Stellar student | UDaily

Stellar student | UDaily


Photographic illustration by Joy Smoker

Lauren Baron, a UD computer science graduate, is leaving her mark

If Lauren Baron is a representation of the emerging generation of scientists and engineers, then our future will be full of innovative solutions.

At just 21 years old, this undergraduate student at the University of Delaware has already developed a program that combines art therapy, physical therapy and virtual reality, and hopefully some fun, for stroke patients working on their mobility challenges. the upper extremities.

“This was my first time working with virtual reality. Everything was new to me,” said Baron, recalling his first year at the UD School of Engineering. At the end of the summer, he did a Preliminary study, another novelty for this honorary student, was also her first time working online, as the second half of Baron’s first year coincided with confinements due to COVID-19 in 2020.

“She’s definitely one of the rock stars,” said Austin Cory Bart, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information.

Bart remembered when she first met Baron during her freshman year, and she can still remember her final project, a game she created called “Leaps and Bounds.” It wasn’t that different from Frogger, for those who remember the 80’s arcade game in which a frog dodged traffic on a busy road to get home. But the creative touches on the look of the game and the fact that the show’s design was essentially coded from scratch by Baron left an impression, Bart said.

“And she did it alone,” she said. In his freshman year, Baron was assisting Bart as a teaching assistant. Not only did he help in a challenging software engineering course, but he also helped Bart learn to teach the class with new elements, showing Baron’s leadership skills in addition to his technical skills.

“It didn’t take long for him to catch up,” Bart said. “It’s not just about knowing the material. It’s also about being there, convincing students that they can ask you questions, showing some authority and compassion at the same time. “

In addition to the grueling studies of being a member of the College of Honor of the UD, Baron is also pursuing a specialty in cybersecurity during his studies at the Faculty of Engineering and has made the list of dean every year. He said he is especially interested in keeping the technology more secure from hackers.

She said it was her first-year friend who pointed her to research opportunities through Delaware’s INBRE Summer Fellowship Program, which eventually took her to Barmaki and an introduction to biomedical approaches and virtual reality. Baron will continue to fine-tune the therapy-focused game as he prepares his senior thesis in the HCI lab.

Growing up in a close-knit Filipino family with a respiratory therapist for a mother, an anesthesiologist for an uncle and a physical therapist for an aunt, Baron said he thought he would also end up in the medical field.

But in high school he had found an affinity for computer science, attracted by the creativity he found in solving digital problems. He also wanted to stay close to his family and UD seemed like the perfect fit, he said.

“I’m very happy with that. I love it,” he said. “There is a great sense of community in the Faculty of Engineering, and above all I have had a good experience in the computer program. Teachers support their students. ”

He noted that the department specifically supports aspiring scientists by offering scholarships and supporting their attendance at the annual celebration of Grace Hopper of Women in Computing, one of the major conferences in this field.

During the summer of 2021 and 2022, Baron has been a software engineering fellow at JP Morgan Chase. In the summer, after her first year (2020), she did an internship at the HCI Lab as a summer scholarship holder and through the “Spin In” program of the Office of Economic Innovation and the UD Association as a scholarship holder. web development backend working on a “Manure Market” project that aimed to create a website that would connect poultry producers in Delmarva and those who sell waste from poultry operations with buyers and runners, ultimately, to address excess nutrients, such as phosphorus, in the region. She has also participated in UD coding team competitions and regional Hackathons, and since the first year she has participated in the University of the Philippines Student Association, the Women’s Chapter of the Computer Machinery Association. and CS + Social Good, an organization that connects community organizations with technical student solutions, where she helps lead the public relations effort.

However, not everything is about computers for this South Jersey scientist. Baron is a former volleyball player who loves her technical work and studies, but she also enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, painting and cooking.

This stellar student is expected to graduate in the fall of 2022, a semester earlier. After that, he plans to pursue a career in the industry, possibly in the technology sector.

“It’s like a magnet,” Barmaki said, noting that he not only has a very comprehensive extracurricular agenda, but is known to motivate others to join Barmaki’s group. “She is reliable, hardworking and focused, and she also follows her dreams and passions. She knows what she is looking for.”



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