Commencement spotlight: Devin Cannistraro '21

Devin talks about understanding the balance between leading and following as he prepares to enter the real world.

Devin Cannistraro, UMassD College of Engineering student
This summer, Devin will begin his full-time position at Carlson Software.

Devin Cannistraro, a computer science major at UMass Dartmouth’s College of Engineering, says one of the best things about attending UMassD is the strong connection he has had with his peers and faculty. "My best experience as a student has been working with other students in my program,” says the Eastham, MA native. “We keep each other motivated and help each other through the harder assignments.”

One of his most valued experiences with a faculty member involved working on a research project with Iren Valova, professor of Computer & Information Science. “For my research, I developed a software process using machine learning that can identify the difference between different types of aquatic micro-organisms,” Devin says. “This was a great collaboration that required a substantial amount of learning. The research taught me an entirely new programming language and I think having a research opportunity is a great way to learn and expand my knowledge.”

As a student, he also became involved in leadership roles. “The first was as a mentor assisting with teaching sophomore-level programming classes,” Devin says it was rewarding because it enabled him to hone his own leadership abilities and help his peers recognize their potential as leaders. He also led his design project team during his senior year. “In this role, I was responsible for designing my team’s project, assigning tasks, and leading communication with our clients. I learned how to lead a group and work within a more complex software system.”

“My experiences have prepared me to both lead and be led when moving forward into my future career. I think one of the most valuable skills you can learn from being in a leadership role is knowing what is expected of you. This helps you become a better team member and a better leader.”

Since his sophomore year, Devin has interned at Carlson Software, a company that focuses on making computer-aided design programs for civil engineers. “I learned a lot especially in the form of software engineering skills and working within a company.” Overall, he says the internship helped him realize the value of a team structure and environment. “It also vastly increased my opportunities as Carlson Software offered me a full-time position after I graduate.”

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