Kavita Krishnaswamy, CSEE Ph.D. Candidate, on CNN

kavitaUMBC student Kavita Krishnaswamy, a Ph.D. candidate in computer science and electrical engineering, was interviewed by CNN about how she has used a Beam telepresence robot to visit museums, attend computing conferences, and defend her Ph.D. proposal. Telepresence robots consist of a screen on motorized wheels that allows users to visit places and interact with people remotely.

Krishnaswamy is also an undergraduate alumna of UMBC (’07, computer science and mathematics). Her Ph.D. proposal focuses on using robotics to increase autonomy for people with severe disabilities and draws on her personal experiences with limited mobility.

Click here to read “Will robots help the bedridden see the world?” on CNN and here to see Krishnaswamy’s proposal defense on YouTube

CSEE Faculty Involved With NSF’s CS10K Teacher Training Project




CSEE’s Marie desJardins is currently collaborating with Maryland educators and researchers for the NSF-funded CS10K Teacher Training Project. The project seeks to change how computer science is taught by high school teachers. Researchers work together with high school teachers to craft new curricula for high school computer science programs. This project is unique in that actual high school teachers are creating the new curricula, rather than professional curriculum writers. The CS10K Maryland Project team includes faculty from UMCP, as well as high school teachers from Charles County and Baltimore County.

The CS10K team has facilitated the creation of “a complete curriculum package for a new College Board Advanced Placement (AP) course called CS Principles.” Originally, the goal of the CS10K team was to train 10,000 teachers to teach computer science in 10,000 schools nationwide. The project has been revised to reflect its new goal of training teachers in all U.S. schools.

In academia there is a growing concern that females–as well as minorities and those with disabilities–are being repeatedly discouraged from pursuing programming in high school. Professor desJardins is trying to change this by directing the CS Matters in MD Project. (CS Matters in MD is part of the larger, NSF-supported initiative known as CS 10K.)

“I believe that CS should be included throughout the K-12 curriculum as a set of basic skills and knowledge for today’s world,” desJardins said. “All citizens of the 21st century, especially the next generation of knowledge workers, will benefit greatly from learning about computational thinking and the problem-solving skills that are a core part of computer science.”

In addition, desJardins explains that, “We need to expand the pool of available workers to fill the many computing-related jobs that our economy demands, and in order to be sure that the technology we develop is robust and useful, we need to increase the diversity of the computer scientists who take those jobs.  To meet these goals, we must broaden our notion of what it means to teach computer science (beyond just teaching coding skills), and we must reach a broader audience at an earlier age.  Our ‘CS Matters in Maryland’ project is particularly focused on creating appealing and engaging curriculum materials for the newly announced AP CS Principles course, and on training teachers to deliver this material effectively to a diverse population of learners.”

More information about CS Matters in Maryland and the CS10K Project can be found here.

This article was reposted from the CSEE Web site.

Marie desJardins, CSEE, Named an American Council on Education Fellow

RAPmdesjardinMarie desJardins, computer science and electrical engineering, has been selected as a participant in the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Fellows Program. desJardins was one of just 31 faculty and administrators chosen from across the United States this year.

The ACE Fellows Program is the premier program for “identifying and preparing the next generation of senior leadership for the nation’s colleges and universities.” More than 300 past ACE fellows have served as chief executive officers of colleges or universities and over 1,300 have served as provosts, vice presidents and deans.

During the year-long program, desJardins will work with the president and senior officials at a host institution, while also completing a project of pressing interest to UMBC. Click here to read more about the ACE Fellows Program and here to see the full list of fellows.

Marie desJardins, CSEE, Receives NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

RAPmdesjardinThe National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has selected Professor Marie desJardins as one of four awardees of the 2014 NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award.

The award comes with a gift to UMBC of $5,000, sponsored by AT&T that can be used to further Professor desJardins’s mentoring activities. The award will be presented at the 2014 NCWIT Summit in Newport Beach, California in May 2014.

NCWIT is a non-profit community of more than 500 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women’s participation in technology and computing. Their annual NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award recognizes U.S. Academic Alliance representatives for their outstanding mentorship, high-quality research opportunities, recruitment of women and minority students, and efforts to encourage and advance undergraduates in computing-related fields.

Marie desJardins, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, on Voice of America

RAPmdesjardinVoice of America’s International Women’s Day coverage highlights the efforts of leading women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to encourage girls to pursue those fields.

In a video posted on the news site, Marie desJardins, professor of computer science and electrical engineering, says, “Make sure your kids are getting [exposure to STEM] from an early age so they think of themselves as creators of technology and new ideas, not just following the rules.”

See the video and article on Voice of America by clicking here.

Dr. Rick Forno discusses data breaches on WEAA

umbc-faculty-Rick-FornoCSEE’s Dr. Rick Forno, Cybersecurity GPD and Assistant Director of the UMBC Center for Cybersecurity, was a guest on WEAA’s ‘The Marc Steiner Show’ where he joined Dr. Lisa Yeo of Loyola University in discussing cybersecurity issues and best practices in light of recent high-profile data breaches such as those at the University of Maryland, Target, and Indiana University.

Listen to the segment here.