JWU Chartered and Inducted into Upsilon Pi Epsilon Honor Society

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Johnson & Wales University recently became the second university in Rhode Island to be chartered as a beta chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE). In all, 34 students and alumni, as well as two faculty members, from the College of Engineering & Design were inducted as members of the international computer science honor society.

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“Tonight’s a very special night for JWU,” says Professor Tom Calabrese, Ph.D. “The College of Engineering & Design made a commitment, about 10 years ago, to fostering new ways of thinking about computer science education at the university. And we’ve done a lot of great things to make this a very viable education field here at JWU.

"Tonight’s a very special night for JWU."

“This UPE ceremony means a lot: It gives JWU a venue where we can honor our students and give them an opportunity to be recognized. It also brings a more enhanced focus on the computer science education that we offer to get us to a place to keep moving forward towards bigger and better things for our department and the university.” Calabrese was himself inducted into UPE in 1997 as a graduate student.

Leading the inductees for the night were Alyson Calabrese ’20 Robotics Engineering, Kristopher Sneed ’19 Software Engineering and Aryk Ledet ’19 Electronics Engineering. Under UPE initiation regulations, they assumed the roles of Upsilon, Pi and Epsilon, respectively, as they got ready to welcome the 2019 UPE inductee class. Inductees represented a variety of JWU majors, including Computer Science, Robotics Engineering and Electronics Engineering.

2019 JWU Upsilon Pi Epsilon Inductees:

  • Alyson Calabrese, Upsilon and UPE president
  • Kristopher Sneed, Pi and ACM student chapter vice president
  • Aryk Ledet, Epsilon and ACM student chapter president
  • Haithem Aldowairah
  • Saud Alqahtani
  • Abdullah Alsaab
  • Jessica Bourke
  • Dennis Collins
  • Jacob DeMey
  • Dalton Drummond
  • Bianca Ebanks, UPE vice president
  • Edgar Falcon
  • Kyle Garand, UPE and ACM student chapter treasurer
  • Marquis Green
  • Jakob Castro, UPE secretary
  • Derek Mager
  • Eduardo Jorge Marques Magalhaes
  • Logan McNeely
  • Ahmad Moshref
  • Vishal Ojha
  • Carly O'Keefe
  • Stephen Pelletier
  • Morgan Reilly
  • Manuel Rosado
  • Alicia Sisouvong-DeVries
  • Jessica Spinney
  • Kimchhay Sreng
  • Tyler Steele
  • Annabelle Suero
  • Felix Suhermanto
  • Sara VonHein
  • Matthew Warbington
  • Kevin Whitney, ACM student chapter secretary
  • Jonathan Winter
  • James Sheusi, associate professor and department chair
  • Sol Neeman, Ph.D., professor

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During the ceremony, the group explained the significance of the symbols that make up the UPE emblem, or key, and what they represent to the professional association.

“Three historical symbols in the computing and information disciplines are the zero, the one and the abacus,” says Sneed describing the key’s features in detail. The inductees took their place during the ceremony, sitting in front of a table where 11 candles, nine lit and two unlit, where arranged to represent the eleven binary bits on the key.

The chartering ceremony makes JWU the 298th university to be inducted into the honor society, says James Comer, Ph.D., UPE council member. “JWU is entering into affiliation with an organization that has monumental impact on computer science around the world. And I’m very appreciative to have the opportunity to be here today to welcome you to UPE.”

JWU’s Momentous Occasion
Also on hand to celebrate the inductees’ accomplishments was Marie Bernardo-Sousa, LP.D., senior vice president of administration & enrollment management. “It's a pleasure and an honor to witness this evening’s momentous occasion. Johnson & Wales University will be the second program in the state of Rhode Island to be recognized and chartered as the Upsilon Pi Epsilon honor society. This is a distinction that can only be achieved through the dedication of our faculty and the forward thinking of our college leadership.

"You'll be titans of industry."

“The students being honored tonight have achieved a significant academic distinction through their stellar commitment in the classroom and beyond. I know that many of you spend countless hours in our classrooms and labs when faculty members are no longer there working on projects, working on futures. You will be the problem solvers of the future. You'll be titans of industry; we cannot wait to see what you will create.”

James Sheusi, associate professor and department chair, and Sol Neeman, Ph.D., professor, were nominated and selected by the students to join JWU’s UPE inaugural class.

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“This event is about the transformation of a college, and the programs that have provided for this opportunity,” says Dean Frank Tweedie. And key to that transformation, says Tweedie, are the college’s faculty members including Sheusi and Neeman.

"This event is about the transformation of a college."

“Professor Neeman is an expert in imaging and AI computer vision microcontrollers. He was instrumental in developing our robotics and engineering programs as well as the new biomedical engineering program coming in 2020,” he adds.

Tweedie also highlighted Sheusi’s accomplishments. “He’s an Android guru, author of two books and an expert programmer and an application developer.

“These individuals are your advisors and mentors, but today they sit as your peers in this inaugural class.”

Validation for Student's Hard Work
For the students, being inducted validates and recognizes their hard work.

“This is a great honor for me,” says Aryk Ledet. “I’ve worked really hard for this, and everyone else here worked really hard. This is a great thing for Johnson & Wales University, that's what I'm most excited about. It’s important to get our name out there and get more people interested in our computer science program.”

"This is a great thing for Johnson & Wales University."

Bianca Ebanks ’19 Software Engineering agrees. Being inducted into UPE, she says, “is something that says ‘you know, you've really done well while you've been at school.’ And it's nice to know that there are people who recognize how much work we put in at JWU.”

She adds that now that she’s started applying for jobs, being part of UPE is already starting to have a positive effect on her future. “So far, two of the companies I’ve applied to have actually come back to me and said, ‘Hey, you know, we actually didn't know that JWU started a UPE chapter,’ and they were actually really interested in me because of it.”

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