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Jason Giers (January 2007 - July 2007)

Name: Jason Giers

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

Major: Computer Engineering

Co-op period: January 2007 – July 2007

Current school/company and what you do:
I am a Computer Engineering student at UMR and will have four semesters left after my Co-op at Hunter.

Current Location:
I’ll be back in Rolla a few weeks when my co-op is over.

What was the interview process like?

I met with Shari Fischer and the previous Co-op at the UMR career fair and gave them a resume.  I was contacted a short time later about coming in for interview, during which I spoke with Shari again, took an aptitude test, and met with Dave Voeller from the Engineering department.  A day later I received a call from Shari offering me the position.

What did you do?
I worked on many different projects over my time here, but a few stick out as being the best.  One of the first things I worked on was integrating a microcontroller board with some external sensors.  Since then I have also spent a large amount of time working with the newest version of Windows and how our software interacts with it.  I also did quite a bit of work on the software which generates property pages for some of our hardware in the Windows Device Manager.

Would you do it again?

What did you like?
It seemed like every project I did was teaching me something that I would be able to use again.  On top of that, the things I did were having an actual impact on real projects that Hunter was working on.  I helped track down and solve problems, and the engineers in charge were always willing to listen to my suggestions and even asked me questions from time to time.

What did you not like?
Paid holidays would have been nice.  Having to wear business casual attire while walking back and forth between buildings in the middle of summer was not the greatest either.

Did you learn anything?
I learned so much on so many levels it is hard to describe.  I’ve learned thing about writing code in a variety of languages from C for microcontrollers to advanced JavaScript in web pages.  I’ve learned more about cars and alignments in one semester than I have in the rest on my life.  Most importantly I’ve learned about business culture and the social aspects of being part of a company.

Did the experience help you in your career?
My final career path has yet to be determined, but I can’t imagine my time here not helping.

Did it help you in any job interviews?
I haven’t had any other job interviews since working at Hunter, but since it was my first real interview I believe that the experience will serve me well in the future.

What was the dress code?
The dress code can be described as business casual.  Collared shirts and khaki pants.  This was fine during the winter, but walking back and forth between the two Hunter buildings during the summer was a little uncomfortable.  I must say that I envy my friends who had co-ops where they could wear t-shirts and shorts.

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

I did mostly individual work, but I had to ask for help or advice on many occasions, and the other engineers were always happy to give it. 

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

Working in St. Louis was an interesting experience for me since I grew up in a small Minnesota town and go to a college in an even smaller town in the middle of Missouri.  Traffic was never too much of a headache, and it was nice to have things to do on weekends.  The only real downside was working so close to the airport.  Every so often a plane would fly low and we would have to shout to hear each other.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?
I lived in an apartment in Chesterfield for the duration of my co-op.  It was a nice place at a reasonable price, but finding it while I was still in school the semester before I started work was a bit of a pain.

How was the supervision?
Dave always tried to stay up to date with everything I was doing and was always available if I had questions.  For the most part I was given my projects and left to work them without constant nagging or checkups.  We also used a shared task list in Outlook to maintain status on a number of projects.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
After talking to a number of friends who have had Co-ops at other businesses, I would certainly recommend Hunter to anyone looking for a great experience.  The work is generally fun and the environment is second to none.  The people here are friendly and my car has never run better.