“Participating in Changing the Face of Technology opened many doors for me,” says Melanie Luperon, who is completing her degree in computer engineering at UMass Dartmouth’s College of Engineering. Peggy Dias (Executive Director of IT Service Assurance for the IT department) and Dr. LaSella Hall (Associate Director of the Frederick Douglass Unity House) lead the partnership with Dell EMC, which provides students pursuing STEM studies with practical experience as well as networking and career opportunities. “The program allowed me to attend several events, including the Dell Stem Leadership Experience and Tribe Academy Externship.” She later interned at Dell EMC, where she operated under an analyst in a software engineering experience for a serviceability-engineering group.
“I learned through the internship that serviceability engineering is the process of making things easier to fix and operate – kind of like streamlining a process so that it can be better assessed and fixed in the future,” she says. “For me, the internship resulted in much more than a full-time job. I built lifelong connections with people that I look forward to cooperating with for years to come.
Supplementing real-world experience with research
Melanie has participated in research projects since she entered UMassD. One of her first projects, sponsored by NASA, involved assisting graduate students with an in-depth analysis of data to help draw connections between growth models and the processes in which software can track defects. The following year, she developed an interest in the larger scale meaning of software reliability and had the opportunity to conduct subject matter research under Dr. Lance Fiondella. She also served as a contributing author on the research project titled “Connecting Software Reliability Growth Models to Software Defect Tracking,” and has been a student ambassador and panelist.
“Dr. Fiondella and the PhD student I worked with guided and encouraged me. They were the best mentors a student could have,” she says. “Being a part of this research group motivated me to see beyond just passing a class. I began to study more, make harder decisions, and narrow down my path to forging a career that I am proud of. Research has been a shining item on my resume and a frequent topic of conversation, which I was able to leverage and secure a full-time position.”
Reciprocating mentorship & collaborating with her peers
Melanie has also immersed herself in a variety of extracurricular activities, including working for the UMassD Parking Office, joining two dance teams as well as the Gaming Society – League of Legends Club, serving on the College of Engineering Student Advisory Panel, and leading as vice president for the UMassD chapter of National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). “As vice president, I have had the pleasure of working alongside our president and e-board to provide our members with as many workshops and resources.” The chapter operates with the goal of helping members become young, successful professionals during their time as college students and afterward.
Melanie has enjoyed the reciprocal nature of her interactions at UMassD. “Throughout my time at UMass Dartmouth, I’ve experienced a supportive and understanding community of peers and professors,” she says. “Dr. Fiondella’s lab taught me to study more and to always try to see the bigger picture. And all of my extracurricular activities and experiences have helped me feel comfortable as I prepare to begin my future as a full-time analyst at Dell Technologies beginning this June.”