Kendall Britton, as a member of the Class of 2022, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University’s William States Lee College of Engineering. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Britton, as part of his senior design project, delivered a presentation to Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation. He discusses that opportunity along with offering advice to prospective engineering students.
Is there one professor who most influenced your Charlotte journey?
There have been many professors and engineering mentors who have shaped my Charlotte journey since I entered as a freshman, but the one who influenced it the most would be my senior design mentor, Jim Hartman (industrial solutions director). In the past year, Mr. Hartman has guided me on my journey to bridge the gap between being an engineer in academia and being an engineer in industry. He pushed me to become the best version of myself in various aspects of engineering professionalism.
With his mentorship, I have grown so much as a person and engineer in the past year and throughout my UNC Charlotte journey, and I will forever be grateful for it.
Why engineering, and how were you exposed to this industry?
Ever since I was a child, I have been fond of digital technology and had a general eagerness for problem solving. My passion for this area only deepened by assisting my father with building computers as I grew up. This background eventually instilled in me the desire to pursue computer architecture, which led me down the path to pursue a career in computer engineering.
And why Charlotte?
I chose Charlotte because it proved to be the best university in North Carolina for the field of computer engineering. When it came time to submit applications, I was so set on Charlotte that it was the only school I applied to. I was certain it was where I wanted to be, and I exceeded the general requirements for admissions. Charlotte already felt like an additional home to me because my cousins and older brother previously attended.
What advice would you share with a high school student who is interested in engineering?
I would strongly encourage the student to pursue engineering, because it could lead them to do something unique and exciting that they may never have anticipated doing in life. Engineering can open life paths you never thought of as connected. The fundamentals of some disciplines may set you up for more than you originally anticipated.
Before entering college, I thought the extent of computer engineering revolved around computer architecture and some level of coding, but I couldn’t have been any more wrong. As I am about to graduate, I realize that I could apply my knowledge from computer engineering to an occupation dealing with audio waveforms and signals, robotics or even some applications in the medical field, and that is just scratching the surface.
The senior design program at Charlotte truly allows students to experience their first real step into industry-level work. Developing a virtual reality training tool for Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation gave me a more refined sense of the business aspects of a project of this nature. As the project lead, I was in constant communication with various parties, some in different parts of the country. Communication at times could be difficult due to time differences and availability, but this difficulty only made it a more realistic experience. Freightliner employees shared that our project will be a great asset to their company.
Their positive feedback pushed me to work on the project even more and developed my professionalism to levels I could have never imagined. It just felt like fun to me.
Do you have a favorite place on campus?
The Botanical Gardens is my favorite place on campus. In my free time, I occasionally go out and do some photography, and I often do photoshoots inside the gardens. The area is genuinely beautiful, and it acts as a reminder to take a step back and enjoy life, and your surroundings.