Student Leadership Inside and Out

My name is Spencer Janelle, a rising Junior in Computer Science at the University of New Hampshire. I’m from Henniker, NH and enjoy going outside, especially to hammock, kayak or to go on hikes. When I’m on campus, I also participate in intramural sports like soccer, volleyball and floor hockey. I have been working at the UNH InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL) since I graduated from John Stark Regional High School in Weare, NH in 2018. At the UNH-IOL, I run Auto-Negotiation related testing for technologies from Backplane Ethernet, to Fiber to 400 Gigabit Ethernet. Auto-Negotiation is an optional technology that assists devices to link at the highest common speed they have, I have even expanded the testing service by drafting an Automotive Ethernet Auto-Negotiation test plan. I also solder MIPI testing boards, which are designed in the UNH-IOL and used for internal MIPI testing as well as sold to vendors for their own internal testing. 

I found out about the UNH-IOL just after I committed to UNH and decided to go to a Computer Science information session and there was a group tour of the UNH-IOL included in this session. My current manager was the one who gave that tour and was really engaging. So much so that I was actually talking during the tour which was something I had never really done before. We had a conversation about hiring rates and just like that, I was submitting my application during the car ride home and had an interview within two weeks.

My dedication to the UNH-IOL continues because of the flexibility the managers have regarding student hours and how they allow you to focus on subjects you want to learn. For example, I had been working on learning the inner workings of one of the Auto-Negotiation test tools, but wanted to learn a new skill that could benefit the lab. I came to my manager with this thought and was introduced to the soldering bench. From there, I was trained in not only solder safety, but also how to develop MIPI test hardware while learning how another industry worked. Another example of the flexibility of the UNH-IOL comes from my passion for student leadership. During my Freshman year, I got the opportunity to work as an Orientation Leader for UNH. An Orientation Leader is a student leader hired by the university to engage with incoming students on campus during overnight and day Orientation sessions by not only guiding them around campus, but also providing resources for any questions they may have. This experience lasted about a month over the summer, which is a very busy time for the lab. After discussing the student leadership opportunity with my manager, I was allowed to spend this time as an Orientation Leader. This experience led me to become an Orientation Coordinator, a student who puts together all of the pieces revolving around new student orientation, ranging from where students will be housed during overnight session to what students are hired to be an Orientation Leader, as well as leading me to pursue a more involved position on campus in the fall, as a  Resident Assistant for one of the dorms on campus. My manager allowing me to pursue my passion for student leadership not only benefited me, it also benefited the UNH-IOL. I got the opportunity to talk about the UNH-IOL with incoming students, giving them time to think about applying to work at the lab. This experience has also given me public speaking confidence, so much so, that I have been able to visit classrooms to talk about the UNH-IOL and engaging students to think about applying for the HighTechBound internship that lasts over the summer. It also helped the UNH-IOL internally since I am a member of the mentor program, these leadership opportunities allowed me to learn how to connect better with students which will make it so the new hires at the UNH-IOL that I mentor can talk easier with me.In the future, I hope to become an operations manager. It is the perfect blend of the skills the UNH-IOL has supported me with, whether it be the leadership skills that I pursued or the technical skills I gained internally.