Colin Mixon

Junior, Computer Engineering, Indianapolis, IN

Why did you choose Purdue Engineering? Computer Engineering? 

I chose Purdue Engineering because of the strong alumni network that an alum that I met told me about. He talked about the strength of Purdue Engineering all over the world! Even though Purdue was so close to my home I never considered attending until I was able to understand the grasp and the weight of what a Purdue Engineering degree holds. I chose computer engineering because I love the mixture of computer science but also have the ability to go towards the hardware side of computing. So, I’m not limited by any area of working on a computer. I love the ability to work on both sides and computer engineering offered me the most flexibility in what I was hoping to have as a career.

What are you involved in on campus?

I am a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), NSBE was founded at Purdue in 1975. I am a Pre-College Student Advisor for the Office of Future Engineers, where I work with other current engineering students to help prospective students and families make their transition to college life. I am also an Ambassador for the College of Engineering, involved in EPICS, and am with the Wolf Team. The Wolf Team is responsible for reconstructing the enclosures for the foxes inside the Wolf Park and revamping their interactive learning center. We decided to design and build an interactive map to display the different populations of wolves and foxes around the globe! That experience has been really cool because I am able to use my knowledge as a computer engineer and positively affect a really great community organization/partner that wouldn’t have the means to do this otherwise.

What kinds of internship experience have you had?

I have one future experience and one past experience. This upcoming summer, I’ll be interning with Microsoft in Seattle, Washington as a software engineer and a product manager. I’ll split my time during that 12-week session. During this past six-months, from June to December of 2018, I interned with Intel in Sacramento, California. I was a part of their non-volatile memory solution group, which means I was working on their NAN hard drives that they sell to customers or companies for servers and such. I was doing validation on those products, testing to make sure the features were working as expected, and if not, I would determine what the problem was. (i.e. if the problem was the actual hard drive, or the test that I had written or someone else had written.)

What are some of your career aspirations?

In the immediate future, I am looking into getting a graduate degree in imbedded systems or controlled systems. I’m not sure where yet; I have considered doing my graduate degree at Purdue. As far as the more distant future, I hope to be the person on stage introducing a new product, detailing the accomplishments, and the new features we have implemented. I’m heavily influenced by Steve Jobs so him being that person on stage is something I look up to. I would love to one day be the Chief Product Officer or the Lead Engineer on a product.

How do you like to spend your free time? 

Netflix, HBO, Hulu. I love to watch movies and tv shows. I love entertainment. If I’m not watching tv, I’m hanging out at the Co-Rec, playing basketball with friends, or out on the fields playing soccer with other friends. And then, if I’m not doing any of those things, then I am home with family or spending time with friends over dinner.

Do you have any advice for prospective students considering Purdue Engineering? 

Two pieces of advice. First, align your major with your career goals rather than the other way around. There are a lot of paths to the end result. I could be a computer scientist and possibly reach the same goal but being a computer engineer aligned more with my career goals. Secondly, be willing to ask for help. If you don’t know, then you probably will find out soon that Purdue Engineering is very rigorous and competitive but that’s not to say they don’t have systems in place to support students and offer help. As a junior, something that I’m just now really starting to take advantage of is relying on my support system, whether that is personal support, academic support, or professional support. I would advise new students to find people in those different avenues of your life that you can feel comfortable asking for help and going to them when you need help.

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