Samuel Russell Sorenson
California State University Northridge
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, California State
"Do a lot of research
about the different fields of study offered. In order to be successful
you need to make sure that you will enjoy the major you choose."
When did you know you wanted to become an Engineer?
My whole life I have liked
taking things apart and seeing how they worked. When I started looking
at colleges engineering seemed like a good fit.
What is your college experience like in terms of the amount of time you
find you need to study each day?
Study time varied depending
on the class. A couple of hours a day outside of class was sufficient
for most classes. Some classes, especially around exam time, required a
lot more study time.
Are you incorporating any work experiences while you are a student?
(include both internships/co-ops and any other jobs you may be holding
while in school)
While in school I held a
part-time retail position. Although the experience is not directly
related to my field of study, the customer service experience that I
acquired is a good addition to my resume.
How did you prepare for your college experience?
Since no other members of
my immediate family have received a college degree, I decided that the
best way to prepare for a university was to go to a community college
for a couple years and then transfer into a four year university. During
my time at the two year college I was able to decide on which field of
study I was interested in. Once I transferred to CSUN I had enough
college experience to successfully complete my classes.
Did/do you have a mentor that has helped guide you thus far? (If so,
describe the impact of this person on your education and career plans)
My parents are the people
that have had the most impact in my education and career plans. They
have supported me every step of the way. They were a major factor that
helped me decide where to go to school and what to study.
Is there a specialty area you have focused on in engineering? If so,
what is it, and how did you decide on this specialty? Also, at what
point in your college experience did you decide?
My degree is a Bachelor of
Science in Computer Engineering. This degree covers a lot of the
material that both Computer Science and Electrical engineering covers. I
decided on this degree while at Community College because I took
software programming classes and really enjoyed them. I also took math
and science classes that I really enjoyed. The Computer engineering
degree allowed me to study both subjects and gave me more options when
finding a career.
Is it hard to balance your engineering studies with other college
activities (entertainment, travel, having fun)?
Sometimes it is difficult to balance studying for
school with having fun. Finding friends within your field of study helps
because your schedules usually are similar.
Do you find yourself studying more in a team situation or alone? Do you
have a preference?
Study groups are a staple
in college. Having a group of people, each with different strengths and
weaknesses, helps a lot. If one person is kind of weak on a subject,
another person in the group that is strong can help them. Individual
study time is extremely important as well. If you cannot study on your
own, it is very difficult to get good grades on exams.
What's the hardest thing you have found about your college experience
working toward a degree in engineering?
Time management is one of
the hardest things about college. You need to be able to devote enough
time to each class you are taking. A lot of the time exams for all your
classes will fall on or around the same day. If you don't manage your
time well, you won't have enough of it to go around.
What's the most rewarding aspect about working toward a degree in
There are many things that
are rewarding about working toward a degree in engineering. You form a
good group of friends whom have similar goals. You get hands on
experience through lab experiments.
Do you think you'll continue studying engineering, or do you think
you'll switch to another area? Why?
I will definitely continue
studying engineering. In order to stay in demand as an engineer you have
to continuously expand your knowledge on your field.
Do you have any idea what sort of industry or work you'd like to do when
you graduate? If so, how did you find out about this industry or field?
I want to find a career
that integrates both hardware and software design. I could do one or the
other, but being able to use everything that I have learned is most
Do you think you'll want to pursue additional degrees after you complete
the one you are working on? Why or why not?
After working for a couple
of years I plan on going back to school to get a master's degree.
Did you think that school will prepare you for the way the work gets
done in the real world?
Through the many team and individual projects I
have completed while at CSUN, I believe I have a good idea how work gets
done in the real world.
How many engineering schools did you apply to? How many accepted you?
I only applied to two engineering schools, and was
accepted to both. I decided before applying that I wanted to remain at
home with my family, so I only applied to local engineering schools.
From what I heard before applying for schools CSUN had an excellent
Did you have a "first choice?" Were you accepted into your "first
Based on the location and reputation CSUN was my
How did you decide which college/university to go to?
I chose the school that was
closest to home.
What should high school students be doing to prepare themselves to take
on the work that engineering students do?
High school students should work on not
procrastinating when it comes to school work. Leaving things for the
last minute makes it really difficult to get good grades and adds a lot
more stress than necessary. High school students should also get into
the habit of taking good notes in class. Teachers usually put a lot of
time in their lectures to make sure they cover everything the student
needs to know, having good notes on the lectures really helps during
midterms and finals.