CECS Senior Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

May 17, 2018

 This summer, senior Adam Vest will complete his undergraduate studies with a bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) before relocating to Vancouver, Canada to attend Simon Fraser University. Vest is among the select and distinguished students awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, which he was granted to continue his research pursuits in the field of computer vision. It’s through that research that he hopes to develop a more effective methods for translating raw data, in this case building scans pulled from sensors, to create 3D plans to help model new structures.

Throughout his childhood, Vest liked to explore his environment both through his inquisitive nature and his predilection to survey the land around him. Developing an affinity for math and puzzles, Vest was drawn to STEM in middle school, which he further refined as a high school student in the DuPont Manual Magnet Program.

“I was just kind of the kid that liked everything. One of the interests that I had growing up was a little more abstract," he said. " I started reading more about knowledge, the study of knowledge, epistemology. I really enjoyed thinking about those types of problems.”

For Vest, the fulcrum of his epistemological studies, math, and his appreciation of puzzles and problem solving rested firmly in CECS, which married each of his strengths into one cohesive whole. Once at Speed School, Vest joined both the Association of Computer Machinery and Tau Beta Pi, balancing his time between his extracurricular interests and his academic pursuits, including a minor in Political Science. It was through these experiences and his prior studies that led to his research into artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“A lot of the questions asked in that field are the same as in epistemology. One of the things that came to my mind when I first started that was an old quote, you never truly can understand something until you can create it," said Vest. "It was a different way for me to view these questions, and to face some of the biggest challenges that face us in the coming century.”

A lifelong Louisvillian, Vest is making the move this Fall to Vancouver, embracing his newest challenge as a welcome opportunity. His most recent co-op rotation took him to Houston to intern for NASA, which provided a chance to learn what is possible when ideas are allowed to flourish. Vest hopes to continue beyond the completion of his Fulbright, to build a better tomorrow through his research.

“For right now, I want to go to graduate school and hopefully get my PhD in autonomous decision making in robots or something along the lines of vision or natural language representation and processing," Vest said. "I plan to stay in that subfield of Artificial Intelligence.”