IACS Student Wins Highly Competitive Scholarship

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
By Alyssa Melillo

Ph.D. candidate Jesmin Jahan Tithi will use award money to attend research symposium 

By Alyssa Melillo

Jesmin Jahan Tithi

“There are so many things I don’t know. There’s no limit to learning. I think one life is not enough to learn,” said SBU Ph.D. candidate Jesmin Jahan Tithi who recently won a prestigious scholarship from ACM-W, an organization dedicated to supporting, celebrating, and advocating for women in all aspects of computing. The maximum number of awards made worldwide by ACM is 36, and each applicant is eligible to receive the award only once. “This is a great honor for Jesmin,” said her advisor Assistant Professor Rezaul Chowdhury.

Jesmin, 27, is a student in the Computer Science Department at SBU. She will use the $600 award to help defray the cost of travel to the 2014 International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium held May 19-23 at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix. At the symposium, Jesmin will present a poster on high-performance computing and algorithms, her specific area of study, and participate in a Ph.D. forum.  “It’s one of the best conferences in my field, so it’s good to attend,” she said. About receiving the scholarship, she added: “If you apply for a scholarship and you get it, it obviously feels good. And you can put it on your resume. It’s hard to get scholarships.”

Jesmin first came to Stony Brook in 2011 after studying computer science and engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. She mainly works on high-performance computing and algorithm engineering “My job is to make…program[s] run faster and efficiently,” she said.

But before Jesmin began studying computers, she had no experience using any at all. “When I was in school, I did not have a computer. I heard that computer science was tough, so I wanted to do a tough thing.” Her father was reluctant to allow her to study anything that was not related to the medical field. “He said women should be doctors, not engineers, but I chose to be an engineer.”

Since coming to Stony Brook, however, Jesmin has had a world of computing opportunities at her feet. She spent her first summer here working at the hospital optimizing its search engine software, and just last summer she landed an internship at Intel where she got a taste of what it’s like to be involved in industry research. She was also awarded a grant from The National Science Foundation to attend the 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems and Software (ISPASS) held this past March, where she presented a paper that resulted from her Intel internship. The paper was among the top 4 papers nominated for the best paper award at ISPASS, and she presented it in a special session dedicated to the best paper nominees.

Ultimately Jesmin would like to work for either Google or Microsoft on developing new computing products and figuring out how to build them. She said that one of her goals is to encourage more women to study computer science, and one way they can get involved is by joining ACM-W and applying for the organization’s scholarships. “We want to increase the intake of women,” she said. “It’s a scholarship; they should apply for it. I feel lucky that I got it.” Jesmin has almost completed all her coursework and is expected to graduate in 2015.

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