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Pivoting from student to professional

Pivoting from student to professional

An internship adventure in engineering

6′ read

Meet Ethan Wilkinson, a dynamic undergraduate at the University of Birmingham, where he is studying an MEng in Electronic and Electrical Engineering.  In his fourth year, Ethan embarked on an internship with EDA Solutions through the UKESF program, a move that would impact his career trajectory.

Beyond the classroom, Ethan is a dedicated member of the Brum Eco Racing team, which competes in the Shell Eco Marathon dedicated to building a fuel-efficient car.  When he’s not immersed in his studies, you’ll find him cooking up a storm in the kitchen or tending to his beloved plants. Join us as we delve into Ethan’s transformative year at EDA Solutions and uncover his exciting plans for the future.

Ethan’s journey into electrical engineering began with a simple yet powerful gift: an Arduino Project kit from his parents.  This sparked a fascination with applying maths to solve real-world problems, setting him on his path toward a career in electrical engineering.  “I’ve always found maths intriguing and wanted to use it in practical ways, making electrical engineering a perfect fit,” he shares.  To explore his interest in electronics beyond the classroom Ethan embarked on his internship with EDA Solutions in July 2023 as an Applications Engineer intern, marking the company’s 10th UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF) scholar.  The UKESF’s program is designed to inspire students, from primary school to university, to explore electronics and pursue careers in this dynamic field.  Before his internship began, Ethan shared his expectations, saying, “I was expecting to support EDA Solutions’ customers, helping them use software tools to design silicon chips.”

Ethan’s experience at EDA Solutions exceeded his expectations.  His role extended beyond the office, taking him to both industry conferences and trade shows as well as outreach events to inspire our next generation.  He engaged with students at Hillcrest School in Birmingham, Kempsford Church of England School, and a careers fair at the University of Birmingham.

Not only did Ethan participate in outreach events he represented the company at the European Conference of Integrated Optics (ECIO) conference in Aachen, Germany.  ECIO showcases cutting-edge research in integrated optics, optoelectronics, and nano-photonics, bringing together experts from academia and industry to present their latest technical achievements.

At ECIO, Ethan presented a project he developed in collaboration with Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics (IHP).  He explained, “The project involved combining Siemens tools, AFS and S-Edit, and Luceda’s optical simulator to try and successfully co-simulate an electro-optical circuit.”  Further reflection on his ECIO experience, Ethan said, “The conference was inspiring and insightful, and it was great to learn about the other vendors sponsoring the event.”

At Hillcrest School, an all-girls secondary institution, Ethan’s visit was particularly impactful.  He aimed to inspire young girls to pursue careers in STEM, with a focus on engineering.  EDA Solutions provided an Arduino kit as a prize for the raffle Ethan organized.  Reflecting on this experience, Ethan said, “The best part of the outreach was when the students engaged in hands-on activities and were inquisitive about the ‘why’ of things.  I enjoyed seeing them use their imaginations to come up with their own designs.”

At Kempsford Church of England School, Ethan ran a workshop for students aged 5-11.  Older students-built cars from uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows, which had to survive a ramp descent and travel the furthest distance.  This exercise was a fun way to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving as students analysed what went right and wrong.  To further support STEM education, two snap electronic kits were donated to the school.

Ethan’s time at EDA Solutions taught him valuable lessons about the design flow of IC chips, automation and programming, and office IT management.  His advice for future interns is to “have a ready-to-learn attitude and be inquisitive.”

Looking ahead, Ethan shares his aspirations beyond graduation: “I’d like to do design work and research, particularly in biomedical applications, and pursue advancements in technology in this field.”

Khalid Teama, Technical Support Manager, reflects on Ethan’s year at EDA Solutions.  “During his sandwich year with us, Ethan has become an integral part of our technical support team.  His enthusiasm, commitment, and problem-solving skills have greatly impressed me, meeting our high expectations for a UKESF scholar. Ethan has demonstrated his expertise in his daily work and through key projects with our clients and partners.  As a team player, he is easy-going and enjoyable to work with.”

Ethan concludes with, “I loved my time with EDA Solutions, and I am excited to head back to university and to enter the world as a qualified electronics engineer.  With good luck, this time next year I will be ready.”