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Announcing the 2021 ISE Graduate Student Awards

5/12/2021

See the ISE Award winners, donors, and a word from Department Head Jeff Shamma.

Each spring, ISE solicts nominations from faculty for several graduate awards and fellowships. These students have shown outstanding academic and research excellence. This year's recipients are:

Sharp Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Rachneet Kaur
Rachneet Kaur

The Spring 2021 recipient is Rachneet Kaur. Rachneet has worked with Professor Rich Sowers since Janauary 2017. She and Sowers have also been working with Professor Manuel Hernandez (UIUC Department of Kinesiology and Community Health) on a project to help people with movement challenges (either by disorder or age) address fear of falling. In his own words, Sowers says, "Rachneet is one of the extremely rare students who is comfortable with both theory and lab experiments." She has had 9 publications during her time here in ISE and we look forward to many more accomplishments! Congratulations, Rachneet! 

William A. Chittenden Award 

Zikun Ye
Zikun Ye

The Spring 2021 recipient is Zikun Ye. Zikun has worked with Professor Xin Chen since Fall 2018. His research focuses on network revenue management, online advertising and experimental design. His work solving cold start problem on the online advertising platforms via contextual multi‐armed bandit algorithm with the twosided field experiment won the honorable mention of the INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section student paper award in 2020. With 2 publications and 2 presentations, we look forward to hearing more from Zikun in the next few years! Congratulations, Zikun!

Frederick and Rachel Hansen Fellowship

Xiantian Xie
Xiantian Xie

The Spring 2021 recipient is Xiaotian Xie. Xiaotian has worked with Professor Carolyn Beck since early 2017 and is currently in her 5th year of graduate studies towards her PhD. She is also co-advised by R. Srikant in UIUC Electrical & Computer Engineering. In Professor Beck's words, "Xiaotian’s research work is focused on network inference, and more specifically the following problem: given a network where the directions and the weights of the connecting edges in the network indicate time-dependence between random processes associated with the nodes of the network, is it possible to infer the network interconnection structure from observations of the random processes at the nodes, and if so how many observations are required to do so and under what inference algorithms? Xiaotian's work evaluates estimator properties and sample complexity bounds for this problem." Xiaotian has 5 publications. Congratulations, Xiaotian! 

Samhita Vadrevu.
Samhita Vadrevu.

William A. Chittenden II Fellowship

The Spring 2021 recipients (for 2021-2022) are Samhita Vadrevu and Jiaxin Wu. In particular, this fellowship is designed for students who have an interest and commitment to understanding health and wellness and its collaborative application to engineering and kinesiology.

Samhita has worked with Professor Rakesh Nagi since Spring 2018. Her methodological contribution is on multi-dimensional assignment problems that can be used in tracking of humans and/or gait recognition. Her work will provide a detailed and accurate system to track and monitor gait, which could be used to understand patterns of mechanical movements in individuals. She will start her internship at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs to develop solutions for imaging objects in motion. She is focused on continuing her work in modeling real-life problems as optimization formulations and designing fast, scalable and reliable solutions. 

Jiaxin Wu
Jiaxin Wu

Jiaxin has worked with Professor Pingfeng Wang since Summer 2018. His research aims to improve the resilience of aging systems considering functional performance degradations. The resilience concept has been adopted from biological systems, such as how our human body can be resilient in dealing with external environmental threads and healing from diseases induced function disruptions. Jiaxin will be completing an internship at Anthem Inc. where he will help the insurance company build more efficient and versatile provider networks. He plans to continue exploring this field in future studies to better understand the effects of healthcare network designs on social goods.

Congratulations, Samhita and Jiaxin!