Estill college student awarded GEM National Consortium Fellowships

The Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs is pleased to announce De’Aira Bryant (Estill) and Blakeley Hoffman (Irmo) have each been awarded a GEM National Consortium Fellowship.

Both Bryant and Hoffman were selected by Adobe Systems Incorporated, where they will complete the internship component of the fellowship. The GEM program seeks to enhance the value of the nation’s human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented groups at the master’s and doctoral levels in engineering and science.  The fellowship provides a stipend, tuition assistance, and a paid summer internship in 2017.  More than 4,000 GEM Fellowships have been awarded since the program's inception 41 years ago.

Bryant graduated this May from the College of Engineering and Computing with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Mathematics.  She is the recipient of the Solomon Jackson Jr. Scholarship, the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, and the Valedictorian Scholarship, as well as the 2016 Lillie J. James Computer Science Award and most recently the 2017 NSF GRFP.  Her undergraduate research over the last three years has been in the Assistive Robotics and Technology Lab, under the mentorship of Dr. Jenay Beer, partially funded with a Magellan Scholarship.  Much of her work went towards “Ms. An the Robot Tutor,” a project involving the use of an NAO humanoid robot as a mathematics tutor for elementary school students.  The co-founder and current president of Minorities in Computing at USC, she is also a member of Women in Computing, Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She has also volunteered with FIRST Robotics Competitions, the Hour of Code, and the CEC Engineering Week Open House for several years. Bryant will intern with Adobe Systems Inc. this summer and begin her PhD in Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall.  Bryant plans to become a university professor of computer science conducting research in the field of human-computer interaction.