Welcome back to the Meet Our Team Q&A series. My name is Daniela Williams, Project Manager at ISE, and I’ll be asking ISE team members questions to help give insight into what makes us tick.
Each summer ISE hosts an internship program that has attracted highly qualified college students from around the state. This summer Ian Gottshal, Nick Hawkins, and Daniel Opdahl joined the ISE team in Corallvile, along with Nick Dallege who is here for his second summer. For the first time, we also have an intern at our Plano, Texas office - Matthew Kunjemmen. Today I chatted with the group to learn a bit more about each of them.
Q. What is your college, year (going into in the fall), major/minor, and hometown?
College – Iowa State University
Year – Super Senior
Major - Software Engineering
Minor - Music Technology
Hometown – Fairfield, Iowa
College – University of Iowa
Year – Senior
Majors - Computer Science, and Industrial and Systems Engineering
Minor - Mathmatics
Hometown – West Des Moines, Iowa
College – Luther College
Year – Junior
Major – Physics and Computer Science
Minor - Spanish
Hometown – Minneapolis, Minnesota
College – University of Iowa
Year – Super Senior
Major – Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus in software
Minors - Business and Computer Science
Hometown – Cedar Rapids, Iowa
College – University of Texas at Dallas
Year – Senior
Major – Computer Science
Hometown – Troy, Michigan (suburb of Detroit)
Q. After being at ISE for about a month, how has your perception of ISE compared to the reality?
Ian:This is more along the lines of what I had expected. I heard that ISE has a really good reputation and that they do Agile, so I was expecting there would be a lot of Agile and there is a lot of Agile.
Nick H: Originally I thought that there wasn't going to be as much inter-team work especially when I found out there were eight different teams working on a single product. It has been really interesting to see all of the collaboration between teams and the company-wide communication. We have very large retrospective meeting after each sprint!
Daniel: I thought it would be more like you get to work, you sit down at your desk, and then you plug away at your own project - do your own thing all day. But there is actually a lot of teamwork that goes on all day. Your team is really involved in what you are doing each day, and you are really involved in what your team is doing each day.
Nick D: The teamwork is one thing that I wasn't completely expecting. I was worried I was going to be sitting at a desk, I would have a deadline on a project, and I would just be coding away at it hopefully knowing what I was doing. There is so much more working with other people. If I have a question I have tons of people to reach out to. In that sense it's different and that's a good thing.
Matthew: I was pleased to realize that there was a very relaxed and accommodating workplace culture, which wasn’t quite what I expected when I walked in and saw (almost) everyone wearing Polos and sitting in cubicles. The regular casual conversations and nerf battles (or target practice on the random things on peoples shelves) were very much not what I expected—in a good way!
Q. You are each working on separate projects. How have your teams help to integrate you into their existing teams?
Ian:I think my team has done a pretty good job of communicating and making sure I'm not being left behind. Overall I just started in with the scrum meetings and I got the hang of it. All the stuff I learned in school has sort of jelled with the reality.
Nick H: I've had some good pairing sessions with everybody on my team and they've helped me get up to speed. We also had an all-purpose meeting where the whole team drew out some of the larger concepts on the whiteboard and explain to me how what we work interacts with eFleetSuite.
Daniel: Doing daily stand-ups with my team was really helped me learn how things go on around here. It has been a nice way for me to insert myself into the team and to know what everyone is doing everyday, and to tell everyone what I am doing everyday. My team has also paired with me a lot and gotten me up to speed pretty quickly. They also did a whiteboard session with the grand scheme of the project, much like Nick H’s team did with him.
Nick D: My team did not exist when I started last year. It was really nice starting a project that didn't exist at all because even though we were all learning, everyone else was learning, too.
Matthew: The team has helped to integrate me through their incredible patience, repeated code walkthroughs, and encouragement to have me participate on current stories related to the project itself. Whenever I’ve needed help getting things set up or understanding what I’m supposed to be doing, everyone has been very quick to respond with suggestions and assistance. As well, periodic check ins.
Q. What is an interesting fact about you?
Ian: I am an ACM-ICPC world finalist. For the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest you sit down for 5 hours with a team of three and solve programming problems - whoever solves the most wins. We got third place in our region which is Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, half of Michigan, and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and (half of) Ontario. Typically the top three or so from each region will go to the world finals, and we got third barely. We got crushed at the world finals. We were completely outclassed. I think we got 127th out of 131. Russia won again for the 6th time in a row, their 12th win overall.
Nick H: I have broken my thumb from a high five during a football game and I stuck it in a snow cone to make it feel better.
Daniel: In high school I made a Dungeons & Dragons club with my friends and it kind of grew unexpectedly. The same campaign that I started there is still being ran today.
Ian: How many years has that been going on?
Daniel: About 3 years.
Ian: That’s cool!
Nick D: I did robotics with FIRST Tech Challenge in high school, so have a lot of background in that. I have noticed some of the kids in the ISE Coding Garage have experience in robotics. I think I actually know some of the kids because I refereed their tournaments.
Matthew: Last semester I sang in a student-run Opera, Alcina, at UT Dallas, which was an enormous shift from the acapella groups I had been participating in prior, but I really, really enjoyed it.
Q. What do you do for fun outside of work?
Ian: I like music (I have that music tech minor). I like composing. I sometimes write piano arrangements and songs. I have a YouTube channel that I post them to, but I haven't posted anything in a couple of years now. I also do some video games. I do have a project I'm working on which is basically making a new version of iTunes.
Nick H: I love to run and spend time with my girlfriend. I did cross country in high school, and now I just run for the enjoyment of running.
Daniel: I play baseball for Luther. That takes up a lot of my free time. Pretty much baseball and board games. I really like group strategy games. There's a couple of Star Trek games that are really cool which take like 12 hours to play. Those are fun. But there's a really fun game called Coup, and that’s probably my favorite game right now.
Nick D: I like watching Netflix and playing video games. Sometimes I will hang out with friends and my fiance.
Matthew: When I’m not working I like to get bubble tea with my friends, sing, listen to music, and play video games. My music tastes span a pretty wide range, but I’ve most recently been into alternative rock (think Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, and Young the Giant), and a genre I find best described as “acoustic-ish singer/songwriter” (think Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor, and City and Colour).
Interested in becoming an ISE intern next summer or a full time employee? Find us at a career fair near you or apply online.