Matt Helms
Matt Helms

Question: What have you been up to since you graduated from ENC?

I graduated from ENC in 2005 with a major in E.E. and minors in math and physics. In the Spring semester of my senior year, an adjunct professor invited me to apply for an internship at MathWorks, Inc, where he was a full-time software developer. I applied for and was offered an internship working on MATLAB’s signal processing suite of software. While at ENC I never pictured myself much of a software person, but after a few months at MathWorks I decided it wasn’t so bad. It didn’t take me too long to realize that for the career goals I had in mind, I would need more than just a Bachelor’s degree so in the Fall of 2006, I started a Master’s program in Electrical Engineering at Boston University. Picking a concentration area was difficult, since I had passions both for circuit design as well as signal processing but after a lot of internal debate, I chose to study Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit design, with an emphasis on signal processing and communications applications (i.e. radio chips used in cell phones).

While studying at BU, I kept my internship at MathWorks on a part-time basis, and when I finished my coursework in the winter of 2007/2008, I was offered a full time position working on software tools intended to help engineers design and model signal processing algorithms on embedded hardware. While at MathWorks, I was able to contribute to a product which, through its million plus worldwide users, truly accelerated the pace of engineering and science. Knowing my work had that kind of impact made going to the office every morning very easy.

In the summer of 2011, my fiancé, whom I had the good fortune of meeting while working at MathWorks, finished her Ph.D. and accepted a position at Sandia National Laboratories in California. As much as I enjoyed my job at MathWorks and as much I loved the city of Boston, I started looking for jobs out West. By early fall, I had accepted a position as a Software Engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where I currently work for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) project, home of the world’s most powerful and energetic laser. Among the NIF’s many goals is producing a laser-based fusion reaction which could provide near limitless clean energy production. I currently design and develop software for the integrated control system at NIF which is the second largest and most complex control system in the world, behind only the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. 

Question: How has ENC helped you prepare for your career?

In the 7 years since I left ENC, I’ve been privileged to work on some exciting and truly world-changing projects. I don’t believe that was by chance; I owe much of my success to the education I received at ENC. The courses I took and people I met helped shape my passions and gave me the tools required to pursue those passions. Of those tools, the most important was the thirst for continued learning. In the rapidly evolving field of Electrical Engineering, what was cutting edge when I was a student 10 years ago is now yesterday’s news. Being able to keep up with the latest technology and learn new skills on the fly is an imperative rather than a luxury, and ENC did a good job of preparing me for a lifetime of continuing education.

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