October 23, 2017

Students Present Research at Annual Symposium

Summer-Science-InstituteHave you ever gotten exasperated while waiting to be seated at a restaurant? It’s a universal problem that has frustrated customers and owners around the globe.

Senior Evan Mays is working to help restaurants figure out what causes long wait times. The computer science major spent the spring and summer semesters collecting data at Seacobeck Dining Hall. He used information from customers’ wireless devices to estimate the number of people visiting the restaurant and the amount of time they stayed.

The research project, “Predicting Wait Times with Wi-Fi Network Traffic,”  was a win for  Mays, who received first place for his presentation at the annual Summer Science Institute Research Symposium on Wednesday, July 22. His mentor was Jennifer Polack, professor of computer science.

As for Seacobeck Hall, Mays has a suggestion on how the dining hall can minimize its wait times: Open a second register during peak hours.

Mays was one of 18 presenters whose research projects ranged from examining soil pollution at a mining site to analyzing the Japanese yen/U.S. dollar exchange rate.

Other winners included:

Second Place Oral Presentation: Samuel Clark, “Optimization of SELEX Parameters for RNA Aptamer Selection, Advisor: Randall Reif, assistant professor of chemistry

First Place Poster Presentation: Kristina Krumpos, “Genetically Engineering a Plasmid Expression Vector for Nuclear Localization Studies,” Advisor: Stephen Gallik, professor of biology

Second Place Poster Presentation: Taylor McConnell, “Analysis of Potential Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals in Native Plants at an Acid Mine Drainage Site along Contrary Creek, Virginia,” Advisor: Melanie Szulczewski, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences