UHV News

UHV News

UHV computer science student lands federal internship

Edward Cruz, a University of Houston-Victoria computer science junior, has recently secured an internship at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Cruz, who is going into his senior year this coming fall semester, will be spending his summer working at the laboratory as a software engineer to assist, manage and analyze data in a nuclear science team. The laboratory is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories.

Edward Cruz
Edward Cruz

“I just really like computers,” Cruz said. “I’ve been messing with computers since I was a little kid, and I tried my hand at doing IT work in high school, along with fixing hardware such as fixing iPads in my free time for people.”

Seeing the inner mechanisms and tweaking with the various components in the different frameworks gave him more insights into technology over time, the Katy native said.

His experience led him to receive a CompTIA A+ certification from Cisco, a certification that is designed to assist young professionals in getting entry-level jobs in IT by making sure they know the foundations of working with hardware, computer systems and networks.

“As a young kid in first grade, I would see my dad using his computer, and I would watch him from the side and would see him typing on the keyboard,” Cruz said. “He was one of those slow, one-fingered typers and I would just mimic him on the keyboard, and it really just instilled that love of technology in me ever since.”

Before coming to UHV, Cruz received his associate degree from Blinn College in game programming and game simulation. At first, he was not sure whether he wanted to break into the gaming industry, and he knew he had to expand his skillset. After looking at his transferable credits, he began looking for a four-year university that would make the transfer as seamless as possible. That was when he found UHV and enrolled in the fall of 2023.

“The location was very good, and it was exactly what I needed at the right time,” Cruz said. “Ever since I came to UHV, I have been getting opportunities left and right. It has increased my exposure to so many different careers and areas of work.”

Cruz said he learned about the internship while working at the Applied Artificial Intelligence laboratory at UHV as an undergraduate research assistant focusing on data science. One of his mentors, Hardik Gohel, director of the UHV graduate data science program and founding director of the laboratory, brought the internship to his attention and told him to pursue it because of his background doing similar work.

Hardik Gohel
Hardik Gohel

“Edward is an exceptionally talented student and one of the best undergraduate students I have had the pleasure of teaching. His ability to learn quickly makes this internship an excellent opportunity for him to further develop his skills,” Gohel said. “As the Data Science and AI programs at UHV continue to expand, I am excited about the increasing number of students enrolling and gaining critical skills in these fields. These competencies open up numerous opportunities, including a variety of federal internships. One of my primary goals is to establish a program that prepares our students for internships and careers within the federal government.”

This summer, Cruz will take on a new role as a level four intern tech working as a software engineer. He will be working with a team of scientists to sort and organize data they collect using microscopic photography that can detect data as small as picometers. The internship will be remote to allow him to stay home and take care of his grandfather, Cruz said.

“This internship will be very good practice on leadership skills since I will be leading the team on the application, and I am going to be directly under the head of the laboratory,” Cruz said. “Team management skills and learning how to delegate work for specific software is what I am most excited to take away from this opportunity.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 50 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.