RIC Students Create Unique Computer Science Symposium by Students for Students

“This symposium is incredibly exciting for a few reasons,” said Rhode Island College student Shaylin Gruslin,one of the organizers. “It’s the first computer science conference that’s ever been hosted by Rhode Island College, it’s driven by students for students and it’s a great way to connect with computer science students from local colleges and universities.”

Each year RIC students have attended computer science conferences elsewhere, funded by the STEM Center grant. This year they decided to organize a one-day conference of their own.

Designed for undergraduate students throughout the Northeast, the event is titled The Rhode Island College Computing Undergraduate Research Symposium (CURS). It will be held on Mar. 2.

The goal, according to Gruslin and the other student organizers, Nathan Heng and Travis Quantmeyer, is “to foster greater undergraduate interest and scholarship in computing and to provide an environment in which motivated undergraduates can come together to share their own work and learn from distinguished faculty.”

The keynote, which will be given by Andries van Dam,a  professor of Brown University, is entitled “Reflections on 50 years of working with CS undergraduates.” The majority of the day’s events will involve students presenting research projects and discussing it with their peers.

Heng said participants can expect to see a variety of innovative projects that pertain to college life. “One student I talked to had the idea of creating a computer program that would help streamline course planning,” he said.

“Other students are researching ways to improve systems already in use on campus, such as Blackboard or RIConnect,” said Gruslin.

While Travis Quantmeyer will be presenting his own honors project, which he calls “an exploration of mobile user interfaces via a campus guide to Rhode Island College for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Naturally, I'm excited (and nervous) to present and receive feedback on my project.”

Quantmeyer said he thinks computer science is important because the applications are so widepread. “Everything you do throughout your day involves a computer at some point and we haven't even begun to fully utilize its potential.”

Ron Pitt, RIC vice president of Academic Affairs agrees. He said, “Our world relies on a technological workforce that has great skill and inventiveness, and our computer science students have demonstrated these very characteristics through the creation of this innovative undergraduate research symposium. We are very proud of our students and faculty and are excited to welcome this great group of undergraduates from other colleges in the area who will be presenting their independent projects and ideas.”

Local high school students, teachers, professors and other members of the Rhode Island College community are invited to attend the conference. For more information or to register, visit the group's website at CURS.