Can you tell us a little bit about your background, other interests, hobbies, etc?
I am a lifelong resident of Newport, RI and commute to campus. I am a non-traditional student born in 1985. I transferred to URI after having finished the AS computer science program at CCRI. Inside of academics, my interests lie in mathematics and computer science(big surprise I know). Going to university at age 30, I was a little concerned that my mathematical prowess had left me. I had managed to forget just about everything from high school and tested into remedial math initially. To my surprise, I’ve done very well working my way up to this point in mathematics and have somewhat fallen in love with the problem-solving nature of this science. I also enjoy constructing and overclocking computer systems.
Outside of academics one of my hobbies is skateboarding. While my age and a lifetime of injuries have caught up with me, I still enjoy cruising around. I also enjoy walking around and spending time with my dogs, we usually cover about 10 kilometers a day around Newport.
What got you into computer science or data science?
I’ve always had a fascination for all things electronic. Growing up in the SNES/N64 era, I was always intrigued by these machines and sought to understand more about how they worked.
What got you into research?
To be honest, I suppose I kind of wandered into it. For my CS 400-level elective I had taken the programming language implementation course, CSC402. I found that not only did I really enjoy this topic, but that I also seemed to have a talent for it. One day, I randomly stumbled upon Professor Hamel’s home page, where he advertised that he had many senior and graduate level research projects for any students who were looking. There was a new programming language called Asteroid listed among the projects which caught my eye, so I sent an email to the Professor to learn more.
What have you gotten out of research? What has been rewarding?
I had the chance to greatly expand my knowledge in a particular area of study by working closely with one of the department’s Professors. I received frequent feedback and detailed guidance which allowed me to make a significant contribution to a real research project. I also had the chance to get a little bit of real experience with providing and maintaining code in a pre-existing project.
Another benefit to doing a research project is that I’ve had the chance to meet and get to know some incredibly bright peers, not only other computer scientists, which has helped me make connections I would otherwise have never made.
Ultimately, I had the opportunity to present my work at a conference for the Council on Undergraduate Research in Washington D.C. (www.cur.org ).
What would you say to a student who is thinking about doing research with a faculty member?
Definitely go for it. The knowledge that you will gain and the connections that you will make will pay off for years.