UC Computer Programmer in Control
By: Desiré Bennett
Adam Wilford is the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science Engineer of the Month for July. Adam maintains a 3.81 GPA in his senior year in the computer engineering program while working toward a Bachelor of Science degree.
Adam’s interest in computer engineering traces back to high school. “I’ve always enjoyed working on computers because the breadth of the things that you can do with a computer engineering degree is huge,” he said. “Since we are neither electrical engineering nor computer science we can bridge the gap and work in either one of those fields – we can do hardware design or software design – and therefore we’re not as restricted in our career choices.”
It was the computer engineering program, coupled with the co-op program that brought Adam to UC. “I’d known people who’d gone to UC and they had told me about each of those,” he said. “So I knew that both were really good to be in -- especially the co-op program.”
Adam has had three co-op rotations with two companies. He is a firmware engineer at Lexmark, a provider of printing and imaging products, software, and services, in Lexington KY. While there, Adam has gained a lot of programming knowledge, including C++ programming. “I am also doing firmware updates for printers to interface with WinAps,” he explains. “It basically allows you to control the printer remotely or view web-based applications from the printer.”
Adam also worked two rotations at Premiere Systems Integrators, a provider of turnkey system integration services for manufacturing facilities, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. “There I was a controls engineer writing programs that control automated assembly lines that made food items,” he said. “I learned a lot about interacting with the customers while I was there – that job was really about having a good relationship with the customer.”
Away from co-op assignments and classwork, Adam participates in several extra-curricular activities. “I think it’s important to always be involved in some on-campus groups,” he said. “There are groups that have social activities and service work that you can go and do. I think that if you make sure you do stuff like that, you’ll find that you’re not just always in your room doing homework all of the time. This way you’ll get a chance to meet new people and give back to the community.”
Adam is an Assistant Scout Master of the Boy Scouts of America as well as a member of IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), Tau Beta Pi and EWB (Engineers Without Borders). EWB partners with communities in developing countries to implement sustainable long-term solutions.
Although he stays busy, Adam thinks it is important to always maintain a healthy work/life balance. “Especially in engineering – it’s easy to get caught up in just doing your homework and school work all the time, like, 24/7,” he said. “If you take some time for yourself, you’ll actually be more efficient in getting your work done because you’ll have a more positive outlook.”
One of the ways he is able to find balance is through biking, camping and backpacking. “The last time I went backpacking was for four days in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and I saw a lot of bears while I was there,” he said. “The bears don’t usually bother you, unless they’re angry about something – they just really want your food – but as long as you’re not standing between them and their food you should be alright.”
Adam has yet to iron out his future plans for life after graduation, but he likes that there is always something to learn in the field of computer engineering. “Most people know how to use the computer but they really have no idea how it actually works – and up until I studied computer engineering at UC, I really didn’t have an understanding of that myself. UC has set me up for a rewarding career.”