Feature Stories 2023: Guided by goals, fueled by ambition

UMassD student Kyle Furtado
Feature Stories 2023: Guided by goals, fueled by ambition
Guided by goals, fueled by ambition

Kyle Furtado ’23 is a student, a scholar, a teacher, an advisor, a technology coordinator, a web designer, and a software engineer intern. In a word, he is ambitious.

Kyle Furtado ’23 is not afraid of hard work. He’s a computer science major with a specialization in software engineering in the College of Engineering, studies in the Honors College, and is in the accelerated bachelor’s-to-master’s degree program.

“Computer science is a grueling major, but I enjoy the work,” he said. “Coding is my favorite; calculus and discrete math forced me to really work hard.”

Kyle’s goal is to graduate debt-free. He works three off-campus jobs that not only pay for his education, but also align with his career goals: as a technology teacher at Antioch School in Fall River, Mass. (a role he has held since he was a first-year student at UMassD), an intern at Great Place to Learn Technology Partners in Swansea, and at the Newport Car Museum. His stellar academic performance has earned him the Donald Watson Scholarship.

His goals are as inspiring as they are ambitious. And he’s achieving them.

“My dream is to work for the Department of Defense, where I can be at the forefront of technology,” he said. Last summer, he interned as a software engineer for the combat systems department at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I.

Kyle’s honors courses dive deeper into topics related to and beyond computer science. His honors thesis will explore targeted digital advertising to assess the awareness and attitudes of the public on the use of ads and their personal data. He’ll also conduct research on artificial intelligence with Dr. Iren Valova, professor of computer and information science. The rigorous curriculum of the Honors College allows Kyle to develop a more holistic perspective on the field of computer science, one that he shares through his thesis and in his off-campus jobs. “It’s important to understand what’s happening behind the scenes, so you can protect yourself in today’s digital world.”

Kyle recently met John Turbak ’79, a long-time supporter of UMassD students who started the Turbak Family Scholarship. Support from loyal donors like Turbak make it possible for Kyle to participate in research and activities that enrich his college experience.

“What impressed me about Kyle was his focus on both his academic and his career goals,” said Turbak. “I am proud that as a donor, I can assist students like Kyle in their academic goals.”

Kyle is grateful for the critical financial support: “UMassD students work hard. We have a vision for ourselves, and we have goals. Removing some of the financial burden allows us to focus on those goals.”