Meet the Summer 2019 SAIL Interns
Halfway through the summer, the Summer 2019 SAIL interns have made significant contributions to a wide array of projects, supported consultations with SAIL collaborators, and participated in workshops, roundtable discussions, and guest lectures on research and technical topics led by SAIL team members and partners.
Notably, Yiwen Gu attended the PETRA 2019 conference in Rhodes, Greece, where she presented her contributions to data analytics for ExerciseCheck, a SAIL project in collaboration with professors Margrit Betke (CAS) and Terry Ellis (SAR). Marcella Hastings attended the TPMPC 2019 conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she presented a talk on her work surveying general-purpose frameworks for secure multi-party computation.
Megan Fantes and Zack Zhang participated in a datathon hosted by Microsoft and Vivli as part of a SAIL team that also included software engineers Peter Flockhart and Lucy Qin, software engineer fellow Kinan Dak Albab, and research assistant Wyatt Howe. The team received the award for Outstanding Graduate Submission.
We invite you to get to know the Summer 2019 SAIL Internship Cohort: Usama Ahsan, Megan Fantes, Yiwen Gu, Marcella Hastings, Stathis Karatsiolis, FanonX Rogers, Arezoo Sadeghi, Ashni Shah, Christopher Trinh, and Zack Zhang.
Usama Ahsan (CAS ‘21) is a rising junior majoring in Computer Science at BU. Usama has worked as a course assistant for CS 111 and CS 112 since his sophomore year. Last summer, he interned at NETSOL Technologies, a software company that operates in the global asset finance and leasing sector, where he worked on updating the company’s phonebook website.
At SAIL, Usama contributes to the full-stack development of IM-WELL 2.0, a mobile application that encourages smoking cessation. Usama will help transition the app, which was previously deployed in the U.K., for a U.S. audience, building components such as user registration and authentication, daily and weekly assessments, and activity planning. This project is in collaboration with Belinda Borrelli, a professor at the BU School of Dental Medicine, and is supported by BU’s Mobile and Electronic Health ARC.
Usama was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan, and became interested in programming by learning how to make video games. His most recent personal project involved developing an app for generating course schedules for BU classes. In his free time, Usama is learning how to play the piano and loves to practice whenever he has the chance.
Megan Fantes (CAS ‘18, GRS ‘20) is a master’s student in Computer Science at BU, after graduating from BU with a B.A. in Statistics. She is interested in building systems to effectively store and manage data, as well as technical project management. At SAIL, Megan works with researchers Adam Smith (CAS) and James Honaker (Harvard) on expanding a library of differentially private algorithms and preparing for its release as part of the PSI system. This work is in collaboration with the Privacy Tools Project at Harvard University.
You can usually find Megan outside in her free time. In the summer, she enjoys hiking in the mountains and kayaking in the Charles River. She also loves to snowboard during the winter and enjoys attending pop-punk music festivals.
Yiwen Gu (GRS ’19) is a recent graduate of the M.S. in Computer Science program at BU and will join the Ph.D. program in Fall 2019. She also holds a M.S. degree in Biophysics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At SAIL, Yiwen works with political science professor Cathie Jo Martin on applying machine learning techniques to a data set of novels and poetry across five European countries to understand how literature, art, and culture might predict or reflect how political and economic policies materialize. Yiwen also interned at SAIL during Spring 2019 and worked on the Greek Natural Cults Project (GNCP) in collaboration with archaeology researchers Natalie Susmann and Andrea Berlin.
When she’s not studying or at work, Yiwen enjoys practicing Chinese calligraphy and watching movies and animations. You can also find Yiwen skiing, swimming, playing tennis, and overall enjoying the outdoors.
Marcella Hastings is a fourth year Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania. She is interested in problems related to cryptography and privacy. Marcella’s current research focuses on the practical aspects and applications of secure multi-party computation.
In her free time, Marcella enjoys biking and reading fiction and nonfiction from her local library. Marcella holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Tufts University.
Stathis Karatsiolis (GRS ’20) is a master’s student in Computer Science at BU specializing in data-centric computing. Prior to attending BU, Stathis completed his B.S. in Computer Science at the University of Athens.
At SAIL, Stathis contributes to the full-stack development of NoiseScore, including preparing the mobile application for deployment and enhancing its data visualization capabilities. NoiseScore is a tool that community residents can use to document and visualize their environmental soundscape in the Greater Boston Area. This project is in collaboration with noise researcher Erica Walker and her team at Noise and the City and is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Stathis is passionate about writing efficient low-level code that is robust and can provide strong foundations for other applications. He especially loves delivering code that is well-structured and easy to read. When not coding, Stathis enjoys playing tennis, cooking, visiting interesting restaurants, and learning about neuroscience breakthroughs.
FanonX Rogers (MET ‘20) is a graduate student pursuing an M.S. in Software Development at Boston University. FanonX received his B.S. in Computer Science from Quinnipiac University. He is interested in machine learning, full-stack development, and cloud computing technologies.
At SAIL, FanonX contributes to ASL-LEX, a lexical database that graphically visualizes data about signs in American Sign Language, allowing users to see patterns among signs based on their phonological and lexical properties. This project is in collaboration with professor Naomi Caselli and her team at the LexLab and is supported by the National Science Foundation.
Outside of school, FanonX enjoys DJ-ing and producing music, and playing sports like flag football, boxing, mountain biking, and snowboarding.
Arezoo Sadeghi (GRS ‘19) is a master’s student in Computer Science at BU. She first joined SAIL in Fall 2017 as a Software Engineer Intern and has since contributed to a wide variety of projects spanning digital health, synthetic biology, and data science. She has led the development of a platform for managing parallel lab experiments at a macro scale and made significant contributions to the enhancement of an open-source synthetic biology design visualization tool (VisBOL). Arezoo presented her work on VisBOL at COMBINE 2018.
Arezoo is currently developing data analysis tools for the Changing Tides Carceral Reform Database, a web platform that allows research teams to examine how state-level organizations and initiatives influence decarceration. This project is in collaboration with professor Heather Schoenfeld and is supported by the National Science Foundation.
Prior to joining SAIL, Arezoo completed a certificate program in Computer Science at Tufts University, where she worked as a teacher’s assistant for Algorithms for two semesters. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Computer Engineering from AmirKabir University of Technology in Iran.
Ashni grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, and enjoys hiking and playing tennis. When she can, she also likes travelling and learning about different cultures and languages.
Christopher Trinh (CAS ‘20) is a rising senior majoring in Computer Science at BU. He works as a Course Assistant for CS 111 and CS 112, and enjoys working with others on new and exciting projects.
At SAIL, Chris contributes to the full-stack development of IM-WELL 2.0, a mobile application that encourages smoking cessation. Chris works with Usama Ahsan and other team members on preparing the app for deployment in the U.S. In particular, Chris has supported the redesign of the user interface, including updating the activity planning workflow and adding a timeline view to improve the app’s usability. This project is in collaboration with Belinda Borrelli, a professor at the BU School of Dental Medicine, and is supported by BU’s Mobile and Electronic Health ARC.
In his free time, you can find Christopher enjoying his hobbies, whether that involves virtual reality, clean design, or video games.
Zack Zhang (CAS ‘21, QST ‘21) is a rising junior majoring in Mathematics & Computer Science and Business Administration at BU. He currently serves as an E-Board member for BU’s Machine Intelligence Community. Zack is specifically interested in web development and machine learning. Last summer, Zack worked at the China Minsheng Banking Corp. in Beijing on news extraction, chatbots, and task automation using TensorFlow, Keras, and Neo4j.
At SAIL, Zack contributes to the development of computational tools to automate the image analysis process of neuronal activity related to the mouse sensorimotor system. This work is in collaboration with the Chen Lab and is supported by the National Institutes of Health. In addition, Zack is building a web application for analyzing confounding variables across studies in systematic reviews in collaboration with researchers Ludovic Trinquart and Julie Petersen. This project is supported by the Hariri Institute’s Research Incubation Awards program.
Zack is a certified cook and enjoys meal-prepping in his free time.
Housed within the Hariri Institute for Computing, the Software & Application Innovation Lab (SAIL) is a professional research, software engineering, and consulting lab that acts as both a driver and a collaborative partner for computational and data-oriented research efforts across Boston University.