Waldo the Wildcat

The experience I’ve had as a student at Weber State University will forever hold a dear place in my heart. Growing up I have always had a love for creating music. I started off at Weber State University as a Music Major. I enjoyed the Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities and took music classes from great professors such as Dr Keipp, Dr. Vitor Uzur, and Dr. Shannon Roberts. As much as I loved the pursuit of a Music Major, I soon realized that my passion for music was founded in the technology used to record and reproduce it. After meeting with the wonderful Electrical Engineering faculty, I decided to switch my Major to Electrical Engineering. 
As a first-generation college student, I needed a way to pay for school. In my search for a solution I was encouraged by a fellow gymnast to join her and tryout for Weber State’s Spirit squad. Never in my wildest dreams would I have considered doing so, but something drove me to give it a shot. I was a decent tumbler due to years of experience as a competitive gymnast, but I had no idea what I was doing when it came to tossing a cheerleader over my head. I met some great student athletes who did their best to teach me the skills required for tryouts only one week away. 

There were many talented athletes at cheer tryouts. I had the tumbling requirements down, but I did not have much experience throwing girls up into the air and catching them over my head. Needless to say, I did not make the team as a cheer leader. I was devastated when my number was not read on the list of those who made the team. I grabbed my things and began to head out of the building. Without a scholarship, how was I going to pay for school? I was just about to the doors when a cheerleader from the team ran to tell me that Summer Willis, the head coach, wanted me to stay. After congratulating all the athletes who made the team, Summer approached me with an opportunity I was not anticipating. She explained to me that Weber State was completely redesigning the mascot character, Waldo, and that they needed someone who could take the character to a whole new level. She informed me that she had heard about my need for a scholarship and that the position would make that a possibility. I was not sure what I was getting myself into, but I said I would be interested and, well, the rest is history. At the time I had no idea how much this would shape my life and my experience at Weber State University. There have been so many priceless experiences, friendships and memories surrounding my secret identity as Waldo the Wildcat.

Over the years I spent as Waldo I found joy and fulfillment in flipping around campus, at basketball and football games as well as many other University events. Sure, the suit was super hot and nearly impossible to see out of, but the smiles I was able to bring to people’s faces made every second worth it. It was not always easy to balance my academic life with the demands of being the mascot, however I received tremendous help and support from faculty, staff, and fellow students. With their help, I went on to win three national titles and attribute much of that to the support I received.

 The school of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology (EAST) supported and provided me with so many opportunities for learning. Even though I was technically an Electrical Engineering Major, I was still able to take classes in areas such as computer aided design using Solidworks, Machining Principles with the great professor Kerry Tobin, Commercial Architecture using BIM modeling and more. In my experience I have always found help and support from my professors. I know that they truly care and are passionate about teaching. They are approachable and ready to assist in any way they can. 
Pursing a degree in Electrical Engineering has been quite the journey. There were definitely some challenging moments, for example, burning up the microcontroller on my senior project. Also, trying to wrap my head around digital signal processing with Dr. Hern and Dr. Gibbons, laying out a waveform generator in silicon with Dr. Jackson and programing a full-blown video game using an FPGA under the instruction of master Jedi Dr. Brown. Getting everything in on time was quite a feat and I must give a big thanks to the wonderful secretary Susan Foss, who helps students in so many ways. From printing documents to scheduling times to meet with professors, Susan has always been a kind welcoming person to talk to and is ever ready to help. 

Though classes were difficult at times, the support from professors and staff helped me in overcoming obstacles and reaching new heights. My Senior Project was no exception as I took on the challenge of designing an audio mixing controller. From initial concept to my final senior project review, the support I received here at WSU helped me make what was once a dream a reality. I have learned so much here; the relationships made, experiences gained, and the hard work put in has been invaluable. For anyone looking to pursue their dreams in electrical engineering you're in the right place. My advice: work hard, have fun, get involved, make mistakes and learn from them, don't be afraid to ask questions. Above all, keep reaching for your dreams. You will find great people here willing to help you on your journey.

A December 2020, Weber State University, School of Applied Science and Engineering Graduate of Electrical Engineering. – Waldo The Wildcat from 2012 - 2020