Every academic year, the department chooses a computer engineering and a computer science outstanding senior based upon their academic accomplishments, research and/or experience, service activities and future plan from all students graduating during that academic year.
The 2020-21 Computer Engineering Outstanding Senior is Carson Molder, and the 2020-21 Computer Science Outstanding Senior is Zachary “Gunner” Lawless.
Molder will graduate in May 2021 with a cumulative GPA of 4.0 with a B.S. in computer engineering and minors in mathematics and physics. Molder is a member of professor Justin Zhan’s lab doing artificial intelligence and machine learning research for biomedical applications. He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, an honorary band fraternity that serves the U of A music program. Molder has also volunteered in outreach projects for computer science.
Last summer, he assisted Zhan in hosting Unite, a summer research experience for high school students that is a part of the Army Educational Outreach Program. This fall, Molder plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Texas-Austin. His long-term goal is to become a university professor or industry researcher, eventually starting a company that could apply the machine learning technologies he discovers to real-world systems.
Lawless will graduate in May 2021 with a cumulative GPA of 4.00 with a B.S. in computer science and a B.S. in computer engineering with a minor in mathematics. Lawless participated in a Mobile, Cloud and Data Security REU that focused on the security related to deep neural networks. He is working with Dale Thompson and the Center for Food Safety in the Food Science Department on sequencing DNA and performing bioinformatic analysis on sequence data to learn about specific microbiomes.
Lawless is a member of the CyberHogs group on campus, interested in cybersecurity that helps each other develop practical technical skills and apply their skills in various cybersecurity competitions such as the College Cyber Defense Competition. This fall, Lawless will pursue the M.S. in computer engineering in addition to the Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate while being supported by the NSF Scholarship for Service program. After graduating he will pursue a career with Department of Defense.