Computer Science Grad Student Wins Coveted NSF Fellowship

A University of Houston computer science student won a 2010 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a prestigious prize given to some of the nation’s most promising young scientists.

Winners of the annual competition were announced in April and Araly Barrera, a computer science Ph.D. student at UH, will be among those receiving the three-year fellowships. It covers tuition and includes a $30,000 annual stipend. Applicants are judged by their research proposals, previous research experience and personal statement, among other criteria.

Barrera’s research project involves developing software that could read and produce understandable summaries of large amounts of text, such as books or articles. This cutting-edge research in data mining and processing is intended to minimize the digital information overload.

She is working under Rakesh Verma, professor of computer science.

The NSF stipend allows fellowship recipients to focus on their coursework and research without worrying about a teaching assistantship or other means of support.

Barrera received her undergraduate degree from the University of Houston – Downtown and began her doctorate degree at UH last year. She is also part of Bridge the Doctorate, a federally-funded program at UH to recruit and support minority Ph.D. students in science and engineering.