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A Passion for Technology and the Betterment of Society

AUTHOR: Nina Welding

PUBLISHED: May 17, 2017

Hawaii native Matthew Perez didn’t visit any of the universities to which he was admitted. “I did talk to some Notre Dame alum at home and realized that coming here would not be a typical college experience. It’s more a family-like bond that will last a lifetime,” he says.

Perez began his engineering career as an electrical engineer. But after taking some introductory courses, he found he enjoyed coding and the skills it developed. That’s also when he became interested in undergraduate research. Notre Dame’s Balfour-Hesburgh Scholarship Program for underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students was a big help in that it provided resources, opportunities, and guidance in his search for research and graduate related projects in which to participate.

His first year Perez worked in a biomedical photonics research group studying imaging and diagnostics. Following that he worked on mobile health apps and programming tools for speech analysis. He has also worked in the Notre Dame Mobile Computing Lab building an iOS app designed to collect the speech data of children diagnosed with autism. And he has studied how speech biomarkers can be used to diagnose concussions. In fact, he and his team published the results of that research in the Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics.

Most recently, Perez interned at Garmin Inc., working with the iOS team developing new features for a mobile app that connects to wearable health devices and tracks heart rate, number of steps, sleep, and other activities. These are just a few of the projects in which he has been involved. It’s no wonder he’s planning to pursue a graduate degree in machine learning and its application for improving healthcare.