94: PHD Biomolecular Structure and Design – Wants to make the world a better place – David Beck

Dr. David Beck earned a PHD in Biomolecular Structure and Design and is the eScience Institute Director of Research and a Research Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Beck has been associated with eScience since 2009, formerly serving as the Director of Research for the Life Sciences. Beyond his biology and chemistry domain expertise, Dr. Beck provides experience in scientific data analytics and mining, parallel programming techniques for data intensive computing and high performance computing applications, and general  software design & engineering support.

[1:10] What does post-doc mean: undergrad->PHD->post-doc (2 to 3 years to polish your skills): Biomolecular structure and Design (DNA/RNA/Protein design). How can you design new proteins/molecules.

[3:05] Why start with computer science. Grew up when computers were becoming a commodity, so knew he wanted to do something with computers. His internship shaped his direction into biology/chemistry. The degree today would be bioinformatics, using computing with biology.

[5:45] How David is leveraging his computer science degree, they use computers to find hidden structures in experimental data around biomolecules.

[8:40] what is bio-informatics – a lot of data is generated, you need to know the right statistical models to apply to the data.

[9:20] Opportunities exists in the pharmaceutical companies and also design microorganisms to remediate a contaminated site are some examples for careers.

[12:10] What has David fired up is the broad adoption of data science methods in all domains of technology. There is a data revolution – called data science.

[13:20] Getting through college: try new things, don’t get stuck with just the classes to get your degree expand outside of the core classes. We joked about gaming, but check out Foldit Game

[15:50] ah ha moment – during graduate work was focused on simulation of proteins, he wrote those simulations. So he thought if we simulated thousands of molecule simulations and generated tons of data – but in the end the data was not really knowledge, they just had a lot of data.

[18:40] – Best advice – you are not an impostor, this is a self-inflicted wound – it is all in your head and no true. And a habit – make sure there is something everyday in your job that you really love to do.
Favorite Books both by Richard Rhodes:
“Making the Atomic Bomb”
“Energy: A Human Story”

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93: PHD Biomedical – Nano Technology For Medicine and Drug Delivery – Alessandro Grattoni

Alessandro Grattoni earned a PHD in Biomedical Engineering and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and is a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Nanomedicine at Houston Methodist Research Institute:
Houston Methodist Research Institute

[0:00] Goes into what Nano-Particles is one of the fields of nano-technology – little engineered molecules; you are essentially engineering matter.

[2:45] Why a Mechanical Engineering undergrad vs a Biomedical undergraduate degree. He had a passion from racing bikes and really liked Mechanical but after his masters in Mechanical Engineering, he really wanted to apply this to life sciences.

[3:50] Going a little more in-depth – it is a very broad field and there are a lot of opportunities for research.

[5:20] Is a PHD required? No, can start research after a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree.

[6:15] One thing we don’t know about Nano – an area to develop new engineering technologies at the microscopic scale.

[7:30] What would a day look like? Spend a lot of time of learning new techniques, very multidisciplinary. Try to get an internship in a lab.

[8:50] What has Alessandro fired up – opportunity to work with cells for drug delivery mechanism. Use cells and engineer it to respond with other molecules.

[11:50] An ah-ha moment – spent a lot of time training for bike racing and determined that he could study and do racing/training at the same time. The 2nd ah-ha moment – attended a talk on nano-technology and he immediately realized that was where he wanted to focus.

[15:00] Getting through college – take an opportunity to travel the world and do internships is different laboratories. Get to know all the different areas in Nano-Technology.

[18:00] Couple attributes for succes – need to work to figure out your path forward, creativity, commitment, and never give up.

[19:00] Best advice is get serious and start studying and a personal habit is being consistent and focused. A book he would recommend is “The Sky Below” by Scott Parazynski

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92: PHD Chemical Engineering – Stretchable Electronics – Michael Dickey

Michael Dickey earned a PHD in Chemical Engineering for the University of Texas at Austin and is a professor at NC state and has experiences with Nano Fabrication, liquid metals and stretchable electronics: The Dickey Group at NC State

[0:45] Little background of Michael – in high school he took a tour of a clean room, where electronics are made, and learned that computer chips are all done with chemical processes and that had an impact on his choice of majors in college – chemical engineering.

[3:20] Goes into the difference between Chemistry and Chemical Engineering – Chemist come up with the chemical reactions and chemical engineer works on the processes of these chemical reactions to build at scale.

[8:50] Stretchable Electronic discussion – one example is putting electronics directly on the skin, also fordable electronics and putting electronics into clothing. They are using liquid metal – Gallium straight of the periodic table.

[15:30] Getting through college – he has always been self-motivating. In college he took on a lot of activities, and some he was not passionate about – try to go deeper on a smaller number of activities would be his advice.

[17:40] Attributes in students who are the most successful; mature, self-starters, driven to do well, curious, strong math background, ask questions in class and come to office hours. You also need to develop good communication skills.

[19:20] Best advice – value of hard work and treat others the way you want to be treated and a favorite book is about the history of the periodic table The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean.

[21:30] Parting piece of guidance – take all advice for what it is worth, just someone else’s opinion – not all advice is great advice.

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91: Aerospace Engineer – You will fail a test or class along the way – Erin Young

Erin Young earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and works as a flight controls engineer at Boom – Supersonic.

[1:10] What are careers available for Aerospace Engineering? – 2 paths space or aviation. – Erin went the Aviation route while at first thinking she was going the space route after going to space camp at the age of 13.

[3:15] What do you actually focus on during college? – focus on aerodynamics of flight – similar to mechanical engineering, a lot of fluid dynamics.

[4:20] Specific systems for supersonic (faster than speed of sound) aircraft vs standard commercial aircraft. The aircraft at supersonic speeds; everything heats up – they have to work to cool everything down. They have to fly through shock waves at a continual basis. When you break through the sound barrier, it is a continuous shock wave.

[7:30] Are there enough careers for a very specific STEM degree like Aeropace? – since it is very close to mechanical you can flow back to mechanical but would be very tough to go from mechanical to Aerospace.

[9:10] Fired up about the future of supersonic speed – today we still travel at the same speeds we did back in the 1950’s! The concord (first supersonic jet) was very expensive to fly – the Boom solution will be very fuel efficient.

[11:40] Ah-ha moment – interesting that up to graduation it is a very clear path, but after that the roadmap is very wide open – the ah-ha moment was when she realized the number of paths she could pursue

[13:10] Getting through college: have a good support network – her first calculus test was a 53, and she failed it. The support network was so very important to get through that – she felt like she was not cut out for engineering after that test.

[16:20] Best advice – focus on the fundamentals. Habit – always ask questions and use Onenote (or Evernote) to write everything down.
Book Erin recommends Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien.

[17:30] parting advice – get hands on experience!

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90: Mechanical/Robotics/Computer Science – Nothing Cooler than Being a Woman in STEM – Alexis Block

Alexis Block earned a Bachelor’s Degree BS in Mechanical and a Masters in Robotics from the university of Pennsylvania and her final degree will be a PHD in Computer Science. Her research: “HuggieBot”

[0:50] Her undergrad is in mechanical, but her PHD is in Computer Science, how is that possible? – Her first programming class was during her sophomore year in college, and her masters in Robotics blended mechanical, electrical, and computer science.

[2:10] Goes into the interactions of robots with humans and how people react to the robot.

[4:00] Alexis talks about some of the experiments she ran – people prefer to be squeezed somewhat tightly by a robot and what she plans to do after her research.

[8:20] She takes us through her journey of college and how she found a great advisor

[9:40] What does a typical day look like for Alexis – in her research, every day is different

[10:55] What has Alexis really fired up today? the ability to use robotics for social good.

[11:30] Ah-ha moment – in high school they had to do a science project and made it all the way to nationals – that is what really was needed to invalidate what everyone was saying about how it is so nerdy to be in STEM as a female.

[13:20] Getting through college – take risks and follow your interests. There is no shame in asking for help.

[16:20] Best advice – don’t let anybody tell you can’t. A habit is to take breaks to refresh and clear your head. And a book she recommends is “Getting More” Stuart Diamond

[17:50] Parting guidance – asking for help does not make you weak, it shows how courageous and driven you are.

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89: Mechanical Engineer – From Sales to STEM Ambassador – Jay Flores

Jay Flores earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is heavily involved in STEM advocacy.

[0:0] Started out in Sales at Rockwell Automation but over the last 3 to 4 years has been an ambassador for STEM. Jay is very passionate about helping kids find passion in STEM.

[1:20] Why Jay chose to go directly into sales out of college – through his internship’s he got clarity and what is strengths were from the book “Strength Finders” by Tom Rath. He also took on some side projects within the sales organization. (This goes into the concept of architecting your own career).

[3:20] Are you wasting your STEM degree by going into Sales? – Many of these jobs require a lot of technical aptitude, so no you are not “wasting” your STEM degree by going into sales. You can have tremendous impact in many industries. We always talk about the good things, one of the challenges with sales, especially when you are in an manufacturing side, is if your products fails and the plant stops manufacturing, customer can get very upset during this time.

[8:40] Very important to grow your skills in other areas that may interest you.

[10:40] What is a STEM ambassador? Follow Jay on Instagram (@jayfloresinspires) and Twitter (@jayflores2032)

[13:10] Getting through college successfully – he knew he wanted to do engineering but did not do a lot of research. He was able to eliminate some classes and was only thinking about graduating early vs doing what he really loved.

[19:10] What has Jay fired up today – 40,000 people showed up for the FIRST Robotics competition in Houston, TX.

[21:00] Parting piece of Guidance – Kids are not driven by money at an early age, need to find the area of STEM where the student is already interested in and bridge that gap between interest and STEM.

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88: Chemical Engineering in Additive Manufacturing 3D Printing – Stacey Delvecchio

Stacey Delvecchio earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and is heavily involved in additive manufacturing (3D printing).

[1:10] goes into 3D printing a bit and how chemical engineering degree fits into 3D printing and manufacturing – as long as you continue to learn – opportunities will become available.

[4:20] Ways to investigate on 3D printing – youtube, linked in, pretty much anywhere on the web. — search for additive manufacturing .

[5:30] One thing we do not know about additive manufacturing – there are many metal parts being manufactured this way with high quality and there are many parts that the only way to make it is with additive manufacturing.

[8:10] How important to start getting involved in organizations – Stacey thinks this is very valuable.

[10:00} What has Stacey really fired up are the use cases for 3D printing – something that has actually been design for additive manufacturing.

[11:20] An ah – ha moment – How 3D printing in space may help with mining planets in the future.

[14:20] Getting through college – wishes she would have taken some more risks especially when doing internships/co-ops.

[16:15] Best advice – be present – do not multitask – when in a meeting or at an event focus on that. And a personal habit is doing a lot of reading. And her favorite app is “good reads” and a book she would recommend is “The Notorius Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG)” by Irin Carman

[19:10] parting guidance is it is OK if you don’t know what you really want to do.

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87: Bio engineering, Biomedical, Mechanical – Try as many new things – Juhanna Robberts

Juhanna Roberts earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and is in procurement at a large shoe manufactures, Nike.

[0:40] Juhanna also has a minor in engineering entrepreneurship, and has played rugby and Australian rules football.

[1:15] She goes into the sourcing/buying area which is not a traditional STEM position. She found it during the rotation program at Nike. This was a new challenge for her. Team work is very important and that is a skill that is developed during your college days in STEM.

[4:45] Does she miss doing design, sometimes, but she can always go back and do design at any point.

[5:40] what are some things she really enjoys being in the procurement/sourcing environment. She really loves being in a team environment and be able to communicate back in non-engineering terms. She also likes the negotiating side to build that as a new skill. A STEM degree is very viable even if you want to pursue a business path. A skill you learn in STEM is the ability to think and solve problems.

[9:35] what is one thing she really does not like about procurement – she misses some of the hands on aspects of a traditional STEM career.

[10:25] An Ah-Ha moment – engineering is much more than just learning information, she realized that engineering teaches you a way to think and that is what business want and need.

[12:55] If you are on the edge between STEM and a business degree, would highly recommend STEM and you don’t have to get straight A’s.

[14:10] Getting through college – wish she knew that everyone will struggle and you will probably fail some exams and take some classes out of your major. Also having some artificial intelligence classes would be helpful.

[16:30] Best advice, never lie and surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. And a habit is frequent exercise. Favorite app is Yelp and favorite book Fly Honey Bee Fly by Eva Robberts-Vankova, her mother!

[18:50] Parting piece of guidance – Try as many new things as you can!

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86: Digital Design Architect – Electrical Engineering – Do what you commit to – Nathanael Huffman

Nathanael Huffman earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and is a Digital Design Architect at a large medical device manufacturer.

[1:45] Why electrical engineering – had always been interested in computers, has done some programming in high school, and he enjoyed electrical physics.

[2:35] One thing we may not know is that you may end up doing a lot of paperwork and testing. Many times a lot of trial and error is needed to get the designs working properly.

[4:35] Describes what an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) is and then goes into what resources you could utilize to go investigate. StackOverflow FPGA

[7:00] One thing that He does not like about Electrical Engineering – there is a lot of delayed gratification when designing electronics whereas software design is a little more instant.

[8:30] What has Nathanael really fired up today? – In the tech space, he really loves FPGAs.

[10:20] If picking one programming language to go off and learn, what would it be? Python Nathanael uses it daily.
Python stack overlow link StackOverflow

[11:20] An ah-ah moment – found out in freshman year it was a lot of math, was trying to figure out how it all applies to the real world, he started to second guess if Electrical Engineering was the right choice, but after his first internship he realized that it is not all math. Had he not gotten the internship and realized what real engineering was about he may not have actually finished up in engineering.

[13:50] Getting through college: go to all your classes and get your homework done earl. Find study groups.

[16:35] Attribute needed to be successful going from college into a professional career – problem solving with scientific method. You need to have a positive “can do” attitude and be a team player.

[18:00] Best advice is “Do what you commit to” will make you exceed expectations. Basically do what you say you are going to. He also reads a lot and a book he recommends is Great at Work by Morten Hansen.

[20:40] Parting advice: Look really hard for internship opportunities as early as you can.

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85: Epidemiology and Biostatistics – Stop Starting and Start Finishing! – Rebecca Carter

Rebecca Carter earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology and PHD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and is a Post-Doctoral researcher at Ohio State.

[0:0] Rebecca is a Post-doctoral researcher in cardiovascular medicine and goes into what careers are available in Epidemiology – you could work for the CDC – Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as other government positions.

[2:25] Bio-statistics, it is the statistics for medical purposes.

[3:05] Bachelors in Psychology – she actually did Marine Biology research at Boston University while in high school.

[6:25] Rebecca takes us through her journey of research – she uses Evernote to keep of information and if you are interested in doing research while in high school, you should create an online presence and portfolio before reaching out to your local university. She discusses the EIS – Epidemic Intelligence Services program and some other programs are the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship.

[9:30] what has Rebecca fired up today is the use of statistical significance, the P-value.

[11:30] Heading to college – no one will train you, but you, and you need to stay organized and to think about the next day , and ask yourself – what am I avoiding? – that is probably the most important thing to do.

[13:00] best advice received – stop starting an start finishing and a personal habit is to focus on the process and not on the end results. Favorite app is Evernote/Onenote and a good book is “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.

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84: Physics and PHD in Solar Physics studying the Sun – Stephanie Yardley

Stephanie Yardley earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Physics and a PHD in Solar Physics and is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of St. Andrews in Scottland.

[0:40] She is focused and studying the eruptions that come from the sun, and those eruptions can disrupt technology on earth. There is the solar wind, solar flares, and eruptions. Problems with satellites, GPS and radio black outs are just a short list of the problems these eruptions can cause.

[2:40] how did she decide on Physics? She really like applied math – she went on a trip to the Johnson space center in Texas and meet some of the astronauts and was hooked at that point.

[5:45] If you like the solar systems, and Astor-Physics – what are options outside of the research and the academic world? You could go into the engineering side, build instruments for satellites, space weather forecasting, energy sector to name a few.

[7:15] Fun fact; the sun light takes about 8-1/2 minutes to arrive to the earth, but it takes 100,000 years for the photons (light) to get from the center of the sun to the surface of the sun before making their way to Earth.

[8:50] What has Stephanie fired up? — Space travel is becoming closer for everyone, and technology is catching up where science fiction is becoming closer to reality.

[10:05] An ah ha moment was here amazing trip to the Johnson space center and they were able to simulate experiments between the control center and the ship on a mission.

[11:50] Getting through college – take every opportunity that comes along and persevere.

[15:10] Best advice – take every opportunity, and a habit is to persevere. She likes the night sky apps

App: Sun App
Book “15 Million Degrees” by Lucie Green

Twitter @Slyardley

[17:00] Parting guidance: just don’t give up.

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83: Computer Science and Entrepreneur: You need to architect your career – Chris Smith

Chris Smith earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Michigan State University and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Minnesota and is the Director of Personal Healthcare Technology Innovation.

[0:30] Director of Innovation, wearable devices, drone delivery, AI, Augmented reality to name few.

[2:13] Chris hires new college grads, so we get into what attributes he looks for – need to have the technical foundation of course, need to be able to work well together, everything is done jointly, across the enterprise. Ambitious but to the point where you put yourself ahead of the team. You need to be open to new ideas, and be a very good listener.

[4:10] Advice on the type of STEM degree to pursue: Technology is so broad and growing all the time, figure out what plays well in your persona.

[6:10] In STEM, you have to study a lot, how do you develop the skills like communication. The STEM curriculum builds this in when you are forced to work in teams. If you are nervous speaking in front of a group, then dive into that and find some activities to build those skills up. In the end you have to be well rounded to work well with others. YOU are responsible for building these skills.

[8:30] Chris talks a bit about the rotation program available at United Healthcare Rotation Program
New grads come in with a fresh mind and new ideas, how to apply new technology

[11:18] What has Chris fired up? Artificial Intelligence it is so broad, and very exciting – how can you free up time for the doctor to actually be able to spend more time with the patient. Try to go deep into an area of focus vs going broad.

[15:00] Ah-ha moment is when he realized that no one was going to spoon feed his success in his careers. You have to be prepared for when opportunities present themselves.

[17:00] We talk about architecting your career – you have to control your career path.

[20:26] Reach out to Chris Smith and some parting advice: Work harder than you think you should, you can either start now working hard or work harder later in life. You also need to market yourself, how you carry yourself, that is your commercial and your reputation will follow.

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82: Civil Engineer – Was not aware of STEM until after her first degree – Mel Butcher

Mel Butcher earned a Masters in Civil Engineering with a focus water resources from The University of South Florida and is a consulting engineer.

[0:30] She was not aware of engineering when younger. Going off to college she was not equipped to make decision on the right career to choose.

[3:15] How did Mel determine that she wanted to pursue a STEM degree? It took success in the professional world to give her the confidence that she could pursue a STEM degree.

[5:10] Guidance for finding the right STEM profession.


[11:00] Getting through college, don’t wait until the last minute – in high school start to get active in organizations. It is also ok to take a break before getting into college and investigate trade jobs. Forget about what other people think.

[17:00] Parting advice – take a deep a breath and investigate how you can cultivate mindfulness. Nearly impossible to make a decision when you are 18, you can always course correct. – make a decision that works towards setting you up for success.

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81: Mechanical Engineer focused on Sports Biomechanics – Alison Sheets

Alison Sheets earned a PHD in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in sports biomechanics from UC Davis and is a researcher at Nike.

[0:30] Always been passionate in sports and now combining that with a STEM career.

[1:10] Goes into what a Biomechanics researcher does

[2:15] Why mechanical engineering over bio medical engineering – she likes things she can see and goes into what opportunities are available in the work world.

[5:15] How is important is the PHD for the research – her gymnastic coach actually had a PHD in physics. She started teaching at Ohio State University and then an opportunity opened up at Nike to do research and she moved into that position.

[8:30} What really has Alison fired out, are all the tools now available for monitoring the bodies motion.

[10:15] Artificial Intelligence as it applies to biomechanics – pay attention in your linear algebra class.

[13:20] Getting through college – classes got very hard in college – be patient with yourself and you will learn how you learn.

[15:50] Lightening round – best advice and personal habits for success

[17:15] parting guidance – don’t be afraid to try something new

Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink.

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80: Science Geek to Management – Biology and MBA – John Heltemes

John Heltemes earned a Biology Degree and MBA fromThe University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and is a Senior Manager in Quality Control.

[1:05] Why Biology: Biology is a wide field; ecology, botany and microbiology – really enjoyed science and wanted to be broad.

[2:28] With degree from Whitewater – were there a lot of jobs? They did not call out Biology degrees, but there were a bunch for the science field. Most companies will train you for the actual roll.

[4:15] Going into management – there was a need to help drive the lab environment and he really enjoyed it. Started by doing what needed to be done and determined he needed to educate himself more in leadership and management, hence the MBA.

[6:10] At times you need to do things that just need to be done, and management will notice.

[9:00] John’s specific area of expertise: general biology is where it started – very quickly it moved into food microbiology and now specifically bacterial culture.

[11:00] What has John fired up today – in microbiology it is really evolving, and continues to be exciting.

[12:20] Ah Ha into success – Has always had a great work ethic, but did not understand what drove him. You need to be self-reflective to see what your strengths are.

[14:40] Getting through college – find a routine that works for you, but you are in control since you are on your own. Experience is key and you do not have to be perfect.

[17:00] Best advice – when it comes to your career do what you are good at.

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.

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79: Data Scientist at Facebook – Don’t be afraid to try something new – Brandon Rohrer

Brandon Rohrer earned a PHD in Mechanical Engineering fromMIT-Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a data scientist at Facebook.

Brandon Rohrer Blog
Electrical Grid Blog
Brandon Rohrer – Twitter Feed

[0:00] Started out with a love of Robotics which got Brandon into Mechanical Engineering and migrated over to machine learning. Deciding how a machine was going to respond is where the machine learning comes into play.

[3:05] Brandon goes into the types of skills needed to become a data scientist – and has never taken a formal class in data science beyond software engineering. Almost all of his knowledge in data science came after his formal degree.

[4:20] How Brandon applies machine learning at Facebook – worked on a team to determine where electrical power existed in developing countries. They used satellite images to make guesses, and use an algorithm to connect all the dots to look for power lines. Now he is taking a lot data, like text, how to determine what the data really means – Text Classification.

[7:00] What are ways to get up to speed on machine learning – you should just start playing around.

[8:20] What a day might look like in the real world — he feels like he is building a big lego tower from all the bits of data and building something pretty spectacular.

[10:37] What has Brandon really fired up today – has kept his love of robots – and seeing how AI and Machine learning is advancing is very excited. There is so much room for growth in this area and potentially a really good career.

[13:45] Story of success – working as a teaching assistant and was only a year ahead of the students asking the questions – and felt very much out of his comfort zone. It is OK to explain and teach things even if you are not an expert.

[16:20] Getting through college – don’t be afraid to try things, you need to be comfortable feeling dumb and doing things badly as you learn new skills.

[18:06] Best advice – the ideal machine has no moving parts – simpler is better. Personal habit is to keep the end goal in mind don’t get sidetracked with the immediate task. Brandon uses twitter to gain insights. Brandon Rohrer – Twitter Feed

[20:40] Parting guidance – don’t be afraid to try something out.

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78: Computer Science – You need to focus on the human side to solve complex problems – Zoey Gagnon

Zoey Gagnon earned a Computer Science Degree from The Metropolitan State University of Denver and is an Engineering Manager at Meetup.

[0:00] Zoey has focused on Agile development and builds large complex things with teams of people in humane ways and chose Computer Science in large part due to the degrees being offered.

[1:50] Goes into a little bit about PHP and Micro Services and moving it into newer technologies.

[5:45] Goes into what a day might look like – as a manager, Zoey is more of a coach.

[8:40] What has Zoey fired up today is thinking about software architecture and goes into ways to make architecture decisions. — Need to have patience when making decision that will be hard to change in the future.

[12:15] Getting through college – have an idea of the value that you want to get out of college. Go to college when you can really understand why you are going.

[14:00] Software can be a very creative path, as the software is the path to solving problems and many ways to solve them.

[15:40] Best advice is to have patience and to listen and to give others space to express themselves. And an attribute for success is to be an avid note taker. Zoey really likes the web page Lean X in Y Minutes for syntax translation from language to language. And a book Zoey recommends is “Working Effectively with Legacy Code” by Michael Feathers.

[19:15] Parting advice – understand that the technology problems that we are trying to solve are very complex, too complex for a single person. So you need to focus on those human elements to work with people

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77: Chemical and Electrical Engineer with some great insights – Stephanie Chin

Stephanie Chin earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from The University of Southern California and is an engineer at Intel focusing on Yield Analysis.

[0:55] How can you go from Chemical Engineering into Electrical Engineering?

[2:35] Goes a bit into what NanoTechnology is – study of materials at a very small particles.

[3:32] Discuss a bit about yield analysis – this requires knowledge of chemical processing and materials. Looks at the overall production using data. Works with people with Physics, electrical, material, and chemical engineering disciplines, it is a pretty diverse field.

[8:20] what has Stephanie fired up, it’s chemistry.

[9:06] Chemical Engineering or Chemistry, what would Stephanie recommend? – the million dollar question, are you more interested in being in the lab, then maybe Chemistry vs Chemical Engineering, bringing knowledge of chemistry to an application. There is more math in Chemical Engineering than in Chemistry.

[11:20] Her first internship was an ah-ha moment that not all industries are the same, the general way of approaching a problem can be different. So you need to see if you will fit into that industry.

[15:10] Advice for getting through college – Explore and try to do some research and industry experience.

[16:50] Attributes to be successful after college – need to master time management, not just for work but yourself and your family.

[18:25] Best advice-is to mentor others, you always have something to share. And a personal habit for success is self-reflection, but do not turn into self-doubt. And a book she recommends is “Educated” by Tera Westover.

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76: Environmental Engineer in Sustainable Chemicals at Nike – Joy Marsalla

Joy Marsalla earned a master’s degree inEnvironmental Engineering degree from Arizona State and is a sustainable Chemicals Manager at Nike.

[1:05] Why Joy chose more of an industrial route vs a remediation route with her Environmental Engineering Degree. She had no idea that a company like Intel, or any big company, had a need for Environmental Engineers.

[2:50] Some things Joy did not like about the remediation side of the business – She was not real keen on the consulting side, the upfront business process. She wanted to be more technical.

[4:30] She explains what she does today.

[5:22] Goes into the Master vs a Bachelor’s degree – the route you want to take will dictate whether a master’s degree is needed.

[7:20] Describes what a day might look like – no typical day, but always working with people on day to day basis many that don’t have an environmental degrees.

[8:55] One thing that we don’t know – Big companies, when you make a small change there – it can have big changes/impact.

[10:40] What has Joy fired – inspired by the movement around awareness for environmental needs around the world.

[11:40] Turning an Ah-ha moment into success – sometimes people connect with your story vs you being right – people care about the why, why people should care.

[14:34] Getting through college – it is important to socialize and build relationships and learn what their story is. If interested you can connect with Joy on linked in Joy Marsalla.

[18:05] Your time spent reflects your values.

[19:20] Parting guidance – find and experienced person you can talk to.

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75: Civil Engineer Struggled with ADD and Depression in College – Liz Wells

Liz Wells earned Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from UW-Platteville and works for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

[2:10] Progression of career at the WI-DOT- entry level – design or construction are options. In the construction side you are typically on-site. Liz is focused on highway construction now as a project leader. There is also the concept of Mega projects like big interchanges.

[6:25] Liz is in charge of the contractor for the cones for, closures ahead, etc. Many times what is designed on paper just does not work, and has to be adjusted in the field. – She goes into some examples.

[9:45] She is really fired up about traffic control and is constantly changing.

[12:15] taking an idea and turned into success – toothpick competition on bridges – and found she was passionate about bridges. This drove her towards engineering.

[14:35] Getting through college was challenging – even in High School she struggled. She was borderline ADD after some tests. In College she failed many classes, failed Calculus-II at least 3 times and had to go back to Calculus 1. Then got diagnosed with ADD. That first year, she had clinical depression. Liz was very dedicated to making this work. What made a big difference was the Platteville team supporting Liz. It did take about 8 years to graduate, she really wanted the Engineering Degree.

[20:05] Why she did not just quit after failing so many times – one word is Passion.

[21:45] More discussion on ADHD – when you go talk to your counselor – think of them of them as your coach.

[25:10] Best advice – always respect everyone regardless of their title.

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74: Planetary Science – Harriet Brettle

Harriet Brettle earned Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and pursued finance before following her passion for space and going back for a masters in Planetary Science at Cal Tech and is now a Business Analyst at Astroscale .

[0:52] After having a career in finance she decided to go back to school for planetary science and goes into options after college.

[4:07] Where to go find more information about different jobs available with a Planetary Science Degree: Students for the Exploration and Development of Space and Space Generation Advisory Council.

[7:20] Think about the skills you need in the future, and any STEM degree will provide you with skills that would be employable. She would recommend a Math or Engineering degree.

[10:20] Area of expertise – Computer simulation of the storms of Jupiter.
The first picture is courtesy of Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) – Adriani et al., 2018, Nature.
The second picture is courtesy of JunoCam – Hansen.
Jupiter South pole - JIMRAM

Jupiter South pole - Junocam

[12:40] an ah-ha moment – going from finance to planetary science. She realized that there was a lot of overlap between finance and planetary science based on the math schools. Math is a tool kit and incredibly valuable.

[16:16] Tip for getting through college – she had no idea what she wanted to do when heading off to college and thought math was a good path and did not even know engineering was a degree when applying to college.

[18:30] Best advice – Don’t be the person that says no to yourself. And a habit is being very organized and structured and a lot of planning.

[20:30] Parting advice is to have fun – and you don’t know where you will end up

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73: Innovation Program Manager at Nike – Mechanical Engineer – Jill Murfin

Jill Murfin earned Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Portland State University and is a Manufacturing Innovation Program Manager at Nike and is the president elect for the Society of Women Engineers SWE.

[1:08] Journey from Mechanical engineering into manufacturing. – There are so many opportunities for mechanical engineers and most desire to go into the design side to do the creative side, but Jill found that she could use the creativity on the manufacturing side.

[3:50] Gets into what an Innovation Program Manger does at Nike – how to make shoes in a way they have never been made before. On her team are robot designers, chemical engineers doing material development, and industrial engineers. – Nike is actually a very high tech company employing many engineers.

[7:11] What a day might look like.

[8:35] What has Jill fired up – Basically how everything is changing

[11:10] An ah-ha moment – Had a great position at Intel and then received an opportunity to work at Nike came up and new it was outside her comfort zone – she knew she would regret if she did not try it.

[13:05] Getting through college – about 250 interns at Nike and many of them engineers. She had straight A’s in high school. And her first calculus, well she failed her first midterm, but she worked her way through it. Getting a couple C- in college does NOT mean you are not going to be a good engineer.

[17:20] Best piece of advice – when her mom recommend she get her degree in engineering instead of a law degree. You can basically do what you want. And a book she recommends is “Shoe Dogs” by Phil Knight.

[19:20] Parting advice – make it meaningful

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72: Software Engineering at Google – Matthew Castelaz

Matthew Castelaz earned Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering and Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and is technical solution consultant at Google.

[0:56] Describes the difference between Software Engineering and Computer Science – computer science is more software classes and software engineer is more system design type classes but both will typically write code in their day to day job but will spend time on system design and know how to manage a project from start to finish with a software engineering degree.

[2:59] Delving into his mathematics emphasis – it helped set him apart from other engineers looking at the same position

[4:37] Internships – what Matthew did at Kohls in their IT department. Built some front end web pages to add new attributes for new products and also did research.

[5:59] Describes what a Technical Solutions Consultant is a at Google – about 70% software and 30% project management.

[7:34] Getting a job at Google – was afraid of going to a smaller state school that is not well known outside of Wisconsin and the surrounding area that it would be a disadvantage – this was not the case at all. But you should get experience through internships or co-ops as well as activities outside of class, like student body president. This essentially told Google that he could excel in school and outside of school.

[10:30] What has Matt really fired up today is artificial intelligence and machine learning and google just announce a project called Google Duplex. Also he is excited about the wearable space and google just released a product called Jacquard which is technologically advanced fibers in clothing and can use the clothing to control your smart phone.

[12:38] Matts ah-ha moment – there has not been any big moments but a lot of smaller ah-has and the small success of writing software

[13:57] Getting through college he wish he realized that it is ok to change your mind and ok to make mistakes as long as you are able to learn from it.

[15:43] Best piece of advice ever received is don’t be afraid to fail and don’t let fear prevent you from trying something new. And a personal habit is persistence. And a book that Matthew recommends for getting through the technical interview is Cracking the Coding Interview.

[16:51] Parting piece of guidance – explore your options in college.

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71: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Applied to Medicine – Elizabeth Nance

Elizabeth Nance earned a PHD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from John Hopkins and is an Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington focused on nanotechnology – you can see here page here at Nance Lab.

[0:37] Elizabeth did not always know she wanted to go into engineering, in high school she looked into many different career paths.

[1:40] Why she chose Chemical Engineering and Bio-molecular Engineering and not a doctor. A mentor she trusted – if she did not actually want to treat people but rather wanted to work to solve disease and why they occur – the PHD in Engineering was a better choice. – Chemical Engineering is not an applied Chemistry degree it is a lot of math and physics and this can be applied in the health field.

[5:33] Getting into the bio-molecular aspect and how she is applying nano-technology. She does a lot of imaging with the brain and uses nano-technology as a probe in the brain to see how they interact with the brain especially when there is an injury.

[7:40] As a professor Elizabeth gets into questions that she receives on a regular basis from students on how the different engineering degrees can be applied in the health field – there is no right degree.

[13:22] An ah-ha moment Elizabeth turned into success – working in a lab focusing on mucus and working on drugs that can pass through the mucus membrane. Mucus really does protect you so makes it very challenging to get a drug across it. You can design nano-particles to pass through the mucus membrane. She was doing this in her first year of her PHD work.

[19:00] Best piece of advice is from her dad – when getting anxious; be yourself, take a deep breath , and smile. A habit for success is to keep a list of what needs to be done and always tries to seek feedback.

[19:50] Parting guidance – just get out there and try things and invest fully in those experiences.

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70: Chemical Engineering and Author of the book “STEM Gems” – Stephanie Espy

Stephanie Espy earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering from Berkley in California as well as a Masters Degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Emory University. Stephanie worked at Merck for a couple of years but went on to pursue her own company MathSP. MathSP is an academic and test prep coaching company that has mastered the art of equipping students with a “math state of mind” while arming them with the strategies and insider “tricks” they need to ace standardized tests and attend the schools of their dreams.
Stephanie is also the author of the book STEM Gems targeted at high school girls looking at STEM and shares 44 stories from women in STEM all in different STEM fields.

[0:50] Stephanie started working at Amoco (now BP) and also did research at UC Berkley and was involved in Natural Rubber manufacturing.

[2:07] Describes what a Chemical Engineering Process Engineer would do.

[3:41] Why she chose Chemical Engineering over the other STEM/Engineering fields. She was a fan of Math and Chemistry and Chemical Engineering is a combination of both.

[5:51] Stephanie’s area of expertise: Plastics and Polymers along with Oil and Gas.

[6:45] What has her really fired up today – what can she do as a woman to help expose females to engineering careers. Which is why she wrote STEM Gems. Put in link…..

[9:04] You get your best products when you have diversity in the workplace. You may go to college and major in a STEM degree and there may only be a couple of women in the classes, and people may actually tell you, this is not the right career for you. Don’t listen to them! Find and organization that will support you, like SWE – Society of Women Engineers.

[12:08] An ah-ha Stephanie turned into success; being the only women at her workplace inspired her to write the STEM Gems book. Also, in graduate school she was tasked with how to get a natural rubber plant to produce higher quality rubber and better yield – this had never been done before. She spent 3-4 months tweaking an experiment to figure out the problem – she finally got it to work and was able to publish 2 papers on her results and was very rewarding. You have to persevere and just stick with it and don’t give up on yourself.

[16:20] Getting through college – Stephanie says here number one thing was how important it is to ask for help and not work alone. In high school she could read the book do the work and do just fine, that was not the case her freshman year in college. She did not even know that it was OK to ask for help in college.

[19:17] Best advice ever received is to “give yourself permission” and a personal habit for her success is to have a to-do list and write things down, use a planner and also live in the moment but also plan for the future. A book that she recommends of course is her book the STEM Gems – learn about 44 women in their unique careers STEM Gems.

[22:31] Parting piece of guidance – continue to work hard and seek help and be brave not perfect and always stay curious.

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69: Industrial Engineering directly into Semiconductor Sales – Owen DeLeon

Owen DeLeon earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Central Florida and a Master’s Degree in Business from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Per his linked in profile – he is the Eastern Area Sales Director for Intel PSG products (FPGAs).

[1:20] Started out at the University of Miami in Computer Engineering before transferring to the University of Central Florida – and while he liked Computer Engineering – he did not love it. He liked the business side, and his guidance counselor recommended he stay in engineering but to consider Industrial Engineering.

[3:25] getting into the sales side…and needed to figure out how to work with a larger team to be successful.

[5:35] Why Owen waited a couple years before getting his MBA

[7:45] Internships during college, that is where he realized that he liked being out in the field vs designing in a cube.

[9:05] Recommended career path if you like the business side -stay with engineering vs just business school.

[10:10] One thing that really has Owen fired up – transformations in many markets – 4G to 5G transformations and being at the forefront of this with Intel.

[11:21] Ah Ha moment – just went off to college and made a lot friends and in sophomore year in Boolean algebra the professor says “On the final…” and Owen said out loud “The final?” was having so much fun in college lost sight of school and within days new he had to make a change and transferred to the University of Central Florida and that was a pivotal move that set his new direction.

[14:59] Getting through college – Discipline – treat college like a job.

[16:08] Listening round – growth and comfort never co-exist – Owen is an efficient and effective time manager and likes Seeking Alpha for industry insights and a book he recommends is “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell or “Freakonomics”.

[16:41] Parting piece of guidance – stick with STEM and find something you are passionate about.

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68: Game Designer – Martin Grider

Martin Grider went to college for an english degree with a creative writing focus and is a freelance software developer focused on game development and you can see his website at Abstract Puzzle and also Chesstris.

[1:20] how Martin got into game development – even though he was an English major he started doing web development, actually for the English department in college. There have been times where a 4 year computer science degree was required and those jobs, even with experience, were not available to Martin.

[4:30] Goes into the background of getting into game development – writes in his game journal every day, and tries to have a new idea every day. You can use a tool called Unity https://unity3d.com/

[7:00] Making money in the gaming world is extremely challenging, about 1 in 6 from the big game companies will make money.

[9:08] Martin is really fired up about the Nintendo Switch.

[10:40] An Ah-ha moment is that he gets most of his ideas in the shower – figured out some grid movement for Tetris and chess – Action Chess.

[14:00] Getting through college – he had a big gap in math from freshman year to college – do not have any math gaps – keep taking the math.

[15:25] Why Martin went for English vs Computer Science – he always thought he wanted to be a writer and not a game developer – the computer side was always just for fun and that turned into the career. He highly recommends getting a computer science degree / software development – it is very practical.

[18:12] Lightning Round – while he did not take the advice, go to California to start a company. He follows what he thinks is really interesting and that has led to success. His favorite internet resource is Board Game Geek and a book he recommends is “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson.

[20:10] Parting piece of guidance – follow you dreams and make things you want to see and the games you want to play.

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67: Biomedical Engineer focused on drug delivery – Brittney Pachucki

Brittney Pachucki earned a BioMedical Engineering Degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is a pharmaceutical device engineer atMedImmune.

[0:50] Why Brittney took the path of Bio-Materials and Tissue Engineering – she thought she was going into pre-med and be a doctor – but she realized she liked the hand on. She liked the fact that Biomedical was diverse. Her advanced classes later in college were Tissue Engineering and Bio-Materials and some pre-med classes.

[3:38] Spinach Leaf heart project growing heart cells.

[5:05] Area of Expertise – she figured out that to really go into Tissue engineering you really need a masters or PHD. But via her internships she got into Medical Devices and Drug Delivery Systems.

[6:25] What has Brittaney fired up is where extended drug delivery is headed especially for folks that need to have an injection every day.

[7:10] Ah-ha she turned into success – Engineering school is hard and in college she got her first “C” and did not know how to handle it and a little distraught and simply moved and her ah-ha was that sometimes things don’t go as planned and that is currently fine.

[9:40] Getting through College – go to class, do the work, ask for help – that was her school motto.

[11:30] Attributes you may need when moving into your career – need to learn how to get out of your comfort zone.

[13:30] Lightning Round – Find what you love and figure out how to make money at it and she also writes everything down using sticky notes and really loves Youtube as a resource and a book she recommends is “Life Liberty and the pursuit of Food Rights” by David E. Gumpert.

[15:30] Parting piece of guidance – Just keep swimming – you are allowed to make mistakes and you can recover from them and if you don’t know what to do – ask for help.

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66: Computer Science and Art – Look for good job culture – Michelle Brenner

Michelle Brenner started out in Computer Science at Drexel University and then finished up with a degree in Media Arts and Animation at The Art Institute and spent some time at Sony Pictures. She is now a Backend Software Engineer at Chownow.

Michelle’s Podcast can be found Here.

[1:52] Michelle describes what a backend engineer is and is someone who works on all the data aspects of a website, the images you see on the website would be considered the front end engineer

[2:35] She goes into how her computer science background helped with her Visual Affect (VFX) at Sony Pictures.

[4:00] Michelle goes into how finding work is hampered a bit by not finishing up her computer science degree, but now has enough experience where it is not as big of an issue.

[4:40] For those looking at Art/Special Affects, computer science is valuable.

[6:06] We get into Michelle’s specific area of expertise, which is making technology easier for people.

[6:43] What has Michelle really fired up today is server-less apps, this allows you to build apps without having your own infrastructure, like API Gateway on Amazon Web Server or Lambda on Google.

[8:47] An ah-ha moment was when really realized that there are many open source libraries that can do what you need to do so you don’t always have to write the code from scratch.

[10:40] Getting through college and skills for the real world – important to learn how you learn, and learn how to communicate.

[13:00] lightening round – If there is something you need, ask everyone. Sign up for things that you don’t know how, as it helps you grow. – An app she recommends is Slack and a book she recommends is “The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis.

[14:43] Parting piece of guidance – focus on great culture when looking for internships and your job.

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65: Never let others define your limitations! – Computer Science – John Hildebrand

John Hildebrand earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Systems from The University of Florida. John has held many Director and VP level positions in the wireless area and is now at CSpire which is a wireless company.

[0:45] John was able to become very technical early on and then leverage those technical skills as he moved into management.

[1:10] Why John chose computers/computer science as a career path, he went to college thinking he was going to be a nuclear engineer, but very quickly realized he really liked the programming.

[3:25] John’s specific area of expertise – department of useless management overhead – kidding aside – backend telecommunication systems.

[5:10] What has John fired up today is the emerging technologies. Network 2030; what does wireless look like In 2030. As speeds increase you will have more augmented reality on your phone.

[8:00] John would recommend computer science as a career path, there are so many opportunities available in wireless and in robotics Pepper there is so much computer software in robotics.

[10:15] If you are In the Jackson Mississippi area, reach out to John on Linked in (link above) and he may be able to demo the Pepper Robot.

[10:56] An ah-ha moment John turned into success-Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you don’t have the ability — you have to listen to this!

[14:10] Getting through college – 1) learn how to take good notes – quickly capture the essence of what is being said. 2) Have life balance – balance what you must do with what you would like to do. Employers are looking for people that have life balance.

[18:55] Best advice is to build strong personal relationships and always do what you know is right and a book he recommends is Introspective Engineer and the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team and I recommend Talent is Overrated.

[20:22] Parting piece of guidance — Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you don’t have the ability

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64: Computer Science working in cyber security – Daniel Feldman

Daniel Feldman earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Macalester College and a Master’s in Computer Science from The University of Minnesota. He is now a principal engineer at Scytale which is a security company.

[0:40] Differences between Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Software Engineering.

[2:25] Why Daniel went for computer science.

[4:50] Difference between a liberal arts college and larger college – was challenging finding a job graduating from a small liberal arts college.

[7:25] Daniel earned a stipend for graduate school and essentially went graduate school for free.

[8:25] Type of positions available for computer science graduates.

[10:20] One thing that has Dan fired up today is working in computer security.

[11:50] An ah-ha moment was when he started to meet with professionals outside of school – building his network has been very key.

[13:15] Getting through college successfully-he was overly pessimistic about his career possibilities and knows people in college who do software contracting on the side.

[16:57] Best advice ever received – ask a lot of questions and be interested in what others have to say. And a personal habit is that he is stubborn but has both good and bad

[17:50] Parting piece of guidance
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63: From Electrical Engineering to Civil Engineering working in renewable energy – Emily Arnold

Emily Arnold earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and a Master’s in Civil Engineering from Stanford University. She is now Director of Optimization Engineering at 8 Minute Energy Renewables

[1:10] Why Emily made the transition from Electrical into Civil Engineering. She originally was planning to be a chemical engineer. A 2 week long summer engineering camp helped guide her decisions. At Stanford she focused on atmosphere and energy engineering.

[5:23] Looking at the subset programs of the broader masters degrees is important when looking at graduate school.

[6:47] How Emily is merging the Electrical Engineering and Civil Engineering together.

[9:00] Emily’s specific area of expertise – solar technology and optimization.

[9:52] What has Emily fired up is that renewable are just getting started.

[11:35] Early in her career she had to learn how to accommodate the customer’s requirements and there is no one right answer to solving an engineering problem. Some may be better technically, some may be better cost wise. You have to think about all the parts and there are always trade-offs

[15:20] Launching into college successfully – talk to people, your teachers. Her high school math teacher really helped guide her for college guidance.

[18:02] Best advice – Be bold and realize that you have something to contribute. A personal habit is to find outlets to shut-off and balance throughout school and in her career.

[19:55] parting piece of guidance – need to find your own path, may not be the straightest, hone in on what you enjoy
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62: Find positions to fill your skills gap – Electrical Engineer – Nikita Tiwari

Nikita Tiwari earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Mumbai and a Master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Portland State Univeristy. She is now a platform engineer for the automotive industry at Intel Corporation

[0:55] She has been at Intel for about 5 years and has had many positions inside of Intel. The multiple positions helped her decide what she really liked to do.

[2:23] Classes that helped her; embedded systems, VLSI (Very Large Scale Integrated Circuit) design, validation and verification courses. These along with some computer science and hardware architecture have helped in her career.

[3:39] Describes what an applications platform engineer is within the automotive industry, working on cameras and also working on some Artificial Intelligence applications.

[4:35] How she was able to work in many different positions, she knew what skills she wanted to develop and looked for roles that would help here fill those gaps.

[5:48] Why she went on for her masters and how she is passionate about computer architecture.

[6:40] Nikita’s area of expertise.

[8:28] An ah-ha moment that Nikita had that she turned into success – she did not have all the qualifications for a role, so she did a part time roll with the group she wanted to work for and gained the needed skills and ended up with the position.

[10:21] Getting through college – the power of networking and mentoring.

[12:05] The is information on the SWE website for girls interested in STEM careers. Society of Women Engineers.

[13:07] Key attributes launching into a career; whatever you do, do it well and don’t be worried about failing. Wide breadth is very important and focus on a couple of skills to be an expert in. You also want to be able to articulate yourself, your own elevator pitch.

[15:26] Lightening round – best advice is to be adaptable and don’t rehearse too much. A habit is to carve out time to get things get done and execute on what you plan. She really likes Reddit and recommends The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

[17:10] Parting piece of guidance – Use all the resources available to you and one thing at a time.
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61: From Mechanical Engineering to a Water Resource Engineer-Brad Arnold

Brad Arnold earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from The Milwaukee School of Engineering and a Masters in Agricultural & Natural Resource from UC Davis.
You can also reach Brad directly by email barnold.engr@gmail.com

[1:30] Brad found his interests in environmental engineering and tied it in with his knowledge of hydraulics gained through mechanical engineering classes and parlayed that into a sensor system design in grad school. He then got involved in water management and ties it all together in the podcast.

[4:15] How can you get a undergrad in mechanical engineering and then get a masters in civil engineering?

[8:50] What really has Brad fired up in water management?

[10:45] California is sinking – ground water subsidence – has dropped many feet in the last century

[11:40] An ah-ha moment – he started to understand the bigger picture.

[14:40] Don’t get scared off by the math and science requirement, it gets easier when it gets applied. Also look at the course catalog from the schools you are looking to see what the focus might be, for example is the mechanical engineering degree automotive focused or more general?

[18:10] Lightening round time: best advice, personal habit, phone app and book.

Interesting Links, courtesy of Brad:

USGS resource for ‘land subsidence’ in California:  Based on our discussion of the land sinking due to overdrafting of groundwater supplies for agriculture, mostly in the Central Valley.

This ‘California Water 101’ from the Water Education Foundation out here also provides some good details on our water systems.

STEM courses from major universities and companies, for instance, any high school student could enroll in ‘Python Basics for Data Science’ to start learning programming

website: Coursera
book: Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner.
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60: Financial Engineering-High Frequency Stock Trader-Nick Sonnenberg

Nick Sonnenberg earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Finance and Statistics from University of California-Santa Barbara and a Masters in Financial Engineering from University of California – Berkley

[0:45] Nick explains what financial engineering is – basically applying math to the financial market. He was not aware of financial engineering and just kind of fell into it.

[4:00] Worked for a large investment bank doing high frequency trading on many of the stock exchanges.

[4:40] What you need to know to be able to work as a high frequency trader.

[5:35] Nick is now running two companies. One of them is Get Leverage.

[6:16] What has Nick fired up today? – Solving new math problems!

[7:18] Nick tells us a story of success – Within a couple weeks on a new job, his manager left and he became the head of trading in Hong Kong and was trading over a Billion dollars and making fractions of a penny at a time with very high volume.

[10:15] Where to go get information on high frequency trading? Nick highly recommends taking computer science classes and at a minimum python skills.

[11:50] Getting through college.

[15:20] Lightning round, best advice, personal habit for success and parting guidance.

Nick recommends his book “Idea to Execution”.

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59: PHD Biomedical Engineering-Dean at Marquette University-Kris Ropella

Dr. Kris Ropella earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette University and her Masters and PHD in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University.

[1:50] Why Kris decided on Biomedical engineering, even though she really enjoyed architecture.

[3:45] Careers available in Biomedical with BS, MS, or PHD degree.

[5:58] Kris’ insights into qualities needed to be successful in college, such as time discipline, managing time. But also need to take time for some fun to be well rounded. Don’t expect to be perfect, failure is important, take some risks. Need to have emotional intelligence / personal relationship.

[11:50] Advice for young women to get insights into STEM.

[13:40] Ah-ha moment. Her internship helped guide her career path and that is where she decided that she did not want to be a doctor.

[18:40] Best advice, better is often the enemy of good. Personal habit of exercise and a sound mind. Favorite books is the harry potter series.

[19:53] Parting guidance. Be true to yourself take time to reflect

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58: Electrical Engineer-working in cyber security-Valerie Seidl

Valerie Seidl earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and currently works for Synercomm which is a cyber security firm.

[5:15] background on her day.

[6:00] Valerie states that with a degree in Electrical Engineering it gives you a very good understanding of the low level technology and pretty much sets you up for a career in any field in technology. Since cyber security is changing so fast, a lot is being learned on the fly, so if interested in this career path there are many starting points; could be computer engineering, computer science, information technology, etc. She is really excited about cyber security because it is always evolving and is using analytics to determine when the security has been breached.

[7:30] Valerie talks about her ah-ha moment – navigating college is tough and a professor provided an opportunity to attend a week long power electronics conference and she realized there how important security was.

[9:30] Getting through college: Don’t give up as we will all fail somewhere along the line and be agile an adaptable. Surround yourself around people that have the same common goals as you.

[10:45] Transitioning from College into a Career. Learning what is progress in the career because in college you knew your progress based upon passing of test, but no so in real life.

[12:00] Lightning round: Dreams don’t work unless you do, and expert’s aren’t born overnight.

[13:00] Parting piece of guidance.

Valerie recommends the book “Practical Electronics for Engineers” by Paul Scherz.

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57: Harness that FASTER than normal ADHD brain, it’s a gift-Alex Nigh and Peter Shankman

This episode is different than the normal flow – we delve in a bit on how to harness the gift of having an ADHD brain. The ADHD brain is faster than normal and it is an advantage, not a deficit once you learn how to harness the power.

Alex Nigh is a Junior in college studying Computer Engineering and delves into some techniques he needed to implement to be successful – has been working to harness since 3rd grade:

Going to the library to study for 2 hours vs going to the library to study and learn was a big difference. Also you should probably triple the amount of time you think it is going to take to get your homework done and learn it.

He Needed to develop a ritual to get ready to go and study and also found that only bringing one subject along so not tempted to move onto another subject that might be easier was key. He also needed to find a place with very little distractions and listens to piano music on a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. The phone! that has to stay out of site, in a backpack in airplane mode – within 5 minutes he can forget it is there and now your are in the zone to study!

Furthermore When you go and study, don’t go with a specific time in mind, go with the intent to learn the material you need to learn.

In his internships, he always writes down a goal and a to-do list for the next day and follows a routine during the day so as not to get distracted.

Peter Shankman is a multiple book author, speaker and entrepreneur, you can find Peter at Peter Shankman
His Faster Than Normal ADHD Podcast.

Peter has has 4 rules:
1) Exercise – that provides the dopamine and serotonin he needs to get through the day.
2) Eliminate choice – and make sure he can get to the end result as quick as possible.
3) Sleep – needs at least 7 hours.
4) Dietary – limits carbs and eats a lot of veggies and meat.

Elimination of choice and Exercise are probably the 2 most important items.
Also you need to be aware of triggers and avoid those triggers.

His “Faster Than Normal Book” which Alex and I listend to on a long drive. Highly recommend this if you are a parent or student harnessing your ADHD.

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56: Mechanical Engineer-Being able to see it, made it the right choice-Bianca McCartt

Bianca McCart earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechancial Engineering from The University of Kentucky and is currently a technical career development leader and always involved with engineering.

As a junior in high school she had no idea about engineering as a career and really learned about it her senior year in high school, she always thought she would be a horse trainer or artist. She is a very visual person and hence mechanical engineering with being able to see it and put it together made it the right choice.

She worked in Turbine Engine Airfoil design and moved into a production work then into program management and then back into design, she has evolved her career over the years.

She is really fired up about hybrid electric aircraft engine and going forward she feels you need a somewhat diverse background and programming skills are always valuable.

Early in her career she was invited to be a mentee with one of the chief engineers along with another senior engineer and received different advice. The ah-ha movement was she realized there is not one right answer, so a take away is ask the same question to multiple people.

Best advice is to not get too attached to your plan, important to make a plan but things will change and you will need to adjust that plan.

One of her favorite internet resources is Quora.

The books Bianca recommends are The Broken Ladder
by Keith Payne and Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem.

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55: Industrial Engineer-Without a mentor in college? Who knows! Jessica Rannow

Jessica Rannow earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and currently is a District Operations Manager at AmericsourceBergen which is a pharmaceutical company and heavily involved with SWE (Society of Women Engineers) and is a past president.

Industrial engineering is about process improvement and every industry from banking to parametrical companies needs this and Jessica’s niche is in the distribution of products and has worked to design distribution facilities.

At business camp (what she was thinking in high school), most of the CEOs of companies coming to talk to them were engineers (not business majors) so she went and looked into Engineering and saw that Industrial was kind of a mix of Engineering and Business. There a so many different areas you can take Industrial Engineering.

In high school she was a straight A student but college calculus was challenging and thought she was going to have to drop out of engineering and become a gym teacher. Her mentor in college helped her through that, it’s ok to have a C in calculus and not have a 4.0 in college. Without that mentor-ship through SWE, she would have changed majors. When you get to college find a network of support regardless of your major.

On her first review at work, her manager wrote, not everything has to be perfect – spent too much time worrying about getting it 100% and many times 99.8% is probably just fine.

She recommends the book Wonder by R.J. Palacis.

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54: Computer Engineer-stop worrying about what you don’t know and just start-Chris St. John

Chris St. John earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University and a Masters in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from The University of Michigan. Chris is currently a Field Applications Engineer for a large semiconductor company.

Even though his degrees are in Electrical Engineering – his passion is in computer engineering. Chris provides his insights into which path to pursue for computer engineering. Today Chris is focused on reconfigurable hardware in the form of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA). As a Field Applications Engineer (FAE) you are not always behind the desk, you are typically our working with customers, solving problems in their labs.

He is fired up about where computing is going to go and where the next generation will take it. And Chris’ ah-ha moment is that he finally needed to go to the professors office hours – stop worrying about what you don’t know and just pick a place to start and move forward. Some advice is don’t be afraid to fail and absolutely develop those study skills and grit!

An attribute for his success is he likes to go for a win-win outcome.

A book recommended by Chris is Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin.

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53: Mathematics and Computer Information Systems and Data Viz-Alli Torban

Alli Torban earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Minor in Computer Information Systems from James Madison University and is working in predictive analytics and data viz(visualization). She is also host of the Data Viz Today Podcast.

Computer information systems is more geared around how to use computers on the business side vs computer science would be more about the algorithms and really digging into programming.

State of Place is a start-up company and what she really loves about it is she is able to do many different functions within the company. Her expertise is analyzing data and presenting in a way that is meaningful to people.

She is really fired up about data viz and turning data into action. If you are more on the artistic side look at Info Graphics.

Getting through college, she wished she would have paid attention to what really grabbed her attention in class, i.e. I could do this all day long! Listen to the inner voice and follow it, it could be your passion.

Alli does some mentoring and some advice she has is the most fun people to be around are those that pour 100% effort into whatever it is they are doing, no matter how boring it might be. Some of the best advice is “liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it”. Also remember that no one owes you an opportunity and a habit is to Timebox your tasks.

A favorite resource is a twitter account @becomngdatasci and a book is Data Points by Nathan Yau.

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52: Struggled With Depression; Seek Help and Get a Plan, Electrical / Physics Engineering-Will Knox

Will Knox earned an Electrical Engineering Degree and an Engineering Physics Degree from UW-Plateville and is a Power Supply design engineer at Extreme Engineering Solutions. He really likes the Analog (vs Digital) design aspects as it involves a lot of math to keep the power supply stable.

He applied for college without a particular goal in mind and just went to college to learn things. About half way through the semester he gradually stopped going to classes and the last half of the semester did no go to a single class and basically flunked out of college. He had applied and was accepted into Americorps starting in January through the summer. Will then started in college again the following fall and retook the classes and was able to earn a 4.0. Howerver a couple semesters later again stopped going to class and a friend recommended he go see the counseling services on campus. He was able to work though some classes with in-completes over the summer and then worked with an adviser to come up with a plan. The focus and plan really helped him to stay on task and in class and drive towards a degree.

He recommends having a plan but when you notice yourself getting less interested in that plan and not wanting to go to class go seek help immediately with the campus counseling service or your favorite professor. He also recommends that you find a good mentor as well and don’t be embarrassed about being depressed or asking for help.

Will likes Stack Overflow and books he recommends is “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card and “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace.

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51: PHD in Electrical Engineering and MSOE College Professor-Dr. Eric Durant

Dr. Eric Durant earned a PHD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and his Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering– MSOE and is currently a professor at MSOE

Dr. Durant has done research in Genetic Algorithms which is a form of Artificial Intelligence and adaptive signal processing focusing on applying mathematics in engineering. He is now digging into Deep Learning for Audio Processing.

Going into college he did not plan to get his PHD or become a professor, he got involved in digital signal processing in undergrad via elective courses and learned that it was an area he could learn more about during graduate school and went on to pursue his PHD. The standard advice is to get your PHD from a different university than your undergrad, but not a requirement by any means.

Many times as a professor, your summers are open for you to work in industry, do research, your summers can be very flexible. MSOE is very focused on teaching and is not an R1 Research University – something to ask when you are taking your college tours to make sure the school is a good fit for you.

He is really fired up about deep learning as an engineering tool and especially how it applies to signal processing – this is a whole new realm.

Ah-ha moment – as a sophomore in college struggling with an assembly language problem in lab, he learned how to debug problems as he struggled to figure out why it was not working. He just stuck with it and finally figured out the small problem he had and that was a very powerful moment. But some advice is when you are not making progress take a break and give your mind a rest and then come back an hour or so later and if still stuck ask a friend or a professor.

He tries to think outside the box, but be you need to be very laser focused on a task but then be able to break away. He likes Feedly to get access to RSS feeds and a book recommendation is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.

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50: Biology and PHD in Neuroscience researching addiction-Megan Slaker

Megan Slaker earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Bethany Luthern College and a PHD in Neuroscience from Washington State University and is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Medical College of Wisconsin focusing on addiction.

Megan says that a Biology degree is one of the most versatile degrees there is as it sets you up for many different career paths and she has taken the research path in addiction. She is trying to figure out what is happening in the brain when there is an addiction.

Every day is different, doing behavior experiments, cellular investigation, just depends on the day. If you are interested in checking out Megan’s lab in person, please connect with her on linked in: Megan Slaker. Her lab is in the Milwaukee, WI area.

She loves that we don’t know much about the brain so there are so many things to learn and it is very exciting! Two things that can really help the brain are exercise and sleep.

An ah-ha moment was when she realized that she was suffering from impostor syndrome at the start of graduate school and thought she could not cut it and was overwhelmed. Slowly over time she overcame it by just taking deep breadths and just going for it but taking baby steps.

She wishes in college that she would have tried more new things, it is a great time to explore. Some great advice is if you don’t take time to take care of you, no one will.

Megan really likes twitter and you can follow her at @neuro_meg Neuro_Meg

A book Megan suggests is 168 hours by Laura Vanderkam and for fiction the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

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49: Non-traditional route to computer science PHD – Dr. Witty of UNL

Dr. Witty earned a PHD in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology and is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and prior to that was a researcher at Iowa State University.

Dr. Witty grew up in Thailand and has had many jobs prior to becoming a professor, he worked in restaurants, as a mechanic, and as a translator and speaks Thai and English. One of Dr. Witty’s core strengths is always being curious on how things works.

His undergraduate degree is in Philosophy and after buying a $3000 computer in 1994, he decided he wanted to learn how they worked so he took a class in Computer Architecture, specifically for what he wanted to know and that got him hooked. He had no real background in programming languages and was difficult and challenging. He received a lot of mentorship and guidance from Dr. Morris Chang, a professor at the University of South Florida. One of the main reasons Dr. Witty got his PHD is that he likes to educate people.

What really has Dr. Witty fired up is AI and now having compute power to really implement the dreams of AI.

Many time students come into college with one idea and then end up changing, college allows you to change. Many students lack clarity on what they want, but don’t quit college because there are classes you don’t like it helps to build who you are. If you decide to get your masters, one thing that is different is all the students there tend to be very smart and one of the main differences between grad students is some have perseverance and grit and major challenges do not get them down, and that is a critical trait to be successful.

Dr. Witty’s best advice is to have clarity in what you do and a personal habit for success is being detailed orientated.
His favorite phone app is YouTube and the book he recommends is Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

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48: During college realized he did not want to be a traditional Aerospace engineer-Hai Chen

Hai Chen earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Kansas.

In Aerospace Engineering you learn a lot about structures, mechanics, dynamics, fluid dynamics to name a few. From a career perspective opportunities exist is companies in Aerospace, defense contractor, Boeing but any company that needs fluid flow engineers like automotive.

Hai did multiple internships as a traditional engineer but realized through those internships he really liked engaging with people and building social environments and being able to solve problems on a larger scale and realized after graduation he did not want to be a traditional engineer but still wanted to leverage his engineering degre. So he joined an international automation company and ran sales and consulted.

His area of expertise now and something he really enjoys is community building and driving growth and feels the world is hungry for authentic connection and communication with each other.

Talking with mentors and peers and what he calls recovering engineers he figured out that you can turn your STEM degree into an amazing career and he would have not taken a different path knowing what he knows now, he would go again for engineering vs a business or marketing degree.

He recommends getting into internships as early as you can to get the real world experience and moving from college into your career you have to be hungry to learn, advance, and have humility.

Book recommendation is “You Are Not So Smart” David Mcraney.

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47: Founder and CEO of Integrated Roadways-Tim Sylvester

Tim Sylvester earned a Bachelor in liberal arts with an emphasis in English and Communications and then pursued an Electrical and Computer Engineering degree from The University of Missouri-Kansas City and is the founder and CEO of Integrated Roadways which has a very unique solution for the information super highway – smart pavement by putting the antenna directly into the roadway!

Tim went to college because he was supposed to, but didn’t really know why he was there and decided to pursue English because he lacked the confidence that he could actually complete an engineering degree. Going to a rural high school he did not have any Calculus so thought STEM was beyond his capability, but realized later in life he could do it and now he is running a technology company. The English degree has helped him immensely in his engineering career.

Some strong advice from Tim is to read, and read a lot – we have lost that ability to self-study and also if you want to be an entrepreneur do NOT get a business degree!

An ah-ha moment was driving to and from work with roads under construction; there has to be a better way and also if the road paid for itself, it would a great solution by selling data about traffic.

Tim recommends that to get through college, you want to know why you are going and should have a clear purpose, if you don’t then maybe you should wait.

Best advice is don’t listen to most people’s advice, you should accept their advice and listen to what they have to say but don’t think you need to obey it. And a habit is to make sure you get enough sleep, you really need 8 hours of sleep, eat properly and exercise.

From a reading and book perspective, Tim recommends science fiction.

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46: Entrepreneur and President of Brooks Stevens-Mike Roberts

Mike Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently the President at Brooks Stevens which is a product development company.

Mike has had an entrepreneurial spirit since the beginning, went to school for engineering but never planned to actually put that into practice as such, he wanted work on the sales side – but he really wanted that technical background which is why he did not go down the business degree route.

Expertise – design automation has been the general theme of his 30 year career path and has made several moves along the way, you have to be sensitive to industry changes and changes in the world to make sure you are doing the right things for yourself and family. Managing relationships and expectations are key for success.

Really fired up about new product initiatives, innovation and development and the impact of technology in products with the billions of devices connected.

At the age of around 20, he learned how to program programmable logic controllers (PLC) and became the subject matter expert for the sales organization.

High school came very easy to Mike, did not have to study very much to get very good grades, but college was not an extension of high school – was a lot more work.

For attributes – he is interested in how someone solves a problem and to have very good communication skills. If you can’t articulate a message you will not reach your peak performance.

Best piece of advice is to put the needs of others first, they get taken careo of and you get taken care of as by product. He recommends getting up and getting to work early as that is when the brain is at its freshest and you really need to have a life-long mission of learning. You never graduate from the school of hard knocks.

Linked is his favorite web site and the book he recommends is Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why. Start with why and then work backwards to the how.

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45: Used Internships to figure out what to do-Biomedical Engineer-Ryan Kohl

Ryan Kohl earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Saint Luis University and is currently working in regulatory affairs at Lundbeck which is a pharmaceutical company and had many internships through college. The job opportunities are pretty limitless once you graduate from writing software, medical imaging to designing medical equipment an even heading off to medical school.

At school Ryan took a lot of electrical engineering courses along with coding and image processing courses but determined the work was a little to solitary than what he wanted to do and determined it was not the right path for him. His expertise now is in regulatory operations and labeling and there is no typical work day. Trying to create a high quality of life for people is very important to Ryan.

Some advice heading off to college is to get involved in as many things as you can and always ask questions of things you are interested in. And as you launch into your career you need to be flexible and open to change. Don’t say no to opportunities even if you are afraid of failure

Best advice “Things turn out best for people that make the best of the way things turn out”. A personal habit for success is to ask as many questions as possible.

A recommended book is “Phantoms of the Brain” by V.S. Ramachandran.

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