Meet the Siebel Scholars Class of 2020


Five accomplished Illinois Computer Science master's students have been recognized for their academic achievements and leadership.

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Five accomplished Illinois Computer Science master’s students have been recognized for their academic achievements and leadership, joining the 2020 class of Siebel Scholars. Each will receive $35,000 during their final year of study.

Nuraini Aguse
Nuraini Aguse

Nuraini Aguse works with Assistant Professor Mohammed El-Kebir to develop ways to accurately reconstruct the phylogenetic tree of a tumor, which is important in cancer treatment. Her recent work was accepted at ISMB/ECCB 2019, which is a top conference in computational biology, and she received a Travel Fellowship to present the paper in Switzerland. Over the summer, she interned at InstaRecon, Inc., where she developed a GUI for their CT image reconstruction software.

As an Illinois undergraduate, Nuraini was the secretary for the Malaysian Student Association registered student organization, and she received the Asian American Cultural Center Leadership Award for her contributions. She also participates in volunteer programs, including completing the 48-hour homeless challenge in Washington D.C. Upon graduation from the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, she received the High Distinction in Research Award for her undergraduate thesis in microbiology.

Qingrong Chen
Qingrong Chen

Qingrong Chen has been working with Assistant Professor Tianyin Xu and Affiliate Professor Nikita Borisov on projects related to building secure and reliable systems, with several papers in preparation. His work has enabled a privacy-preserving navigation service, use of architecture support to accelerate security checks within Docker, and analyzed configuration dependencies across software systems.

Last summer, Qingrong interned with Facebook Core Systems team to understand the reliability issues in real-world large-scale systems. In the past, he interned with Intel to build machine learning models for analyzing program logs. Qingrong earned his bachelor’s degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and he received the University’s Best Thesis Award.  He was also an active volunteer, leading study groups and launching an activity to help students focus in class. In appreciation, he was named Excellent Undergraduate in Shanghai and awarded the National Scholarship of China.

Aniket Murhekar
Aniket Murhekar

Advised by Affiliate Assistant Professor Jugal Garg, Aniket Murhekar enjoys working on problems that have a mathematical flavor, including projects in formal methods, complexity theory, NLP, and, most recently, algorithmic game theory.  His current research focuses on finding polynomial time algorithms for the problem of allocating resources to agents in a fair and efficient manner. Aniket’s previous work has resulted in two research papers at prestigious international conferences, CAV 2017 and COLING 2018, as well as a U.S. patent.

Before joining Illinois, Aniket was an undergraduate at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), where he received the Academic Excellence Award, which is given to the top ten students of that Institute. At IITB, he volunteered to mentor students in the CSE Department’s Academic Mentoring Program, and he also co-led the editorial team for BitStream, the Department’s student-run newsletter, as the Head Panelist.  Aniket has interned for The Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria, as well as Adobe Research Bangalore.

Jonathan Osei-Owusu
Jonathan Osei-Owusu

A Fellow of the National GEM Consortium, Jonathan Osei-Owusu is pursuing research in software engineering under the direction of Professor Tao Xie, with focus on software testing, automation, and computer science education.  More specifically, he wants to augment instructor test suites in order to aid grading in large, introductory level programming courses. His work on that topic has resulted in a paper at ASE 2019, a top software engineering conference.

Just prior to graduating summa cum laude from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Jonathan spent a semester in the Dominican Republic teaching AP Computer Science. He has also held internships in a wide variety of other areas, such as automated control systems, marketing, and, most recently, full-stack iOS development.

Joon Sung Park
Joon Sung Park

Joon Sung Park works in human-computer interaction, seeking improve our interaction with complex AI systems.  Advised by Professor Karrie Karahalios, he is re-examining the tenets of human-computer interaction to discover how users might benefit from slower or seamful interactions with algorithms.  At Illinois, he is also a contributor to two large-scale research projects, DataSpread and Beyond the Blackbox.

Previously, Joon Sung worked with the Stanford HCI Group as a visiting scholar, collaborating with Professors James Landay and Jeff Hancock to systematically and longitudinally study the outputs of a search engine.  His research has appeared at top conference venues such as CSCW and ICA, as well as in The Guardian. As an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, he co-founded and developed Galamingo, a web platform for sharing creative portfolios.

In addition to the five Computer Science students, Electrical and Computer Engineering doctoral student Thomas Foulkes was among the Siebel Scholars chosen from graduate schools of energy science.  For the complete list of this year's Siebel Scholars, see the news release.

Thomas M. Siebel (BA History ’75, MBA ’83, MS CS ’85)
Thomas M. Siebel (BA History '75, MBA '83, MS CS '85)

About Siebel Scholars
The Siebel Scholars program was founded in 2000 by the Siebel Foundation to recognize the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, bioengineering, and energy science. These include: Carnegie Mellon University; École Polytechnique; Harvard University; Johns Hopkins University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Northwestern University; Politecnico di Torino; Princeton University; Stanford University; Tsinghua University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, San Diego; University of Chicago; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Pennsylvania; and University of Tokyo. Today, our active community of over 1,400 leaders serves as advisors to the Siebel Foundation and works collaboratively to find solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

About the Siebel Foundation
The Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, a nonprofit, public benefit corporation, was established as a private foundation in 1996. Its mission is to foster programs and organizations that improve the quality of life, environment, and education of its community members. The Siebel Foundation funds projects to support education, the homeless and underprivileged, public health, research and development around the world. 

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This story was published October 2, 2019.