Spotlight – Kevin Gomes

Kevin Gomes attended Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, RI for his Senior year of high school . Prior to that, he was homeschooled for 10 years. He believes that, “you can get any education you want if you put the effort in and pursue your own goal. You can’t depend on people to hold your hand to get it.” Kevin has definitely reached his educational goals while attending URI and will be graduating in next May with a BA in Computer Science.

Kevin’s older brother routinely used computers at home to program various computer games. This piqued Kevin’s interest in computing and he began to teach himself to program starting with Game Maker and eventually moving into Game Maker Studio. His only formal education in computing technology was a typing class offered at his high school.

Kevin looked at several local colleges and universities before choosing URI. He was accepted into URI’s Talent Development program in the summer of 2014 where he enrolled in Computer Science 101, Communication 100, and Writing 101. He says that although the program was very intense, he is grateful because it definitely helped him develop an understanding of collegiate academics.

When Kevin was accepted at URI, his initial major was Communications because he really likes public speaking. After taking Computer Science 101 during TD, he became more interested in Computer Science as a major; and taking CSC 106 during his second semester sealed the deal. This fun programming course, as it is colloquially known, convinced Kevin to pursue CS and he switched to the major at the end of his freshman year.

Programming plays a huge part in Kevin’s interest in Computer Science. Courses that offered a lot of programming or projects like CSC 211, 212, and 305 were some of his favorites. He also gained an appreciation for the more complicated topics  in CSC as his career progressed. Two favorites have been Machine Learning with Python (CSC 392) introduced in Dr. Alvarez’s course  and How to Sample Data in Dr. Hamel’s Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence course (CSC 481).

Internships and service are an important part of every educational career. Kevin interned at ACE Academy in Providence where he helped students complete computer science courses and evaluated their performance to determine if it qualified for college credit at URI. This past summer Kevin worked on a project with the MakerBot 3D Printer and the NAO Robot platforms to develop a new programming curriculum that is being delivered by teachers at ACE Academy. Kevin feels the course that best prepared him for an internship was CSC 305 Software Engineering. The group work nature of the class taught him how to work on a team, and to successfully deal with issues that may arise. Kevin has also worked as a departmental teaching assistant for CSC 106 and 101 for Talent Development.

After graduation Kevin is looking forward to a career in the Software Engineering industry. At some point he may consider returning to academia to complete his Masters Degree, but he would like a few years of industry experience first. He’ll be looking for jobs developing in Python or Java because those languages are less esoteric and the most like English.

His advice to incoming freshman is to take CSC 106 early on. “It gives a good first impression [and it] teaches a lot of programming concepts where if you like it then you’ll like the whole major.” He points to code.org and app creator as a way to illustrate coding in a fun way.

In his personal time, Kevin enjoys playing the guitar and studying Japanese History as well as indulging in a large plate of spaghetti and meatballs with vodka sauce from his favorite spot in Providence.