Computer Science Professor, Smiljana Petrovic, Ph.D., is passionate about research in her chosen field – and under her guidance, her students garner that same passion and use it to flourish intellectually in the Computer Science program at Iona College.
Dr. Petrovic completed her undergraduate degree at Belgrade University and later earned her Ph.D. degree at Graduate Center, CUNY in 2008. With initial aspirations of becoming a mathematician as an undergraduate, Dr. Petrovic made the switch to computer science to expand her interests in the advances and breakthroughs of artificial intelligence.
Coming to Iona College, Dr. Petrovic says, "I was drawn to Iona College’s high academic standards while providing students with a caring and nourishing environment needed to fulfill their potential.” She adds, “Iona maintains high teaching standards and offers a variety of research opportunities for professional development. However, Iona is much more than that. It is a community that provides programs, activities, and services that advance the personal growth of each student.”
Dr. Petrovic speaks from experience, having found a community of professional growth opportunities for herself at Iona College. Her inspiration to pursue the field of artificial intelligence (AI) really took off when Gary Berton, independent scholar and coordinator for the Institute of Thomas Paine Study at Iona College, approached the Computer Science Department with the idea of using AI to help historians determine undeclared authorship. Dr. Petrovic immediately got involved with the project. She put tremendous pride and effort toward the Authorship Attribution project, along with work of many of her colleagues, which contributed to the generous grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation to the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies.
“I’m so grateful for successful collaborations with Dr. Ivan Petrovic from BCC, CUNY, Dr. Lubomir Ivanov from the Computer Science Department of Iona College, Mr. Gary Berton from the Institute for Thomas Paine Study, Mr. Sean Campbell ’16, a former student now working at Google, and many other colleagues and students that made this project so successful and a rewarding experience.”
Working on the Author Attribution project has also lent itself to Dr. Petrovic’s continued research in the field, resulting in her recent attendance at two international conference presentations and corresponding publications: the 19th International Conference on Intelligent Data Engineering and Automated Learning (IDEAL-2018, Madrid, Spain) and the 32nd International FLAIRS Conference (Sarasota, Fla.). The publications for these presentations were co-authored with two Iona computer science students: Ileana Palesi ’19 and Anthony Calise ’21. The students joined the project with support from the Gardiner Foundation grant and had an extraordinary opportunity to experience research and contribute to the published results.
Dr. Petrovic is quick to point out that there are many research opportunities at Iona College in many different departments and areas. She encourages students and other faculty, to join research projects early and have fun. “Publications on your résumé and conference travels are important, but the main reward is from a feeling of accomplishment when your idea and implementation prove successful!”