My name is Jayce K. Thedford. I am a First-Generation Student double majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. I’m a Native Texan, born and raised in the countryside near Brownwood, Tx. This is my 4th year attending Tarleton.
Why did you choose your major?
My father, Brad Thedford. I was recommended to study engineering by my father. Being a first-generation student and coming from a school with little to no experience with engineering and computer science, I was not exactly sure as to what I wanted to do. My father had been a laborer his whole life in factories, and he got to speak with engineers that would show up to perform maintenance on the various machines on the floor. I was good in math throughout high school, and my dad said that I would make a good career as an engineer. I originally started as a Mechanical Engineering Major simply because I was unsure as what to expect and I was told by others it was the most popular and general engineering major offered. However, after taking Engineering Fundamentals and being exposed to microcontrollers and circuit design, I was very intrigued with electronics and switched my major to electrical engineering. During my second year here, I decided to voluntarily take an Introduction to Computer Science class. After doing so, I fell in love with programming and computers. Fast forward to today, I have loved every minute of being in this program. I have learned so very much and have had the opportunity to engage in hands on experience and growing my technical abilities and critical thinking skills.
What are some classes you’ve taken?
I’ve taken many interesting classes as a double major. Some notable and fun classes have been Communication Systems Theory, Thermodynamics, Microprocessor Design, Digital System Design, Procedural Programming, and Java. Each of these has had direct lab applications to wiring, circuit design, and automation both in the hardware and software format.
What is your favorite part about your degree plan?
My favorite part of the degree plan is the ability to take overlapping classes with other engineering majors and students. Getting to work with other students who aren’t just in electrical engineering will expose you to different perspectives and allow you to learn from your peers. I enjoy the intersection between Electrical Engineering and Computer Science which allows many classes to coincide with one another.
Why did you choose Tarleton?
I chose Tarleton for many reasons. First, the brand-new engineering building was going to be opened for use during my first semester here and I would be able to take advantage of brand-new faculties and resources starting off. Secondly, Tarleton’s values resonated with my personal beliefs and maxims, and I knew from the beginning the community here on campus would be one that I wanted to be a part of. Lastly, the student-to-faculty ratio was extremely ideal being a first-generation student knowing that I would have more access to professors and administrators to assist with my educational journey. Additionally, it also helps having connections to the Texas A&M University System that would allow for many other opportunities.
What has been your favorite part about being a student at Tarleton?
My favorite part about being at Tarleton is the endless amount of opportunity to get involved outside of the classroom. This includes major specific organizations that host projects and competitions that have allowed me to obtain hands-on engineering experience (for example, building a rocket and programming drones). Additionally, being able to participate in other organizations throughout Tarleton such as the Student Government Association, Tarleton Transition Mentors, and the Residence Hall Association where I can grow my communication, organization, and leadership abilities. Since arriving at Tarleton, I have had the opportunity to be a member of 14 organizations, from technical organizations to community oriented and professional organizations. I have had the pleasure of being a Co-founder of 3 of these organizations: the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch , the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Student Branch, and the Student Research Association. Additionally, getting involved in research and working with administrators who care has been extremely refreshing and made my experience here amazing.
What is some advice you’d give future students with your major?
Find a group of dedicated engineering students, take extensive notes, study smarter not just longer, and do not be afraid to get involved. Yes, the workload for electrical engineering is rigorous, but the experiences one can get from getting involved outside of classes is invaluable and I highly recommend it. Above all else, form relationships and friendships. Being studious and having a social life may seem impossible as an engineer, but it definitely is. Work on time management and you are sure to go far in this major and at this school.
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