Where are you from?
Syracuse, New York
Why did you choose UB?
I chose UB for three main reasons. First, it was close to home (only a two-hour drive to see my family)! Second, it has one of the top engineering programs in the United States, at a cost significantly lower than many other universities. Third, UB is an R1 university, and I knew that I wanted to eventually explore research opportunities during my undergraduate education. In fact, it is these research opportunities that led me down the PhD path.
What do you like most about engineering at UB?
The faculty here are truly outstanding. I have taken classes in multiple different engineering departments, and I have always had an outstanding experience. The faculty here have not only made me find a love for many advanced engineering topics, but have also shaped my perspective on broader issues in our society, such as social justice, diversity, and inclusion.
Why did you choose to go into engineering?
Since I was young, I have loved math and science courses. As I progressed through high school, I became increasingly intrigued with “hands-on” problem solving, especially in team environments. At this point, I quickly identified that pursuing degrees and a career in engineering would not only bring me joy, but would also enable me to become a lifelong student in the evolving domain of engineering.
What is your favorite place on campus?
The Ellicott Creek Trailway, which runs near the Ellicott Complex and Lake LaSalle.
What are you working on right now?
My primary dissertation research uses mathematical modeling techniques, such as game theory, to study problems in the domain of homeland security/counterterrorism. I also conduct research in the fields of humanitarian/disaster management.
What else do you do on campus?
Since joining UB in 2016, I have participated in many on-campus activities. As an undergraduate student, I was an active member of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers student chapter, where I traveled to conferences and participated in different volunteer efforts. During my graduate studies, I have been an active member of the INFORMS student chapter, where I have served in various roles. I also serve as a research mentor for undergraduate and graduate students at UB.
What have you done that you are most proud of?
From a professional viewpoint, I think publishing articles in various leading journals has made me proud of my work, and also proud of the relationships/collaborations that I have developed. On a personal level, I am most proud of being a father to my son, Jack! He has given my wife and me a whole new meaning in life.
What are you passionate about?
Advancing science while addressing important societal issues. Finding a balance between advancing scientific knowledge and benefiting society as a whole, keeps me very driven.
Has there been a particular faculty that has been formative during your time at UB, and how so?
Dr. Jun Zhuang, a professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He was my research advisor for 2.5 years as an undergrad, and he is now my PhD advisor. At times, I feel that I owe him the world, because that is exactly what he gives his students. He has been an amazing mentor and friend, and has shaped my perspective on many things in life. He has also pushed me to achieve things that I thought I never could, while supporting every decision that I have made. It is because of Dr. Zhuang that I stayed at UB for my PhD; I knew that I would grow the most in his lab.
What are your future goals?
I aspire to be a faculty member at an R1 university. This career path will allow me to continue working with students and researchers throughout the world, teach the next generation of engineers and continue serving society in any way that I can.
What is your advice for prospective students?
Balance is critical. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to somebody. Whether it be a parent, faculty, staff, or friend, it is so important to keep your mental health above all else. Between semesters, spend time with your loved ones, and during the semesters, stay in close contact with them. What I cherish most in life is this balance, where I can come to work and be productive, and head home every afternoon to enjoy the presence of my family and friends.
Kyle Hunt received a 2021 Harold O. Wolf Award from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.