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Community Q&A – Owen Paul

Owen Paul is a MathWorks Student Ambassador who attends Florida State University.  Here is a Q&A with Owen.                                                                                       .

Thanks for agreeing to this interview.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you for having me. I am a college student from Florida who loves computers.  I built my first one a couple years ago and it probably makes sense that my major is engineering. I am a senior at Florida State University. I attend the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering studying mechanical engineering with a focus in mechatronics.  My graduation is in May.

I understand you were an intern at MathWorks this past summer.  What were your main responsibilities?

I interned under the Student Competition Team in the Education Marketing department. My main role was to develop the Student Ambassador program by creating documents that would be used standard for all the Student Ambassadors around the world. This included making a seminar with one of my fellow interns on learning Simulink and Stateflow. This seminar used the Arduino Engineering Kit in order to show students how to learn basic robotics through these tools.

What did you like most about your internship?

I really enjoyed being able to learn so much about different topics. One week I would be learning how to use Simulink and then the next I would learn how to analyze and model tire data. While I am not too much into cars, I really enjoyed the opportunity to work on a car project that I knew nothing about. This was the first time I had to open a textbook for something other than coursework. The Student Competition Team was also very welcoming and I really enjoyed getting to know them. I really appreciate how they helped me learn and grow as an engineer and as a professional.

What does being a member of the MathWorks Student Ambassador program entail?

The Student Ambassador position is a fairly new role in which students will promote MATLAB and Simulink on their college campus. This is done through posting to social media, hosting events, and talking to classes. The great thing about this role is while we do have certain requirements such as having to post twice a week, we have free range to post what we want and host events on what we find interesting.

What is your advice for someone else thinking about becoming a MathWorks Student Ambassador?

I would absolutely suggest becoming a Student Ambassador. This is such a great position to help you learn MATLAB, boost your resume, and it leads to more opportunities. Because of this position I was able to land the internship that we talked about earlier. It is also a paid position so it is the perfect side job.

How did you first get exposed to MATLAB?

I was exposed to MATLAB in my Mechanical Engineering Tools Lab class. This class taught us MATLAB, ProE Creo, and Mathcad all in one semester. Although it was a completely new concept to me, I really enjoyed learning MATLAB. Since then I use it and Simulink pretty much all the time for various things such as solving systems of equations and programming micro-controllers.

How has MATLAB made your life easier?

Number one, MATLAB has become my main calculator. I used to use a TI 84 for everything and I refused to use any other calculators because I was just so used to my calculator. Now it’s so easy with MATLAB to calculate values and solve equations and then change variables to resolve under new conditions. The other way that it has made my life easier is that any project that I am working on with sensors I use Simulink to test the sensor readings. I do this because it is so easy to drop a couple blocks into a model and get readings instantly

How often do you participate on MATLAB Central?

I would say pretty often. I mainly look on MATLAB Central for my Student Ambassador position that way I have things to post on my Facebook page. This is also the first place I look if I need any help especially with any of my MATLAB and Simulink questions for homework or projects.

What is your favorite thing about MATLAB Answers?

My favorite thing is that I have never needed to ask a question on MATLAB Answers. This is because anytime I have a question that needs to be answered it has usually already been asked and there are multiple answers allowing me to implement the solution most applicable to me.

Is there anything MathWorks could do that would motivate you to Answer Questions on MATLAB Answers?

I would enjoy having an incentive system in place such as a gift card for maybe 10 accepted answers and rewards for every 50 answered such as free training. I would also want to have a system in place that way I could get notifications for questions with tags that I specify. That way questions that I am more likely to answer come to me and I don’t have to search for questions I feel comfortable asking.

What is the most interesting thing you have seen in the Community on MATLAB Central?

One of the funniest things that I have seen is a problem on Cody titled “Is my wife right?” Everything about this problem is great from the question, answer, test solutions, and the comments on the problem. I would definitely recommend checking that out.

Do you have a favorite MATLAB Central Application?

I really enjoy File Exchange because there are just so many cool files to find on there. While I have found files for my schoolwork, I often spend time just looking though some of the interesting files on there. If anyone is looking for a cool file to check out, I would really suggest downloading the Aircraft Intuitive Design (AID).  You can design your own aircraft without much effort. Everything is laid out for you that way you just need to change numbers relating to aspects of an aircraft and then you can watch the aircraft’s 3D model change right in front of you. What’s even more intuitive about this is that you are able to test to see if your aircraft is able to fly and plot characteristics about the drag and lift.

You were a member of the Florida State Marching Band.   Can you describe that experience?

I was only a member for my freshman year because my classes got in the way. I was a member of the tuba section better known as the Royal Flush ♠.  Being part of the marching band was such a fun experience. I really enjoyed being able perform and travel alongside 420 of my “closest friends.” Nothing will compare to marching our pregame show in front of 40,000 people chanting along. This experience is heightened when all the tuba players “flush” the field by running around the Seminole head logo at the center of the field.

Were you at Florida State for the Football National Championship?

I missed it by one year.  This is one of the most disappointing things for me because I have many friends who traveled to the National Championship Game with the marching band and I am very jealous of them. Go ‘Noles! I am confident that we will make it back to being a National Championship team within the next few years.

What do you do for fun?

I really enjoy building things. I just finished a project in which I built a massive four-foot-tall speaker box for two 15-inch sub-woofers. I am now working on the electronics for it to amplify the input signal and have the speakers working at their full potential. I also enjoy other ‘normal’ people things like going to nature trails but being able to create anything you want with electronics and a few tools is really fun.

Do you have plans for after graduation?

I would really love to take some time to travel for a couple months. While these four years have been fun it has been a long tiring journey and I need to see the world. Besides that, I am looking at going into the industry to apply my love for mechatronics systems. I am looking into working at MathWorks so maybe we could be co-workers!


Thanks again to Owen for participating in this interview.

Postscript:  At the time of this posting, Owen has graduated from Florida State and will be starting at MathWorks full-time this summer.

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