VoltSafe Blog Team – April 18, 2022
Meet Evin Li, an Embedded Systems Co-Op student at VoltSafe, who amazed her colleagues with her ability to recall 26 digits of Pi in 60 seconds. What may surprise you is that as much as she enjoys her engineering studies and work now, Evin almost failed her physics course in high school and thought about giving up. That thought was a fleeting one as she learned at a young age to never quit when faced with a challenge. She didn’t want to live with the “what if”, so she hired a tutor and pushed herself to understand the coursework. Today, Evin can’t believe that she is not only an engineering physics student at UBC, but also an Embedded Systems Co-Op at VoltSafe, and she’s loving every minute of it.
Her decision to study engineering physics was born from wanting to first learn the fundamentals of engineering, then build a foundation in mechanical, electrical, and software engineering. This would give her the ability to zoom in closely on technical details while seeing the bigger picture of a project at the same time. She would then be able to explore and learn how different parts of a project (hardware, mechanical, and software) can come together.
Evin decided to join VoltSafe for her co-op experience after being intrigued by the company’s technology – electrical fingerprinting in particular. Her co-op opportunity gave her the chance to work with that technology and see it in action. She found herself most valuing the moments where in-depth discussions with colleagues and mentors about how cool the tech is and how passionate everyone is about it. “I found those moments really fun and was always excited to come to work every morning”, recalls Evin.
Evin has always been fascinated with how IoT (Internet of Things) can be used to solve some of the problems that the world is facing today. So, it’s no surprise that it was the nuances of adding features like Wi-Fi, scheduling, and Bluetooth into an IoT device which most interested Evin during her time at VoltSafe. She now finds herself looking at everyday tech, such as digital bus stops or smart fridge notifications, trying to piece together how it all works. “I learned a lot about the agile software development cycle, and what it takes to build a firmware code base from the ground up.” This experience revealed the importance of the research and development stage, unit testing, and what it means to write modular, readable, and reliable code.
This knowledge empowered Evin, enabling her to handle her most challenging experience at VoltSafe. She was tasked with unearthing any bugs or firmware challenges unique to VoltSafe’s applications. She had to figure out how to resolve these issues without the ability to access existing resources or documentation on the internet. “A lot of the time you have to piece together things as you go, but that’s also what makes it really exciting coming to work every day”, she says.
In contrast, her most enjoyable experience at VoltSafe was running around the building testing out Wi-Fi disconnection codes for the VoltSafe Marine product. But, her most memorable and funny experience was the time she walked into the office kitchen and a waffle shot out of the toaster, as if it were in a circus cannonball act (we would like readers to know that VoltSafe is not developing technologically advanced toasters that can launch waffles across the room or be used as tools in food fights).
With all the fun and enjoyable moments at VoltSafe, Evin’s two most valuable key takeaways from her co-op experience were learning how to problem-solve and pivot whenever an unexpected problem would arise, and the value in brainstorming or theory crafting with team members, especially when you’re feeling stuck. “When you’re so fixated and zoomed into a problem, sometimes you just need to bounce ideas off of someone else to get their perspective”.
The work and projects Evin was a part of at VoltSafe have helped her realize the real world applications of some courses she’ll be taking later on in her degree. “Sometimes you don’t even know what you don’t know.” Evin’s advice when it comes to choosing a company for a co-op experience is simple, “Don’t get too caught up in whether your first co-op matches exactly what you want to do when you graduate. What makes co-op such a fun and rewarding experience is that you get to experiment with different industries/positions to find out what you like most/what’s not for you. You get to wear multiple hats, work in different team environments, dabble with a wide variety of things from clean tech, robotics, biomedical devices to cloud computing to particle research (just to name a few)”.
VoltSafe will miss Evin’s thoughtful and fun spirit around the office when her co-op term ends later this April, but the company wishes her all the best with her education and continued discoveries in engineering while she carves out her own career path.
If you would like to learn more about VoltSafe’s co-op program, along with how to fend off flying waffles, follow VoltSafe on LinkedIn or check out our careers page. You can also email us your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.