WVSU Student One of First to Participate in Stanford Summer Computer Science Program

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
September 1, 2022
WVSU Student One of First to Participate in Stanford Summer Computer Science Program   

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – A West Virginia State University (WVSU) computer science student is weighing her options for life after earning her undergraduate degree after spending most of her summer doing research at Stanford University.

Zimren Dixon, a junior from Charles Town, West Virginia, was one of six students in the first cohort in The Stanford CS Leadership, Inclusion, Networks, Xenacious, and Support (LINXS) Program this summer. Stanford CS LINXS is a fully-funded eight-week summer residential program that brings innovative undergraduates who are currently attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for an immersive academic research and graduate school preparation experience.

“CS LINXS gave me perspective on my future to my academic career and goals,” Dixon said. “To me, that is an immeasurable experience. I am truly grateful to the people I interacted with and the research I conducted during my time at Stanford.”

The inaugural program was June 18 through August 13, 2022. Participants were provided with housing, a meal plan, paid-for travel expenses, a $5,000 stipend for their participation, and a small research budget. Those who completed the program will receive a fee waiver for graduate school applications when they are ready to apply for graduate school. In addition to the hands-on research experience, students in the program partake in other activities including social events, tours of industry headquarters in the area, graduate school application prep, and more.

Dixon said each student had three mentors during the program. One mentor is a professor, another is a grad mentor and the other is an industry mentor. Dixon said she worked closely with Stanford professor Fred Kjolstad and one of his graduate students.

“My research was implementing a deep-learning algorithm into TACO, which is Fred’s compiler that is known as a tensor algebra compiler,” Dixon said. “Overall, that was what I did and got to learn about deep learning and machine learning.”

Also having an interest in obtaining a law degree, Dixon said she had the opportunity to explore the law program while she was at Stanford this summer.

“I want to get a Ph.D. in computer science and also get a Juris Doctor degree,” she said.

At WVSU, Dixon is president of the Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Exploration (S.P.A.C.E.) Club, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics student council president, a senator for the Student Government Association, and is a Katherine Johnson Scholar.  

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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