2020 Computer Science End of Year Award Winners

Congratulations to our outstanding students for their achievements during the 2019-2020 academic year!

    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Chairperson/Research Award Winner: Joshua Santana

    May 13, 2020

    Joshua Santana photo

    About Joshua:

    I'm a graduating CS major of the Engineering School, and working on this project with the others and with Meals on Wheels has been such a wonderful thing to be a part of this past year! Outside of my coursework, I like to spend my time working on game development projects, playing guitar, and cooking. In the fall, I'm looking forward to starting work at Google.

    What has kept Joshua motivated:

    I'm trying to see this as an opportunity to finish old projects I've started, learn new skills, and generally catch up on things I've thought about doing if only I had the time. It's also been nice to spend time with family before starting work, and to keep up remotely with the friends I've made along the way here at UVA.

    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Chairperson/Research Award Winner: Kevin Naddoni

    May 13, 2020

    Kevin Naddoni photo

    About Kevin:

    I am a 4th year Computer Science major at UVA. I am passionate about data science and machine learning, especially at the intersection of the medical field. At UVA, I’ve done research for the Department of Systems Engineering and the School of Medicine. In my free time, I enjoy swing & salsa dancing, cooking, ultimate frisbee, and weightlifting. This fall, I am excited to be working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft.

    What has kept Kevin motivated:

    During this pandemic, I’ve found myself focusing on keeping a proper balance to maintain my mental and physical health. I have developed a daily routine that includes regular family meals, plenty of exercise, and lots of social calls. I am inspired by my VCU friend, who is actively mitigating the current crisis by engineering solutions to disinfect hospital masks. I believe we can work through this current struggle and we will solve this problem together.

    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Chairperson/Research Award Winner: Maxwell Patek

    May 13, 2020

    Maxwell Patek photo

    About Maxwell:

    I am a recent BS CS graduate. At UVA, I enjoyed TAing for CS 2110, 4102, and 4414 and teaching my own ESC student-taught class on Metaprogramming. My remaining time I spent playing percussion in the Cavalier Symphony Orchestra, doing Systems Engineering research, and representing on RodCouncil. I'll soon be joining Facebook as a Software Engineer.

    What has kept Maxwell motivated:

    I’ve looked at The Lockdown as a way to better myself and build the habits I want to live by after college. I have been exercising regularly, eating healthy, cooking, reading, and getting good sleep. When lockdown ends, I look forward to carrying this momentum with me into my career and my life without class!

    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Chairperson/Research Award Winner: Michael Benos

    May 13, 2020

    Michael Benos photo

    About Michael:

    I am passionate about cybersecurity and enjoyed serving as a TA for the Network Security course while at UVA. I love puzzles of all kinds, and have competed in many hackathon, capture the flag, and puzzle competitions.

    What has kept Michael motivated:

    Although simple, nonograms are fun puzzles that I like to do in my free time.

    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Chairperson/Research Award Winner: Nate Strawser

    May 13, 2020

    Nate Strawser photo

    About Nate:

    I'm a graduating BS CS student. I've greatly enjoyed being a part of the Meals on Wheels Capstone team this year, which gave us the ability to gain real-world experience and give back to the Charlottesville community. I've TA'd for CS 2150 for two years, and I'll be joining Amazon as a Software Development Engineer this fall. Some fun facts about me are that I’ve learned to scuba dive while at UVA, and I’ve been to Utah three times with the Outdoors Club!

    What has kept Nate motivated:

    This pandemic has been challenging for all of us. I tried to remember the hard work that I have put in during these four years and wanted to finish strong. The most challenging part has been the lack of closure -- the graduation parties I wasn't able to attend, the friends I wasn't able to say goodbye to. Maintaining close contact with my friends through Zoom and spending time with my family has been a vital part of my coping strategy, and I’ve picked up a few new hobbies as well.

    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Chairperson/Research Award Winner: Soukarya Ghosh

    May 13, 2020

    Soukarya Ghosh photo

    About Soukarya:

    I am a rising fourth year Computer Science and Mathematics double major. Academically, I find theoretical aspects of the subjects I study very interesting. I always aspire to understand processes from the ground up and stay versatile in my field. Growing up, I have always been taught to give back to my community and work to help those who are not as fortunate. With all the experiences and knowledge I have gathered and continue to gather here at UVA, I believe I am more prepared to tackle this task than I have ever been.

    What has Soukarya kept motivated:

    This pandemic has been an unusual experience to say the least. Being removed from the engrossing environment of grounds, keeping up academic motivation has been tough. I have found myself working countless hours working on TrackCorona, improving user experience and making the data set more comprehensive. The leading motivation in this venture has been the support and response from our user base. We get emails everyday from around the world praising us for our efforts and encouraging us to keep going. Seeing the impact we have had on research studies, other informative platforms, and just the general population has been astounding.

    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Chairperson/Research and Teaching Award Winner: Virginia Layne Berry

    May 13, 2020

    V Layne Berry photo

    Layne received both the Louis T. Rader Chairperson/Research and Teaching awards!

    About Layne:

    I'm a rising fourth year hoping to enter a PhD program in Natural Language Processing after graduation to combine my love of both computer science and linguistics. I make time to cook and to knit, and am fostering an adorable kitten named Honey Bunches of Oats. I have a little brother studying theater at Northwestern who I couldn't be more proud of. Apart from my majors, I'm entering my sixth semester of Classical Sanskrit this Fall.

    What has kept Layne motivated:

    I've found it's important to stay on a schedule, and to move between zones of the house over the course of the day. I never relax in the room I work in or work in the room I sleep in, so that waking up early and sitting down at a desk with a cup of coffee will automatically put me in the right headspace to work.


    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Service Award Winner: Jake Smith

    May 13, 2020

    Jake Smith photo

    About Jake:

    I am a 4th year Engineering student and Rodman Scholar studying Computer Science and Cybersecurity. I helped found the National Security, Intelligence, and Defense (NSID) Club on-grounds and have served as President of the Computer and Network Security (CNS) Club at UVA. In addition, I co-started UVA’s Cyber Defense and Offense Teams to compete in the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) and Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition (CPTC). Outside of school, I co-founded MetaCTF, a cybersecurity training company, and co-taught a class on Underwater Basket Weaving.

    What has kept Jake motivated:

    The switch to virtual classes this semester has definitely changed a lot of things. One unexpected benefit of all of the craziness though is that I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot more time with my family before starting my full-time job next month. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed spending my extra time conducting security research, preparing for our (virtual) cybersecurity competitions, and working on personal projects. While I certainly miss Grounds, I’m also taking this time to relax and catch up on sleep!

    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Service Award Winner: Madison Flynn

    May 13, 2020

    Madison Flynn photo

    About Madison:

    I am a 3rd year Computer Science major. I also TA for CS 2150 and CS 4102. I am also the new President for WiCS (Women in Computing Sciences which is also known as ACM-W). Additionally, every year I help out with middle and high school visitation for SWE (Society of Women Engineers). I really enjoy teaching CS skills to younger students and am very passionate about bridging the gender gap in technology careers. I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't gotten involved with the CS department and CS organizations here at UVA. I definitely wouldn't have gotten the internship of my dreams last summer at Microsoft. I'm very grateful that UVA and the CS department has given me a platform to pursue my dreams and passions. Also, some fun facts about me are that I have a twin who is basically my opposite, and my first time seeing snow was here at UVA!

    What has kept Madison motivated:

    I have been staying motivated by my drive to learn new things, learning to cook new recipes, and looking forward to the project that I will be working on this summer during my virtual internship!

    2020 Louis T. Rader Undergraduate Service Award Winner: Sanjana Hajela

    May 13, 2020

    Sanjana Hajela Photo

    About Sanjana:

    I really enjoy exploring different fields of CS and engineering and I am happy I got to take a wide variety of classes in UVA these past four years. Besides school, my hobbies include reading, doing stuff outdoors, exercising, and playing games.

    What has kept Sanjana motivated:

    Something that definitely motivated me during the pandemic is my daily long walks in the evening! I made sure that I would finish all of my schoolwork and stay focused so I could reward myself with a nice, long, safe outing. I am also really inspired when I watch "Some Good News" by John Krasinksi, he posts motivational videos every week highlighting the positive things people have been doing during the pandemic.