Alumni Testimonials

Thomas Zirkle (BSE 2014)

"In the fall, I will be beginning my graduate studies [at Notre Dame] in Electrical Engineering on my way to a doctoral degree. This will, for the most part, be classwork and trying to find a research adviser for my doctoral work as well as preparing for the qualifying exam. After the first year, I will need to identify my research adviser, pass my quals and then begin working more fully on research. Once I have received my degree, I plan on finding a job in nanofabrication working on the next generation computing hardware."

"Advice I would give to potential students would be to immerse themselves in their major. Find out as soon as possible if what they are studying is what they really want to do. You don't want to have an internship your junior year and realize you hate your future career. Plunge into your class projects; if you don't love them, you may be in the wrong field. Finally, get some real world experience. Shadow someone, get an internship, be a lab TA. Find your passion and stick with it! Also use one of the most powerful resources available in college: your professors. They are dedicated to your success. Talk to them about your future plans and see if they can set you up with an internship or a letter of recommendation." 

"My engineering professors, especially Dr. Kwon and Dr. Lovhoiden, were integral in my acceptance into summer programs and graduate school. Finally, make sure you have time for yourself to have fun and exercise every day. It will keep your blood moving towards your brain and the winter blues away."

Thomas is spending his summer at Argonne National Laboratory working under Dr. Anil Mane, electrically characterizing thin films.

Nina Lassonnier (BSE 2014)

"I interned twice during my college career. My first internship was for UTC in France. This experience was my first exposure to the industrial work. It helped me build my resume with experience, which led to my second internship with Cummins Inc. in Indiana. During this internship, I was given more responsibilities and as a result of my hard work, I was offered a full-time position after graduation.”

“My position at Cummins is in their Engineer Development Program. The EDP is a rotational program that allows its participant to move throughout the company in three 1-year and one 6-month rotation. Therefore, I should be able to travel and change position over the next 3.5 years.”

Nina advises future engineering students to not wait to look for internships. She said, “The way I got my internship was by going to conventions. Even if you are not looking for an internship, it is crucial that you start going to conventions and seminars as a freshman so you have a feel of what you should be prepared for. Also, get involved with engineering clubs. Employers are impressed by leadership skills displayed through these extra-curricular activities.”

Bryan Bankhead (BSE 2013)

Bryan’s senior design project with Tanner Williams (BSE 2014) involved creating “smart probes” or remote sensors that have the ability to measure different sets of data simultaneously; such as temperature, sound, and motion. This technology could be used to automate processes within the home; for example, remotely monitoring the temperature and lighting in each room of the house. It was through this and other projects, as well as an internship at Dane Systems, Inc., that Bryan was given an edge over other applicants to Whirlpool Corporation, where he is currently employed as a Control Engineer.

Regarding his choice of taking an engineering degree, Bryan said, “I picked engineering as my major because I wanted to get a deeper understanding of how electronics and circuits work. It wound up being the right choice because I enjoy working with hardware.”
“Taking engineering did not teach me how to do my job as an engineer so much as it taught me how to learn. Regardless of what kind of engineer you want to be, every engineer needs a fundamental group of skills in order to
 succeed. Andrews University taught me how to solve problems, and provided me with a good understanding of electrical engineering.”

“The faculty at Andrews are among the best. They not only want their students to succeed, but they care about their students. Whether you need help with classes, or simply need some advice, the professors at Andrews are there to be a friend, not just a mentor.” 

Eric "Siggy" Scott (BSC 2011)

Eric 'Siggy' Scott is a computing and math alumnus who is working on a Ph.D. in computer science at George Mason University.  On top of a number of side projects involving artificial intelligence, he is currently collaborating with a team of computational neuroscientists, using his knowledge of evolutionary computation and software engineering to help build realistic neural network models of the hippocampus to run on GPU clusters.

Eric also works one day a week as an intern at MITRE Corporation, where he does research on applications of data mining and speech recognition in support of the federal judiciary in Washington, D.C.  A staunch advocate of unit testing and writing all documents in LaTeX, Eric's advice to undergraduates is, "always to be self-motivated learners: come up with an idea, build it, throw it away, and build it better next time."


Jonathan Ford (BSE 2011)

Jonathan Ford is an engineering and math alumnus who is working for Lockheed Martin as an engineer. He got this position after 
two summer internships with the company his junior and senior years. How he obtained the internship was by spending his sophomore year Christmas break submitting resumes to 15+ engineering company websites. By February, he received a call from Lockheed Martin and had an interview. He passed their checks and started working in May once school was out. 
Some of the things that Jonathan valued from his internship included making it easier stepping into a full time position. Also, Jonathan mentioned, "there were interviews for the second internship and full time hire, but the inside connections who knew me and liked my work were an immense help." He explained what internships are about by saying, "Internships let the intern "try out" the company and the company "try out" the intern. If it is a good match for both it easily becomes a full time job, if not, it's easy enough not to go back. It's also a summer job that helps decide if the field is right for you."
Advice that Jonathan shares with prospective students is, "your resume is key. Have professors, peers, guest speakers critique and give suggestions. 
Know the company you are applying to and taylor your resume to the job description when possible. Many companies search the resume for keywords prior to any human reading the resume." 

"List items that set you apart from other contenders, if you don't have many, consider trying something new, volunteer, lead out in your church, organize a club etc. Your resume should look appealing and be easy to glance at and get a good idea of what it says. Too much crowded text can turn off someone who has dozens to look at."
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