If you’re not good at calculus, get good at programming. That’s the advice that Frederick Thompson would give young people interested in engineering.
Growing up in Crystal Lake, Ill., Frederick remembers as a child only wanting Lego® sets. “I loved to build things,” he says. In middle school he began 3D modeling, inspired by his father who created 3D graphics for television and films. In high school he became interested in computer programming.
“There was no eureka moment when I decided I wanted to be an engineer,” he says. “It just seemed a natural progression.”
A graduate of Iowa State University, Frederick has a bachelor’s
and master’s in mechanical engineering and a master’s in human computer interaction. After graduate school he joined UTC and today is a research engineer at the United Technologies Research Center (UTRC).
His position is one for which he is particularly well qualified, working with UTRC’s human-machine interaction team. “We’re focused on analytic machine learning,” says Frederick, “developing novel ways for humans to work with computers and technology to make better decisions.”
“This is a great team to be on,” says Frederick. “We’re tight knit and represent different disciplines. The work is exciting and covers projects from all over the company, so you get a perspective of everything that UTC does. You’re never going to burn out in this environment.”
What final bit of advice would he give young people considering a career in engineering? “Talk to engineers about their work and know that it’s okay if you change your mind. But if you decide to go down that path, know that there will be rough classes and projects. But stick to it and apply yourself. It’s a great profession.”