Josh Ziegler ’10
Computer science major,
Information assurance emphasis
Computer science major Josh Ziegler has only two classes and one thesis left to complete his master's degree. He attends the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.
"I'm on the National Science Foundation Scholarship for Service (SFS) which pays for my schooling and provides a stipend to live off of," Josh adds.
"The goal is to graduate in June (2013) with everyone else. My adviser is Dr. Peterson and my research focuses on AI (artificial intelligence) and trust between AI agents and humans."
During the summer of 2012, Josh completed his required internship (for the SFS program) at MIT Lincoln Labs in Boston, Massachusetts. His stay lasted nine weeks and he lived in the MIT dorms which he admits, "was cool!"
Through his internships and other activities as an undergrad at UF, Josh gained practical experience in his career field, but more importantly, he had many opportunities to get to know people from other disciplines and locations while trying to understand their ways of life and how they think.
During his junior year, Josh and several other UF students attended a Presidential Inauguration Seminar held by The Washington Center. The seminar included speakers, discussions and the presidential inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama.
“When we got back from the trip, the students who went felt like we were missing that crucial element we had there – critical discussion,” said Ziegler.
The students formed The Salon Group, which continued to meet weekly for roughly a year. It was an outlet to discuss current events, science, new developments and other topics.
Ziegler’s experience with The Washington Center was so positive that he applied, and was accepted, to work as an intern at Rock the Vote, an organization whose mission is to “engage and build political power for young people in our country.” He did computer programming, computer security work and other miscellaneous duties.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m a political junkie. It was right up my alley.”
Also during his four years at Findlay, Ziegler completed two internships with Marathon Oil Co., one in Houston and one in Findlay, and another with Lockheed Martin Corp. in Philadelphia.
Between internships, Josh also worked for UF’s Information Technology Services (ITS). He started off manning the phones and helping faculty and staff members fix their computer problems, and progressed to working on the network team, which included network monitoring and other, more advanced, assignments.
“I had a lot of chances there that I probably wouldn’t have had at a bigger university, such as working for the IT department,” says Ziegler.
As an Honors student since his sophomore year, Ziegler enjoyed the variety and challenge the program offered.
“The program allows students a chance to do something outside the norm, and they get to do something different,” commented Ziegler.
“The classes were smaller than normal. We got to do more talking, and it was exciting … It expanded my course load beyond the required computer science courses.”
Ziegler noted that he especially enjoyed the class discussions in an Honors course taught by Matt Stolick, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy.
Other professors Ziegler says made a positive impression on him were Craig Gunnett, assistant professor of computer science, and Helen Schneider, Ph.D. Dr. Schneider coordinated Ziegler’s internships, and Gunnett served as Ziegler’s academic adviser.
On campus, Ziegler was also is a charter member of both the Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Xi honor societies.