Two ICS Ph.D. students receive 2017 UCI Public Impact Fellowships

December 16, 2016

Computer Science Ph.D. student Nitin Agarwal and Informatics Ph.D. student Kathryn Ringland were recently named 2017 Public Impact Fellows by UC Irvine. The fellowships highlight and support doctoral students whose current research has the potential for substantial impact in the public sphere.

“This program was developed to support and highlight academically excellent graduate students whose research demonstrates the potential to significantly improve or enrich the lives of people in California and beyond,” said Frances Leslie, UC Irvine’s vice provost for graduate education.

The competition is open to all schools for a total of 14 fellowships. The 10 selected Public Impact Fellows will each receive their $1,000 fellowship during the winter quarter to help supplement their funding, while four Public Impact Distinguished Fellows will each receive $12,000.

The application process includes several tiers before a student is nominated. This begins with a nomination by a faculty member to the department, which is then vetted and compared with other nominations, before being forwarded as an official nomination by the school. The Public Impact Fellowship final selection committee then makes the final decision.

The committee considers several factors when choosing the awardees, including the student’s presentation, interview, their ability to convey their research to a broad audience, academic record, letters of recommendation and degree progress. Candidates also must have a GPA of 3.7 or higher and conduct research that has a critical public impact in areas such as health care, social justice or cultural engagement.

“This fellowship is a validation of my research and a way to publicize the importance of my work,” said Agarwal. “Most importantly, this fellowship serves as an inspiration and encouragement for me to carry on understanding the brain and its disorders for the betterment of the society. I am overjoyed and deeply humbled on receiving this honor.”

About Kathryn Ringland
Kathryn (Kate) Ringland is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Informatics whose areas of interest include: human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, assistive technology, and technology for individuals with autism. She is particularly interested in looking at the collaborative play, embodiment and ways to design accessible technology.

About Nitin Agarwal
Nitin Agarwal is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science and a graduate research assistant in UCI’s Interactive Graphics & Visualization Lab. He is broadly interested in the areas of computer graphics, computational geometry, computer vision, medical image processing and machine learning.