Being a third year electrical engineering student, Phoebe (Xinyi) Chang chose the Department of Computer Science’s Summer Research Internship Opportunity because, as she explains: “I really wanted to apply my acquired engineering knowledge to practical, related projects.”
Phoebe’s current research with Professor Ravin Balakrishnan and postdoctoral student Fanny Chevalier involves developing an Android app that integrates the visualization and analysis of nutritional information, using optical character recognition (“OCR”) technology. Essentially, Phoebe is providing an enhanced visualization of the nutritional information table that appears on food packaging, showing personalized daily values based on the user’s personal data. She is also hoping to provide an option where the nutritional value of two different products can be compared and contrasted. Phoebe hopes that her work will renew people’s interest in dietary health: “There is already interest in nutritional information, but better visualization of that information will retain peoples’ attention,” she explains. “Also, having personalized serving sizes provided automatically is much more convenient for consumers.”
Not surprisingly, Phoebe is a very active student who enjoys swimming and biking. “I like to be physically active outside of work and research,” she shares. “I find that helps me become more concentrated when doing sedentary activities.”
Claiming that she has “a linear way of thinking, like a stereotypical engineer”, Phoebe also really enjoys interacting with people. She expresses gratitude for having the opportunity to experience research for the first time in such a great environment, stating that the department’s summer research program has done a good job encouraging students to get to know each other better.
Clearly, here’s an undergraduate student who not only values her research experience at DCS, but understands that networking is a critical part of the puzzle.