Grayce Heinemann (Class of 2022) was among a select group of thirteen students in the natural and applied sciences who participated in the 2020 Hauber Summer Research Program at Loyola University. The Hauber Research Fellowship program competitively awards fellowships to students based on their application and strong academic performance. These students receive generous grants to do research with a Loyola faculty member during the summer.
Grayce’s research was entitled, “Going Deep with Neural Networks: An Investigation into Deep Learning Methods for Efficient Image Recognition.” She investigated how computers can be programmed to accurately classify images inspired by the way that biological brains endow us with sight. This research has important applications for facial recognition technologies and autonomous vehicles, to name a few. As Grayce explained in her presentation, image recognition is a relatively easy task for humans but is still quite difficult for computers, and if we want to develop machines that can think like humans, we must first train them to be able to see like humans. Grayce’s presentation of her Hauber Research that was given at the end of the summer program can be found on YouTube.
In addition, Grayce presented her research at the 22nd Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship on October 24, 2020.
A particular challenge for the 2020 Hauber students was the fact that the research had to be conducted remotely due to the pandemic. However, through the use of collaborative tools such as Zoom for online meetings and Google’s Colaboratory platform for sharing, and executing computer code, Grayce was able to effectively carry out her research with her faculty mentor, Dr. David Hoe.
On overseeing Grayce’s research efforts, Dr. Hoe notes, “It was wonderful being able to work with a student like Grayce this summer. Her enthusiasm and dedication for performing cutting-edge research in machine learning and her flexibility in adapting the program to an online format were keys to its success. We were able to review and evaluate a number of recent research papers on image recognition approaches. While Grayce had just completed her sophomore year in engineering at the time, the quality of her work and effort reflected what I would expected from a beginning graduate student.”
Reflecting on this past summer, Grayce stated,
“Working alongside Dr. Hoe in the Hauber program was an enriching experience that has given me vital problem-solving skills and has inspired me to pursue graduate school in the future after being uncertain about it in the past. My research has provided me with insight into the prevalence of computer vision in all facets of life and the ways in which we can continually improve upon the methods and algorithms.”
With its small faculty-to-student ratio, there are ample opportunities for undergraduate students in Loyola’s engineering program under the supervision of a faculty member from independent research study course to the Hauber research program. Students are welcome to review more information about research opportunities for students in the engineering department.