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Stephanie Roberts (January 2009 - July 2009)

Name: Stephanie Roberts

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

Major: Computer Engineering

Co-op period: January 2009 – July 2009

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

Current Location:
I'll be back in Rolla for the Fall semester.

What was the interview process like?

Patrick Hustler called me and asked me to come down for an interview when my resume came up on MinerJobs. I talked with Pat and Dave Voeller about me and about the job, and took an aptitude test.

What did you do?
I had many different projects in less than five months. MFC applications (file parsing, image manipulation), LabVIEW projects (file parsing, USB downloading), MS Excel macros, a website, and software testing. I used different IDEs like Visual Studio, IAR Embedded Workbench, and Montevista Linux’s DevRocket. The main language I used was C++, also C, VB, and some Assembly, and I also learned html, javascript, and ColdFusion for the website project. I worked with and built a complete project for a wheel balancer. I made a bootloader for a microprocessor.

Would you do it again?

What did you like?
I learned a lot about programming methods, and generally grew as an engineer. It felt like projects got easier as I went along, not because they were simple, but because I was more comfortable in an environment where the answers are not in the back of the book.

The atmosphere at Hunter is very friendly and accepting. They let the engineers know who the new co-ops are, so you’re already part of the team on the first day.

What did you not like?
Dress code. But you already knew that.

Did you learn anything?
C++ methods, C methods, MFC, MFC, also MFC, ARM-type microprocessors, LabVIEW, Visual Basic, VB for Applications, scripting languages. Also, car alignment and tire balancing as a bonus.

Did the experience help you in your career?

Did it help you in any job interviews?
Without clairvoyance, yes.

What was the dress code?
I danced along the line a bit more than was probably fair or advisable. Collared button-up shirts and nice slacks were my aim.

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

Except for testing, all of my projects were on my own, which is to say I was the only one responsible for them. Those who assigned the projects were always willing to explain something or give it a look if I got stuck. Dave comes by to check a lot, and talking with him or the other EE co-op usually helped a lot.

Because it was mostly individual work, it really wasn’t the complete engineering experience. Problem solving and experience with different tools and methods was the emphasis more than teamwork. (On second thought being able to work with others is pretty important in a garage this big!)

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

I grew up here. It’s a nice place. If the job were in Rolla, I could hang out with my friends all the time. But everything can’t be in Rolla. It’s noted for that.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?
Home, with the folks. About a 20 min. drive.

How was the supervision?
Dave checked in occasionally. Enough to help out, and not enough to feel like I was being pressured. It was a surprisingly good balance. Using the Outlook EE co-op task folder was really helpful to keep track of projects and progression, and to store information from previous co-ops.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I accepted the offer because Dave said he liked it here more than Boeing. Well, how can a place like Hunter beat military aviation? But there really is a lot going on here.