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24 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2019 Feature Interview I-CONNECT007 Editor Nolan Johnson spoke with Alex Burt, a computer engineering student at George Fox University, at a well-attended college career fair on the GFU campus in Newberg, Oregon. In the interview, Alex discusses his PCB class- work, challenges of design, and how it has impacted his internship experience as he pre- pares to enter the workforce upon graduation in the spring semester of 2019. Nolan Johnson: Great to meet you, Alex. Can you tell me about the company you work for and what you studied in school? Alex Burt: I currently work as a software in- tern at Summit Wireless in Beaverton, Oregon, and I am a computer engineering major at George Fox University. I'm graduating in the spring of 2019. Johnson: Did you have the opportu- nity to go through the PCB process at George Fox as an undergraduate? Burt: Yes. Johnson: Tell us a little bit about that from the student's perspective. What was involved in that? Burt: I was completely new to PCB design at the start. But through our electrical engineer- ing class that Gary Spivey teaches at George Fox, we worked with Altium to under- stand how to create components on a PCB, create their footprints for a PCB, route these devices together, and create a full circuit not based on a breadboard. Everything we had been doing in our elec- trical engineering classes had been based off a breadboard, and in one semester, we had two classes where we built two different PCBs. In one of the classes taught by Dr. Natzke, we built a custom amplifier housed with speakers, which is something that wouldn't have been possible on a normal breadboard. But through designing the PCB, we reduced noise levels and made it compact enough for permanent deployment in an actual device. Overall, I knew nothing about PCBs before these classes, but now I can say that I could design an entire circuit on a PCB and have it sent out to a manufacturer or use our in- house PCB lab at George Fox. We can print out solder paste or print traces with the Voltera machine. We also have a pick-and-place machine to place surface mount compo - nents, and then we put it in the solder oven. But if we don't do it in-house, then we would put fiducials on it and send it out that way too. All of our surface mount components have gone through the Voltera to put the sol - der mask layer on; we've placed all the components with the pick-and-place machine, put it in the oven, and these devices all work. Preparing to Enter the Workforce With PCB Design Experience Alex Burt

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