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MVHS Alum Wins Top Prize For Creating Brain Computer Interface at Science Competition

A Black Westchester - Mount Vernon Academic Spotlight

Mount Vernon – It’s been a year since William Phillips of Mount Vernon High School was drafted to University of Buffalo. Since his departure, he has become the new face in the technical industry.

The 2017 graduate of Mount Vernon High School, recently took top honors in his category as a Computer Science and Engineering student at the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) Research Poster Symposium.

The incoming sophomore and computer science major at the University of Buffalo competed against 24 members.

Phillips had to complete an extensive research program under the observation of professor Kris Schindler and graduate student Dominique Hickson. It also included a near nine-week boot camp.

Along with his mentors, Phillips main task was to complete research for 25 hours each week during the duration of the program. During that time, he built a Brain Computer Interface. This device allows computers to be controlled by brain waves, analyze brainwave activity and develop a prototype keyboard application. One of the objectives is to improve the communication abilities for people suffering from ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

A biosensing headset is needed. It will allow users to select buttons and type messages with a blink of the eyes.

Phillips won the first-place title in his department.

On top of that, he will be one of six students selected to attend the Annual CSTEP Conference, which will be held during the spring semester with all-expenses paid.

CSTEP is a grant-funded program sponsored by the New York State Education Department to support talented underrepresented students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), licensed professions and health-related professions.

William is a proud Mount Vernon Knight. He told local news reporters he is thankful to MVHS and the County for their support.

“I’ve always loved helping people and I’ve always had an interest in technology, so discovering a way to combine the two has been a driving force behind my undergraduate pursuits,” said Phillips. “This passion began while I was in high school; I had led a group of eight Mount Vernon High School students in the 2nd Annual Westchester Mobile Application Development Competition where we won third place for our mobile application, ‘One Touch.’”

“There were more than 250 students from local public and private high schools and universities that participated in the competition, so being able to secure third place was a rewarding accomplishment and instilled a greater sense of confidence in me.”

Phillips added that, “The CSTEP Summer Research Program was the best way for me to maximize the education and skills I developed throughout high school and during my first year of college. I accomplished more than I truly expected of myself and I commend the faculty at SUNY Buffalo for leading such a valuable program for its students.”

Phillips aunt, Mrs. Beryl Phillips-Hollingsworth said on Facebook, “Proud of you and Keep Soaring – You are an Eagle.”

Black Westchester Congratulates William Phillips as he joins a long list of individuals to graduate from Mount Vernon High School who went on to do great things! With all the negative headlines about the city, it is our pleasure to proudly spotlight this shining Knight from the great city of Mount Vernon.

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About A'tif Khalil (18 Articles)
A'tif K. Coleman is a lifelong resident of Mount Vernon who has become a Mount Vernon Columnist for Black Westchester. A'tif's passion and love of the city he was born and bred drives him to wanting to inform the residents and speak truth to power and corruption. Mr. Coleman is also one half of the founders of the Save Mount Vernon movement.
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