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Ian Benz (January - July 2013)

Name: Ian Benz

School:  Missouri University of Science and Technology (University of Missouri-Rolla)

Major: Computer Engineering

Co-op period: January 2013 - July 2013

Current school/company and what you do:

I have 3 semesters left to finish my degree at Missouri S&T.

Current Location:
Rolla, MO

What was the interview process like?

I was called by Pat Hutsler after he saw my resume on Miner Jobs, and he talked to me about the company and invited me to St. Louis for an interview. During the interview, I filled out an application, took an aptitude test, and then talked with Dave Voeller. Dave was interested in my classes and extracurricular work in my field.

What did you do?

Most of my time at Hunter was spent working on automated testing procedures for the wheel alignment system. I developed the hardware, firmware, and GUI interface for a robotic test chassis. I helped program the procedure for a new industrial arm robot in the factory. I also developed several smaller applications for internal diagnostic use and researched new testing methods for things such as threading concurrency.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely.  Hunter is a good place to co-op.

What did you like?

I enjoyed being able to get good hands on experience in a variety of areas. I really liked being able to work on projects that incorporated everything from GUI layout to PCB design. It always felt like I had the freedom to experiment and try different approaches. All of the engineers I interacted with were very friendly and helpful, and they were willing to spend time with me talking about their field.

What did you not like?

The housing stipend is not enough to cover expenses, and the company doesn't give any assistance with finding a place to live. It would be nice to have more flexible hours. Lunch is at the same time every day, and 45 minutes is a little short to go anywhere.

Did you learn anything?

I learned so much at Hunter. I was able to see how concepts from class can be applied to real projects and started gaining practical knowledge in my field. I also learned how to problem solve and break tasks down into more manageable chunks.

Did the experience help you in your career?
I believe it will.  I'm much more confident in my knowledge and abilities now.


Did it help you in any job interviews?

I'm sure it will help me with my next interview. Now I have so much more to talk about with an employer.

What was the dress code?
Standard business casual.  You never have to wear a tie where you work.

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

Most projects are intended for one person, but we generally knew about each other's projects and would consult each other regularly.

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

St. Louis is a fun city with plenty to do. It's a far cry from anywhere I've lived in the past. The only bad thing is the traffic.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?

I lived in an apartment in Florissant called Kensington Square. It's a pretty nice place, close to Hunter, and the staff was helpful with accommodating my seven month stay.

How was the supervision?

Working for Dave was great. He doesn't over-manage or check up on you too often, but he's always there to help when you have questions or problems with a task. Dave is also always trying to get cool projects for his co-ops to work on.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I'm very happy I was able to be a work at Hunter again.  It is nice to work at a place where it felt like my efforts were making a difference to the company.  I would strongly recommend looking at Hunter for a co-op.