Alexa, let’s chat

Alexa, let’s chat

UTD research group teaches Alexa AI small talk for global competition

A UTD research team is a quarterfinalist in Amazon’s Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 4 to teach the Alexa AI how to converse with humans. After applying for the Challenge in September 2020, Kinjal Basu, a computer science doctoral student, and Gopal Gupta, a computer science professor, were granted $250,000...

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Student EMTs give hands-on medical attention at vaccine sites

Student EMTs give hands-on medical attention at vaccine sites

Duties include helping administer vaccines, acting as medical standby

Student EMTs are providing medical assistance at the COVID-19 vaccine site on campus through the University Emergency Medical Response’s Community Health Initiative. UEMR Captain Elizabeth Helfrich – who started the Community Health Initiative – said the program allows registered EMTs in the UTD community, both affiliated and unaffiliated with UEMR,...

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Number of people receiving meningitis vaccination declines over past year

Number of people receiving meningitis vaccination declines over past year

Recent survey data reports drop in meningitis immunization appointments due to lockdowns, fear of catching COVID-19

Vaccinations for meningitis – a requirement for college students in the state of Texas – have decreased in the past year during COVID-19. A study conducted by VaxCare found that among individuals aged 19-49 years old, there was a 60% drop in non-influenza vaccinations during COVID-19. Now, a recent study...

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University offers postponed alternative for virtual graduation

University offers postponed alternative for virtual graduation

In-person ceremony to take place end of summer

By August 2021, five semesters’ worth of UTD graduates – about 15,000 students – will have finished college primarily in an online format, compelling the university to offer an in-person alternative later in the summer. The university began exploring alternative spring graduation options in February with a survey sent out...

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Students’ laptops must meet minimum university standards starting next fall

Students’ laptops must meet minimum university standards starting next fall

Requirements include access to built-in camera, microphone, adequate storage

Following the success of an on-campus computer loaning program, incoming freshman who do not own a laptop that meets UTD’s new minimum standard can borrow one this fall. For students worried about meeting the new requirement, Chief Technology Officer Brian Dourty said that the initiative aims to empower students rather...

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The info-demic: stopping the spread of false information

The info-demic: stopping the spread of false information

The virus of misinformation, how to prevent it

It goes without saying that COVID-19 has proven to be a public health nightmare. But it seems that something else is quickly gaining traction alongside the virus as it continues to plague communities: misinformation. In the scientific community, COVID-19 is relatively new. Although the amount of reliable information has increased...

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Not all Christians are equal

Not all Christians are equal

Christians should love without conforming

Going down the highway, some guy driving recklessly with a Jesus fish on his car cuts me off. A group of my Christian friends invites me to play crude games like Cards Against Humanity. Churches full of Christians have shamed and forced my Christian friends to leave the church because...

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Periods need to be recognized. Period.

Periods need to be recognized. Period.

Menstrual inequity pressing issue for college students

Ten percent of individuals who menstruate in college face a tough choice: do they buy a box of pads or their next meal? Period equity involves the effort to make menstrual products accessible and advocate for reproductive health – and it needs to be more adequately addressed. The cost of...

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Chalking up school spirit

Chalking up school spirit

Second annual chalk art contest provides socially-distanced outlet for individuals, clubs

Several individuals and organizations came together to decorate campus grounds with spirit-themed artwork, kicking off the second year of the UTD Chalk Art Contest. The event is a relatively new addition to the traditional February Homecoming schedule and was one of its few approved in-person events this year; but due...

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