Participant Highlights



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Eddie Tapia '18

Eddie graduated with a bachelors in Math-Computer Science from UC San Diego in 2018 and a masters in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 2019. After graduating, Eddie began working as a software engineer on the customer growth team at Redfin.

While participating in ERSP, he worked with a team to create a 3D-depth map dataset to reduce the barriers associated with creating real-time augmented reality models for robotic minimally-invasive surgeries. Not only did ERSP kickstart Eddie's interest in research, but he also says that ERSP played a huge role in his decision to go to grad school.

"Being a part of ERSP made me feel more connected to the computer science community at UCSD."




Barbara Vargas '20

Barbara is a part of UCSD's class of 2020. During her time in ERSP, Barbara's team worked with Security and IOT devices. The team built a functional lock and abstracted policies and security checks into a library that would eventually turn into a platform for programmers to uniformly check security and allow for privacy without information being leaked to third parties. Barbara's research in ERSP made her look forward to more research in security in the future.

Barbara felt that ERSP opened her eyes to the possibilities of computer science. As a first-generation college student, she states that she didn't really know what CSE was about prior to the program. However, completing ERSP helped her find a place within the CSE community at UCSD. She plans to continue her education by working towards a master's degree in computer science.

"Being in the program and having the support of all these mentors and other students...it really helped me to continue and to see that there are so many opportunities in different fields in computer science."

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Adrian Mendoza '20

Adrian is a member of UCSD class of 2020. His plan after graduation is to continue working with Qualcomm where he served as an intern. He also expressed his intentions to attend graduate school while working with Qualcomm.

When Adrian first started attending UCSD, his biggest concern was not knowing what to do with a Computer Engineering degree. He heard about grad students working on research paper and got curious about research and how it can be translated into a CS background. Adrian tried exploring as many opportunities as he can in UCSD and saw ERSP as the perfect opportunity because of the program's mix of research and industry work.

In ERSP, Adrian worked on a project where he and his partner developed a celebrity facial recognition application. He thinks that most companies tend to put you in projects where you already have some experience so you feel more comfortable. Because of ERSP, he was put in the Camera team (visual recognition) for Qualcomm.

"I feel like my [ERSP] team had a good form of communication...We came out with several ideas and agreed on one. This makes everyone feel like they have a voice and is a part of the team."



Julia Markel '21

Julia is a member of UCSD class of 2021. Julia felt that ERSP bettered her understanding of the research process and built her confidence in approaching future research opportunities. ERSP kickstarted her interest to do more research in Human Computer Interaction. Her goal after graduation is to attend graduate school.

In ERSP, Julia worked on a project called ReMap, a multimodal interface that enables searching for learning videos using speech and in-task pointing. She was involved in the brainstorming and design process where she got to implement the tasks by herself using the tools provided by her mentor, Ailie.

"It never felt like I was just completing a task, it felt like I’m doing something really useful. "

Julia strongly recommends ERSP to all students. She thinks it is a good experience to have as a student, even for those who didn't plan to continue doing research. With ERSP, she gained the chance to explore many fields in Computer Science early in her college years, which she believes is a really good opportunity for students who are still trying to find their interests.

" My grad student advisor, Ailie, was such a good role model, in addition to Professor Alvarado. I feel like I would not have been empowered to go up to professors and take interest in their research back then, but now I definitely do."

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Raechel Walker '21

Raechel Walker is a part of UCSD's class of 2021. Raechel is interested in Data Science and other related fields and how they can be applied to public policy and contemporary issues. Post-graduation, Raechel plans to pursue her Ph.D. in Data Science or Computer Science.

In ERSP, Raechel's team focused on machine learning and creating a convolutional neural network that would categorize metagenomic data. Her project work inspired her to explore computer science applications that would help further biological research.

"I never realized that computer science research was such of an interdisciplinary field."

As her first research experience, Raechel felt that ERSP provided a lot of structure. ERSP helped Raechel find out what she wanted to learn more about in the future, and how getting a PhD can help her further her career.

“It was nice to have advisors that taught us how to excel in computer science research....ERSP taught me how to convey my research in a presentation and work with other students. Overall, it was a really great experience"