The Many Benefits of REUs (Part 1)

Senior Ashley Hogg Shares Her Experience at the University of South Florida in Tampa

By Madison Hodge, '21

This past summer, four Coker students participated in an REU, or Research Experiences for Undergraduates. One of those students is Ashley Hogg (December ‘19). REUs are competitive research programs for undergraduates studying science, engineering or mathematics, and are sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Hogg is a computer science major, an intern in Coker’s IT department, and a member of the women’s soccer team. She first heard of REU opportunities from Dr. Paul Dostert, and then discovered her specific REU on the National Science Foundation website. Hogg spent her summer at the University of South Florida in Tampa participating in an REU in which she developed an Android app that can help medical staff get more accurate wound measurements.

“It does this by taking a 3D image rather than using the invasive measurement tape and cotton swab method,” explains Hogg. “Using the Intel RealSense SDK 2.0, I was able to develop an application with Android Studio that allows for Android devices to take advantage of the Intel RealSense D435 camera technology. This camera uses point cloud software to create a 3D representation of the wound that can measure the length, width, and depth of the wound using an algorithm.”

Hogg says that she learned several valuable things during her REU experience. She learned about computer vision, point cloud, and image acquisition. Hogg also learned how to use Android studio to program an Android application. Additionally, she learned how to write research conference papers and create posters to present her work. Finally, she learned more about the process of applying to graduate school and the benefits of getting graduate degrees.

During her time at the University of South Florida, Hogg lived in the Magnolia dorms, which are located near the engineering building. She met a lot of new people who were also participating in the REU. Hogg says that those people were from many different places.

“Five of the ten participants were from Puerto Rico and another participant was from Israel,” says Hogg. “It was very exciting to become friends with a group of people who have similar interests as I do.”

When asked how she thinks this experience will help her after graduation, Hogg said that it will help her find a job after graduation as she feels she is now more prepared to apply for jobs. Because she gained new skills and knowledge, she believes she will now have a more impressive resume. The experience has also boosted her confidence because she gained real-world working experience with professionals in her field and she learned how to manage her time more efficiently.

“My favorite part about this experience was the exposure to other areas of computer science I was able to have, such as learning about computer vision and machine learning...I am very grateful for that exposure.” explains Hogg.

Hogg thinks that participating in an REU is beneficial for undergraduate students. It gives them the opportunity to research real-life problems and gain new knowledge about those problems, new experiences, and boosts their confidence. “It also offers students the chance to learn more about the process of applying to graduate school,” says Hogg. “and it may help them decide whether or not it is the right choice for them.”


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