“Invite and embrace all the challenges you face, they define who you will be when you depart from this place.” Kaleb Smith ’18
Fort Valley State University alumnus Kaleb Smith ‘18 has mastered juggling family, academic, and work responsibilities. He earned a computer science degree at FVSU, where he was a member of the undergraduate research community, graduating with a job offer already on the table. As a husband to wife Jayda and father to son Carter, Smith’s family responsibilities have only pushed him harder to excel.
“I worked three jobs while taking 22-credit hours to support my family and cross the finish line to graduate,” Smith said. “It’s been a lot to juggle, and I’m thankful for the support system I have, especially my wife. My biggest supporters are Jayda and Carter, my grandmother, my parents (all of them, in-laws included), my research advisors, Dr. “Feizi” [Masoud Naghedolfeizi], Dr. [Xiangyan] Zeng, and Dr. [Chunhua] Dong, Professor [Nabil] Yousif, Ms. Mary Pollard, my friends, and fellow graduates.”
Smith recently completed research which included his work to create a smart thermostat for greenhouses used by FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences, and Technology. The thermostat regulates temperatures by sensing activity in the greenhouse and maintains optimal temperatures through a software program. Earlier this year, his research was published in the southeast academic journal of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and he recently presented his work at the association’s mid-southeast conference, winning fourth place in the undergraduate presentations category. Though he is an undergraduate student, he attended a graduate level conference at East Kentucky University, presenting his paper on the topic of polymorphism and image deletion, The Preservation Ratio Scaler, alongside doctors and professors from all over the southeast.
“FVSU prepared me for the future by always presenting additional challenges and opportunities to grow in your field,” Smith said. “I’m the type of student who likes to learn through practical application in addition to studying and lectures, and there is always a project available to those who want to get the most out of their college experience.”
“The community here at FVSU is incredible, like no other that I’ve experienced,” he added. “You don’t just have professors here, you have close mentors who care about the things you do and really want you to succeed. The faculty overall just feels like one big family and I think there is a great overall sense of unity here.”
Smith, a Warner Robins, Georgia native, has accepted an offer to work as a software developer at Robins Air Force Base after graduation. He says that, as an FVSU alumnus, he is looking forward to continuing to lend advice to undergraduate robotics researchers that come after him and hopes that they will continue the work he has started.
“I can’t wait to see the fruits of our labor as our department continues to grow and succeed,” Smith said.
Top image: Kaleb Smith (left) with wife Jayda (right) and son Carter (center).