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Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the international honor society for the computing and information disciplines, awarded scholarships totaling $3,000 to two students in the School of Computing at the University of North Florida for academic excellence in the field of computing.UNF graduate student Mahesh Kotapalli, who is working on his master’s degree in computer science, and Nadiia Semenchuk, a UNF senior majoring in computing and information systems, were each awarded a UPE Special Recognition Scholarship for $1,500.“Receiving such international awards is indicative of the rigorous nature of the programs of the School of Computing in the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction and the University itself in preparing students for a successful career,” said Dr. Sanjay Ahuja, UNF computing professor and UPE advisor.Kotapalli, a Southside resident, maintains a 3.9 GPA and has served as a research assistant in the School of Computing. He is a member of the elite Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and serves as a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Additionally, Kotapalli has written and presented research on “Landmarks in Code Navigation,” which won Top Research Project at the 2015 UNF Showcase of Osprey Advancements in Research and Scholarship Conference.He has been an active participant in multiple non-governmental organizations in India, such as Sikhsha and change.org, and has helped underprivileged children by teaching them computing and basic programming skills. After earning his master’s degree at UNF, Kotapalli would like to pursue a doctorate degree and teach in higher education. Semenchuk, an Arlington resident, is on the Dean’s List with a 3.92 GPA. In addition to serving with the UNF UPE Chapter, she is a member and supporter of the Society for Women Advancing Technology in the School of Computing. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, she also works as an intern at Florida Blue, where she supports and develops a web-based application built on a configuration management database and has developed Microsoft Orchestrator automation runbooks.As part of her senior project class under Dr. Karthikeyan Umapathy, UNF associate professor of computing, she volunteered with The Way Free Medical Clinic, which provides free medical services to patients who are 200 percent below the poverty line in Clay County. The organization used only paper documents in managing its volunteers and preparing financial statements, consuming precious time and resources. As a result, Semenchuk was part of a team that developed the Volunteer Management System, which replaced the paperwork process completely and drastically reduced the overall time spent managing volunteers. She received an Honorary Mention Award at the fall 2015 UNF School of Computing Symposium for this project. UNF’s School of Computing is dedicated to the promotion of an academically exciting and progressive intellectual climate, characterized by a superior program of instruction, peer-recognized scholarship, effective support services and productive professional community involvement. UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.
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