Left to right: Patti Kibenge and Anna Frankfurt

 

This year’s Maths, Statistics & Computer Science conference of Science Atlantic was held at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, in mid-October. Students from many member universities were sent to participate in competitions and collaborate with each other. Science Atlantic aims to advance post-secondary education and research in Atlantic Canada. It is an annual event which is hosted for many scientific disciplines such as Geoscience, Physics and Astronomy, Aquaculture & Fisheries and Biology, Environment, Chemistry, Psychology and Math, Stats & Computer Science.

UPEI was represented by a sizeable contingent of 25 students for Computer science, Math, and Statistics. There were several competitions being held in each category including a coding competition, math problem-solving competition and oral presentations of undergrad research. UPEI returned to the island with both first and third positions for undergraduate oral research presentations in Computer Science.

Anna Frankfurt who stood first in the undergraduate research presentation told The Cadre that it was a wonderful experience overall, “My presentation was centered around outreach for computer science, its importance, and relevance in our lives. I based this presentation on my research from last summer. I am a fourth-year student at UPEI doing a degree in Computer Science. This conference was a unique experience for me.” Ms. Frankfurt is also the President of UPEI’s School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences Society.

“The conference is an excellent opportunity for networking and meeting other students studying in similar or the same programs as us but at other universities. We got to compete and collaborate with students from ivy league universities like MIT and Harvard. It’s a great conference to attend and the atmosphere is perfectly suited for learning!” said Frankfurt.

Patti Kibenge who placed third in the oral undergraduate research presentations said that she was grateful for this opportunity. “I presented about my NSERC research project that I worked on last summer. My project was essentially working towards an efficient method for mobile localization using Wi-Fi as opposed to GPS. I got to learn a lot from the presentations of other candidates of participant universities. As a third-year student of Computer Science at UPEI, the Vice President Communications of SMCS and co-chair of Women in Math and Computational sciences group, I felt like this was a great platform to represent all the things I believe in,” said Kibenge.

Kibenge and Frankfurt agreed that women in these fields of study are not represented nearly as much as they should be. Both students impressed the importance and need for more women in these disciplines both as students and as professionals.

“All undergraduate oral presentations across disciplines had an amazing number of women participants and winners. In fact, excepting one instance, all other winners of this competition were women this year which was refreshing,” added Kibenge.

Both Kibenge and Frankfurt stressed the importance of such conferences for student growth and learning.

Ms. Kibenge mentioned that “The keynote speeches were really inspiring and touched on research that was happening in some really interesting fields like human-computer interaction and bionics as visual prosthesis which I wasn’t really aware of.”

“These conferences are an excellent opportunity to network for both academic and professional purposes. Students interested in graduate studies can benefit greatly through such conferences. Students can also make contacts that can turn into lucrative and interesting job opportunities down the road,” added Frankfurt.

 

By: Adi Vella

Photo: Adi Vella