InterOperability, Innovation, and UNH

From the moment I toured the lab during Admitted Students day, I knew that I wanted to work at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL). On the tour, they encouraged reapplying if you don’t get interviewed your first time around, I couldn’t wait to apply so I sent in an application prior to even starting at UNH. To my surprise, I was interviewed and hired within a short period of time!

On my first day, I walked in a little nervous. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, or if I would know how to do the assigned work or project. I was placed on the software development team, which I was really pumped about. Everyone on the team was super helpful with my transition into the lab by showing me new tools like Git and other internal tools as well as answering any questions. With their support, I quickly got comfortable making contributions to the projects we were all working on together.

As soon as I got into the groove of working, the beginning of the school year quickly approached. I checked my schedule to see what classes I was in, and I remembered I had signed up for a class called Innovation Scholars. This was a new program at UNH and was designed to be a research driven introduction to the university experience for first year students, all centered around STEM principles. I saw that it was held at the IOL, which was exciting because I already knew a lot about the lab from working over the summer.

The idea of the class was to spend a few weeks learning various forms of technology with the intent to apply what we learn to a year-long project. Some of the tools we learned were how to build a REST API, how to build and program with an Arduino, and applying other skills into hands-on projects. I liked learning how to use an Arduino because it was cool to see something you program, happen in a real life application. Learning all of these tools exposed myself and the group to many new directions that we could take our projects, since we wouldn’t get to use them in our regular classes. After a few weeks we split up into groups and we began working on our projects.

My group’s project was a Portal Traffic Tracking System. It was designed to measure the foot traffic of places like the dining hall and the gym, and display this data in a web application to highlight trends of how busy they were throughout the day. It was really cool to apply lessons from the lectures, such as programming the Arduino to work with a sensor and utilizing a REST API, for our project. It helped us understand our project on a deeper level. 

On top of the IOL and Innovation Scholars being great learning experiences, they’re also places where I’ve had a lot of fun. I have enjoyed random discussions with the people on my team at work, and getting to play foosball if we had a break from time to time in between testing. With the Innovation Scholars group, whenever it was crunch time and we needed to get work done, we still found ways to make the experience light hearted. I’m grateful to have been a part of these special experiences so far, and I look forward to making more memories with them in the future.  

The most important lesson that the IOL and Innovation Scholars has taught me is to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can with a positive mindset. If you hesitate too much, you don’t know what you could miss out on. I could’ve applied to the IOL after I started at UNH, but then I could’ve missed out on an open position and it would’ve taken longer to start working here. By taking the Innovation Scholars class, I got to experience a variety of new technologies that have sparked my interest towards what I want to work on for future projects. I’m excited to see what else I can discover while I’m at UNH!

If you are interested in applying to work at the UNH-IOL please apply here today!