A routine assignment — to partner up with another student for an electrical engineering lab class — led to a 30-years-and-counting bond between future Caterpillar analytics director Paul Mauschaugh and future Nokia product marketing manager Eric Arndt.
"One of my favorite memories starts when Eric and I met on the opening day of an electrical engineering lab class, jointly seeking each other out when the professor instructed us to choose a lab partner for the semester," says Mauschbaugh, a proud member of the UI's Class of 1990.
"As a part of the class, we were exposed to an early simulation software package that allowed us to test our designs without actually wiring anything up — a very novel concept at the time.
"The simulations could take 30 to 45 minutes to run, so Eric and I would make design changes, start the simulation, then walk across the street to Cochrane’s on Wright Street and have a beer. While Cochrane’s was not the bar of choice for either Eric or myself, its proximity to Everitt Lab lent itself to prolonged nights of design/test cycles and increased creativity — that was our reasoning then — and helped forge a friendship that has now lasted 30 years.
"Overall, many of my memories are a result of the exposure to leading-edge technologies and ideas while at the U of I. A short list would include the simulation software in this lab class, online physics quizzes on PLATO, being the guinea pigs for Mathematica in linear algebra, tours of the silicon doping lab by Professor Adesida, and learning about the concept of cross-departmental research at the new Beckman Institute from ECE Professor Micheal Loui.
"The constant exposure to new technologies and ideas inspired me to a lifelong pursuit of applying emerging technologies to solving problems and cultivated my ability to think outside of the box. Both Eric and I remain passionate about technology and have spent time as volunteers/mentors/coaches in FIRST robotics programs in our respective communities.
"I thoroughly enjoy coming to Champaign on a regular basis as a part of my current role, to reignite that spark through interactions with current U of I students working in our Caterpillar Data Innovation Lab in the Research Park.”