Celebrating outstanding undergraduate research

Two University of Alberta students recognized in 2020 Computing Research Association awards.

Andrew Lyle - 7 February 2020

Two undergraduate students in the Department of Computing Science have been recognized by the Computing Research Association (CRA) as part of the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher awards.

The awards, issued once a year, recognize the work of undergraduates across North America who demonstrate outstanding research potential in an area of computing research.

Join us in celebrating the recognition for their hard work, and meet Laura Petrich and Delaney Lothian.

Laura Petrich

December was a big month for Laura Petrich—who not only celebrated her completion of the honors computing science program in the Faculty of Science, but was also recognized by the CRA as a Runner-Up in the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher awards.

Petrich works with the Computer Vision and Robotics research group under the supervision of Martin Jagersand, professor in the Department of Computing Science. Her research resulted in four published papers at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.

“My research focus over the past few years has been in assistive robotics and visual servoing,” said Petrich. The system controls vision-guided motion for a robotic arm where a user defines tasks by pointing to objects instead of programming motion coordinates.

Petrich is continuing her studies at UAlberta, and has just begun her first semester of thesis-based graduate studies in computing science, where she’s taking a course in advanced human anatomy on the upper limb to learn how this information can be integrated into new robotic systems.

“My research experiences have helped me figure out where I want to go and what I want to focus my graduate studies on,” said Petrich. “It was helpful to tie together all the information that I learned in various classes and taught me how to work within a research group to accomplish common goals.”

Between graduating, continuing into graduate studies, and conducting outstanding research, Petrich also serves as a volunteer helping students from Grades 4 to 6 learn coding and robotics.

Congratulations Laura!

Delaney Lothian

Delaney Lothian is in the final year of her undergraduate studies in the computing science specialization, planning to graduate this spring. Lothian was recognized with an Honorable Mention for the CRA’s Outstanding Researcher award, celebrating her work on an initiative to assist in learning Indigenous languages.

“I was researching how to build technology that could support learning Indigenous languages in Canada—specifically nêhiyawêwin, Y-dialect Cree,” said Lothian. “The end goal of this research is to develop an Intelligent tutor system for nêhiyawêwin that can help to build a better foundation for other Indigenous language learning systems in Canada.”

Lothian worked under the supervision of Carrie Demmans Epp, assistant professor in the Department of Computing Science. With graduation soon approaching, Lothian wants to continue to explore this important subject of study, and how computing science can support it.

“I’ve been honoured to receive honorable mention for such a prestigious award. I am currently working as an intern for the National Research Council Canada on the Canadian Indigenous Languages Technology Project,” said Lothian. “Afterward, I hope to start graduate studies at UAlberta to order to continue my research on Indigenous language learning and technology with Professor Demmans Epp.”

Congratulations Delaney!