2006 – Steven Williams – My UAH Story

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Steven Williams

BS, Electrical Engineering, 2006

Flight Test Engineer
Gray Research, Inc.
Huntsville, AL


This is my UAH story…

Prior graduating from high school, I believed that I had my mind made up on which school I would be attending, what my major would be, and what my back up plan would be in case any of my plans fell through.  Little did I know that attending my school’s college day would impact the rest of my life forever.  My original plan was for me to attend Auburn University in the Fall of 2002 with my major being Computer Engineering.  I visited their campus on several occasions and absolutely fell in love with it.  When I attended my school’s college day, I saw a college booth that I never seen before.  It was for the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  Prior to this, I have never heard of the college nor did I know what it was known for.  I decided to go to the booth to obtain more information.  With that one visit, it felt like I was opened to a new world that never existed.

Upon taking my first visit to UAH, I knew I was at home.  I loved everything from its location to its freshman residence halls.  This also marked my first trip to Huntsville, Alabama, and I had no clue how prominent of a city it was.  I knew I was making the right choice by attending UAH over Auburn, simply because it offered more opportunities for growth in a professional sense.  While the social life at UAH may not compare to other universities, I prefer it.  At UAH it is like everyone is a family.  If you are ever in need some type of assistance, there is always someone available for you.  The academics at UAH also surpass those of other schools in my opinion.  Unlike other schools, in which many classes are 100 plus students, UAH  classes are generally small in numbers, which enables more of a one-on-one interaction with you professor.  The professional industry in the city of Huntsville also has a bond with the university as well.  A lot of local and big name companies that are located in Huntsville tend to look at UAH for potential part-time and full-time employees rather than looking elsewhere.  This simple fact allowed me to have full-time job months before even graduating with my degree.  I also love the campus layout.  Everything is so centralized around the different resident halls, that you can simply walk everywhere without it taking too much time.

There are plenty of memories that I have while attending UAH.  One of my fondest memories attending UAH was attending my first ever Hockey game.  I did not know that UAH had a hockey team and that they were pretty good at that.  I found this intriguing.  I also thought it was pretty awesome that one of the Fraternities painted themselves up and when the team scored their first goal, they threw a huge fish onto the ice and then ran around like mad-men.  I also had the opportunity to become a Compass Counselor, which was pretty amazing.  I loved the fact that I got to meet all the incoming freshmen and offer them and their parents advice and assistance before they would come on campus.  I never beat around the bush about what to expect.  Also, I was able to convince a few parents that letting their child stay at home while in school would be detrimental to their social life on campus and that they would benefit greatly by living on campus.  Another one of my fondest memories was completing my senior design project.  My friends and I teamed up to create two high altitude weather balloons.  These balloons were to float into the atmosphere and take various measurements.  We launched the balloons on a Saturday morning and tracked them using a GPS tracking device that was located on the balloons.  They eventually burst and landed in two different places in Guntersville, Alabama.  From the planning of this project to the final report and presentation, I learned a lot about how engineers plan, create, and present different projects given to them.

Everything that is stated above is the reason why I still try to stay involved with UAH today.  My experience as taught me many tools that was necessary for the professional world.  I honestly believed that I made the best decision in the world by attending this university of any other.  This is not an attack at any other school system, which all are great, but I believe that UAH gave me the right opportunities I needed to be successful in life.  I find it only fair to give back to the people who gave me so much in my life and the Alumni Association is a great way to do that.  The Alumni Association offers so many programs for alumni to give back.  It does not matter if you graduated last year or 15 years ago, there is a way for you to be involved.  I have had the opportunity to speak at one of the many sessions known as After the Cap and Gown, in which various alumni serve as a panel to current seniors about to graduate.  Students have the opportunity to ask questions about what to expect once they graduate and other advice and life.  This is just one of the many programs that do not discriminate on when you graduate from college.  A simple program like this is what I like about the Alumni Association.  As a former student not too long ago, I did not know how to prepare myself for the real world and what it had to offer.  I did not know much about the Alumni Association either.  I’m the type of person who wants to see people succeed in life and any way I can help, whether it is big or small, I want to be involved in it.  The Alumni Association gave me this opportunity.

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