitha Kumar. He works in the field of human-computer interaction, focusing on investigating how to integrate automation into decision-making workflows effectively.

Xinyang is a fifth year PhD student advised by Prof. Jiawei Han. He received his BS from Tsinghua University in 2018. His research interests are text mining and text-rich information networks.

Neil Zhao is a 5th-year PhD candidate in CS, advised by Prof. Josep Torrellas. His research focuses on computer architecture, with a particular emphasis on system security. Specifically, he investigates microarchitectural side-channel vulnerabilities in existing hardware, and he studies both the theory and practice of building high-performance side-channel defenses.



The Department of Computer Science staff provides invaluable support for students, faculty, fellow staff, and the broader campus community to succeed at the highest levels of excellence. The department, college, and campus recognize staff members for their exemplary service and contributions.    



The Department of Computer Science annually recognizes alumni and faculty members who have made professional, technical, educational, or service contributions that bring distinction to themselves, the department, and the university.

2023 Young Alumni Achievement Award
2023 Early Career Academic Achievement Alumni Award
2023 Distinguished Alumni Service Award
2023 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
2023 Distinguished Academic Achievement Alumni Award