Seth is a senior at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) working toward a degree in the Industrial & Systems Engineering and Engineering Management (ISEEM) program. His primary interest is on the manufacturing and industrial side. Following graduation, he plans to continue academic pursuits here at UAH with a master’s degree in either engineering management or business administration. seth allison

What’s your semester been like so far?

So far it’s been pretty good. I’m in the first semester of Senior Design (part one), which is mainly data collection and observation of the process at Steelcase in Athens. That’s been interesting. I’m a hands-on kind of person, so getting to apply some of those theories we’ve been learning has been nice.

As for coursework, I’m taking Introduction to System Simulation with Dr. Swain, and Facilities Layout with Dr. Messimer.

I’m trying to stay on top of everything because I work full time doing computer programming at Redstone Arsenal for OASYS, Inc. (technology services and products). I started out at UAH’s Systems Management and Production Center (SMAP) doing computer programming, which was in line with my original major in electrical engineering, so that’s how I got the job on the Arsenal.

When and how did you know that choosing the ISE program was the right decision?

I started out at Calhoun as an electrical engineering major and later transferred here to UAH. I hadn’t even heard of industrial engineering as a degree path until my advisor mentioned it when we talked about how much I liked my business classes. I switched my major to ISE and haven’t looked back.  

I think part of the reason ISE feels like such a good fit is because it’s a good intersection between engineering and business. There’s also a lot of hands-on organization and I tend to be that kind of person who attempts to keep everything organized. 

What kinds of projects really satisfy you?

In the Introduction to Industrial & Systems Engineering class with Dr. Utley, students do an airplane simulation project where you build an airplane out of Legos and it works like a whole factory and supply chain, so it was real interesting to get that hands-on experience there. We also had to do a process improvement recommendation; we collected data and did time studies on the concession stand for the volleyball program. We made recommendations for getting people through lines faster.

Theories are great, but I really love the projects that allow me to go out and apply them.

You said you’re working on the Senior Design project.  Tell me more about that.

We’re hoping to be able to do some implementation this semester to see if our preliminary recommendations will actually make a difference. We’re looking at how the work can be more balanced across the directional production line to make sure everyone is doing the same amount of work and the flow of work is smooth. We’re focused on a linear section of the line.

What would be your dream job after graduation and why?

Two companies really interest me: Boeing and SpaceX.  I’d really like to work for Boeing, who provided scholarships for me in my first two or three years of college, because I like what they’re doing in aerospace and the new space exploration rockets. I’m also keeping track of what SpaceX is doing. Living in Huntsville, where I’d like to stay, it’s a very good location for someone with an engineering degree.