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Bridles and Bots

Hailie Mitchell

Student Snapshot: Hailie Mitchell ’24

Hailie Mitchell ’24, a computer science major and co-captain of the Dickinson equestrian team, has amassed an impressive array of honors. Below, she shares her experiences contributing to the dynamic field of robotics as a student researcher in Carnegie Mellon University’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program. She also explains why she found her introduction to creative writing so gratifying and what it means to her to be a part of Dickinson equestrian.

Hometown:

Bellevue, Washington.

Major

Computer science.

Clubs and organizations:  

Dickinson equestrian team (co-captain).

Honors/scholarships/awards:

Jane Hill Prize in Computer Science, Inge Paul & John R. Stafford Scholarship for Bioinformatics and Richard Howland Memorial Scholarship.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience:

Being a part of the Dickinson equestrian team (DET). Riding and competing with the team is fun, and I’ve met so many great people (and horses) on the team. I feel so lucky to be a part of the DET community and to hold different executive positions in it.

Favorite class/learning experience so far:

One of my favorite classes was Creative Writing: Memoir with Adjunct Faculty in Creative Writing Sharon O’Brien. It was a small class, and we all learned to write personal essays and memoirs. Creative writing was a new experience for me, but I learned so much about my classmates, and it was such a supportive and friendly environment.

Favorite place on campus:

The Tome library or Denim at the Quarry.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Kurt Gödel.

About my research:

This summer I participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Carnegie Mellon University, working on a project called Efficient Bug Finding in Robotic Deep Learning. I worked with graduate students and faculty to develop a new approach to testing neural networks with techniques called adversarial attacks and differentiable rendering. We are using this approach to test neural networks that predict how well a robot arm can pick up an object with a particular grasp.

I decided to work on this project because it allowed me to use software engineering skills in a new field, robotics. Through this experience, I learned a lot about the research process in the field of computer science and what life is like as a graduate student, from reading and writing papers to collaborating on projects and technical skills like working with neural networks.

Post-Dickinson plans:

I plan to go to graduate school for computer science and pursue research in software engineering.

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Published January 18, 2024