CSC News

May 02, 2024

Tran Receives Prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Congratulations to PhD student Keith Tran on receiving a highly competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. NSF Fellowships are prestigious awards offered only to those students with outstanding academic achievement and potential for future accomplishments in their fields.


Tran, a 2022 graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is currently a second-year PhD student in Computer Science at NC State. His research aims to transform computer science education in the era of AI, specifically by developing conversational programming techniques. Tran's research involves developing a structured approach to programming using natural language and designing an intuitive user interface that makes programming accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or level of expertise. He is dedicated to democratizing programming and empowering individuals to create software without needing to learn a traditional programming language.


"My research will explore the extent to which a conversational interface can effectively support programming, striking a balance between the simplicity of everyday language and the depth and logical formality of coding," Tran explains. "This research will tackle fundamental challenges in designing a hybrid model that caters to both beginners and advanced users, representing a middle ground between the extremes of traditional programming languages and simple, low-code interfaces. The ultimate goal is to create an accessible and intuitive programming environment that enables individuals from all backgrounds to engage in programming using natural language."


Tran, who is advised by Dr. Thomas Price, is a member of the Help Through Intelligent Support (HINTS) Lab.  HINTS members work to develop learning environments that automatically support students with AI and data-driven help features.


The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to ensure the quality, vitality, and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. GRFP seeks to broaden participation in science and engineering of underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans. The five-year fellowship provides three years of financial support inclusive of an annual stipend of $37,000, and a cost-of-education allowance of $12,000 to the recipient’s institution.


Since 1952, NSF has funded over 60,000 Graduate Research Fellowships out of more than 500,000 applicants.  Currently, 42 Fellows have gone on to become Nobel laureates, and more than 450 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences.  In addition, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program has a high rate of doctorate degree completion, with more than 70 percent of students completing their doctorates within 11 years.



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