Shaden Smith has only been at UK for three years, but he has already left his mark, just in time for graduation. Shaden currently serves as the president of the school's ACM chapter, as an undergraduate research assistant, and as a grader for CS315.
The ACM--the Association for Computing Machinery, a computer science professional society--has a UK student chapter which Shaden has led for the past year. The main focus of the branch is to plan events within the department; these include lectures, programming competitions, and the semi-annual Hackathon. The club averages around five events per semester, and has around thirty active members. Shaden first connected with the ACM as a freshman by joining the programming team, and he has enjoyed having the opportunity to reach out to new freshmen each year.
As a research assistant, Smith works with Dr. Mirek Truszczynski to study boolean satisfiability, a branch of artificial intelligence. With Truszczynski and two other team members, Shaden recently presented a paper on answer set programming at a conference in Philadelphia. Smith and Truszczynski have worked together since Shaden took CS315 (Algorithm Design) with Truszczynski almost two years ago.
Shaden is now the grader for CS315, and he also claims it as his favorite course at UK. "It changed the way I thought about CS," he says. Grading homework assignments for fellow CS undergrads has also allowed Shaden to market ACM events to a target audience.
Just a month away from graduation--Shaden was able to use AP credit and to take full course-loads to finish a year sooner than average--Smith is currently deciding between graduate schools. His goal is to become a professor and to continue doing research. "I want to keep learning new things," he confesses, "and I want to teach them to other people, especially in the field of [artificial intelligence]."
Not surprisingly, Shaden's advice to incoming freshmen is to get involved, whether with the ACM, another professional organization, or with some other club entirely. He believes in the importance of being well-rounded, and also admits that being involved helps to improve social skills, which can help distinguish one scientist from the pack during job/grad-school interviews.
A Henry Clay high school graduate, Shaden Smith has been in Lexington his whole life. Though he loves the experience he recieved at UK and in the department of Computer Science, he is ready to move on to the next stage of this life. Surely, Shaden is destined for big things!