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Ty Elder (June 2014 - August 2014, May 2015 - July 2015)

Name:  Ty Elder

School: Penn State Behrend

Major: Electrical Engineering

Co-op period: June 2014 - August 2014, May 2015 - July 2015

Co-op Experience

What was the interview process like?

For my first summer with Hunter, I interviewed with Pat Hutsler over the phone twice after having sent in my resume. We talked over my past work experience, my schoolwork, and what I was looking for in a job. I ended up working as a quality assurance coop underneath Dan Eberhart. My second summer I talked with Dave Voeller about, now that I've had experience with Hunter Engineering, if I'd like to come back and what I could expect to be working on underneath him. I returned working underneath Dave Voeller as an electrical engineering coop.

Most students just want some experience but they don't exactly know what type of experience they want.  Please describe some of the work you did and what type of skills you needed.  It is important to note what you could apply from school and what you learned on the job.

Over my two summers here at Hunter Engineering I've used much of what I've studied in school but also had to learn and adapt a lot. My past C++ classes came into use when I needed to code in C# and Visual Basic but I still needed to do a lot of learning on my own. I've worked on a wide array of projects both individual and group oriented. My first summer I spent most of my time testing software and looking for bugs while my second summer I worked closer with a group on a common project that involved research, prototyping, and testing.

What experience do you think will be the most useful for you in the future?

The amount of communication I needed to have to efficiently work through tasks. Whether it was finding out who I needed to send a bug to or who could make me a piece of equipment I needed, communication was essential. I've had experience where I needed to communicate before but that was never usually more than 3 to 4 people. Here at Hunter, I was often talking and collaborating with 7 people at a time.

How do you think the overall experience will help you in your career?

I've gained a lot of confidence while working at Hunter Engineering. Like most jobs, the first week or two can be a roller coaster ride and quite overwhelming. Now I know I can handle the ride and get onto proving myself as a positive asset to the company.  

How do you think the overall experience will help you in your next job interview?

I'll have much more experience than I did before working at Hunter and will be able to not just say I am beneficial for a company but show that I am.

What aspect of the work did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed the projects I worked on but most of all I loved the people I worked with at Hunter. Everyone is friendly and willing to help or add to a project, or just have a small conversation when there's a little free time.

What aspect of the work did you not enjoy?

The first week or two is a complete blur. Meeting different people, learning where things are, what you need to do for work, and all the different moving parts can be overwhelming at first but this comes with all new jobs. All of the engineers and QA guys understand this and do their best to help get you up to speed.

Did you learn anything?

It'd be hard to work here and not learn something. I learned technical things such as coding in C# and Visual Basic, networking, testing products, how much research and development goes into seemingly simple products, and just plain interesting things such as how to replace my the rotors and brakes on my car, and how to align the wheels on my car. I can't even begin to list the vast amounts of knowledge I absorbed while here.

What was the dress code?

 Business casual

Student often want to know if they will work alone or in a group.  Was the work you did more individual or group work and how does it compare with what you have done in school or at another job?

The simplest example for the work here is when you take a group project and break it into parts for different people. Then when one person finishes their part, they either help another person finish their part or start a new part. It's just one big endless cycle until a common goal is met, then a new goal is set, and everyone works in that direction. Sometimes I spent a week working on code while another week I would work with other people the entire time while doing various things like setting up for a big test as an example.

What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to other places you have been)

I've lived in Colorado, California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. St. Louis has been one of my favorite cities to live in. From The Loop to going to Cardinals games I enjoyed what this city had to offer. The summer is usually very hot and humid.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?  This question is especially important for those that are not from St. Louis.

I've lived in the same apartment complex both summers. Fortunately, it was very close to Hunter so I didn't have to commute much. It wasn't the cheapest place out there but it was nice to be home within 5 minutes of work ending. Cheap apartments can definitely be found but you'll have to drive farther.

How was the supervision?

Dave gives you a lot of space to test and figure things out on your own but also point you in the right direction. Usually he would give us an assignment or job we needed to do and if we noticed some other problems or possibilities we could explore them and simply report back what we found.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself, Hunter Engineering, the coop program or the work?

I've loved working here the past two summers. The city is amazing, the people are friendly, and I've gained tons of valuable experience.