ERSP | About
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What is ERSP? An Overview

The UCSD Computer Science and Engineering Early Research Scholars Program (CSE-ERSP) is a team-based research apprentice experience for computer science and engineering majors in their second year of the program.  Students work in teams of four, and each team is matched with an active research project in the department.  Students learn about research in computer science and then propose and carry out an independent research project over the course of an academic year.

What should I expect from ERSP?

The program takes place during a student’s second year in the CSE major, fall through spring.  Students in each yearly cohort are grouped into teams and matched with an existing research group within UCSD CSE.  Over the course of the program, CSE ERSP groups will attend the research group’s normal weekly meetings to observe and learn from (and eventually contribute to) this research group.  At the same time, CSE ERSP students attend a weekly support “class” with all other students in the CSE-ERSP program that helps them learn the basics of research as well make sense of what they are hearing and learning about in their research groups.

ERSP Threefold Objectives

  1. To excite participants through early exposure to “real computer science” and the challenges facing CS researchers today
  2. To teach participants the fundamental skills involved in conducting CS research
  3. To create a diverse and supportive community within the CSE department, with a particular focus on engaging students from groups currently underrepresented in computer science including women, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and indigenous peoples.

For more information, check out the ERSP overview presentation linked here.

ERSP Leadership

Christine Alvarado



Christine Alvarado is an Associate Teaching Professor and Vice Chair for Undergraduate Education in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of California, San Diego.   Prior to coming to UCSD in 2012, she was an Associate Professor of Computer Science with tenure at Harvey Mudd College.  Her current efforts are focused on designing curriculum and programs to make computing and computing education more accessible and appealing, with the specific goal of increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities who study computing.  Her work is funded by several grants from the National Science Foundation including a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award and a CISE Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education (CPATH) award and a Computing Education for the 21st Century (CE21) award.  In 2013 she received the A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award from the Anita Borg Institute for her contributions diversity in computer science education.

Aditi Mavalankar



Aditi Mavalankar is a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include computer vision and machine learning. Since Fall 2016, she has been the graduate student mentor for ERSP. Before joining UC San Diego, she got her B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering + Honors in Cognitive Science at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, India. In her undergraduate study, she has worked on eye tracking in sports players (presented at the EuroAsianPacific Joint Conference on Cognitive Science 2015) and automated quiz generation using ontologies (presented at the Seventh IEEE International Conference on Technology for Education, 2015).