Birdwell's work centers on radio-frequency identification (RFID), a technology that uses radio waves to identify, track and store electronic information on objects, from window stickers used for quick pay of turnpike tolls to wheelchairs and hospital identification bracelets, which may have microchips embedded or attached to them.
He chose to focus on RFID in August for a project he undertook in the engineering academy at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. Because of his work at Kohl's, where he observed misplaced and stolen shoes and incorrect shoe inventories, Birdwell decided to tag shoes with RFID technology. Subsequent networking, following presentations of his findings to engineering societies and others, led to his current opportunities.
“The retail experiences I had and connections I made all built on itself,” he said.
Calvin Nelms, of Mustang, a new OU computer science graduate and new hire at SandRidge Energy Inc., confirms the importance of internships and networking.
He interned last summer under the deputy director at the Federal Aviation Administration, who knew someone in information technology at SandRidge, where he interned this past semester.
“That internship turned into a full-time job,” Nelms said. “The job market is a little rough, but computer science isn't suffering as much, especially in Oklahoma.”
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Apps help with job search
Need help finding a job? There's an app for that. Two iPhone software applications are popular with job seekers, especially new college graduates. “HireMe,” at 99 cents, includes practice interview questions to which users can record answers and play them back for review, and a video tutorial on how to tie a necktie. Meanwhile, the free app