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Campus News in Brief

Five SCS graduate students named as Siebel Scholars

Computer science graduate students Sanjiban Choudhury, Ruta Desai, Min Kyung Lee, Martina Rau, and Zeyu Zheng have all been named as some of this year’s Siebel Scholars.

Siebel Scholars are recognized as the best students from graduate schools in the fields of business, bioengineering, and computer science. The selection criteria are based on academic performance and leadership ability. Each scholar is awarded $35,000 for his or her final year of schooling.

Choudhury and Desai are enrolled in the Robotics Institute’s master’s program. Choudhury currently researches topics related to autonomous helicopters and plans to obtain a Ph.D. in robotics. Desai’s research focuses on legged robotics, specifically controls of automated balance recovery after trips or pushes.

Lee and Rau are both pursuing Ph.D.s at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, with Lee focusing on intelligent interface systems, and Rau researching tutoring systems. Rau won the award for the best student paper at the 2009 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education.

Zheng is in the master’s program in the Language Technologies Institute and is researching domain adaptation, building on his previous work as an intern at Microsoft Research Asia.

Conducting prize awarded to School of Music alumni

School of Music Alumni Maria Sensi-Sellner and Christopher Fecteau were recently awarded the American Prize in Opera Conducting.

The American Prize recognizes excellence in conducting across several divisions. Sensi-Sellner was awarded the top prize in the university division for her work with the Carnegie Mellon School of Music in last year’s production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 2002, a master’s degree in music composition in 2007, and another master’s in conducting in 2009.

Sensi-Sellner made her conducting debut with the Akron Symphony last March and currently serves as the director of the Akron Symphony Chorus and as assistant conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

Fecteau earned his bachelor’s degree at Carnegie Mellon in 1990 and now works as a vocal coach, pianist, conductor, and arranger in New York City. He was awarded the community division of the American Prize for his work as the artistic director of the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, a company he founded in 2000.

As a vocal coach, Fecteau has prepared singers for The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Florida Grand Opera.