Software engineering major Alecia Meredith entered the program in 2019 with the goal of learning something new and challenging herself. She had already earned a bachelor’s degree from Ship in biology in 2012, and she had no experience with coding, but her desire to problem solve and “make things work” led to her decision to enter a new field, one that is in high demand in Pennsylvania.
“Still not sure what it was all about, but seeing what I guess you could think of as a ‘foreign language’ and how the pieces would come together to make something cool happen, excited me,” she said.
Three years later, she feels challenged but inspired to keep going.
“I’ve never regretted my decision to return to school to learn this field, and hopefully have a career in it. In fact I wish I would’ve come to this decision sooner,” she said.
And most importantly she feels prepared for that career. Once uncomfortable with interacting with people, the program taught her the value of collaboration in accomplishing tasks and goals in software engineering. She’s also thankful for the many hands-on experiences offered in the program. According to Meredith every one of her engineering classes offered hands-on learning.
“But one experience so far has me always remembering fondly back on it. It was last spring semester when I took a class called Embedded Programming, where it started by us using code to light up LEDs. That semester ended by adding wheels to the circuit board and having an end of the semester battle. It was frustrating at times, because I’m still learning, but so rewarding in the end,” she added.
As she heads toward completing her second bachelor’s degree, she is also very quick to acknowledge the support she received from faculty and staff.
Dr. Alice Armstrong, associate professor of software engineering, introduced her to WIFI (Wildly Intelligent Female Innovators), a group of women who get together to support each other and share ideas.
The open-door policy of Dr. C. Dudley Girard, associate professor of computer science and director of the Milton and Doreen Morgan School of Engineering, provided her with a space to ask questions about new concepts introduced in class.
And her mentor, Dr. Carol Wellington, professor of software engineering, who Meredith said is always willing to go above and beyond for her students.
“Ever since I started my path as a software engineer, she has encouraged me to do my best and guided me on what I need to do to accomplish that goal. Whenever I have concerns of being unable to do something or I’m in over my head, Dr. Wellington is always able to be reached to help me put those worries and fears aside. I wouldn’t have gotten this far in my studies if she wasn’t there,” she said.
After she graduates this spring, she hopes to combine her two degrees and work in bioinformatics, the application of tools of computation and analysis to the capture and interpretation of biological data.
And beyond the classroom and hands-on projects, she credits the Shippensburg University Career Center for helping to prepare her for her dream job.
“The Career Center has been great with helping me with my resume and cover letters. They have so much knowledge and experience with what hiring managers are looking for to help students prepare to enter into their careers. I have had the pleasure of working with them over the winter break and now I feel confident that my resume and cover letter will definitely be noticed,” she said.