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Student Spotlight

Jan. 2017 - Q&A with Computer Engineering master's student Danny Froerer

Danny Froerer

Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from Huntsville, Utah.

Q: Why did you choose USU’s College of Engineering?
A: I actually started as a physics major at Weber State University and when I transferred to Utah State, I was accepted to the physics program. I ultimately chose the College of Engineering because even though the degrees have many similarities, I really enjoyed the application of the theory and felt like there were more job opportunities as an engineer.

Q: What’s your major and why did you choose it?
A: I got my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Computer Engineering. I chose them because I thought that both degrees were super interesting and quite frankly, I wasn't familiar with either. I wanted to know more and learn more about them and I am very glad I did!

Q: What are your career plans for the future?
A: My plans have changed from time to time, but right now I'm hoping to be able to pursue a PhD in Computer Engineering here at Utah State. I am also currently working at the Space Dynamics Laboratory and would love to stay and get a full-time position there.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: When I have some spare time, I love to hang out with my wife and two little boys. We like to play games, play outside, and watch some TV. I also like playing card games, board games, and video games. Recently my grandma gave me some model airplanes that belonged to my grandpa who passed away a few years back and I'm excited to put those together as well.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A: That you don't have to be the smartest person in the class to succeed in engineering. Having communication and social skills, as well as a good work ethic can arguably be even more beneficial. There is always going to be just one smartest person, but more often than not, you need more than that to be successful.

Q: Name an influential USU faculty who’s helped you along the way and describe how.
A: For me, someone who has been influential has been Dr. Ryan Gerdes. I took two classes from him, the first of which was arguably one of the most time consuming classes of my undergrad degree: ECE 3710 Microcontrollers. It was difficult and time consuming, but before that class I hated programming and didn't really realize the point. He taught me that there was a purpose behind programming, to make hardware, do anything you wanted it to do. When I had questions or doubts, not just about the class or school, he was more than willing to take time to talk with me and I don't know if he knows how much I appreciated that. I also took a Hardware Security class from him that next year. His classes were very demanding, but I learned so much from them. Finally, I was also able to be a TA for him for the Microcontrollers class that following year. I was able to see a different side of him and see how much he really cared about the students and how much he wanted them to learn and succeed. He is a great professor and a great example to me.

Q: What has been your most positive experience at USU?
A: My most positive experience would have to be my senior design project. I was very lucky to not only be able to work on a project funded by NASA, but also work on a multi-disciplinary project. There were Biological, Mechanical, and Electrical engineers working on the project. Having the experience of working with students from other majors has been better than almost anything I have done working with other students in my department. It is so beneficial to work with other students and understand how they work and why they do the things they do, not only personally, but also as someone from a different schooling background. There were some rough times for sure, but in the end, I learned so much from them, made some great friends, and it opened the door for awesome opportunities. For example, I was able to go to Florida with part of the team to present the final results of our project to NASA. That was an awesome experience and one that, I dare say, wouldn't have happened if the project had not been multi-disciplinary. I would recommend a multi-disciplinary project to everyone!