High school student earns university degree with honors

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock student not only earned an Associate of Science degree with honors, but he also conducted research and gave presentations with the chair of the Computer Science Department.

Perhaps most impressive: William Yang is only a sophomore at UALR — and he’s still in high school.

Yang, a National Science Foundation research scholar, is a concurrent student at UALR and Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, earning his associate degree on Aug. 14.

He already has served as a student researcher with Dr. Kenji Yoshigoe, chair of the UALR Computer Science Department and director of both the UALR Computational Research Center, and the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

The collaborative research of Yang and Yoshigoe in the interdisciplinary computer science and biomedical science fields received recognition, and one of their award-winning, highly accessed articles, “Identification of Genes and Pathways Involved in Kidney Renal Clear Cell Carcinoma,” was selected for DASH — Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard University.  

On July 30, Yang and Yoshigoe presented a tutorial, “Integrative Big-data Analysis for Translational Genomics Research,” to an international audience at the World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing in Las Vegas. The tutorial was extended to four hours because of the strong audience interest.  

Yang said the associate degree he earned as an early scholar at the university with a 4.0 GPA is “a showcase of the excellent academic environment and remarkable research strength of UALR.”

He noted that the website Computer Science Degree Hub ranked the university’s computer science department among the most innovative in the nation.

Besides his research in Yoshigoe’s laboratory, Yang is a NSF research scholar at Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas at Austin for the NSF iPlant genomics project.

“My educational and research experience at UALR is thrilling,” Yang said. “UALR is a leading research university, and I have learned a great deal of science at UALR.”

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