Awards

Brown CS Student Rachel Ma Receives A CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Honorable Mention

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Click the links that follow for more news about previous recipients of honors for this award and other recent accomplishments by our students.

The Computing Research Association (CRA) is a coalition of more than 200 organizations with the mission of enhancing innovation by joining with industry, government, and academia to strengthen research and advance education in computing. Every year, they recognize North American students who show phenomenal research potential with their Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award, and in 2022, Brown CS student Rachel Ma was one of only thirty-two students to receive an Honorable Mention.

Rachel's research focuses on enabling autonomous systems to complete tasks to help and collaborate with humans. Most recently, her work with Professors George Konidaris and Stefanie Tellex brings together robotics and natural language processing to develop a model to generalize robot tasks to novel objects.

"Humans use verbs to describe actions that can be applied to a wide spectrum of objects," she explains. "Robots that interact with humans should be able to follow verb commands, and therefore need to be able to apply those commands to new objects. As an example, opening a door is similar to opening a microwave. A robot that already has the skill to ‘open’ a door should also be able to ‘open’ a microwave with minimal additional learning”. 

Previously, advised by Professor Tellex, she also worked on and managed the DuckieSky drone project, which introduced robotics and AI through PiDrones to high school students, and also worked on dancing robot demonstrations and beat detection learning while helping with course development for the Choreorobotics 0101 course.

Rachel joins numerous prior Brown CS recipients of Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award honors. Most recently, they include Jiaju Ma (Finalist), Wasu Piriyakulkij (Honorable Mention), Nitya Thakkar (Honorable Mention), Sarah Bawabe (Honorable Mention), Nishanth Kumar (Finalist), Dylan Sam (Honorable Mention), and Homer Walke (Honorable Mention).

The full list of Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award recipients and honorees is available here.

For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communications Manager Jesse C. Polhemus.