UTEP PhD Student Awarded Google HSF Scholarship
ANDREA ACOSTA | July 05, 2013 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
Electrical and computer engineering doctoral student Salvador Melendez presents his reserach at a Google Scholars' Retreat in New York City in July. Photo courtesy of Salvador Melendez.
Competing against students from the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam, UTEP electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. student Salvador Melendez is one of the few who was awarded a $10,000 Google Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) Scholarship, which will be used for his fall semester 2013 studies.
The Google HSF Scholarship Program awards funds to students studying computer science or computer engineering who are juniors or seniors in college, or pursuing a master's or doctoral degree. Selected scholars were invited to an all-expenses paid trip to New York City July 17-20 for a Google Scholars' Retreat.
"Besides the award, I'm happy to be receiving this scholarship because it is an excellent opportunity to meet great people during the 2013 Google Scholars' Retreat in New York this summer," Melendez said before his trip.
Scholars had the opportunity to network with one another, meet Google employees (known as "Googlers"), and attend tech talks and developmental workshops at the New York City Google office. They also participated in the very first Scholars' Retreat edition of 24 Hours of Good, a "hackathon" in partnership with nonprofit organizations in the New York region.
According to Melendez, teams of four paired with a nonprofit organization that works on education and STEM initiatives. Together, they worked on a technical problem critical to the organization's success.
"Salvador is a very talented individual and his dream is to someday work as a researcher for Google in Silicon Valley," said Michael McGarry, Ph.D., UTEP assistant professor of engineering. "This scholarship and scholarly retreat opportunity at Google are a strong first step in the direction toward his dream. I am very proud of him and am happy that he is working in my research group here at UTEP."
Melendez attended the event's poster session to present his research at UTEP.
"My research deals with wireless video surveillance networks, where we're focusing on minimizing the average retransmission delay and the average energy consumption by using intermediate nodes as caching routers," Melendez said.
This error recovery mechanism is called Automatic Repeat Request (ARQ) using caching or packets at routers.
"Specifically, Salvador is validating an analytical model we have developed that yields the optimal solution for the placement of caching routers," McGarry said. "His validation uses a set of physical experiments that include communicating nodes and routers implemented with single board computers called PandaBoards."
Melendez has used a research startup package given to McGarry by the College of Engineering to fund the purchase of equipment required for this project.
"The UTEP CoE (College of Engineering) has not only provided support on the research but has also done a fabulous job at announcing scholarship opportunities for students," McGarry said. "Salvador became aware of the Google scholarship from an email he received from UTEP CoE administrators."
According to Melendez, this achievement is the product of the effort of his professors, family and friends who have helped him throughout his career.
"I want to give special thanks to my advisors Michael McGarry, Ph.D., Joseph Pierluissi, Ph.D., and Patricia Nava, Ph.D," Melendez said. "Not to mention HSF, Google and UTEP for this opportunity."