2019 Gerald M. Masson Fellows

September 18, 2019

Michelle Shu


Who could have predicted that two inspiring engineers from the same middle school, located thousands of miles away from Baltimore, Maryland, would reunite years later while studying computer science at the same university? Yet this remarkable coincidence is exactly what happened to 2019 Gerald M. Masson Fellows Michelle Shu and Xiang (Lisa) Li.

“It was our mutual friends who connected us on campus; we didn’t even know that we were both at Hopkins!” said Shu.

Excited to venture out of unfamiliar territory, Shu moved from Vancouver, Canada to explore her initial interest in biophysics. But it was her exposure to a few introductory computer science classes that caused her to change course.

“During the spring of my junior year I took a computer vision course with Professor Yuille that compelled me to change my research focus,” said Shu. This summer, Shu interned at the University of Michigan as a research assistant.

“The fellowship helps to alleviate some of the financial stresses and focus more on my research,” said Shu. She is double majoring in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics and Statistics. Shu’s research areas include computer vision and machine learning. Her advisor is Alan Yuille, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor.

Xiang (Lisa) Li.

For Li, the fellowship provides financial assistance to further her academics and research. During the summer, Li interned with Harvard NLP, a research group at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“I worked with Alexander M. Rush, assistant professor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. My project was about using discrete a latent variable model to aid interpretability and controllability of autoregressive neural network for data-to-text task,” said Li.

Li’s research area is natural language processing and her advisor is Jason Eisner, professor in Computer Science. She is also double majoring in computer science and applied mathematics and statistics. Her expected graduation date is May 21, 2020.

Established in memoriam of the department’s inaugural chair and founding director of the Information Security Institute, Professor Gerald M. Masson, the fellowship was created in the summer of 2018 for students in the Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Program. The program enables undergraduates to apply for and begin taking courses towards a master’s degree before completing their bachelor’s degree. The fellowship provides a 25% tuition waiver for the semester in which an awardee is conducting the graduate research, provided they are enrolled full time.

To learn more about the Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Program, click here. To learn more about the Gerald M. Masson Fellowship, click here.

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