“Surprisingly, my best experiences on campus happen right behind the Starbucks in the library. Here, I would meet up with a group of friends from computer and electrical engineering and we would just talk and drink coffee,” says Dylan Tocci, a senior at UMass Dartmouth’s College of Engineering. “It was the perfect way to bridge the gaps in time between classes, and it helped ease the stress we all had – especially when finals were approaching.”
Finding a network at UMassD
Dylan, a computer and electrical engineering major, says his friends have been the main reason he continued to pursue his studies. “They have helped me more times than I can count. I joined the Chi Phi Fraternity freshman year when I barely knew anyone on campus. I was very nervous going off to school by myself, and didn’t know what to do.” After joining the organization, Dylan became much more comfortable on campus. “They showed me around and helped me find my niche in the community. I firmly believe that if I had not joined this group, I would not have stayed in college this long. I know there is someone from the fraternity I can call – no matter the time or reason.”
Benefiting from the Cybersecurity Club
As part of the College of Engineering's Accelerated BS/MS (4+1) program, Dylan is pursuing a concentration in cybersecurity. He supplements his studies by serving as webmaster of the UMassD Cybersecurity Club. “I help maintain the MyOrgs page and answer certain emails pertaining to the club. However, I also like to help with event planning and general idea discussions. This organization is a great challenge as I love the area of cybersecurity.”
With the help of guest speakers, the club aims to increase interest in the cybersecurity field and to promote internet safety among the students on campus. “Through this club, I’ve learned about cybersecurity as a whole. The CSEC club showed me just how interesting complex-sounding topics could be. At a glance, “cybersecurity” sounds like a very difficult to get into and complex field. However, if it is truly what you are interested in, and you put the work in, you can get a really good grasp on the subject matter. Through this club I found my passion in the field, and gained the drive to pursue it,” he says.
Gaining practical experience
Over the summer, Dylan worked with Professor Paul Fortier on the Wet Aircraft Sensor Project. “We developed test plans for pressure sensors in an attempt to find one that is resilient to harsh weather while maintaining accuracy. I was able to experiment with microphones using new optical technology and compare them to conventional diaphragm-based designs. Specifically, I was taking frequency responses of each sensor, and seeing what frequency range they could accurately measure.”
This experience taught Dylan many things that he says he would not have learned otherwise. “I became more familiar with test plan development and execution – which has been especially useful for my Senior Capstone project. I also gained a much better understanding of audio and acoustics engineering. I was able to run tests in ambient conditions versus a soundproof laboratory on campus where the minimal sound was reflected. These tests and experiments familiarized me with things I had learned conceptually in class.” Dylan graduates with his BS degree this month and will return to UMassD to earn his master’s degree.