Three Graduate Students Earn Snap Research Awards

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Three School of Interactive Computing students were awarded with the Snap Research Fellowship, for Ph.D. students, and Scholarship, for master’s students and undergraduates.

Ph.D. students Abhishek Das and Stevie Chancellor earned fellowships from Snap, Inc., the technology and social media company that developed Snapchat and Bitmoji, among other products. They were two of 12 total selections nationwide in their inaugural fellowship class.

Chancellor was selected for her research into online deviant mental health communities and computational social science techniques. With Snap, she proposed working on data-driven interventions to facilitate intimate disclosure and support around mental health challenges.

“I’d also like to work with them to think about how Snap can be used for social good in ways broader than mental health,” she said.

Das’ research focuses on deep learning and its applications in building agents that can see, think, talk, and act. Toward this end, he was awarded the Snap fellowship for his ongoing work in three areas:

  • Agents that can hold free-form conversations about visual content and algorithms to train these agents without exhaustively collecting human-annotated datasets via simulation or self-play;
  • Algorithms to make these agents more interpretable;
  • Agents that can execute commands, including navigating and actively perceiving their environments to accomplish a task, like question-answering.

Each fellow receives a $10,000 award and an offer for a full-time paid internship on the research team at Snap, Inc., for up to four months during the 2018 calendar year. Neither Chancellor or Das have decided whether or not they will take advantage of the internship this year, as they are exploring other opportunities.

Master’s student Deshraj Yadav was one of eight selections for the Snap Research Scholarship. He, too, will receive a $10,000 award and an offer for a four-month paid internship on the Snap, Inc., research team for up to four months during 2018.