Kyra Seevers: Digital Restoration Initiative Inspires Student Research

Kyra Seevers: Digital Restoration Initiative Inspires Student Research

November 25, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


Hi, my name is Kyra Seevers and I’m a computer
science major from the College of Engineering, and I focus on digital restoration in my research
here at the University of Kentucky. So when I was a high school student and I was looking
at prospective college, I came to UK and I had the opportunity to actually meet with
Dr. Seales. And he told me about the research he was doing with the Dead Sea Scrolls, and
it was just amazing to me that the work he was doing here was putting Kentucky on the
map in a big way. It was global work and it was impacting a lot of people and it was not
only computers for the sake of improving computation, but it was making a real difference in our
human history as a whole. It truly blew my mind and I really wanted to get involved as
soon as possible. Almost a year ago exactly, I went to Oxford with the team and it was
a truly amazing experience, because we actually got to present at University College where
people like Stephen Hawking did their undergraduate degrees. And so, to have that history behind
you as we got to present our research there – truly amazing. So currently, what we’re
doing is taking ancient manuscripts that are too broken or damaged to unwrap and read by
hand, and we’re applying our own custom software to virtually unwrap them. And this is important
because there’s actually no physical handling, unwrapping, or any damage to the scroll or
manuscript itself. So we can do this all with the computer and unveil the text inside that’s
been hidden for a very long time. And personally within that project, I’m working on making
sure that our process is more user friendly. Previously, it was very specialized, so only
people with a lot of training could do it and my goal is to make that so that any scholar
who’s interested in the project can sit down and with a little bit of training, go through
the process themselves. The fact that I’m going into a field that has such broad implications
on our world today – applied computing and computer science – it really is our future,
and there’s so many different arenas in which it will affect people in the future. It’s
not narrow. It’s really really broad. I’ve met people who study papyrus for a living
and just to see their perspective and how our work is impacting them, it’s been truly
eye-opening and I’m really happy that that’s the future of my career and the future of
our world as a whole. I’m from Lexington, Kentucky – born and raised – so UK is very
much a part of my home. I actually did research in high school at UK. I was lucky enough to
do that. And so, I knew that the opportunities here at UK were ones for growth for me. And
not just inside the classroom, but outside of it and I really knew what could potentially
lie ahead for me. And obviously, continuing on that path has been just amazing for the
opportunities I’ve been able to take advantage of. And what’s inspiring about it, I think
is that it is like the flagship state institution of Kentucky. There’s so many people doing
so many different thing to impact our state and make it a better place. Just seeing all
the different research that people can do on campus, it really makes you feel like we
have a bright future. The skills you learn when doing research not only help you better
understand what you’ve learned in the classroom, but also helps you get ahead. And then when
you learn those topics in the classroom, you’ve already got a foundational knowledge for it
and it only builds from there. I would highly highly recommend the opportunity to anyone
regardless of your field, whether it’s literature or computer science, research has really changed
my life and I think that it would change a lot of people’s lives as well.