A New Adventure Awaits
ECE Junior Accepts Internship With GE
BATON ROUGE – If there were anywhere in the world Emily Fontenot could visit, it would be Iceland. The 21-year-old computer engineering junior has already traveled to 23 countries and made plenty of memories with friends, but for now, the land of ice and fire will have to wait.
In May, she will begin a 12-week internship with General Electric Digital in New Orleans. It will be an adventure closer to home but an unforgettable experience nonetheless.
Fontenot, a native of Covington, La., attended Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville, where she played soccer and hung out with friends. She knew she would go into engineering in college but wasn’t in a rush.
“I played soccer and babysat,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do some type of engineering, but honestly had no idea what type. I was good at math and science and liked it, but I wasn’t building networks like some of my classmates.”
When it came time to attend LSU, Fontenot asked around to find out more about the engineering programs offered.
“I got the answer that mechanical was the most broad type of engineering, and if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, that might be a good one,” she said.
Fontenot soon realized that ME was not for her, however, and talked to the department chair, who recommended looking into electrical and computer engineering since she enjoyed math and logic.
“Thanks to the help of the faculty, I realized I would like computer engineering more,” she said. “A lot of people think when I say I’m a computer engineering major that I’m in computer science because some people don’t know computer engineering is even a thing. I take electrical engineering and computer science classes. My computer science classes are all software. All of my electrical engineering classes are hardware. I build circuits and do embedded coding, like where you code a microprocessor to make a robot move.
“One of my favorite classes was with Jerry Trahan,” Fontenot said of her ECE professor and department chair. “He’s a good teacher and wants you to do well. The material in that class—embedded coding—and having a lab in it and being able to see the stuff actually work is great. I love my lab classes here because it lets me apply it and see what I’m learning actually turn into something.”
Fontenot also enjoys Professor John Scalzo’s EE classes.
“I like taking his classes because he’s a good teacher,” she said. “I also like EE 4730—“3-D Graphics and Geometric Modeling”—where you code to make computer graphics. What people don’t realize about engineering is you have to be creative. The graphics class uses even more creativity creating graphics.”
The GE opportunity came about after Fontenot met a company representative at a career fair in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. GE reached out to her and said it was coming back for on-campus interviews and wanted to meet with her.
“They told me it was going to be a personality, face-to-face interview,” Fontenot said.
Though GE was looking for a computer science major, they were impressed with Fontenot, who is minoring in the subject.
“I kind of wasn’t expecting to get the internship, but they ended up calling me,” she said.
Fontenot will work with GE Digital, which bills itself as the leading software company for the Industrial Internet that creates software to design, build, operate, and manage the entire asset lifecycle.
“I didn’t even know about GE Digital,” Fontenot said. “GE as a company does so much. GE Digital is the behind-the-scenes for all of the machinery they use.”
Fontenot is thrilled about the internship and working with other interns under a familiar face.
“The man who interviewed me is who I will report to,” she said. “I’m excited about working with a group of interns.”
Though Fontenot, who has worked in the college’s Office of Student Services since her freshman year, will have one more semester of studies left after the internship, she is optimistic that she will be able to work full-time for GE Digital after graduation.
But what about Iceland?
“I was thinking of doing it as a graduation trip if I have a break between the end of school and starting a job,” she said. “And if not, hopefully the career I go into will have enough vacation time for me to continue my love of traveling.”
Whether working behind a computer or trekking along the coast of Reykjavik, Fontenot is sure to blaze a trail.
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Contact: Libby Haydel