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Seaver Student Sean Wu Earns Outstanding Undergraduate Research Honors for Computer Science Publications

Sean Wu

Sean Wu, a Seaver College junior, was recently named an honorable mention outstanding undergraduate researcher by the Computing Research Association — a nonprofit organization that recognizes North American college students who show exceptional promise as computer science researchers. 

“I am very excited about this recognition,” says Wu.  “It means that the research I am conducting in artificial intelligence at Pepperdine is being recognized nationally for its impactful and novel nature.” 

Although he is only 20 years old, Wu has already obtained six first-author scholarly publications for his various research efforts, all of which focus on implementing and optimizing artificial intelligence in the medical community. Most recently, Wu has published articles on how AI could affect the study of nephrology, angiograms, and ophthalmic medical imaging. In the last two years, the Seaver College junior has been listed as an author on a total of 10 different academic texts. 

“I attribute my research success to the Keck Institute for Data Science, more specifically to my research mentor, Dr. Fabien Scalzo, who inspires me to investigate impactful problems related to human-centered AI,” says Wu. “He and the program have provided me with invaluable opportunities and guidance that I believe I would not have received from any other university in the country.”

The Computing Research Association’s Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award is one of the most prestigious and competitive awards offered to computer science majors in the United States. This year, the honor’s selection committee was composed of researchers and professors from such esteemed higher education institutions as Carnegie Mellon University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University. 

“This is a particularly significant achievement for Sean as this award recognizes exceptional undergraduate researchers who demonstrate strong research capabilities and a commitment to advancing the field of computing,” says Fabien Scalzo, director of the Keck Institute for Data Science. “It is also encouraging for Seaver College, as it demonstrates it to be a competitive environment for undergraduate research that can rival top institutions in North America.”

Seaver College has developed a strong computer science and data analytics program. In 2021 Pepperdine University received a $10 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to establish a data science institute aimed at strengthening the research and teaching methods of the institution. Since then, the institute recruited a cohort of 47 data science minors and numerous faculty research associates. 

Wu was one of 140 undergraduates recognized by the Computing Research Association. He is the first Pepperdine student to be nominated for and secure this particular award. Currently Wu is developing an algorithm to create 2D-3D reconstructions from limited, orthogonal views, alongside numerous other projects.