My name is Robyn R. Evans, and I am a senior majoring in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU). As an undergraduate student at ECSU I have sharpened my skills by participating in undergraduate research opportunities, internships, attending conferences, and taking challenging courses.
Upon entering ECSU, I was accepted into the Center of Excellence for Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER) scholarship program. The program provides students with undergraduate research experience, educational support, and assistance with obtaining internships. Through CERSER I have had the opportunity to attend conferences, develop professionally, and gain scientific research experience.
Over the course of my undergraduate career, I have participated in multiple research experiences. During the 2008 – 2009 academic school year, I worked on a project titled, “Evaluation and Implementation of Web 2.0 Technologies in Support of CReSIS and Cyberinfrastructure Research Projects at Elizabeth City State University,” where four popular open source Content Management Systems (CMS)—Joomla, WordPress, MediaWiki, and Drupal—were installed on a test Windows Apache MySQL PHP (WAMP) platform and evaluated based on their ease of use. The goal of this research was to analyze these different CMSs and pick the best one for the CERSER program to use as a resource.
The CERSER program has provided me with the opportunity to attend conferences and with the necessary research skills needed to prepare me for internships. During my freshman year I was able to attend the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) Conference and the Association of Computer/Information Science and Engineering Departments at Minority Institutes (ADMI) Symposium. At BEYA I had the opportunity to interact with professionals in the science, engineering and technology fields by attending a career fair and sitting in on seminars and workshops.
At the ADMI conference I attended workshops and seminars where some of the key speakers were Dr. Juan Gilbert—creator of the first Electronic Voting System, Prime III; Lieutenant Commander Warren Judge of the U.S. Coast Guard; and Dr. Gerry Dozier—Professor & Chair of the Computer Science Department at North Carolina A&T State University. At the conference, I participated in the student poster session and had the chance to present the research I conducted during the academic year. By participating in the ADMI poster session I took away one key element that some researchers forget—do not get so caught up in your research that you forget the basics of science, the scientific method.
For the summer of 2009, I interned with the Undergraduate Research Experience in Ocean, Marine, and Polar Science (UREOMPS) at ECSU. The objective of the program is to promote the professional development of minority undergraduate students through their participation in ocean and marine science research. Through my participation in the UREOMPS program, I gained valuable training in global positioning systems/geographic information systems, water quality testing, and earned certifications in boating safety, CPR, and first aid.
During the UREOMPS program, I was a member of the Polar Grid Team. The title of our research was, “A Comparative Analysis of Dependent MATLab Code Verses Independent Mex Binaries in the Charting of CReSIS Flight Path Data.” The objective of this research was to take MATLab dependent code and convert it into a MATLab independent code, so our partners through CReSIS may use it to analyze their data.
As a member of the Polar Grid Team, I had the opportunity to attend the TeraGrid 2009 conference. The conference showcased the impact TeraGrid had on research and education, and granted attendees with hands-on training to ensure that users of TeraGri's resources achieved maximum impact. With a combination of resources TeraGrid is the world's largest, most comprehensive distributed cyberinfrastructure for open scientific research. The conference provided me with a clearer understanding of TeraGrid.
For the 2009 - 2010 academic school year I was a member of the Polar Grid team. The team's objective was to ensure that ECSU's central manager system was prepared for grid computing. The title of our research was, “A Comparison of Job Duration Utilizing High Performance Computing on a Distributed Grid.”
In November 2009, I had the opportunity to attend Super Computing 2009, were I provided my services as a student volunteer. The conference held its 21st event in Portland, Oregon and brought together scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, programmers, system administrators, application developers, program managers, and students from all around the globe. Attendees had the opportunity to attend a program composed of technical papers, tutorials, a research poster session, and panel-run workshops.
During the 2010 summer, I had the pleasure of interning with the Summer, Technology, Engineering, and Mathemaitcs (STEM) Initiative Summer Scholars Institute at Indiana University at Bloomington (IUB). The program's primary focus is to increase the number of African-American graduate students, scholars, and professionals in the STEM disciplines through research opportunities.
During the program, I worked under the mentorship of Dr. Marlon Pierce at the Pervasive Technology Institute building on the school’s campus. The goal of my team’s research was to create a visual representation of the ice thickness and bed elevation of the Greenland ice-sheet. This was done by utilizing Python and Google Earth; the title of our research was the “Visualization of Ice Sheet Elevation Data Using Google Earth & Python Plotting Libraries.”
During the 2010 - 2011 academic school year, I was a member of the Antartic Grounding Line team, which was lead by Dr. Malcolm LeCompte. Our project was a continuation of the Antarctic Surface Accumulation and Ice Discharge or ASAID research. ASAID was led by Dr. Robert Bindschadler and looked to obtain a more accurate measure of the area of the Antarctic ice sheet and determine its mass balance. The team’s end result was the Antarctic Grounding Line. The 2010-2011 AGL team was tasked by Dr. Bindschadler to determine the GL’s accuracy in two coastal regions and whether changes have occurred over long time intervals.
For the summer of 2011, I again interned with the STEM Initiative Summer Scholars Institute at IUB. This summer I worked under principal investigator Judy Qui, specifically working with two Ph.D. students Seung-Hee Bae and Jong Youl Choi. Our researched measured the effiency of parallel computing by multipling large-scale matrices.
Ultimately, it is my goal to use the skills I have gained over my collegiate career to solve real-world problems that will help my community. After graduation I plan to attend graduate school as well as continue to conduct research. After receiving my master’s I would like to work towards earning my doctoral degree in Informatics, specializing in Human Computer Interaction and Design, as well as start a career in health informatics—a career that will allow me to combine my mathematical and computer science skills with my desire to protect the environment and those who live in it.