Three RIT Croatia students win Undergraduate Research Scholar Award

The Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award honors the top 1 % of undergraduate students who demonstrate academic excellence and contribute to the community through civic or volunteer activities, research, or professional work in their field. The criteria for receiving the award are that undergraduate students maintain a minimum GPA of 3.85 out of 4.0, and complete at least 83 credit hours of study, which is over two-thirds of the credit hours required for a bachelor’s degree. The selection is based on additional achievements such as creative projects, service on student committees, civic involvement, employment, and independent research.

Web and Mobile Computing students, Nina Novosel, and Fatima Tufegdžić, and International Business student Marta Primorac from the Zagreb campus, received the Undergraduate Research Scholar Award. All three students wanted to deepen their knowledge of various topics. During her sophomore year, Nina joined a research team under Dr. Branko Mihaljević’s leadership out of curiosity. They worked on the intersection of garbage collectors and virtual threads in Java. For her second research project, she engaged with Dr. Evelina Mišćin regarding the distinctions between student writing and AI-generated texts. “Together, we recognized the potential for further exploration in this area and collaborated with Professor Alan Mutka to conduct research”, she explained.

Marta’s inspiration was knowledge. “I mainly wanted to satisfy my curiosity. I love learning how systems function and what factors can influence them”, she explained. Her research was in multiple business disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, and literature.

I was inspired to pursue research in Data Science due to my passion for uncovering insights from data and solving complex problems”, Fatima elaborated. Her research was a key factor in her decision to aim for a PhD. She was fascinated by the potential of machine learning and predictive modeling to transform industries with scientific advancements.

Participating in mentored research influenced all three students’ academic and personal growth. It allowed them to apply theoretical knowledge to practical problems and challenged their time management skills where they had to balance work, study, and research. It also prepared them for future challenges in both studies and careers. The research taught them perseverance, critical thinking, and the importance of collaboration. “It has also boosted my confidence in tackling challenging problems and presenting my findings, which are essential skills for my future career”, said Fatima.

Don’t let anything hold you back!

The award recipients are advising those who are interested in pursuing undergraduate research to start early and seek our opportunities proactively. Approach professors and researchers whose work interests you, seek mentors, and don't be afraid to ask for help. „Research is a journey of discovery, and perseverance is key to success“, Fatima explained. Marta's research strengthened her analytical skills she could apply in any business context. „Exploring these diverse fields, I was able to enhance my ability to find correlations and understand complex systems“, she explained. Nina's engagement in undergraduate research has been a transformative experience because she realized she wants to pursue a career that involves a significant research component. „Whether that means being involved in the R&D for a company or working at a research institute in the future, this experience made me realize that I want to continue my career in this direction“.


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