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Midshipmen Participate in Computing Symposium at West Point

  POSTED ON: Monday, February 14, 2022 11:01 AM by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jordyn Diomede

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Nine U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen from various computing majors attended the third annual Jean Bartik Computing Symposium (JBCS) at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, Feb. 10-11.

The symposium, named after Jean Jennings Bartik, one of the early pioneers of computing and a major contributor to the electronic numerical integrator and computer, universal automatic computer, and the binary automatic computer programs, brings together women and underrepresented minorities studying computing at three military service academies: the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Along with the midshipmen, cadets and faculty from the service academies, distinguished speakers from numerous Department of Defense labs, agencies, and industrial partners were also in attendance.

Throughout the JBCS, students participated in hands-on technical workshops, to include those offered by distinguished presenters from the National Security Agency’s Laboratory for Physical Sciences, the MITRE Corporation, and the Blue Star Cyber. Additionally, they participated in a panel discussion with active-duty minority faculty in computing from the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps, and heard directly from keynote speaker and retired Army Col. Cindy Bedell, the director of the Computational & Information Sciences directorate at U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Lab. Tennisha Martin, the founder of the national cybersecurity nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education and resources to underserved communities and increasing the diversity in cyber, BlackGirslHack, hosted a fireside chat for those in attendance.

Also incorporated in the conference were presentations from students and recent graduates which discussed exciting avenues of undergraduate research that were undertaken. Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Jenny Luo, a computer science major, and Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Courtney Tse, a computer science and information technology dual major, presented their research in natural language processing, computer security and databases.

“Students learned about the latest advances in growing fields such as artificial intelligence, high performance computing, and computer and network security, in the context of their military applications,” said Adina Crainiceanu, a computer science professor at the U.S. Naval Academy. “The event was extremely successful, being considered by some of the midshipmen as the highlight of their time at the Naval Academy.”

The two-day conference was also educational and beneficial for midshipmen like Tse. 

“The Jean Bartik Computing Symposium was a highly educational event,” she said. “I enjoyed meeting cadets from other service academies who shared similar interests. Through listening to other minorities' experiences, my main takeaway was that the field of computer science is growing in size and diversity, and that thankfully, there is no shortage of professionals who can relate to me and other young, minority students."

Each year, the host of the conference rotates between the three academies. The U.S. Air Force Academy is scheduled to host in 2023 and it is set to return to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2024.

“I hope that a diverse set of students will feel empowered to pursue careers in computing,” said Crainiceanu. “I am looking forward to future editions of the symposium.”

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Category: Academics, Midshipman