Students receive Microsoft Accelerator World Citizenship Award

College of Business students Alec Crow and Latwana (Teresa) Scaife working with College of Engineering students Kori Gills and Zachary Lovin received the Microsoft Accelerator World Citizenship award for their imaginative interdisciplinary work in technology and real world applications.  Their collaboration produced a path-breaking app to interpret and translate American Sign Language into both written and spoken text. Dr. Janet Bailey, Associate Professor of Management, is the College of Business advisor for this team.

The Microsoft collaborators designed an app, using the Xbox Kinect system to interpret and translate American Sign Language into both written and spoken text, improving two-way communication between the hearing and the deaf.  The problem they addressed is especially challenging and potentially has global applications – exactly the kind of project the Microsoft competition was set up to encourage students to consider.

The UALR team received a week long all-expenses paid trip in March to Microsoft headquarters in Silicon Valley where company and other technology executives learned more about their application. The team returned in May to pick up the World Citizen Trophy and associated prize money. The UALR team also earned a chance to compete in the semi-finals toward world competition finals in Russia later this year.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the most prestigious and demanding student technology competition offered. Their coach Dr. Janet Bailey notes that UALR students have developed a strong track record in the 11-year invitational event involving upwards of 1.65 million students from 190 countries worldwide. This is the seventh time UALR students have won significant awards in the national or world competitions and the second time for Alec Crow

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