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Alex Woodard (May 2013 - January 2014)

Name: Alex Woodard

School: Missouri University of Science and Technology

Major: Electrical Engineering

Co-op period:  May 2013 - January 2014

Current school/company and what you do:
I am an Electrical Engineering student at MS&T and will have two semesters left until graduation.

Current Location:
St. Louis, but I will be going back to Rolla starting mid-Jan.

What was the interview process like?

I put an updated resume on MinerJobs a few weeks before the Career Fair. Pat Hutsler found my qualifications to fit the job, so he emailed me to meet him at the Career Fair, and to set up an interview afterwards. I took an aptitude test during the interview and then he asked me some basic personality questions. I received an email not too long later asking for a follow-up interview with my would-be boss, Dave Voeller, at Hunter Engineering in St. Louis. The atmosphere was very friendly while Dave asked about me and my achievements. After a few laughs, he walked outside and a HR person walked in and offered me the job

What did you do?
A lot of what I was exposed to was research oriented. Hunter wanted to know if new technology was possible for integration. I worked on quite a number of coding projects. Some projects I started from the beginning, and also some that I continued from past co-ops. The two major projects that I worked on were to design a board with a microcontroller and to configure and use a new board that also housed a microcontroller.

Would you do it again?
Yes, but I don't want to delay my graduation any further.

What did you like?
Most of the employees are very friendly and willing to help you with any problem. The work that I got was almost always associated with my field and was interesting to do. By doing tasks for multiple engineers, I was able to increase my network connections.

What did you not like?
No flex time, strict work and lunch hours, unless you have a good excuse. Business casual attire, even though we are separated from the professional engineers.

Did you learn anything?
I learned a lot of different things while at this co-op. I learned how to use Visual Studio and Windows 8. I learned C# as well, with a bit of wpf coding. Enhanced my small knowledge on C++ and learned how to write batch files. I also learned how to layout boards using software

Did the experience help you in your career?
I have yet to find my career, but I am 100% sure that this co-op will help me.

Did it help you in any job interviews?
I haven’t had any other job interviews since working at Hunter, but with the skills I gained, along with working with professionals, it will help me with any interview to come.

What was the dress code?
The dress code was business casual, collared shirt with khaki pants.

Was the work more individual or group work and how does it compare with what
you are doing today?

I mostly worked on individual work under an engineer that helped me whenever I would get stuck. Other than those times, I would work with the other co-ops if there was a big task that needed to be completed quickly.

What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to where you
are now)

I've lived in St. Louis all my life, so working here was a huge pro. It saved me money on paying for an apartment and food. There are lots of places to go to have a good time, so nobody should be bored living here. The commute was about 30 minutes in traffic, so not too bad for me, but if you were to get an apartment, you would most likely want one a lot closer.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?
I lived at home with my parents, so rent and food was covered for me.

How was the supervision?
Dave allows you a lot of freedom to work on tasks without someone breathing over your shoulder. He checks up on us every once in a while to get a progress report and to give suggestions if tasks aren't getting anywhere. If you have any questions, he will probably be able to answer them, if not, he will redirect you to an engineer that can for sure.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I started off with zero experience with work in my field, so don't worry about being inexperienced. Come to this job with passion to learn and experiment.