Viterbi Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

The Viterbi School of Engineering recognizes PhD students who have been actively engaged in mentoring undergraduate student researchers. Congratulations to our 2018 award winners, Ashrant Aryal and Caitlyn Clabaugh!

2018 Recipients

Ashrant Aryal
Ashrant Aryal began his PhD program at USC in the Fall of 2015 and he was awarded the prestigious Provost Fellowship to study Civil Engineering at Viterbi. Almost immediately, Ashrant began to mentor undergraduate students in their research. His advisor, Dr. Bercin Becerik-Gerber credits him as a patient, diligent, and effective communicator who enjoys mentoring others. The students Ashrant has mentored describe him as patient and kind, and always willing to answer questions and help his mentees acclimate to campus and working in the labs. Through his own “Intelligent Office Workstation” research, Ashrant has also mentored high-school students and training them to be researchers from the basics, to writing papers for conferences and becoming published. Many of his former mentees credit Ashrant with being instrumental in their own success in their education and research goals. The Viterbi School of Engineering is proud to award the 2018 Undergraduate Research Mentoring award to Ashrant Aryal. Congratulations!

Caitlyn Claybaugh
Caitlyn began her PhD in Computer Science in the Fall of 2013, and throughout her time in the PhD program mentored an astonishing 38 undergraduate students. Caitlyn has a particular interest in mentoring under-represented minorities and women. Over half of her undergraduate mentees have gone on pursue higher degrees, including PhD, in Computer Science and Software Engineering. Caitlyn’s research is on Socially-Assistive Robots, Machine Learning, and Human-Robot Interaction. In these difficult fields, she pushes and supports her mentees in discovering their interests, plans for their future, and challenges them to learn outside of their comfort zones. Many of her mentees credit Caitlyn’s genuine care with helping them shape their outlooks on life, purposes, and careers. When she is not mentoring undergraduates or working on her own research, Caitlyn is the Volunteer Chair for Autism Speaks. We thank Caitlyn for all her hard work and congratulate her on this well-deserved award!


Nominations for the 2019 Viterbi Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award were due March 20, 2019.

Previous Years Awardees