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College Celebrates 165th Commencement May 26

Fulbright Scholarship to Take Jennifer W. Kyker '02 to Zimbabwe

Boram Lee '04 Wins International Public Policy Fellowship

Suchi Saria '04 Wins Full- Tuition Scholarship from Microsoft

Sure to Be a Virtuoso Performance: Sara Curtin '02 Speaks for the Class of 2002

Red Pegasus Class Takes Wing

DAAD Scholarship Music to the Ears of Katherine Kaiser '02

2002–2003 Budget Meets Financial Goals of Plan for 2003

Storm Ends Everest Bid Just Short of Summit

Students Teach Each Other about Bioethics by "Cloning" National Council

Mount Holyoke Actors Take to the Italian Stage

Three Faculty Members Retire as Emeriti

Mary Renda: Teaching Students to Think Historically

Theresa Grof: Fulfilling a Dream at MHC

Weissman Center Honors Students

On Broadway with Suzan-Lori Parks '85

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May 24, 2002

Suchi Saria '04 Wins Full-Tuition Scholarship from Microsoft


Photo: Ben Barnhart

Suchi Saria '04 (right) and Jessica Littman '02 with robot Susan B.

Suchi Saria '04 is glad she met Hank and Minerva at Mount Holyoke last semester. The two robots, which Saria assembled with computer science Professor Paul Dobosh, took the sophomore physics and computer science major closer to fulfilling her dream of building a robot with both physical and cognitive functions, such as reason, perception, and language understanding. Saria took another step toward that goal this month, winning a Microsoft Corporation scholarship that will cover tuition at MHC during 2002–2003. Microsoft awards full and partial scholarships to sophomores and juniors demonstrating a passion for technology at a variety of colleges around the United States. For the 2002-2003 academic year, it awarded full-tuition scholarships totaling $540,000.

A native of India, Saria first became interested in computers and robots during her last two years of high school, when she participated in a robotics club and focused her studies on science and technology. She continues to pursue technology at Mount Holyoke, both through the classes required for her majors and through cocurricular robotics research with Dobosh and computer science department chair Claude L. Fennema, associate professor of computer science. "Microsoft has very high standards for these awards, which are designed to help students in technical areas get involved in computer science, a field that lacks women," said Fennema. "Suchi is an enthusiastic and smart woman who certainly deserves this honor."

During her first year and summer at Mount Holyoke, Saria worked with Fennema on computer vision research, creating software that would enable a robot to navigate "intelligently" (plot her own path using information she gathers en route). This fall, through her work on Hank and Minerva, Saria tackled the hardware, or physical aspects, of robotics. Together, hardware and software will eventually create Susan C., a complex robot that will succeed Susan B., a two-foot-tall robot created in 1990 as a platform for research into artificial intelligence.

As an intern with IBM in California this summer, Saria will shift her research toward human- computer interaction, or making computers able to adapt to the individual habits and preferences of their users. She hopes that all these experiences will eventually lead her to a doctoral degree in robotics at Stanford or Carnegie Mellon University.

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