Graduating senior Ryan Burnham of Fairport, N.Y., received the Levinus Clarkson Award during Clarkson University’s spring 2019 commencement ceremony on May 11. He was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty based on his scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.
The Levinus Clarkson Award was established by University founders Elizabeth and Frederica Clarkson in memory of their brother, Levinus, and was first awarded in 1909. This award and the Frederica Clarkson Award are traditionally given to the two top students in the graduating class.
Burnham earned bachelor of science degrees in computer science and mathematics. He completed two semesters of co-op, and was a presidential scholar for all six semesters with a 4.0 GPA.
Over the course of the last two years, Burnham worked at Assured Information Security (AIS) in Rome, N.Y., as an intern and consultant within the Advanced Research Concepts group. There he was integral in the discovery and development of breakthrough deep learning approaches for user authentication via behavioral biometrics such as keystrokes, mouse movements, and gait. This multi-institution work (DARPA, AIS, Syracuse University, and Clarkson University), has been published at AAAI 2019, a premier artificial intelligence conference, and resulted in the filing of four patents (pending).
Throughout his 2018 internship, Burnham conducted research at the Nevada National Security Site in Las Vegas. There he competed against other national laboratories to design localization methods for nuclear sources within urban environments. He also worked on programs in support of the site's nonproliferation objective alongside the Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
While at Clarkson he was an active member of the Men's Cross Country team and represented the team on both the University's Student Athlete Association Committee and the Liberty League’s All-Academic Team.
Burnham not only competed athletically but also in academic competitions. He represented Clarkson in the COMAP Mathematical Modelling Competition to earn honorable mention and multiple times at the Central New York Hackathon.
Burnham was a teaching assistant and tutor throughout his time on campus. He was a TA for a total of five semesters between Differential Equations and Programming Languages. He also tutored students through Clarkson’s Higher Education Opportunity Program and Student Support Services by mentoring students in Algorithms and Data Structures and Advanced Calculus I courses.
During his sophomore year, Burnham wrote a proposal with the Computer Science Department to acquire funding from the Google IgniteCS program. He then spearheaded the design and execution of a curriculum to teach computer science to high school students in St. Lawrence County, who would not have had this experience otherwise.
During his senior year, Burnham formed a President’s Challenge team across the three schools at Clarkson. His team earned runner-up for their solution and business to combat international human trafficking.
After graduation, Burnham plans to work for the United States Government in mathematics and computer science.