Austin, Texas (July 30) – Abby Bertics '19, formerly of MIT's women's volleyball team, was named the 2018-19 Google Cloud Division III Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Tuesday. She joins Maryann Gong '17, a two-time recipient for cross country/track and field, and Brad Gray '98 of the football team on the Engineers' list of all-time honorees. Bertics is also the second Division III women's volleyball student-athlete to earn this award.
Last December, Bertics became the first women's volleyball player in program history to be voted the Google Cloud Academic All-America Team Member of the Year for Division III Volleyball. In addition, she earned a spot on the Google Cloud Academic All-America First Team for the second year in a row, resulting in the Engineers' first two-time First-Team selection, fourth two-time honoree, and the sixth straight year with at least one recipient.
During the 2018 season, Bertics was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Third Team for the second year in a row and was the New England Region Player of the Year. She was tabbed for her second NEWMAC Athlete of the Year honor, becoming the second player in program history to receive this award multiple times. Bertics earned a spot on the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team as well as the New England Women's Volleyball Association All-New England First Team. She finished first in Division III in kills per set (4.97) while ranking fifth across all NCAA divisions. Bertics led the NEWMAC in kills (437) and kills per set and placed fifth in hitting percentage (.304). She also set Institute records for kills in a three-set match (28 versus Clark University) and kills per set in a season (4.97).
A three-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team qualifier, Bertics majored in electrical engineering and computer science with a minor in linguistics. The recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, she will conduct research in Yekaterinburg, Russia, focusing on natural language processing methods for understanding English second language acquisition by Russian speakers during the 2019-20 academic year. As a software engineering intern at Google, Bertics contributed to Google Analytics' system of answering natural language queries and added capabilities to parse a query in multiple ways, increasing the quality of query understanding as well as allowing more versatility in the types of answerable queries. While conducting a UROP in natural language processing with CSAIL, she applied natural topic and semantic analysis techniques to extract ascertainment sentences from cancer research papers for meta-analysis.
As a Google Engineering Practicum intern, Bertics contributed to the development of the related posts feature for the Android and iOS Google My Business apps which provide dynamic example posts for merchants based on their location and business type. She was a Proof of Concept Development intern at Capgemini in Paris where she coded a real-time language translation app for a humanoid robot, Pepper. In addition, Bertics implemented an algorithm that allows a computer to recognize the configuration of a chessboard through image processing, determine the move the opponent made, and return the best move in response to enable Pepper to play chess.
In MIT's Toy Product Design class, Bertics created "mozArt," a pen that links the experiences of drawing pictures and making music to create a synesthesia for the user. She was the technology and web chair for the MIT Society of Women Engineers and was the vice president of scholarship for Sigma Kappa.