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Computer Science Students Selected to Participate in Prominent NSF Summer Programs

April 24, 2023

ALLIANCE, OH - The University of Mount Union is proud to announce that computer science majors Zachary Perrico ’24 and Joshua Clay ’25 have been chosen to participate in the summer 2023 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  

There are only approximately 100 summer REU projects in computing offered each year, so it is a significant accomplishment for these students to be accepted out of a nationwide pool of applicants.

Perrico, a junior from Canfield, Ohio, is double-majoring in computer science and mathematics and will spend the summer at the University of Nevada at Reno working on a project entitled, "Collaborative Human-Robot Interaction for Robots in the Field." This REU project is a 10-week immersive experience in addressing the real-world challenges of operating autonomous robotic systems in hospital, clinic, home and infrastructure environments.

Clay, a sophomore from Canton, Ohio is currently pursuing a triple major in computer science, data science and analytics and music. He was selected for the summer REU project at Montana State University investigating "Machine Learning for Software Quality Assurance." Clay will spend 10 weeks this summer on the project, which has the goal of developing machine learning methods for detecting software security vulnerabilities, improving the ability of programmers to build trustable software.

The NSF REU program is a prestigious fellowship that provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to conduct research alongside experienced experts in various fields of study. Each year, thousands of students from across the United States apply for these coveted fellowships, but only a select few are chosen.

Perrico's and Clay's selection for this opportunity is a testament to their outstanding academic record and abilities. It also reflects positively upon the computer science program at Mount Union. The program's relevant curriculum and emphasis on hands-on experience have helped prepare Perrico and Clay for this summer program.

"We are thrilled that Zack and Josh have been accepted for this truly significant honor," said Blase Cindric, associate professor and coordinator of Mount Union's computer science program. "This is a tremendous opportunity, and highlights the hard work and dedication that both of them have put into their academic studies. I encouraged them to apply for the program because they are among the very best students I've encountered in over thirty-five years of teaching at the undergraduate level, and I'm very happy that their abilities and potential have been recognized in this way. We in the computing program at Mount Union are committed to providing students with an education that is relevant to today's world and prepares them for success in their careers and in life."

“The University of Mount Union has not only provided me with the knowledge and experience I needed to pursue these opportunities, but it gave me the necessary connections required to branch out and find what I have been looking for,” said Perrico. “I feel that the experience of working with emerging technologies would help prepare me for my future and what I may someday encounter when I eventually finish school.” 

“It's one thing to learn a concept and apply that knowledge in a classroom setting, it's another to learn a concept and apply it towards a specific goal like in a career,” said Clay on the summer program opportunity. “I hope to see how concepts I've learned get applied in context, plus specific ideas or techniques related to the exact topic of the opportunity I'll be pursuing.”

For more information about the computer science program at Mount Union, visit