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Alums and students feted at annual awards banquet

Wed May 11, 2011

The Department celebrated the accomplishments of this year's Outstanding Achievement and Advocacy Award winners along with undergraduate and graduate student award recipients during a banquet held at the Mullins Center on Friday, May 6, 2011. Over 90 people joined us for the celebration.

In 2009, the Department initiated a program of recognition of the outstanding accomplishments of graduates of the Department's degree programs and to acknowledge the support of important friends of the department. To recognize their remarkable accomplishments, the Department established the University of Massachusetts Amherst Computer Science Department Outstanding Achievement and Advocacy Award (OAA) program, under which awards will be presented annually in various categories. The 2011 award recipients are shown below.

Department Chair Andrew Barto and Steve Goodwin, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences, welcomed the attendees and gave an overview of the department. Professor Leon J. Osterweil presented awards to the following 2011 OAA recipients:

The 2011 OAA Award Recipients are:

  • Outstanding Achievement in Research: Ronald Craig Arkin (UMass Amherst CS Ph.D. '87) - Regents' Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Space Planning in the College of Computing at Georga Institute of Technology. He is also the Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Management: Renu Chipalkatti (UMass Amherst CS M.S. '87) - Global Head, Vertical Industry Solutions: Product Management at Verizonbusiness
  • Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship: A. Anthony Gee (UMass Amherst CS B.S. '90) - co-Founder and Managing Partner of Carthage Capital Group
  • Outstanding Achievement by a Young Alum: Irene Ros (UMass Amherst CS B.S. '06) - Research Developmer at the Visual Communication Lab, a group within the Collaborative User Experience group at the Center for Social Software at IBM Research; as of July 2011: Senior Programmer at Bocoup
  • Outstanding Achievement in Public Service: John L. Woods (UMass Amherst CS Ph.D. '80) - retired in 2006 as President and General Manager of TRW's Electromagnetic Systems Laboratory
  • Outstanding Achievement in Education: Wei Zhao (UMass Amherst CS Ph.D. '86) - Rector and Chaired Professor of the University of Macau
  • Outstanding Achievement in Technology Development: Michael Zyda (UMass Amherst CS M.S. '78) - Director of the Game Pipe Laboratory and a Professor of Engineering Practice in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Southern California

More details on the careers of the OAA award recipients, along with photos of the event, are posted at

During the evening’s celebration, current students and recent alums were also recognized. The undergraduate and graduate awards were generously sponsored by Yahoo!, a member of the Department’s Industrial Affiliates Program. Professor James Allan, Graduate Program Director, presented the following Outstanding Graduate Student Awards:

The Graduate Student Award* Recipients are:

  • Outstanding Dissertation Award: Michael Hay (Ph.D. '10)
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award: Siddharth Srivastava (Ph.D. '10)
  • Outstanding Synthesis Award: John Altidor
  • Outstanding Synthesis Award: Michael Bendersky
  • Outstanding Synthesis Award: Mastooreh Salajegheh
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award: Bruno Castro da Silva
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award: Dirk Ruiken
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award: Borislava I. Simidchieva

Professor Robbie Moll, Department Associate Chair, presented the following Outstanding Undergraduate Awards to students in this year’s graduating class:

The Undergraduate Student Award* Recipients are:

  • Overall Achievement in Computer Science: Sean P. Dooley
  • Achievement in Artificial Intelligence: Jonathan B. Leahey
  • Achievement in Networking: Felipe Ribeiro de Mello
  • Achievement in Security: Anthony R. Duran
  • Achievement in Software Engineering: Ryan C. Hurley
  • Achievement in Systems: Demetre E. Lavigne
  • Achievement in Theory: Nicolas A. Scarrci

* The Graduate and Undergraduate Student Awards are sponsored by Yahoo!


Details at: