Rain pounds the windows of the Computer Science Thinking Room, but it doesn’t seem to distract three groups of students working quietly on unique senior projects.
Joann Ordille, assistant professor of computer science, assists the students on separate projects that will help curate and identify College-owned images and art and to gather information on academic performance in the Lehigh Valley’s school districts.
“Our focus is to break down school districts in the Lehigh Valley and collect data on test scores and see what resources might be needed to make improvements,” says Matthew Beck ’18, who works intently on his laptop, flanked by his computer science colleagues Francesca Klerer ’18, Yizhong Chen ’18, and Chris VanBlargan ’18.
After four semesters of work into the project, the data show a dip in math scores across the Lehigh Valley. Beck and his group are unsure if the trend has to do with changing curriculum, faulty data, or other factors, but they plan to present their findings to the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. this spring.
“Hopefully this work will help give them an idea of the resources that might be needed in the area school districts,” Beck says.
At a neighboring table, Liam Mungovan ’18 and Agathe Benichou ’18 work on developing a campus-wide game to help Michiko Okaya, director of art galleries and collections curator, curate the College’s collection of photographs.
When it’s launched later this semester, the game will allow students, faculty, and staff to earn points by entering information about the 2,000 images in the College’s collection taken by professional photographers over the years.
The game will allow players 90 seconds to enter descriptions of the photos, and the data will be put through an algorithm to check the information for context.
“It will help with labeling the various images,” Mungovan says.
A complementary project is underway at another table, where John Minahan ’19, Michael Teddick ’18, Darren Norton ’18, and Yuchen Sun ’18 work on gathering data about all the College’s pieces of art.
“Our goal is to build an entire searchable gallery that can be viewed online, with an automated tour guide,” Minahan says. “There’s a lot of different photographs and art owned by Lafayette, and we hope to make it more accessible.”