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2015 INI Student Award Winners

May 27, 2015

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2015 INI Student Award Winners

The Information Networking Institute presents awards to a few graduating students each year in recognition of exemplary work during their time in graduate school. The twenty-fifth class of INI graduates (MS25) received their diplomas on May 17 in Pittsburgh with special recognition to the following award winners.

Pushkar JoglekarThe Outstanding Student Service Award for Teaching Assistant was presented to Pushkar Joglekar. The winner received an engraved award and monetary prize.

Pushkar was nominated by Cathy Bishop, Bob Singh and Wendy Fong. Cathy Bishop said:  " Pushkar was active in all aspects of the course, answering questions in person and on Piazza, providing great technical advice on student work, and providing stringent, helpful, and fair evaluation. With every student interaction he held them to the high standards expected of Carnegie Mellon students."

Wendy Fong said:  "Many INI students were not able to enroll for the Fall 2014 [Java] course. Pushkar volunteered to lead a special Java Study Group. He met with about 10 INI students for several weekly sessions on his own time, and then invited them to continue via his regularly scheduled office hours."

Sreejita RayThe Outstanding Student Service Award for Research Assistant went to Sreejita Ray, who received an engraved award and a monetary prize. Sreejita was nominated by Steven Rosenberga for her work on a project for NASA on Intelligent Sensor-Based Systems for Optimized Sustainability Base Performance Monitoring and Management.   

Steven Rosenberg said: " Sreejita has demonstrated the unique ability to work with researchers from a myriad of disciplines and integrate their ideas and requirements into a final product.  Her attention to detail and persistence enabled the team to move quickly from the white board to code and prototyping.  It was an enormous pleasure to work with her over the last two semesters."

Grace KihumbaINI Director Dena Haritos Tsamitis presented Grace Kihumba with the EWF INI Fellowship Award. Since 2007, the Executive Women's Forum and the INI have awarded this fellowship annually to an exceptionally promising student. The recipient receives a full scholarship and attends the EWF national conference for women in information security, privacy and risk management.








Samantha AllenThe INI Leadership Award went to Samantha Allen.  This award goes to an INI graduate student who has most noticeably demonstrated initiative, motivation, academic excellence and overall outstanding leadership qualities. This student has demonstrated an ability to balance scholarship with leadership and involvement. The award recipient receives an engraved award and a monetary honorarium.

Samantha was nominated by the Software Engineering Institute's Emerging Technology Center, which included Matt Gaston, Brenda Penderville, Eric Werner and Andrew Mellinger, and the instructors of the Introduction to Cyber Intelligence course: Melissa Ludwick and Jay McAllister.

"At the SEI, Samantha helped lead strategic planning, project management, business development, and creation of analytical output for the Cyber Intelligence Research Consortium. The consortium brought together ten organizations from seven economic sectors to advance the art and science of analyzing cyber threats."

"At the INI, Samantha excelled in the classroom and in the campus community. We witnessed first hand her analytical acumen and ability to motivate her fellow students to identify, understand, and assess cyber threats in our Introduction to Cyber Intelligence course. Moreover, Samantha committed herself to improving campus culture by taking leadership roles within WINI, the President's Student Advisory Council, Master's Working Group, and the Black Graduate Student Organization. She also participated in the Pittsburgh SciTech Middle School Outreach Program for computational thinking."

Alberto CursackLastly, Dena Haritos Tsamitis presented the first annual Innocent Habiyaremye Memorial Award to Alberto Cursack.  This award goes to an INI graduate student who embodies a sense of community spirit, while holding to his or her academic and professional commitments. The award recipient will receive an engraved award and a monetary honorarium.

Fighting back tears shared by many audience members, Tsamitis shared that she established this fellowship in memory of an INI alumnus, who passed away much too young, but who inspired the people around him through his kindness and volunteer activities.

Alberto was nominated by Martin Griss, Eduardo Miranda, Monica Lam, and Wendy Fong.  Martin Griss wrote: "Alberto overcame several of life’s financial and personal challenges to succeed at CMU … He aspires to be a good person, a good example to others and how to overcome everyday challenges so we can help others." He has invested extensively in giving back to his community, through several activities”.

The INI celebrated the Class of 2015 with a reception that included family and friends following the ceremony.

The other nominees for INI student awards are listed below in recognition of their excellent work:

  • Ravi Chandra (Teaching Assistant Award)
  • Jeremy Fu (Teaching Assistant Award)
  • Gaurav Jain (Teaching Assistant Award)
  • Vivek Munagala (Teaching Assistant Award)
  • Jisha Muthiyil (Teaching Assistant Award)
  • Moritz Raabe (Teaching Assistant Award)
  • A team nomination for Rohan Sehgal, Gaurav Jain and Omkar Gawde (Teaching Assistant Award)
  • Vidya Nambiar (Research Assistant Award)
  • Maria Carrion (Leadership Award)
  • Alberto Cursack (Leadership Award)
  • Pratibha Dohare (Leadership Award)
  • Vivek Mungala (Leadership Award)
  • Divya Chandra Sekar (Innocent Award)
  • A team nomination for Megha Jindal and Jisha Muthiyil (Innocent Award)