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2016-2017 Scholarship Recipients

10/23/2016 8:23 PM | B. Eugene Jones (Administrator)

2016-2017 Scholarship Recipients

Posted on October 23, 2016  by Jacob Howard Posted in News

The Arkansas Academy of Computing is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016-2017 scholarship awards.

 

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Chen Xu

Chen Xu is originally from China and graduated from Qingdao Agricultural University in July 2014, with a bachelor’s degree in Financial Management. In his Computerized Financial Management course, Chen learned how to apply computer programs to solving complex financial management problems, which was particularly greatly fascinating to him. In order to make considerable progress and conduct more profound research in this area, he decided to further his study in computer science and is enrolled in UALR’s master’s program.

Chen is both appreciative and honored to receive a scholarship from the Arkansas Academy of Computing, which has encouraged him to study harder in order to truly connect financial management with computing.


 

Chen Xu

 

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Dhairya Gabhawala

Dhairya is an 18-year-old sophomore, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Dhairya was born and raised in India, and at an early age of 15, he moved to United States with his family. As soon as he landed in the land of opportunities, his love for technology and its understanding increased, hence obtaining his love for programing and computer technology. Over the past three years, he has taught himself a few programming languages and has further developed his interest in building business/consumer software in order to help optimize day-to-day tasks. Since then, he has practiced developing and programming business/consumer software in Visual Basic, Java, and Ruby on Rails. While pursuing his degree at UALR, he has been an active intern at REV365, a digital marketing and online business consulting firm.


Dhairya Gabhawala

 

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Diona L. Lollie

Diona L. Lollie, 25, is a college student who grew up in both Arkansas and Louisiana, two small towns by the name of Crossett and Bastrop. In fall 2012, Diona graduated with an Associate’s Degree in General Studies. She now majors in information science and is expected to graduate with a bachelor’s in spring 2018. Diona is currently working at CARTI in the Information Science Department while she studies her degree. She plans to start her career in Dallas, Texas, or somewhere in the surrounding area as a help desk technician after she graduates, then later work her way up into her field.


Diona L. Lollie

 

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

G. Smith

G. Smith is a 36-year-old sophomore attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock going for a Bachelor’s Degree in Web Development. At the end of this current semester, Smith will have a minor in information technology.

Smith currently works at a local web development company building websites for small businesses, radio stations, and other organizations. Smith started working at the age of 13 in construction stayed there until the beginning of 2016.

It was around the age of 33 that Smith decided to turn hobbies into career. This led to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the College of Engineering and Information Technology, and a strong desire to learn, abiding by the motto that knowledge is power. For Smith, it only took just a few short years to switch careers and begin a new chapter of life. This would not have been possible without the help of the great teachers at UALR and the people who provide these scholarships.


G. Smith

 

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Kelsey Leonard

Kelsey Leonard is currently a sophomore at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. Growing up in Bryant, Arkansas, she  attended high school and worked within its Department of Technology. She currently works at a local video game retailer but hopes to land an internship for the summer of 2017. Kelsey started college in the Fall of 2015 with a major in computer science. Since then, she’s also taken on a minor in information assurance because of her split decision between a career in software development and cybersecurity.

During her time in college, Kelsey has been a part of the Cybersecurity Club and the Association for Computing Machinery. She programs in Java, C++, and she is in the process of learning assembly language. She also hopes to learn more about Python in the near future as well. Kelsey has thoroughly enjoyed college and is so thankful to be able to pursue her dreams.


Kelsey Leonard

 

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Nicholas Mason

Nicholas Mason, along with one younger brother, was raised on a small family livestock farm by his parents. He spent a lot of his youth working on the farm along side his father, whenever his father was home. His father was and still is a truck driver and, as a result, is on the road most of the time. This left Nicholas in charge of all the animals on the farm. His family did not have any close neighbors around them, so he found most of his human interaction online. This was where his initial interest in technology was sparked.

Nicholas started attending Southwest Christian Academy in Little Rock when he was four years old. Although a small private school, it had a lot to offer. Upon starting the 7th grade, he was selected to be a member of the Audio/Video Lab. This small group of students were responsible for all of the technology involved with the daily church production, as well as any musical or on stage productions. This is where Nicholas gained most of his experience with computers and sound equipment. He slowly moved up in rank until becoming the senior member of the group in the 11th grade. Teachers and faculty members were always coming to this A/V Lab for help and assistance with various problems, and that was where he realized that he enjoyed helping people, particularly with technology.

Today, Nicholas still helps people with technology, working for a locally owned security company. By attending UALR and majoring in EIT, he hopes to expand his knowledge and abilities to better himself in my career.


Nicholas Mason

 

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Sang Mai

Sang Mai was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and immigrated to the United States at two years old, growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. Sang graduated from Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School in 2015 and chose the University of Arkansas at Little Rock because of its reputable computer science and information science departments. Sang is currently a second-year student and majors in web design and development. After graduating, Sang wants to work as a front end web developer.


Sang Mai

 

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Thomas Goss

Thomas is a senior at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in mathematics. Aside from being a free-lance mathematics tutor, Thomas works a full time overnight job as a caregiver for individuals with traumatic brain injuries. In his spare time, he enjoys playing games, Netflix binge-watching, and working on personal development projects. After earning his degree, Thomas intends to enroll in graduate school with the long term goal of working as a cyber-security researcher to create and test technologies used to protect data privacy in a rapidly expanding, connected world.


Thomas Goss

 

University of Central Arkansas

Taylor Mitchell

Taylor Mitchell is a junior Computer Science major at the University of Central Arkansas.  His interest in computer science developed in middle school.

Progressing from his early accomplishments with programming games onto his TI calculator, he would go on to exhaust all of the available computer science classes in his high school’s curriculum.  Taylor plans to join UCA’S Accelerated Master’s Degree Program after obtaining his bachelor’s degree.

Computer science continues to be Taylor’s favorite hobby, and he is excited to make a fulfilling profession out of it.  When he is not spending his time programming AI, he is studying hard to make his occupational aspirations a reality.  He is collaborating with professors, graduate students, and undergraduate to build an arthroscopic surgery simulator and he looks forward to working on future projects such as this in academic as well as professional settings.


Taylor Mitchell

 

University of Central Arkansas

Recep Erol

Recep Erol is a graduate student and machine learning geek who is pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Central Arkansas in computer science department. Most of his research centers around data science, machine learning, image processing, and high performance computing.

Before he came to U.S., he was working as a research assistant in a university in Turkey. He was co-founder and program coordinator of Women Developers Conference (http://womandevelopersday.org/) which is the first and only in its kind in Turkey.

Nowadays, he has been researching on developing a framework to process and analyze big data including biomedical images to extract meaningful results by combining many machine learning algorithms including deep learning.


Recep Erol

 

University of Central Arkansas

Abay Bektursun

Abay is a student at University of Central Arkansas studying Computer Science. He is also a Developer Intern at Hewlett Packard Enterprise where he works on senior level projects like applying novel machine learning techniques for building business models, large scale automation of financial reporting, and teaching technical courses.

He is very involved in campus life of University of Central Arkansas. He has been president of the Computer Science Club for the last year. During that time he has raised funds,won SAFA funding for the club, and helped many students to get started with their career. Every year Abay participates in UCA Spotlight program through winch he gives talks about importance of academic achievements and building career goals. He often volunteers and takes leadership roles for events around the campus.

Originally, Abay lived in Kazakhstan where graduated from Kazakh National University of Arts with a degree in music. As a child he was inspired by American physicists and astronomers to move to the United States contribute to scientific progress.

He is in love with Computational Neuroscience and Genetic programming. In the future, he wants to conduct research full time in those areas.


Abay Bektursun

 

University of Central Arkansas

Hasani Mason

Hasani is a 20-year-old young man with a passion for computers. He loves being involved in science and technology. In high school, he took his first programming classes and developed a strong passion for coding. In 2014, he joined the computer science program at the University of Central Arkansas to deepen his understanding of computers and prepare for the tech revolution with engineers around the world. By obtaining a computer science degree, he hopes to pursue a career in which he will create cutting edge technology, apps, artificial intelligent algorithms, and software to better the world.

He is currently an engineering intern at Snap-On. During the 2015 – 2016 school year, he served as the treasurer of the Computer Science Club and served as a member of the UCA Diversity Committee. Last summer, he volunteered as a presenter for Career Day at Forest Heights Stem Academy, sharing with 4th graders the exciting careers in computer science. He believes that the future of computer science is unlimited and that it will take us where no one has gone before. His motto is: “innovate through technology and prosper.”


Hasani Mason

 

Southern Arkansas University

Zachary Hardy

Zachary Hardy is currently a senior and will graduate with a degree in Computer Science, Computer Game and Animation Design. During his time at SAU, Zachary founded Game Development Club, an organization where the group creates and discusses games weekly. He’s developed friendships with classmates and those he works with at the Writing Center. As an Honor student, Zachary has been given the opportunity to travel to many places and share his knowledge with his friends at SAU. He plans on learning much more at graduate school or as a game developer after he graduates this Spring.


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