Wisconsin Science and Computing

Emerging Research Stars (WISCERS)

A research-focused mentorship program for undergraduate students

About the WISCERS Program

WISCERS program is a new mentorship program focused on fostering CS research participation among undergraduate students at UW-Madison. This program will expose students to research areas in Computer Science, facilitate peer mentorship from graduate students working in different areas, and match students with faculty for summer research internships. Our broad goal is to encourage undergraduate students to apply for research-based graduate programs and specifically help support students from historically underrepresented groups in computing.

This program is partially funded by an exploreCSR award from Google. Part of the funding for the summer research internship program is generously provided by the Computer Sciences Department at UW-Madison.

CS Research Workshops

The program will feature a kick-off workshop that will include a research showcase by UW faculty and presentations on pursuing graduate studies.

Research Internships

The program will match students with faculty for summer internships, based on their expressed research interest(s).

Peer & Faculty Mentoring

Students will be paired with graduate student peer-mentors and faculty mentors with whom they will be expected to meet on a regular basis (weekly or biweekly).

Monthly Events

In collaboration with WACM and SACM, we will hold monthly events that will help students build a community.

Applications for Spring 2021 are now closed

The selection process for WISCERS 2021 is now complete. Stay tuned for next year applications and other program updates!


Program Leaders:

Assistant professor, CS department

Assistant professor, CS department

Google Program Advisor:

Senior Research Scientist, Ethical AI Team, Google

Senior Advisors:

Aditya Akella

Professor, CS department

Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau

Professor and department chair, CS department

Michael Swift

Professor and diversity committee chair, CS department

WISCERS Students:

Faculty Mentors:

Aditya Akella,

Networking & Systems

Aws Albarghouthi,

Program Verification and Synthesis

Cecile Ane,

Statistical and Computational Methods for Biology

Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau,

Systems (Operating Systems & Storage Systems)

Suman Banerjee,

Mobile and Wireless Networking

Rahul Chatterjee,

Security & Privacy

Ilias Diakonikolas,

Theory of Computing, Theory of Machine Learning

Michael Ferris,


Earlence Fernandes,

Security & Privacy

Nicolas Garcia Trillos,

Calculus of Variations and PDEs, Optimal Transport, Manifold Learning

Michael Gleicher,

Data Visualization, Robotics, Graphics

Yea-Seul Kim,

HCI & Visualization

Paris Koutris,


Keith Levin,

Network Analysis

Bilge Mutlu,

Robotics & HCI

Vivak Patel,

Statistics and Numerical Optimization

Michael Swift,

Systems & Networking

Swamit Tannu,

Quantum Computing, Cryogenic Hardware

Shivaram Venkataraman

Systems, Machine Learning

Graduate Student Mentors:

Jialu Bao,

Programming Languages

Alexi Brooks,

Learning in Social Media

Varun Chadha,


Dandi Chen,

Health informatics, ML, NLP, Computer vision

Junda Chen,

Database Systems

Erika Da-Inn Lee,

Computational Biology

Evangelia Gergatsouli,

Theory & Algorithms

Sangeetha Grama Srinivasan,

Computer Graphics (Physics-based Simulation)

Konstantinos Kanellis,

Computer Systems/Databases

Sourav Pal,

Machine Learning & Computer Vision

Yuvraj Patel,

Concurrency, Operating Systems, Security & Storage

Ankit Pensia,

Learning Theory & Statistics

Harsh Rawat,

Systems & Machine Learning

Suryadev Sahadevan Rajesh,

Database Systems

Nathaniel Sauerberg,

Algorithms & Algorithmic Game Theory

Vedang Sharma,

Big Data Systems, Distributed Systems, and Cloud Computing

Zhenmei Shi,

Machine Learning and Computer Vision

Harit Vishwakarma,

Machine Learning

Jinman Zhao,

Machine Learning, Big Code, NLP

Partnering Student Groups:


A UW-Madison student chapter of ACM-W.


A UW-Madison student chapter of ACM.


  • What are the eligibility requirements for this program?

This program is applicable to students who will be graduating in Spring 2022 (i.e., are currently juniors in 4-year programs or sophomores in 3-year programs). We may consider students at other seniority levels on an exceptional basis. This program is primarily intended to increase research participation among students from historically underrepresented groups in computing (gender and racial minorities), and students from these groups will be given priority in the selection process.

  • Is this program only about computer science? Would you consider students from other majors?

Our focus is on computer science and related areas, such as computer engineering, information science, and data science. We will consider students from all majors relevant to these areas. We will also consider students from other majors if they show promise and interest in computer science and any of these related areas.

  • Is there an application fee?

No, this program is completely free.

  • When will this program happen?

All of the program activities are planned for Spring 2021. We plan to also offer paid summer research internship opportunities at UW-Madison in Summer 2021.

  • When will I hear back about my application?

We will make decisions and send notifications in early January.

  • What is the overall timeline for this program?

The proposed timeline for the 2020-2021 program is as follows

  • Dec 15, 2020 Applications are due

  • By Jan 15, 2021 Notifications sent to students who have been accepted to the program

  • End of Jan, 2021: Kick-off workshop

  • Feb 1-May 15, 2021: Spring semester events including peer mentoring, faculty mentoring, social events, etc.

  • May 15-Aug 15 2021: Summer internships

  • Mid-Aug , 2021: Closing workshop

  • If I am not a student from UW-Madison can I still apply?

The program will be primarily online but we might have in-person events at UW-Madison pending local health guidelines. Thus we encourage applications from students from the Madison/Milwaukee areas but might be able to accommodate students from other parts of Wisconsin as well.

  • Will participating in this program increase my chances of getting admitted to graduate school?

While we cannot guarantee admission to any graduate programs, we note that research experience and participation in programs such as this one are generally viewed favorably by graduate admissions committees.

  • Am I guaranteed a paid summer research internship if I get into this program?

All summer research internships positions are paid at the standard student hourly rate, and are subject to the availability of funding by individual faculty. Our goal is to provide research internship opportunities to all WISCERS fellows, but we cannot guarantee funding for each of the students. The Computer Sciences Department at UW-Madison has agreed to generously provide funding for 5-10 of the WISCERS fellows.

  • Am I guaranteed to be matched with mentors from research area X?

Graduate student and faculty mentors are participating in this program as volunteers. We intend to recruit these mentors from all areas of computer science covered by our department and will make every effort to pair you with mentors from the research area in which you express interest. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to pair you with a specific mentor or a specific research area, as this depends on the availability of mentors.

  • Is participation in all the program activities mandatory?

To fully benefit from a program like this one, we expect you to participate in all of the associated activities. However, we understand that you may occasionally need to miss some of the activities due to other academic or personal commitments.

  • How many students will be accepted into this program?

Given that this is the first time the WISCERS program is being organized we plan to have a cohort of around 15-20 students. We hope to expand the program based on student interest in the future.

Have More Questions?

Contact wiscers@cs.wisc.edu for more information about the WISCERS program and the application process.