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28 de Jan de 2021

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Illinois students visit Smithsonian

PANAMA. Over Spring Break last month, three computer science students from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois travelled to Panama t...

PANAMA. Over Spring Break last month, three computer science students from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois travelled to Panama to perform on-site testing of a computer program they helped develop for the Smithsonian.

The three students, seniors Mark Overholt, Will Herring and Ed Gillen worked with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on a data entry system to collect and log tree data from rainforest plots.

According to The Bradley Scout, the university’s newspaper, Steve Dolins, a computer science professor, advised the students on the project and accompanied them on the trip.

Though Dolins sat in on all the meetings with the institute, he said it was the students doing all the work.

“The students ran the meetings – I just listened and offered advice when necessary,” he said to The Bradley Scout.

The students were taken by Smithsonian staff on a hike through the rain forest, and toured one of the plots that will serve as a test area for their project.

“Rick gave a tour of their facilities as well as the plot so he could better explain the collection process and give us a better understanding of all the data and numbers we had been working with for a year,” Gillen told the Scout.

The Illinois students’ work will be utilized by the institute all over the world at plots similar to the one in Panama.