School of Engineering Annual Awards

Department of Computer Science

photo of William Whitney Schonbein

William Whitney Schonbein
Outstanding Graduate Student
Computer Science

William Whitney (Whit) Schonbein was born in Massachusetts but raised in East Lansing, Mich. He also lived in Madison, Wis.; London; St. Louis; Holyoke, Mass.; and Charleston, S.C., before moving to Albuquerque in 2012.

He first became interested in computer science when he took an undergraduate course in the philosophy of artificial intelligence at the University of Wisconsin, and the issues raised there prompted him to pursue a degree in computer science in parallel with his philosophy degree. Whit earned a Ph.D. in philosophy in 2002 then taught philosophy for about a decade before moving to New Mexico. Upon arriving here, he decided to enroll in the computer science Ph.D. program.

He says his favorite UNM memory is “the really amazing people I've met, both faculty and fellow students.” While a student, he has been an RA for faculty in the department and has been a research and development intern at Sandia National Laboratories since 2017. He also was a member of the Computer Science Graduate Student Association, where he helped to organize the annual computer science student conference.

In his free time, he is an avid hiker and camper, going out nearly every weekend for the past seven years. He is hoping to continue to be involved in cutting-edge research on high-performance computing, either at Sandia or in industry.

photo of Simon Spangenberg

Simon Spangenberg
Outstanding Senior
Computer Science

Simon Spangenberg is a former professional soccer player who came from Belgium to be on the UNM team.

Aside from his athletics and regular volunteering, he is considered to be a very valuable member of the research enterprise in the Department of Computer Science. He has even pursued his own research into the cryptocurrency and fraud ecosystem.

He was the recipient of 2019 Bob Veroff Scholarship in computer science.

photo of D M Raisul Ahsan

D M Raisul Ahsan
Outstanding Junior
Computer Science

D M Raisul Ahsan, originally from Bangladesh, said that studying engineering or computer science was a natural decision for him because he also liked math and wanted to use mathematics to create things that can solve real-life problems.

He works in Leah Buechley’s lab where he is working on the Interactive Mural project. For the project, he is developing an integrated hardware and software system that will gather, store and visualize data from the environment. He also works at the research lab of the Department of Anesthesiology at UNM Hospital and as a teaching assistant at the Computer Science department.

D M is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) and National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). He is also the undergraduate representative of the Bangladeshi Student’s Association at UNM (BSAUNM) and the Bengal United Sports Club (BUSC).

In February, he led a winning team in the CTSC Health Hackathon, which was will receive $10,000 to build an indoor navigation system for hospitals and large buildings. The team is working on developing a beta version to test at UNM Hospital.

He says he has many favorite memories of his time here, including the day he was hired for his first job at UNM and the trips with fellow UNM students. “The trip to Colorado in my first semester is particularly memorable. I have never lived near mountains before. The mountainous and colorful Colorado completely blew my mind.”

In his free time, he enjoys hiking or playing soccer. He also is interested in into landscape photography.

D M is planning to attend graduate school, likely researching either artificial intelligence, data science or embedded systems.

photo of Abigail Pribisova

Abigail Pribisova
Outstanding Sophomore
Computer Science

Abigail Pribisova is originally from Prague, Czech Republic. She chose to study computer science because she loves the logic of coding and the potential application to a variety of fields, STEM-related and non-STEM-related.

She is an intern at the Moses Biological Computation Lab at UNM and a grader for the Computer Science department. She has worked on implementing central-place foraging and drop-off behaviors in virtual and physical robot swarms and helped with the running of the Swarmathon robotics competition and the planning of the Swarmathon: The Next Generation machine-learning workshop.

She has been involved in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and is the deputy director of her church's Pathfinder Club, which is a club similar to Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts. She also volunteers with the Children's Cancer Fund of New Mexico.

Abigail says her favorite memories have been attending the SWE national conference in Anaheim, Calif., and the SWE local conference in San Diego.

Her hobbies are creating music, including playing the piano, clarinet, tenor saxophone, cello, guitar and cajon. She also enjoys hiking, skiing and playing cards with her friends and family.

Her plans include attending graduate school and pursuing novel research in the computer science field.