Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Adventures of an Engineering Intern

Julia Thurber is a mechanical engineering senior from Fort Worth, Texas. She's currently interning at the HCJB Global Technology Center. Here's her take: 

Greetings from Elkhart, Indiana! 

I can’t believe that I’m over halfway into my internship, with only four weeks remaining! I’ve learned and done so much during my time here. I almost don’t know where to start. 

With respect to my project, the Equipment Power Protection device, I’ve been working with an Arduino microcontroller and oscilloscope to experiment on and expand the functionality of the existing program. Going into the project I felt like I had a fair grasp on the Arduino programming language and how the microcontroller works, but, as I continue to learn, I am frequently reminded how little I actually know. In fact, the first few weeks at the Technology Center were spent acclimating to the terminology, history, and documentation of the project. Some call this process “climbing the learning curve,” but my supervisor, pictured with me below, more accurately calls it “drinking out of a firehouse, preferably without drowning you.” Like I said, I’m learning a lot.

Part of the reason I’m learning so much is due to the nature of my work. Although I’m a mechanical engineering student, the current state of the project requires electrical and computer engineering knowledge. So, as I read the documentation for the project, I learned all kinds of new things along the way. A typical scenario consisted of me reading a phrase or sentence from the project files, looking up two or three concepts related to that phrase, making a note of any elusive concepts or vocabulary, and then repeating until my notes grew long enough to warrant asking my supervisor. Thankfully my supervisor, and frankly anyone within earshot, is more than willing to explain anything that I struggle with. I’m really blessed by how willing my co-workers are to accept, care for, teach, and truly invest in me. With only 60 people working here, it often feels more like an extended family than a traditional workplace.

I’m really enjoying my project—to the point that it feels like I’m playing all day long. I’ve connected with a great group of people here—both older adults and some closer to my age. My internship is fully funded! It’s always incredible watching God connect all the pieces and provide for all of my needs.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

60 Years Later, A Heart For LETU

LETU Alum Harold Crossman on his
visit to campus this past week.
Summers can be very quiet on campus. The university marketing communications team has been officing in the Memorial Student Center this summer, a floor below the R.G. LeTourneau museum. Visitors to the museum are frequent, but few quite as special as Harold Crossman. This past Friday, Mr. Crossman walked through our front door with his daughter and brother-in-law. A LeTourneau Technical Institute graduate of 1954, Mr. Crossman graduated with a degree in Mechanical Science.

The last time Mr. Crossman was on campus, LeTourneau University was still more than 30 years from becoming a full-fledged 'university.' But through his visit, we were reminded of the real heart of LeTourneau University. Prestige means nothing without impacting people. Titles are worthless if we don’t touch hearts.

Harold Crossman, 1954
During the past 60 years, Mr. Crossman has made an entire life for himself in Oregon. But that's not what he wanted to talk about on Friday. He wanted to talk about R.G. LeTourneau, about his time with Mom and Pop. He spoke with soft appreciation and the utmost love for what was obviously a very important chapter in his life. He talked about the alter day program and having the opportunity to get an education thanks to the LeTourneaus. His eyes shined as he told the story of the thirty minutes a day that R.G. stopped production in order that the entire factory could pray together and hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

During 1952, Mr. Crossman traveled to Liberia with R.G. where he worked for almost a year before returning to Longview to finish his degree. After graduating, he voluntarily went back to Liberia. It was during his time in Liberia that he met his wife. After becoming ill, he spent some time in the hospital there. His future wife was his nurse.

The pilgrimage to Longview this weekend was just a stop on the way to Mississippi where he was spending the weekend reuniting with others who had spent time in Liberia. While his visit was brief, it reminded us of the lasting impact RG LeTourneau has had on so many lives. Even today, his legacy lives on in the spirit of students, the work of faculty and the hearts of alumni. As the university continues to grow and change, our roots remain the same.