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Kunda named MIT innovator

Maithilee Kunda, a 2002 graduate of Girls Preparatory School, has been recognized as a visionary in the MIT Technology Review's annual list of Innovators Under 35. She is the daughter of Drs. Sarma and Prabha Kunda of Chattanooga and is married to Jim Neidhoefer of Nashville.

Previous winners include Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google; Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook; and Jonathan Ive, chief designer of Apple.

Kunda, who received her bachelor's degree from MIT and doctorate from Georgia Tech, is a professor at Vanderbilt University, where she directs the laboratory for Artificial Intelligence and Visual Analogical Systems. As an assistant professor of computer science and computer engineering at Vanderbilt, she works on algorithms for artificial intelligence that emulate human visual thinking — thinking with images rather than symbols and words.

As one of this year's honorees, Kunda will attend the EmTech MIT conference Oct. 18-20 in Cambridge, Mass.

"Over the years, we've had success in choosing young innovators whose work has been profoundly influential on the direction of human affairs," says Jason Pontin, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Review. "We're proud of our selections and the variety of achievements they celebrate, and we're proud to add Maithilee Kunda to this prestigious list."

Casavant earns scholarship

Hannah Casavant, a graduate of Cleveland State Community College's Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries program, has received the Tennessee Wildlife Officers Association Scholarship.

Casavant earned the merit-based scholarship by excelling in the classroom and in the field. She spent numerous hours volunteering with the TWRA while pursuing her degree at Cleveland State.

Wykoff receives Opus Award

John Wykoff, assistant professor of music theory and composition at Lee University, was the recipient of the Opus Award at the Missouri Choral Director's Association annual conference in Jefferson City, Mo.

The Opus Award is presented by the Missouri Choral Directors Association for an outstanding original choral composition. Wykoff was chosen for his 12-minute work, "Panis Angelicus," for string quartet and choir.

"It was very gratifying to have my work recognized in this way," said Wykoff. "So much new music seems to come from a preoccupation with fleeting effects — the surprise chord, the dazzling texture, the entrancing rhythm. As a composer who is still concerned with things like finely honed craftsmanship and the harder questions of form, it was encouraging to see a work like 'Panis Angelicus' appreciated."

Two local collegians studying abroad

Two Chattanooga students are spending their fall semester of college studying abroad.

James Moses of Lookout Mountain, a senior at Wofford College, is studying in Dublin, Ireland.

Chattanoogan Caroline Spann is taking part in a three-month study at Harding University in Florence, Italy.

Spann, a fashion merchandising major, will spend the fall immersed in Italian culture. Students have the opportunity to visit Pisa, Rome, Pompeii, Sicily, Siena and other historically significant areas. The group lives together in a 16th-century villa, and students in the program have a full course load taught by visiting Harding professors.

Performing Arts League awards scholarships

The Performing Arts League Inc. recently awarded scholarships totaling $3,000 to young musicians of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera youth orchestras. The scholarships are to be used to pay for private instruction or summer music camp fees.

Recipients were Juliette Blais, Abigail Martin, Roger Lantigua, Hope Hunnicutt, Alisa Pickett, Hayden Daniel, Mackenzie Wall, Mallory Girod, Sarah Piatt and Drew Campbell.

Barnett & Company Sunday Showcase, a program featuring talented area youth, is one of the fundraisers that supports these scholarships. It will be held Sunday, Oct. 23, in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St., at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 students and children ages 5 and younger.

Ferguson earns information security Ph.D.

Guy William Ferguson of Cleveland, Tenn., has received a Ph.D. in IT Information Security and Assurance from Capella University.

Ferguson is a lieutenant on patrol with the Cleveland Police Department. He is a graduate of McMinn Central High School and the son of Bill and Carol Ferguson of Etowah.

Ferguson's research focused on finding ways to prevent data breaches of private information within the health-care community. He is also a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

— Compiled by staff writer Susan Pierce