Monday, September 30, 2013

Freshman Friendly Research

Since my second week at Fordham, I have been a member of the Wireless Sensor Data Mining (WISDM) lab. WISDM collects and mines sensor data from smartphones with the goal of implementing the findings to change how smart mobile devices are used.  We currently work with Android devices, and one of our projects is an app that performs activity recognition using your smartphone’s accelerometer. The Actitracker app promotes a healthier lifestyle by helping you monitor your physical activities. If you have an Andorid phone check it out!

Actitracker App
My advisor introduced me to Dr. Weiss, the professor running the lab, because I am a computer science major. I was surprised that they would let a freshman work on the project, but my curiosity led me to pursue the opportunity. 

A typical WISDM meeting
I did not come to school with an extraordinary background in research, but my lack of experience did not exclude me from participating. I started off by attending the weekly meetings and helping with data collections. Seeing my commitment, Dr. Weiss paired me up with a senior on the project who started to teach me the skills I would need to conduct data mining experiments of my own. My current work focuses on improving our methods for biometric identification, where we predict the identity of a user from a set based on samples of their walking gait.

Fordham College Rose Hill is very supportive of undergraduate research. During the fall, I received a Fordham Undergraduate Research Grant to help fund my work, and the next semester, I presented my work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. I was also able to continue my work on campus with WISDM over the summer, thanks to Fordham and a generous Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholarship.

2013 Fordham University Undergraduate Research Symposium
I have gained great friends as well as valuable experience working with WISDM.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming freshman can’t work on research. Talk to upperclassmen, your advisor, and your professors to find opportunities. Find what interests you and get involved!

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