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College of Engineering Announces Siebel Scholars Class of 2010

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Engineering

September 9th 2009

Five accomplished computer science graduate students from the College of Engineering at Illinois have been named the 2010 Siebel Scholars. In a field where innovation is the norm, these young researchers stand out with their novel approaches to complex issues, and with their propensity to take the road less travelled.

Although Anthony Bergstrom, Raghu Kiran Ganti, Brett Jones, Yun Young Lee, and Rajinder Sodhi might each pursue unique research in divergent areas of computer science, their individual work can be characterized similarly. And each is now serving as an inspirational model for peers and aspiring undergraduate students alike.

These new Siebel Scholars join an elite group chosen on the basis of outstanding academic performance and demonstrated qualities of leadership. Each will receive a $35,000 award established by the Siebel Scholars Foundation to recognize the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, and bioengineering.

“The Siebel Scholars Program recognizes students who have demonstrated academic and leadership excellence at the world's leading graduate schools of business, computer science, and bioengineering, and confirms the excellence of our institutions,” stated Ilesanmi Adesida, dean of the College of Engineering. "We are very proud to be part of the Siebel Scholars program in our efforts to create informed scholars and leaders, and to be considered among the top institutions in providing this interdisciplinary training."

Tony Bergstrom’s research into the burgeoning field of computer-mediated-communication requires not only novel systems, but innovative methods to evaluate his research progress.  Because his research doesn’t fit the “norm,” he has also had to develop innovative ways to present his research. His work into audio visualizations to create social proxies is now well-known in the human-computer Interaction field, inspiring other researchers in other institutions to adopt his methods and approaches.

Wearable computing systems and fuel efficiency might not have much in common to the naked eye, but for Raghu Kiran Ganti, each problem offers a new opportunity to apply context aware monitoring systems in daily life. His work in SmartAttire is the subject of industry buzz worldwide as it brings the promise of novel applications, like enhanced medical monitoring, social applications, and operational efficiency for first responders, into closer reach. In addition, his customizable green GPS solution has shown the potential to reduce consumer gas consumption by 10% by creating a individualized maps for fuel-efficiency.

A self-proclaimed tinkerer with an interest in the integration of fine art and computer science, Brett Jones into new media explorations and 3D surface projection is exploring the intersections of ubiquitous computing and creative interaction. His Spatially Augmented Reality toolkit lifts the surface properties of an object through calibrating digital models onto physical objects. He is currently working with Walt Disney Imagineering on theater and new media applications of his work.

Yun Young Lee’s research interests are in software engineering and healthcare and medical informatics, but she believes her greatest accomplishments have occurred in the classroom. Lee’s teaching approach is to treat students as team members, and to tailor her strategies towards helping the students discover what and how to learn on their own, rather than just telling them what to learn.

For Rajinder Sodhi, finding ways to enhance the creative output of teams is becoming more and more critical as the complexity of problems increases. To address this problem, he has devised several frameworks for combating the bottlenecks and inefficiencies in collocated and multi-display team environments.  Sodhi puts his ideas to work as well, by recruiting, mentoring, and motivating undergraduate students to participate on his projects. Sodhi also works with Jones on the Spatially Augmented Reality Toolkit, and is similarly working at Walt Disney Imagineering to turn their concept into a live theatrical tool.

About the Siebel Scholars Foundation
Founded in 2000, the Siebel Scholars program recognizes some of the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, and bioengineering, to form an active, lifelong community among an ever-growing group of leaders. Today, more than 540 of the world’s brightest minds are Siebel Scholars. This exceptional group has the unique opportunity to directly influence the technologies, policies, and economic and social decisions that shape the future. Siebel Scholars serve as key advisors to the Siebel Foundation, guiding the development of innovative programs the Foundation initiates.

The Siebel Scholars Foundation is funded by the Siebel Foundation. Established as a private foundation in 1996, the Siebel Foundation is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation. Its mission is to support projects and organizations that work to improve the quality of life, environment, and education of its community members.
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Writer: Jennifer C. LaMontagne, associate director for communications, Department of Computer Science, 217/333-4049.

Read the story at http://engineering.illinois.edu/news/2009/09/09/college-engineering-anno...