Published: Feb. 17, 2022
Vishvesh Singh Headshot

Vishvesh Singh (MElEngr’17) is a Senior Firmware developer at Solidigm technology and a proud alumnus of the Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering department. Singh is based in Longmont, Colorado, and has been a dedicated volunteer to the College of Engineering and Applied Science for the past three years. He often provides career and industry insight with students, and he has served on several panels sharing his experiences with both students and alumni. We recently sat down with Singh to learn more about his career path and why he has remained committed to the college as an alumni volunteer.

Tell us a bit about your path to becoming an engineer. How did you decide that electrical engineering was something you wanted to pursue?

As a kid growing up in India, I was always curious about and fascinated by the machines around me, ranging from television sets to cars. Giving electricity to a box magically resulted in my favorite cartoon show playing on the screen. My parents and teachers noticed my curiosity and interest in electronics, so I was encouraged to pursue electrical engineering in university.

Following their advice, I enrolled in a bachelor’s in electronics and communication engineering. My classes were primarily focused on theoretical concepts, so with a desire to learn more practical knowledge, I spent my summers doing internships related to embedded systems to gain hands-on experience on cutting-edge technologies. In my last semester, I got a chance to do an extensive long-term project at the Indian Space Research Organisation. There, I got a chance to work in a team with talented engineers, who inspired me to learn about and explore the field even more.

What made you decide to come to CU for your master’s, and what was your experience like as a student?

Based on my internships, I decided to pursue a master's in electrical engineering with a focus on embedded systems, so my quest to find a suitable school began. However, this was a difficult task, as embedded systems is a relatively niche area, and not many schools offer a wide variety of courses on the topic. Then I discovered the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science program, which offered over 10 courses in the field of embedded systems at the time. I knew that the CU Boulder’s courses, infrastructure, and global reputation would help me achieve my ambitions.

I still remember when I received the acceptance letter from CU Boulder by Adam Sadoff, and how he took the effort of writing “Congratulations!” in my native language. Adam’s gesture was one of the many examples of CU’s welcoming culture. I took a variety of courses like Dr. Linden McClure's Embedded Systems Design and Keith Graham's IoT Embedded Firmware and Storage Systems, along with other courses in the program. In addition to teaching these classes, the professors not only acted as academic advisors but also provided career counseling. Learning from these courses and interacting with professors definitely improved my skills as an embedded systems engineer.

Outside of coursework, I was able to explore the variety of extracurricular activities that CU Boulder has to offer. One of them was the Ritmos Latinos club, where CU’s affiliate faculty taught different Cuban dance forms. The club welcomes students from all backgrounds to come together and learn about Cuban dance culture. I also got a chance to volunteer for Coursera’s annual conference, where I was able to meet Andrew Ng, a prominent computer scientist in the field of machine learning and AI.

Why has it been important for you to volunteer your time and give back to the College of Engineering and Applied Science since graduating?

I felt very fortunate when I got a chance to pursue a master's at CU Boulder, followed by working in the storage industry in the local area. My professors and peers played a vital role in each stage of my program and career, so it would be safe to say that I wouldn't have the opportunities and experience I had without them. Reflecting on my time at CU Boulder, I felt I needed to give back to the community that had given so much to me, so I decided to volunteer to help current students to find their academic passions and career aspirations. As a result, I contacted the College of Engineering & Applied Science’s Alumni Engagement team, which organizes many events throughout the year. Through these events, such as career panels and resume reviews, I’m able to interact with and mentor students.

What are the highlights of serving as an alumni volunteer? Do you see yourself continuing to donate your time to CU?

As an alumni volunteer, the College of Engineering & Applied Science’s alumni engagement team helps find the right events for me to attend, especially Cameron Deverel-Rico and Erin Judge. Due to my work schedule, it’s sometimes hard for me to take time outside of regular working hours, so I typically attend evening events. Since many other alumni are likely in the same situation, the alumni engagement team takes that into consideration and schedules many evening events.

I was able to attend events in person before the pandemic, but during the pandemic, the team was able to transition to virtual events and keep the tradition going. Before the pandemic, I was part of a panel where we talked about the hiring processes at different companies and answered students’ questions about recruiting. Through this event, we were able to debunk some myths about hiring among the students and generate more awareness about the different engineering major jobs in companies. I have also hosted one-on-ones with students to discuss a variety of topics including the transition from school to professional life, sharing experiences in the industry, doing mock interviews with students who are looking for jobs, talking about multiple initiatives taken by companies for employee growth like Diverse Employee Resource Groups, and answered many other related questions. I look forward to having more in-person events in the future and continuing to give back to the community.

What would you say to encourage alumni who are considering whether to volunteer with their alma mater?

Based on my experience, I would highly encourage alumni to volunteer at CU Boulder. I do relate to other alumni not being sure about where to start as an alumni volunteer, so I would highly suggest reaching out to the alumni engagement team to discuss which events might work best for you. Speaking from my personal experience, I had many questions about these events, so I reached out to the team, and I met Erin in person to talk about how my experiences as an international student in the U.S. and finding my way through the process to get the right job, could be the subject matter that I think current students would be able to relate. In that meeting, I learned more about their vision, and they helped me consider which types of events would play to my strengths.

I am a huge advocate of volunteering events, and you will definitely feel they’re a good use of your time when you participate and network in these events. For alumni in industry, you might also be able to hire great talent for your organization because these events offer more personal and longer interactions than a typical job fair. These events are also a great way to advertise and generate excitement about your company by sharing the different projects and technologies you’re working on. There is also a wide variety of events that are hosted by the team, from panel discussions or just interacting one-on-one with students or in group settings. You will have the flexibility of picking the events that you will feel more comfortable with.

This is a great way to remain connected with CU and also get a chance to witness some of the new changes that are happening on the campus, and also be able to influence some of those, overall to make it a better experience for the students.

Want to get involved as an alumni volunteer? Fill out our volunteer interest form or update your contact information to be notified of future CU Engineering alumni events.