Rachel Lewis

Rachael LewisClass of 1994: BS, Computer Science
Senior Software Engineer
Par-Tech, Inc., Lake Orion, MI

Rachel said, “The Honors Program provided an advantage over other graduates. While colleges were pumping out programmers back then, it was unusual to have a graduate with the background that the Honors Program offered. The experience of writing a thesis and doing the off-campus research made my resume stand out among the rest. It allowed me to research and learn the latest technology that was not yet offered in the Computer Science curriculum.” Rachel currently lives in Grand Blanc, Michigan with her husband and two children. She works for a small automotive service engineering company in Lake Orion as a senior software engineer. The company develops hardware and software used to diagnose and reprogram modules on vehicles (cars, trucks, semi trucks, motorcycles, etc.). She was the engineering manager for a time, but decided she would rather “do than manage those who do.” “We get to do some pretty neat things for the automotive industry, like work with Harley-Davidson motorcycles.” Rachel’s has work has allowed her to travel all over the US (Pennsylvania, Missouri, California, Nevada, etc.) and internationally (Germany, Japan, etc.). Rachel was hoping to retire by age 35, but didn’t make it. She would be happy to stay with her current company until retirement, as she watches her children grow. Rachel’s advice for future Honors students: “Do your work with integrity, don’t cheat. You won’t get away with it… at least not long term. Be a good person, even when people aren’t watching. Don’t go into a company and act like you know everything, because you don’t. There will always be people who know more than you do. In the software development field, we want to know that you are trainable. Each company does things a little differently and it’s your job to learn the established processes and products at your company and do the job for which you were hired. When you have some experience at that company, look for ways to improve current processes. We’re not just looking for good programmers. We look for someone who has experience with design, writing proposals and design documents and validation. We also look for someone with good communication skills (oral and written), someone we can put in front of a customer that exhibits professionalism, someone who is a team player with a small ego, and someone who works with honesty and integrity. Consider the feelings of others before you open your mouth. Be careful what you put on social networking sites because potential employers may be looking too.”