Nine CS PhD students honored at ITF’s “Fifty for the Future” Awards
UIC had the largest number of winners with eleven students being honored at Illinois Technology Foun-dation’s (ITF) 11th Annual “Fifty for the Future” (F4F) Awards held on March 15th at Robert Morris Univer-sity in Chicago. The award honors 50 local college students and ten local high school students for their aspirations in the field of technology along with their academic achievements, and builds awareness of to-morrow’s workforce talent for the Illinois technology ecosystem.
ITF’s mission is to provide a conduit for bringing stu-dents, faculty and employers together to match tal-ent with opportunities. ITF remains a grassroots team with over 500 passionate volunteers help-ing students find meaningful employment that allows them to pursue their technical aspirations while making valuable contributions to their em-ployers.
The UIC Computer Science Department was repre-sented by nine PhD students (listed above and to the right) who were recognized for their pursuits within the field of technology. The other two UIC students honored were Ta Yuan Hsu, PhD, from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and Paloma Flores, BS, in Management Information Systems from the College of Business.
Students were given the F4F award for numerous achievements. Mehrdad Alizadeh was recognized for recent projects and publications he contributed to, along with his advisor’s support and recommenda-tion. “I was so excited to win this award,” Alizedah said. “I feel more motivated to move the technology boundaries forward.”
David Randolph was slightly caught off guard being honored. “I was a bit surprised. As a person in his 50’s it was strange to think of myself as one of “Fifty for the Future,” he said. “My wife (and daughter) ac-tually thought at first the award had something to do with my being over 50.“
All kidding aside, Randolph was humbled by the award. “It is gratifying to be recognized with all of these bright young students,” he said. “I think it shows that a commitment to lifelong learning and higher education can help keep someone like me in touch with the future.”
Yiji Zhang recognized the opportunities that come with being honored for the F4F award. “It brings you a great networking chance with which you can be connected with senior mentors who work in the technology industry,” she said. “You can get first-hand information on what the industry looks like whether you want to work on the technical track or management track.”
Randolph had some words of advice for students aspiring to be part of the F4F. “Put your ideas into practice and the future will take care of itself,” he said.