By Bryan Hay

Christian Lopez, assistant professor of computer science (affiliated with mechanical engineering), has received his first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to advance his research in gamification and machine learning to support STEM education in collaboration with colleagues from Pennsylvania State University and Carnegie Mellon University.

“While this is not my first grant per se, since I was awarded two grants from the Dominican Republic government in the past few years, this is my first NSF grant,” says Lopez, whose research interests include machine learning and persuasive technologies. 

“We went over multiple iterations of it, and now it finally got approved,” he says. “That, and the fact that it is very in line with my research interests, means a great milestone in my professional career.”

Prof. Christian Lopez

Prof. Christian Lopez

For Lafayette, the $149,992 NSF grant will support at least three research students for three years.

“More importantly, these students will be able to work collaboratively with students from other institutions like Penn State and Carnegie Mellon University,” says Lopez, who will serve as co-principal investigator with Omar Ashour, associate professor of industrial engineering at Penn State, and Conrad S. Tucker, interim director of CMU-Africa and professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

“Lastly, since it is part of the Research on Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning (RETTL) program, its core is about designing, testing, and implementing emerging technologies for teaching and learning,” he adds.

Lopez says he is looking for research assistants and encourages Lafayette students who may be interested in his work to reach out to him directly.


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