Eight CS-associated students and alums receive 2024 NSF-GRFP fellowships

5/20/2024 Bruce Adams

Eight students associated with Illinois Grainger Engineering Computer Science have received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP), one of the nation's foremost fellowships for graduate study. Undergraduate seniors, as well as first—and second-year graduate students, may apply. The five-year fellowship provides three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $37,000.

Written by Bruce Adams

The exterior of the Siebel Center for Computer Science with mushroom-like sculptures in front.Eight students associated with The Grainger College of Engineering Department of Computer Science have received the nation's oldest and most prestigious fellowship for graduate study in the sciences: the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The winners include five current University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign graduate students and three recent Illinois graduates pursuing PhDs at MIT, Cornell, and Stanford.

The first program of the National Science Foundation, NSF-GRFP is one of the nation's foremost fellowships for graduate study.  It is competitively awarded to US citizens, nationals, and permanent residents pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in the sciences, social sciences, engineering, and mathematics. One goal of the program is to broaden the participation of the full spectrum of diverse talents in STEM "so that the nation can build fully upon the strength and creativity of a diverse society." NSF Fellows have made significant contributions to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.  As the GRFP website states, they "are crucial to maintaining and advancing the nation’s technological infrastructure and national security as well as contributing to the economic well-being of society at large."  The five-year fellowship provides three years of financial support inclusive of an annual stipend of $37,000 and a $16,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution). Honorable Mention is intended by NSF as a meaningful honor and is viewed as significant in many disciplines.

Fellowship Recipients

Chamika Sudusinghe

Sudusinghe is a first-year Illinois CS PhD student working with professor Charith Mendis to develop data-driven approaches to accelerate systems. He has won the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Honor Society Award, the Lance Stafford Larson Student Award, and the Richard E. Merwin Student Scholarship.

Priyanka Kargupta

Kargupta is a second-year Illinois CS PhD candidate working on natural language processing and text mining research under professor Jiawei Han. Her work has been published at top conferences, and she also received the Intel SRC Research Fellowship for her undergraduate research at UC Berkeley.

Ananya Yammanuru

Yammanuru is a second-year PhD student interested in algorithms for motion planning and human-robot interaction. She is currently working on using workspace guidance for sampling-based motion planning as part of Parasol Lab under Nancy Amato. She earned bachelor’s degrees in computer science and brain and cognitive science from Illinois.

Maxwell Fan

Fan will be starting the PhD program at Cornell this coming fall. He majored in CS + Philosophy at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Illinois with the career goal of becoming a computer science professor researching programming languages and formal verification. He conducted research with computer science professors Talia Ringer and Charith Mendis and philosophy professor Jonathan Livengood and is a 2023 Goldwater Award winner. While at Illinois and during a summer internship at NASA in 2023, Fan proposed and developed a new temporal logic semantics. 

Mit Kotak

Kotak is a graduate student at MIT CSE working with Tess Smidt and Saman Amarasinghe. He hopes to bring a systems perspective to the geometric deep learning community. Kotak did his undergraduate work in Engineering Physics at Illinois, where he was involved in numerical relativity, scientific computing, and HPC middlewares.

Peter Pao-Huang

Pao-Huang is an incoming computer science PhD student at Stanford University. His research aims to develop machine learning algorithms to understand, treat, and reverse disease. Pao-Huang obtained a bachelor's degree in computer science from Illinois, advised by Vikram Adve, Bonnie Berger (MIT), and Morgan Levine (Altos Labs).

Honorable Mention

Eunice C. Chan

Chan is a graduate research assistant advised by CS professor Hanghang Tong. Her research explores the use of language models for interpretable question-answering over knowledge graphs. She is interested in explainable methods utilizing LLMs and graphs, researching fairness in the graph domain, and incorporating fairness in machine learning.

Apurva Virkud

Virkud is a PhD student working with CS professors Adam Bates and Gang Wang. Her research interests are in security, privacy, and Internet measurement. Virkud graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020 with a BSE in computer science. Virkud was a research associate (2020 - 2022) in Professor Roya Ensafi's lab, working on projects related to security and network censorship measurement. She also did research in computer aided diagnosis, automotive security, and analysis of C. elegan.

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This story was published May 20, 2024.