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Five CS Students Named Siebel Scholars


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Computer Science

September 14th 2015

Five students in CS @ ILLINOIS have been named Siebel Scholars for the Class of 2016: Oreoluwa Alebiosu, Pedro Bello-Maldonado, Avesta Hojjati, Tarique Siddiqui, and Shashank Yaduvanshi. In recognition of their outstanding academic record and leadership, these students will receive $35,000 during their final year of study.

“It is my great pleasure to congratulate the Siebel Scholars Class of 2016 and to welcome them to this ever-growing, lifelong community,” said Thomas M. Siebel, Chairman of the Siebel Scholars Foundation.

“We are honored to have our students recognized each year through the Siebel Scholars Program," said Andreas Cangellaris, dean of the College of Engienernig. "The students are all exceptional, and it’s exciting to see their achievements recognized in this way. We know that they will continue throughout their careers to bring distinction to this university and the Siebel Scholars Program.”

Oreoluwa Alebiosu came to Illinois after completing his undergraduate degree at Kansas State University in 2014. He has been an intern at Intel Corporation, where he was an Engineering Computing Emulation Intern, and at Northrop Grumman. He received a Google Scholarship in 2013, and in 2014 he was selected for the prestigious GEM Fellow, which encourages the recruitment and retention of minority graduate students at select universities, including Illinois.

Working with his advisor CS Associate Professor Tao Xie, his research focuses on software testing and presents a variety of techniques to provide quality assurance in machine learning software. In 2015, he founded Lookin4, a mobile shopping application. Prior to Lookin4, he was a contributor to FlipWord, an award-winning student startup.

Pedro Bello-Maldonado received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Florida International University in 2013 and 2014, respectively. There he received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award.

The research he does with his advisor, CS Professor Paul Fischer, focuses on the solution of partial differential equations using numerical methods and high-performance computing in computational fluid dynamics applications. He has done work as an intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the San Diego Supercomputing Center, and the University of Amsterdam.

Avesta Hojjati is working towards his master’s degree in the field of cyber security. He has co-founded three companies: Security 7, which provided security services and penetration testing; Microsim Technologies, a technology firm which designed microfluidics applications; and Phalanx Investment Properties LLC, which invests in properties and new communities.

He was part of the Laboratory for Advanced Energy, Bio-Fluids and Imaging (LAEBI) at the Texas Tech University where he developed a new algorithm to process digital holography microscopy in parallel. He is now part of the Illinois Security Lab, where he works with Professor Carl A. Gunter. He recently completed an internship at Yahoo! as part of the Paranoid Security Team.

Tarique Siddiqui is a master’s student and a member of the Databases and Information Systems Research Group (DAIS). His research interests lie at the intersection of database systems, data mining and  human-computer interaction. Under the guidance of Professor Aditya Parameswaran, Tarique is building the next generation visual data analytics system for exploratory analysis of large datasets with focus on developing fast in-memory database systems, approximate data mining algorithms, visual query language, and interactive visual interfaces. He also works with Professor Jiawei Han on heterogeneous network based text mining problems for identifying and ranking interesting concepts in large scale datasets such as scientific corpora.

Previously, Siddiqui worked at Goldman Sachs on complex event processing, and large scale distributed system problems with emphasis on building online, self-learning and self-healing systems. He has a good knowledge of design, development, and deployment of multi-tier real world systems. He received his B.Tech in Computer science from National Institute of Technology India in 2011 and is a recipient of Indian National Talent Search (NTS) Scholar award, 2005. He has been an active member of several technical and cultural societies throughout his career.

Shashank Yaduvanshi is a master’s student and is building a fault-tolerance module for real-time data processing systems under the direction of CS Professor Marianne Winslett. He recently co-founded a company in India, TextMyPA, which will act as a one-stop solution connecting consumers to a wide range of online services. He just finished a summer internship at Pinterest.

Yaduvanshi completed a B.Tech at IIT Delhi in 2010. He then worked at Deutsche Bank as a futures broker until 2014. During this time, he developed “Pukar,” an Android SOS app for women in distress, which has nearly 10,000 installs and has been launched in four cities so far. He has done research internships at Microsoft Research and the University of Illinois in Databases and in Distributed Systems, respectively, and, to date, he has co-authored two research papers in international conferences (ICDE’2009 and PLDI’2010) and has a patent for Microsoft Research.

This year the Siebel Scholars program added a new award for the University of Illinois in the area of energy science. The recipient of that award was ECE graduate student Karl Reinhard.


About Siebel Scholars

The Siebel Scholars program was established by the Siebel Foundation in 2000 to recognize the most talented students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, and bioengineering, and now energy science. Each year exceptional students receive a $35,000 award during their final year of studies based on outstanding academic performance and leadership. The Class of 2016 Siebel Scholars will join a vibrant community of global leaders who collaborate, communicate, and institute meaningful change.