Student Spotlight April 2017

Mahsa Badami

Mahsa was a teenager when she first saw Stephen Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence, a science fiction drama that follows the story of a robotic boy.       

“Looking back now, I realize that I was at an age where I was so captured by the concept of the movie and I began to develop hope, a dream.” -Mahsa

With that hope, Mahsa began the Computer Engineering and Artificial Intelligence Master’s program at Shiraz University, Iran in 2008.  Following the program, Mahsa wanted to continue her studies and eagerly sought her fortune as a Computer Science major in the United States of America, the convergence point of science and industry.  She was convinced that the University of Louisville’s CECS Department in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering was the perfect place for her to achieve her goals while capitalizing on many growth and research opportunities.  Mahsa has been honored to work under the supervision of her advisor, Dr. Olfa Nasraoui, and to have joined the Knowledge Discovery and Web Mining lab, which has provided a rich environment for growth  needed to become a future leading researcher.

Interview:

1. How would you describe your area of study/ specific research to your grandmother?

I make people happy by suggesting options based on their interests!  No matter if they tell me what they like or dislike, I know what they are looking for!

2. How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?

Having Dr. Nasraoui as a strong and compassionate female role model, in the male dominated discipline of computer science, helped empower me and bring out a side of myself that has been hiding in recent years.  I hope that I too can encourage young girls to believe in their strength regardless of their gender.

3. Long term goals/ aspirations:

My goal is to use my knowledge in Computer Science to build technologies that bring people together and spread love and peace.

4. What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

My time as a graduate student at UofL has given me the courage to chase my dreams and never give up!  My journey hasn’t been all about me or technical perspectives, it was also about understanding others’ needs, serving the community, and standing alongside others.

5. What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL?

My favorite part of the graduate school experience is having opportunities to be a part of different organizations and events.  These range from Cardinal Appreciation of Musical Theater to serving on Graduate Student Council.

6. What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

As an international student, the biggest challenge for me being homesick.  During last 5 years, I have visited my family only once and being able to move forward with my studies despite how much I wanted to be with my family was hard.  It is very important to build a small support network and ask for help when it is needed.

7. Awards, honors, publications:

Awards and Honors:
* 1st place at Bosch Device Detection Competition, KDD’16
* Arthur Riehl Award for excellent academic performance by University of Louisville, 2016    
* Tapia Doctoral Consortium Scholarship by NSF, ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing     
* SpeedUp competition award (cash prize) by Speed School of Engineering, UofL
* First place Graduate Research Award 101st Kentucky Academy of Science
* Top 3 selected app at National Day of Civic Hacking event, 2015
* First place of poster competition in UofL Graduate Research Symposium
* Best Poster winner of ACM_W at KY-triwic
* Tuition Match Award of University of Louisville
* Grad Cohort Celebration Scholarship, 2014
* Grace Hopper Celebration Scholarship by (AT&T, LinkedIn and ABI), 2013 – 2015
* Social Media Mentions Winner at National Day of Civic Hacking event, 2013
* Semi-finalist of National Inform Mathematics & Computer Olympiads, Iran, 2003
* Selected student in Iranian Best Students Congress in Tehran University – Tehran, Iran, 2002 – 2003
* Ranked 1st in National Scientific Contest, Hamadan, Iran, 1996 – 1997

Publications:
* M. Badami, O. Nasraoui, Cross-Domain Hashtag Recommendation and Story Revelation in Social Media Posts, AAAI, February 2017 (Under Revision)
* M. Badami, F. Tafazzoli, O. Nasraoui, A Data Science Case Study for Event Recommendation Using Data Storytelling and Fuzzy Approximate Reasoning, IEEE Transactions on FUZZY SYSTEMS Special Issue on Fuzzy Systems in Data Science, March 2016 (Under Revision)
* B. Abdollahi, M. Badami, G. C. Nutakki, O. Nasraoui, A Two Step Ranking Solution for Twitter User Engagement,  Recommender Systems Challenge associated with ACM,  2014 – Recsys’14 Competition
* G. C. Nutakki, O. Nasraoui, B. Abdollahi, M. Badami, W. Sun, Distributed LDA based Topic Modeling and Topic Agglomeration in a Latent Space, 23rd International World Wide Web Conference, 7-11 April 2014- SNOW’14 Competition
* M. Badami, N. Mozafari, A. Hamzeh, S. Hashemi, An Ensemble Game Theoretic Approach for Multi-Objective Optimization, The European Journal of Artificial Intelligence, 2014
* M. Badami, F. Tafazzoli, Event Recommendation Engine Challenge, KY-triwic (ACM_W), February 2014
* M. Badami, A. Hamzeh, S. Hashemi, An Enriched Game-Theoretic framework for Multi-Objective Clustering, International Journal of Applied Soft Computing, 2013
* M. Badami, A. Hamzeh, S. Hashemi, A novel Strategy Selection Method for Multi-Objective Clustering Algorithms using Game Theory, IJCSI Volume 9, Issue 3, May 2012
* M. Badami, A. Hamzeh, S. Hashemi, A Probabilistic Approach for Multi-Objective Clustering Using Game Theory, 16th Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Signal Processing, 2012
* Q. Mirsharif, M. Badami, B. Salehi, Z. Azimifar, Recognition of Farsi Handwritten Digits using a small Feature Set, Proc. Of Int. Conf. on 3rd International Conference on Signal Acquisition and Processing, International Journal of Procedia Engineering, 2011.


Fun Facts
A talent you have always wanted: I have always wanted to a musical ear so that I could compose!
Favorite quote: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou
Role Model:  I am inspired by people who work towards stopping violence and creating world peace.

Favorite Vacation Destination:   Bahamas
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Managing an art gallery!