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An interview with alumnus Nikolai Devereaux about Research Expo

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Nik Devereaux, a computer science alumnus, talks about what keeps him coming back to Research Expo.

San Diego, Calif., Feb. 27, 2015 -- Nikolai Devereaux earned a bachelor’s in computer science at the Jacobs School in 2001. Now an engineering project manager for ViaSat, he often comes back to campus. One of his favorite campus events is Research Expo, which showcases posters from more than 200 Ph.D. students from the Jacobs School’s six departments, as well as faculty talks. “It’s good for me, both personally and professionally,” Deveraux said. “It’s good for my company. And it’s fun.” We asked him what keeps him coming back.

Why do you attend Research Expo almost every year?

It’s a few things: I love this school and I love any opportunity to come back and meet both new people and people that I have already interacted with. I am always on the lookout for smart people who could join ViaSat. Research Expo allows me to stay up to date on the latest research at the Jacobs School.

And it’s a fun event too. It’s almost like a family reunion. I get to see other alumni that I only meet a few times a year, or even every few years. It’s also fun to see former interns who are now Ph.D. students, like Sarah Esper. She interned at ViaSat five years ago and now is a co-founder of ThoughtSTEM, a company dedicated to teaching children in elementary, middle and high school how to code.

Can you give us a few examples of connections you have made through Research Expo?

Sure. I met Jason Oberg, a (now former) computer science Ph.D. student in Prof. Ryan Kastner’s research group at Research Expo.  I was really interested in his programming work with FPGA and cyber security for embedded systems. I set up a meeting with Jason and senior business leaders here at ViaSat.

What would you say are some of the main benefits of attending Research Expo?

For me, it’s a win on three different levels. It’s good for me on a personal level and on a professional level. It’s also good for my company. There are always at least a few research posters that align with what ViaSat does. The research is always interesting and relevant. Often it addresses things we do in industry, but in a more automated fashion or more efficiently. Researchers are really moving the technology forward toward a ubiquitous computing world.

What would you say to alumni to convince them to attend Research Expo?

I would say it’s fun. It’s a great way to get an overview of everything that is going on at the Jacobs School. You come away feeling smarter and feeling closer to all the things going on at the school you attended.

You can register for Research Expo here.

More info about the event here.

Research Expo is an annual research, recruiting and networking event at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. It includes 20-minute faculty talks, networking and a huge poster session in which 200+ engineering and computer science graduate students discuss their latest research with attendees. The UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering gratefully recognizes its Research Expo 2015 corporate sponsors Qualcomm, ViaSat, Cubic and Leidos.

Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering