UK Rhodes Scholarship Finalist to Join Google

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photo of Kyra Seevers wearing mortar board
photo of Kyra Seevers working in Brent Seales' lab

Watch Kyra Seevers talk about her undergraduate research experience at UK in the video above. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2020) — Graduating computer science and Lewis Honors College senior Kyra Seevers, of Lexington, recently interviewed as a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. And, while she won’t be pursuing graduate studies in England next fall, Seevers will embark on another exciting new chapter in her life as she takes a position at Google’s Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus.

“After interning twice at Google, I am excited to be joining as a full-time software engineer working on some of the biggest problems in our tech ecosystem today,” Seevers said. “Just like Google’s motto says — I truly hope to create, design, code and build for everyone.”

The daughter of Dan and Denise Seevers, Kyra will graduate this Friday (Dec. 4) with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from UK College of Engineering, as well as a minor in sociology and a Certificate in Universal Design.

A Chellgren Fellow, she been very active in undergraduate research at UK working with the school’s groundbreaking EduceLab: A Digital Restoration Initiative headed up by UK Alumni Professor Brent Seales, chair of the Department of Computer Science. As part of EduceLab, UK researchers take ancient manuscripts that are too broken or damaged to be read by hand and apply their custom software pipeline to virtually unwrap the documents revealing the text inside that has been hidden for ages.

Outside of her research with Seales’ lab and internships at Google, Seevers also conducted research abroad in Munich last year as one of UK’s two 2019 recipients of Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) from the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD). There she worked with the Human Centered Ubiquitous Media Group at Ludwig Maximilian University, where she helped create and test augmented reality technologies that aid those with visual impairments.

Seevers credits experiences like the ones she had at the EduceLab with Seales and during her high school research with mentor Nelson Akafuah, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at UK, as being beneficial to her own success at UK and opening doors to countless exciting opportunities.

“I am so grateful for my time at UK, and to all my professors, mentors, friends and family who helped me along the way. I am so glad I had the opportunity to not only learn more about my own community, but also, with the help of UK, explore the world.”

Seevers applied for the Rhodes Scholarship and her RISE internship through the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, housed in the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence. The office, under the leadership of Director Pat Whitlow, assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.