Tamara Denning

Assistant Professor
School of Computing
University of Utah

Twitter: @tamaradenning

Current/Past Students

Ahmad Alsaleem

Aniqua Baset

Prospective Students

I am interested in taking on new students. I am looking for motivated, curious, and creative individuals (good communication skills are highly valued!). If you are interested in working with me, feel free to send an email and apply to the PhD program (deadline December 15 - email me if you're after the deadline).

Getting in Contact

The tl;dr:

A good way to get involved in research area Y is to go to that area's reading seminar and actively participate (rather than asking about an independent study or an RA).

I generally don't offer RAs unless I've worked with a student before (via independent study or a course).

An independent study will generally require a 2-page statement of what you are planning on working on (at the beginning of the semester), weekly meetings and/or emailed status reports, a final 10-20 page report (what worked, what didn't work), and a final presentation.

The First Email/Chat

So you're thinking about emailing me to talk about <X>? Great!

The Pep Talk

If you're just shy about contacting me, don't be!

Just because you...

...doesn't meant that I don't want to talk to you! There are potential overlaps in my work with other areas, and a lack of research experience has no bearing on whether or not you are creative, curious, good at critical thinking, an excellent communicator, etc.

The Straight Talk

Please do try to be specific in your email; it helps to avoid wasting my time and your time. What does "I want to talk to you about research" mean?

...But I really need you, as much as possible, to let me know which of the above (or none of the above!) is you so that I know how to approach our conversation. The questions that I ask and the potential arrangements to handle the above are wildly different.

The Cranky Talk (Or, What Not To Do)

Please don't try to tell me what you think I want to hear. It wastes my time, it wastes your time, and it sooner or later will make me very cranky (whether or not I say so).

"I like your research." Well, thank you!

If, after reading this page, you tell me that you read my papers "Blah" and "Blah blah" and like my research, this will be my face:

© https://www.flickr.com/photos/storem/4716027081

If, after reading this page, you send me an email that says that you liked my paper "Blah blah" because it [words or message from the abstract or introduction directly pasted or paraphrased], this will be my face:

© https://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/11174630606

If, after reading this page, you do both of the above, and then tell me that you completed courses X and Y with GPA G and have skills with C, C++, and HTML, this will be my face:

© https://www.flickr.com/photos/dalesbest/8650919945