Colleen Jacobson

Home: Massachusetts

Degrees earned from WPI: BS, MS

How and why did you choose to attend WPI?
My father went to WPI and he works in the ECE department at WPI.  For as long as I can remember, I was always exposed to the WPI campus, its faculty, and its students.  I always loved the atmosphere and saw with my own eyes over the years how great of an opportunity it would be to learn there.  The labs were top-notch, the classroom sizes were small, the learning was very hands-on, and the faculty had a working relationship with the students. I didn’t even apply to other schools.  I knew WPI was all I wanted.

Current employer: General Dynamics C4 Systems

Job title:  Senior Software Engineer

Did your studies at WPI helped prepare you for the work you are doing?
Yes.  My graduate studies focused on a cryptographic specialization in the Electrical & Computer Engineering field.  I am currently a software engineer working with cryptographic devices.

WPI was a great school that constantly challenged you.  I was taught the skills in the discipline.  But, more importantly, I was provided with opportunities to exercise those skills to solve problems.  WPI helped condition the way I approach a problem and taught me techniques on how to utilize my current skills or to tap other resources to learn new approaches.  I learned that perseverance and the right attitude will lead to a solution.

How did WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, prepare you for facing real-world challenges in the workplace or graduate school?
As a software engineer in a company, I naturally work in a team to accomplish a common goal.  You encounter and work with all types of personalities in the workplace.  My time at WPI prepared me for this through coursework as well as the two major projects (IQP and MQP).  I learned the benefits of working in a team where combining brain power and sharing ideas can result in a better solution than one thought of alone.

Additional information:
I think back and I am astounded that it has been 10 years since I got my B. degree and 8 years since my MS degree.  Even though this much time has passed, I still remember my time at WPI very fondly.  I will always be grateful for my education as well as my life experiences at WPI.  There’s no doubt that my time there had a part in fashioning me into the woman I am today.

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