Levin Wins Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

Apr 01, 2020

Dave Levin, an assistant professor of computer science and a core faculty member in the Maryland Cybersecurity Center, has received an Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

The award recognizes individuals that provide outstanding mentorship and high-quality research opportunities for undergraduate students, and who are active in the recruitment of women and minority students in computing-related fields.

Levin was nominated for the award by Rachel Walter, who graduated with a computer science degree in December 2019 and is now a software development engineer at Amazon.

Walter says Levin goes “above and beyond” to create and provide research opportunities for students, especially those in underrepresented groups.

"I would not be where I am in computer science without [Levin’s] mentorship," Walter wrote in the nomination letter to NCWIT. "He encouraged me to stretch myself by trying out research. He has been receptive and supportive of my interests in computer science education and policy. He has guided me on different ways I could participate in research and graduate school. He has increased my confidence in my own abilities as a technologist and a leader. I cannot think of another professor who cares more about his students, his student’s research, and getting more students in research."

Walter collaborated extensively with Levin and others as a member of the Breakerspace Lab, a research space that Levin launched in Fall 2018 to give undergraduates hands-on experience with group research projects involving computer and network security.

Levin was also a key participant in a three-day workshop last fall called Tech + Research, where 58 undergraduates from around the country took a deep dive into computer science research projects. That event, hosted by the Department of Computer Science and the Maryland Center for Women in Computing, was run in tandem with Technica, the world’s largest all-female and non-binary hackathon.

Levin, who has an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, was slated to be recognized at the 2020 NCWIT Summit on Women in IT in Detroit, Michigan, in May. Due to the growing public health emergency of COVID-19, that event has been cancelled, with a virtual summit expected to take place instead.

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld