The Odessa Record -

Larson gets computing award March 28 at WSU


Elizabeth Larson

Pullman, WA – Four years ago, Elizabeth Larson entered the ASR Laboratory with a curiosity in the computer science field. She is interested in becoming a computer programmer or engineer and centered her research on coding-related projects. In 2013-2014, Elizabeth created some very innovative and independent research, where three-dimensional digitally animated frames were played with different numbers of revolutions on each frame, affecting the final length of the video in time. Adding or deleting revolutions allows a digital object to move faster or slower, changing the final video's length and possibly saving the animated movie industry money and time in editing.

In 2015, Elizabeth was coding a PHP website with a PHP form that was connected to a phone number, thus allowing a user to text in an order. The form allowed users to input their credit card information, personal information and two pizza orders that were stored in a database. This database was later accessed by another PHP code that was also connected to the phone number. The experiment was a success. Users can text the number and receive a confirmation text that their order was placed. This use of texting as an online-shopping tool can expand across multiple industries, such as medicine and entertainment, and creates a time-saving approach for customers.

Elizabeth is now a senior researcher at Odessa High School's Advanced STEM Research Laboratory, still working within computer science and programming. This year, Elizabeth is investigating password strength, integrating colors for ease of memory on users while creating complex security codes. Her research allows users to have very simple and easy passwords integrating colors to make them complex.

Elizabeth has presented her research to many scientists and engineers across Washington state and has earned a multitude of awards, including first-place awards at regional and state science fairs, the Systems Professional Society Award, the Society of Women Engineers Excellence Award and the U.S. Army Award for Outstanding Scientific Research, to name a few.

On February 6, Elizabeth added another prestigious award to her repertoire, the 2017 Eastern Washington Affiliate Winner of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) provides a long-term community for female technologists, from the K-12 level, through higher education and beyond, encouraging persistence in computing through continuous engagement and ongoing encouragement at each pivotal stage of their educational and professional development. Elizabeth's outstanding leadership, exceptional academic history and forward-thinking ability distinguished her as a remarkable young woman who has a passion for computing and technology. On March 28, Elizabeth was celebrated at the Brelsford Center on the WSU campus by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

In Elizabeth's nomination essay for NCWIT, one particular passage stood out: "I have spent the last 17 years of my life gathering knowledge that will help me in the real world. In high school, I learned about the basics of computer science, and I aim to apply these skills to my future career. By combining my work ethic with my willingness to learn, I can take on challenges. I will apply the work ethic I have in completing scientific research to my career. As for the specifics of my career, only time will tell. I find computer coding enticing. When I start a program, I can't quit until I finish. I also have an interest in computer graphics and animation. Being the animated movie-lover I am, I find the time and effort put into every digital movement fascinating. Web development is another field that has caught my attention. My work with HTML, CSS, Java and PHP* has brought about this interest, as well as my creativity and love for design. No matter what the specific field is, I am certain I will pursue a career with computers and technology."

About this, Elizabeth, we have no doubt! If you would like to see Elizabeth's award online, feel free to go to:

*Names of four different computer programming languages.


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