Major: Computer Information Systems
Matthew Krebs got his first computer when he was 8 years old in order to play video games.
“As I grew older and the games began to progress, my computer couldn’t handle it,” he said. “I decided I needed a better computer, but being a young kid, I couldn’t afford a computer. Instead, I asked for a new graphics card for Christmas since it wasn’t nearly as expensive. I installed that new card and everything was great. After a while, the processor began to cause issues, so I upgraded the processor, motherboard and RAM. This fixed my issue, and from that point on, every Christmas I would ask for a new part and rebuild my computer.”
Although he loved computers, Krebs was unsure of a degree path to choose and was mindful of his finances. He selected College of DuPage and discovered it was the best option. He is now working on his Application and Technical Support Specialist associate’s degree.
“COD has provided me with fantastic teachers and mentors like Carolyn England, Kathy (Kotowski) Harper and Danish Khan along with many others,” he said. “Without professors like these, I feel as though I wouldn’t enjoy the experience nearly as much.”
In 2018, Krebs landed internships at two national laboratories. After working during the spring semester at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where he was the only intern from a community college, he enjoyed a summer internship at Argonne National Laboratory. Both provided opportunities to apply skills he gained while taking courses at COD.
“It’s been fun and I’m learning so much,” he said. “At Los Alamos, I had opportunities to attend talks at the lab and learn about new things, such as the idea of sending a nuclear reactor to Mars.”
Krebs applied for the internships through the U.S. Department of Energy and initially hoped to find one at Argonne or Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. In December, he was contacted for an interview and then secured an internship at Los Alamos, where he spent most of the spring semester working on the lab’s augmented reality project, which blends computer-generated images into the real world and could support national security initiatives.
“I was using C# and Unity to work with Microsoft’s augmented reality headset called the HoloLens,” he said. “I was lucky enough to work with a scientist who became a great mentor and gave me a side project that helped strengthen my knowledge and skills. I also was invited to sit in as an undergraduate on the Advanced Studies Institute, which is for Ph.D. students and postdocs. I helped them write the proposal for treaty verification for artificial intelligence.”
He also completed three online courses at COD during his time in New Mexico before returning to the Chicago area and starting at Argonne, where he worked with robotics on an augmented teleautonomy project.
Krebs plans to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Lewis University through COD’s 3+1 program. Although Los Alamos has invited Krebs back for an internship next summer, he instead would like to find one at a company in Silicon Valley, Calif., in order to gain experience working in the private sector. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he would like to work as a software engineer on groundbreaking technologies, whether at a national laboratory or a major corporation.
Krebs credits his time at College of DuPage for providing opportunities to pursue his passion for computers.
“With any computer science program, you will only get what you put in,” he said. “I see kids in my classes just try to skate by, but it’s the students who work outside of class and ask questions who will be able to do something great.”