Berea Women Sweep Competition in Computing Conference; Take All Three Top Places

Female students from Berea College completely swept their competition at the recent Tri-State Women in Computing Conference. They took all three top places in the undergraduate category of the poster session, which focused on research projects related to computer science or information technology.

Raunak Shona Thakur received Honorable Mention (Third Place) in the Undergraduate Category for “Using Web Technologies to Improve Application Process.” In Second Place in the Undergraduate Category, Phyo Phyo Kyaw Zin was awarded a $300 scholarship for “Developing a Dashboard Management System (DMS).” The First Place Award in the Undergraduate Category went to Amber Tolleson and Ashley Aiken for “The Detection of Gas in Fracking-Contaminated Water,” for which they received a $1,000 scholarship to be split between them.

Jan Pearce, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Berea College said, “I could not be prouder of our amazing students as well as of my tremendous colleagues.” Pearce also commended Matt Jadud, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, who was the faculty sponsor of Tolleson’s and Aiken’s project. Scott Heggen, Lecturer in Computer Science, and Joan Pauly, Sustainability Coordinator, worked with Zin on her project which implemented a dashboard for the Berea College Office of Sustainability. Heggen also helped Thakur prepare her poster and presentation on the project ready, which she completed under the tutelage of Mario Nakazawa, Associate Professor of Computer Science.

Twenty-three Bereans participated in the Tri-State Women in Computing Conference, which was held in Cincinnati. The conference attracted more than 200 people but no other schools placed in the undergraduate category even though students were present from large public universities, technical colleges and smaller institutions.

For more information about the computer science program at Berea College, visit:

Categories: News, People, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: Computer Science Department, Students, TRIWiC conference, women in computing

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.

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