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U.S. Congressman Colin Allred Visits the UTD CS Department with STEM Scholars

In today’s world of technology, the importance of STEM education, and its role in the future of innovation in science and technology is growing rapidly. To address the growing need for STEM education, U.S. Congressman Colin Allred created the STEM Scholars Program for rising Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors who live in or attend high schools located within the 32nd Congressional District of Texas. The STEM Scholars program aims to connect highly motivated high school students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with four hands-on learning experiences throughout the district during the 2019 – 2020 school year. Click here to learn more about the program.

“As our economy grows and we face new challenges, it is so important that we encourage young people from all backgrounds to go into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” said Congressman Colin Allred. “I commend the University of Texas at Dallas for working to cultivate the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers right here in North Texas. I am committed to supporting all our students who want to pursue an education and career in STEM, and I look forward to visiting more businesses and facilities across North Texas for my STEM Scholars program.”

Approximately a dozen high school STEM students in the new program were given the opportunity to join Congressman Allred on a visit to the UT Dallas Computer Science Department, where they were able to learn more about the program as well as tour various research labs and interact with UT Dallas Computer Science faculty and students. During their tour of the school, the STEM Scholars and Congressman Allred visited Dr. B. Prabhakaran’s Multimedia Computer Systems Lab and Dr. Ovidiu Daescu’s Computational Geometry Lab for some hands-on learning experiences. The STEM Scholar students were able to test out virtual reality/augmented reality applications and see how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be applied to medical imaging specifically in various forms of healthcare and disease research. In Dr. Prabhakaran’s multimedia lab, Congressman Allred and the STEM scholars were able to again interact with various VR/AR applications, such as an interactive soccer goalie game and the NSF-funded 3D tele-rehabilitation program, which is a multi-modal immersive virtual reality environment that utilizes 3D cameras for tele-rehabilitation applications. The STEM Scholars were also able to talk with the research students about their projects, courses, and university life while studying at the UT Dallas CS Department.

The STEM scholars also attended a presentation by Department Head Gopal Gupta who talked about the excitement of studying computer science. He also gave an overview of the computer science department at UT Dallas. Provost Inga Musselman and Vice President Research Joe Pancrazio also greeted the group and shared their thoughts on UT Dallas’ vibrant and dynamic atmosphere that is conducive to promoting scholarship in STEM subjects. Faculty members Ovidiu Daescu, John Cole, and Karen Doore were also at hand to answer any questions that the STEM scholars and congressman Allred might have.

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The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 3,315 bachelors-degree students, more than 1,110 master’s students, 165 Ph.D. students,  52 tenure-track faculty members, and 44 full-time senior lecturers, as of Fall 2019. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.