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Undergraduate Experience: Habibatu Mboka

April 20, 2021

Female graduate in cap and gown

Name: Habibatu Mboka

Year: Graduating May 2021, School of Engineering Commencement Student Speaker

Major: Computer Science and Engineering

Hometown: Turlock

What clubs or organizations were you part of at UC Merced?

I was a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and I participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC) — California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) program.

What is a memorable project that you worked on during your time at UC Merced?

I conducted research at the Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation (MESA) Lab under Dr. YangQuan Chen and Ph.D. student mentor Guoxiang Zhang. During my time at MESA, I explored the variables which may cause Intel’s proposed interactive segmentation interface to produce unsatisfactory results. Throughout my project, I examined the role of background complexity, foreground shape, foreground color and image resolution and their impact on segmentation performance. The findings of my research served as a stepping stone toward the development of MESA’s SmartCaveDrone precision 3D photogrammetry.

What did you learn personally and academically by participating in this?

From this experience, I learned about what I was capable of doing. I also learned about the importance of understanding my own personal limitations and not seeing them as weaknesses but rather just things I needed to work around.

What’s next for you after graduation? I plan to visit my family in West Africa for the first time in quite a while. I always either had school, an internship, or work during summer break, so I am excited to finally have the time to see them. While I’m there, I also plan to think about whether I want to pursue my Ph.D. for the fall 2022 term or work in the industry as a software engineer. Ideally, if I chose the latter, I would look for work related closely to computer vision.