2023 Summer Research Students

This summer, we are hosting 19 students from around the US in our 2023 summer research program at UC San Diego. We’ll be working on measuring fish length with lasers, building Smartfins, classifying bird calls, and tracking radio signals. Meet our students by reading their bios below:

Student Researchers

Sean Perry is a co-project lead of the Acoustic Species Identification team and a 4th year Math-Computer Science undergraduate student with a minor in Data Science. He has been on the team since freshmen year working on a audio labeling platform called Pyrenote and, primarily this summer, working on a machine learning pipeline to automatically label species in the Peruvian Amazon. Sean is currently working on handling the domain shift between publicly available, automated labeled data with birds in the foreground and human labeled soundscapes with birds in the background. Outside of that, Sean enjoys watching videos, occasionally gaming, and spending time with friends and family.

Samantha Prestrelski is co-project lead of the Acoustic Species Identification team and a junior at UC San Diego majoring in Math-Computer Science. She has previously worked on the team’s Python Package, PyHa, which converts “weak” clip-level labels to “strong” intraclip labels. Over the summer, she is working to compare methods of pre-processing non-uniform audio data to improve machine learning classification. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music and podcasts, exploring buildings, and Tetris.

Marco Bazzani is a second year undergraduate at UC San Diego, studying electrical engineering with a depth in machine learning and controls. He has been on the team since September 2022 helping to improve model generalization. This summer he has worked on building reliable training pipelines, data augmentation for reducing domain shift, pseudolabeling, and hyperparameter sweeps. In his free time, he enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Benjamin Cates is an incoming transfer student to UC Irvine coming from a community college in Central California. He is a junior majoring in Computer Science with an interest in software engineering. This summer, he is working on the Acoustic Species Identification team at E4E to develop a machine learning classifier for bird calls. On the project, Benjamin is working on developing different pipelines to improve machine learning model performance such as methods for chunking audio, pseudo-labeling, and utilizing cloud compute resources. Outside a life of STEM, he likes cooking, going on walks in nature, and has recently enjoyed the opportunity to go the the beach.

Michael Pham is a rising junior at Swarthmore College pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts in math and econ. He’s interested in the intersection between Machine Learning and environmental/developmental economics. This summer, he’s working on improving machine learning models for the Mangrove Monitoring project. In his free time, he enjoys hooping, going on jogs, learning new languages such as Spanish and French, and spawning into dangerous locations.

Josephine Dominguez is a sophomore at UC Santa Cruz pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in hardware design. During the summer, she is working mainly on Smartfin and helped develop the Smartfin 3.0 PCB in Altium. Additionally, she helps with underwater data collection on FishSense and assists Radio Telemetry Tracking. She hopes to pursue a career in microelectronics and RF design. Beyond engineering, you may find her climbing, playing music, in the ocean, fencing, extremely lost in nature, running around really fast, and on spontaneous walks to unknown locations.

Emily Thorpe is a rising Junior at Macalester College studying Computer Science and Sociology. She is interested in embedded systems, robotics, and rocketry. During the summer, she is working with the Smartfin project, developing firmware for an upgraded embedded system. As part of this project, she is working on porting over software, programming sensors, and integrating them to allow for surf-zone data collection. In her free time, Emily enjoys watching the ocean, reading, travel, and cooking.

Chima Nwughala is an rising junior Computer Engineering major from Howard University. During the summer, he is working on a hardware security framework called AKER. He has been learning the different parts of the AKER access control system including, information flow tracking, tracing, and security properties. By the end, he should extend the AKER framework from only System-on-a-Chips(SoCs) to Network-on-a-Chips(NoCs). Chima enjoys exploring, learning new things, and playing with devices.

Diana Ekechukwu is a rising junior at Howard University. There she is majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Mathematics. This summer she worked on the Junkyard Computing project, researching carbon emissions as a reference for the repurposing of smartphones. This involved creating an interacting program to calculate carbon intensity for a given device. In her free time, Diana enjoys exploring new places, spending time with friends and family, working out, and playing volleyball.

Nicholas Cesar Reyes, a distinguished senior at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, is diligently pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. His remarkable passion and unwavering dedication shine as an essential member of the esteemed Radio Collar Tracker team, where he contributes his knowledge to designing and enhancing the communication system for the radio tower infrastructure. Nicholas excels in crafting ingenious hardware solutions and robust software, ensuring the seamless and secure transfer of ever-important data packets. Beyond his academic pursuits, he finds solace in maintaining his fitness, engaging in spirited polo matches alongside his trusted companion, Harold the horse, and savoring leisurely, contemplative walks along the tranquil coastline of La Jolla.

Vivaswat Suresh is a rising junior at UC San Diego, pursuing a degree in Computer Science. He has an interest in underwater computer vision and data science, which he pursues by working on FishSense. He works on various computer vision and software engineering aspects of the project. In his spare time, he likes watching movies and reading science fiction.

Aniket Bhosale is a rising junior at UC San Diego. He is currently majoring in Electrical Engineering with the intention of completing the Machine Learning and Controls depth and is minoring in Data Science. He is currently working on the radio tower system for the Radio Collar Tracking project. As part of his role on the Radio Collar project, Aniket works on developing, debugging, and testing the electronics for the tower systems. During his free time, Aniket enjoys watching movies and shows, playing basketball, listening to music, and hanging out with friends.

Kyle Hu is a second year Masters student at UC San Diego, specializing in Intelligent Systems, Robotics and Control. He has worked with the Fishsense team during the previous academic year, primarily focusing on modeling resolution of depth cameras and developing a new laser-based rangefinder to determine fish length. This summer, he has mostly been working to get several of these systems deployed to Florida for field testing. Outside of academic pursuits, he enjoys playing fighting games, listening to music, reading, and cooking.

Jordan Reichhardt is a junior studying Electrical Engineering at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. This summer, she is working with the Smartfin hardware team to create and develop the third version of the Smartfin through electrical systems design, printed circuit board construction, and electrical testing. Jordan is focusing her studies in electrical engineering on environmentalism, particularly in the field of renewable energies. In her free time, she enjoys frolicking through the mountains with her friends, searching for sharks and fishies in the ocean, and striving to be Chicken Joe in the waves. 

Ana Perez is a fourth year student at Brown University studying Electrical Engineering. This summer she was a part of the FishSense team, focusing on the optical problems that arise with underwater photography, and its effects on estimated fish length measurements. She works on researching and modeling flat-port camera dynamics, developing a Matlab model of refracted light rays underwater. In her free time, Ana enjoys dancing, cooking, and drinking lots of coffee.

Jason Yang is a second year undergraduate student at UC San Diego, majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Economics. As a project lead for the Mangrove Monitoring project, he has spent the summer creating and deploying a website for an image classification tool that can classify drone and satellite imagery. Through the use of machine learning models, the website displays a map so researchers can see where Mangroves exist and don’t exist based on the imagery they uploaded. He also spent time working on a vision transformer to aid in these machine-learning efforts. Outside of the project, he enjoys playing tennis, exploring both cities and nature, and discovering new music.

Ela Lucas is a senior studying mechanical engineering at Brown University. This summer she worked on the Radio Collar tracking project where she designed electronics housings and a PCB. She also worked on manufacturing a fin for the Smartfin project. Her other research interests include robotics and theoretical fluid mechanics. Outside of work you can find her playing beach volleyball or bouldering!

Christopher Crutchfield is a fourth-year Ph.D student working under Professor Curt Schurgers and Professor Ryan Kastner.  His Masters was in Intelligent Systems, Robotics, and Control.  He is now putting that background to work by developing sensors for understanding the health of our oceans by developing underwater depth cameras with FishSense, a project which he leads.  Through the use of these cameras, he hopes to be able to help scientists monitor the biodiversity of our oceans and the health of the underwater ecosystem.  When not working to help protect our environment, he enjoys a quiet day at home, with his wife and three cats.

Hamish Grant is a 3rd year bachelors student at the Technical University of Munich studying electrical and computer engineering, with an interest in signal processing, biomedical engineering and remote sensing. This summer he has been working with the FishSense team, where he has been researching various image processing and computer vision techniques to detect lasers in underwater images. He has been working on developing an algorithm in Python, that makes use of edge detection, interest point detection and various other techniques to reliably determine a lasers position in an image with the goal of estimating the length of fish. In his spare time, you will find him venturing into the mountains with his friends, documenting his adventures with his camera or playing guitar.

Derick Mathews is a 1st-year computer science student at UC Santa Cruz with a minor in Computer Engineering. This summer he is working on a project with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography to develop a location system for a swarm of underwater robots. The team hopes to study ocean currents and the creatures they transport, including plankton. He’s always had passion for robotics and loves building rockets and drones in his free time. He also loves mountain biking with friends and playing guitar.