Associate Professor Hien Nguyen saw something in UW-Whitewater computer science major Greg Hyde that told her he may want to put his dream of opening a pizza restaurant on hold for awhile.
Hyde is one of Nguyen's research students working on a project funded by the Office of Naval Research, where he has the opportunity to put his analytical skills to work.
The team evaluates a computational model to capture the decision-making process of naval commanders. UW-Whitewater students on the team collaborate on the work with students from Dartmouth University. Each week, the two groups communicate by teleconference. They develop scenarios, conduct experiments, collect data and report their findings to the Navy.
Nguyen this fall encouraged all of her students, including Hyde, to apply for a summer 2018 internship program called The Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program. The program provides an opportunity for students to participate in research at a Department of Navy laboratory during the summer.
Hyde, who is from Kenosha, wasn't expecting the response he got when he applied. He received word of his acceptance on Nov. 29.
"I didn't think my application was even going to be looked at," he said. "I didn't know how strong of an applicant I was, but she (Nguyen) definitely encouraged me. I wouldn't have applied if it hadn't been for Dr. Nguyen."
Hyde earned his bachelor's degree in December and is currently pursuing his master's degree in computer science. This summer, he will travel to Washington D.C. for the internship and work in the Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for as long as 14 weeks.
"It's right on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.," he said. "And they do a lot of projects in the water. What they are working on is automated underwater vehicles and AI (artificial intelligence), using reasoning and how to make it accomplish a goal and make it change goals dynamically.
Nguyen said Hyde was competing for the internship against students from research institutions nationwide.
"We are very proud of what Greg brings," Nguyen said. "One year ago, I think at one of the group meetings I said with your analytical skills you should work for (the Department of Defense). He said all I ever wanted to do is to open a pizza restaurant. I said you can go to D.C., work for awhile, get some money and you still can come back and open that restaurant."