about menu

Alan McKinnon (May 2013 - December 2013)

Name: Alan McKinnon

School: Washington University in St. Louis

Major: Electrical Engineering

Co-op period:  May 2013 - December 2013

Current school/company and what you do:
I am an Electrical  Engineering major at Wash U and have one semester left before graduating

Current Location:
I'm still in St. Louis near the Wash U campus.

What was the interview process like?

I applied through the Wash U career site and was contacted a short time later by Pat Hutsler about coming in for an interview. I came in for a short interview with Pat, took an aptitude test, and met with Dave Voeller from the Engineering department.  A couple days later I received a call from Pat offering me a position.

What did you do?
I worked on a variety of projects during my time here.   Some of the larger ones included a project combining image detection software and a complex camera system and various build software improvement projects.  I also developed several smaller applications to fulfill a wide array of tasks including tracking builds, automating QA tasks, and some software testing.

Would you do it again?

What did you like?
I learned a lot from just about every project.  The tasks were often varied and required me to learn something new in order to accomplish the end goal which I feel has given me a lot in terms of general experience.

What did you not like?
Wouldn't have minded a little more electrical engineering work, but the software knowledge gained will be invaluable.

Did you learn anything?
I learned much more than I ever did in a class.  I entered the co-op with no experience in C# or C++ and now feel competent in both languages.   I also gained experience working with Team Foundation Server, scripting, and microcontrollers.

Did the experience help you in your career?
I believe it will.


Did it help you in any job interviews?
Yes it has given me a lot to talk about during interviews, and I've gained a lot of experience which interviewees are always impressed with.

What was the dress code?
The dress code is business casual, so khaki pants and collared shirts.  Polo or button-down shirts are both acceptable.

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

The work was mostly individual with some opportunities to work with the other co-ops.  The engineers were always happy to help though.

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

Working in St. Louis was nice because I didn't have to worry about getting a new apartment since I was still renting from my previous semester.  St. Louis is a pretty standard city with plenty to do if you look for it.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?
I lived in an apartment in University City for a good price.  I didn't have to worry about finding arrangements or anything.

How was the supervision?
There wasn't much supervision but Dave would check in occasionally and was always willing to help.  For the most part you're entrusted to work on the projects and motivate yourself to accomplish them.   A shared task list was used to keep everyone up to date.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I'd highly recommend taking a co-op at Hunter.   I've learned a lot and the experience will be invaluable.