Pre-Engineering

Ethan Akans

My hometown when I was a student was

Gaylord, MI

I graduated in

2017

I studied

I majored in Physics with minors in Math and Chemistry. 

I currently live in

Boston, MA

I am now

I currently work as a Network Systems Engineer.

Since graduating from Alma

My first stop after Alma was a graduate program at Ball State University CICS. The M.S. program focused on IT systems and business and was mainly focused on preparing students for careers in IT consulting. I was a GA there (they reserve a few GA spots every year for Alma grads), and discovered that I had an aptitude for computer networking

The BSU program linked me into a job at Citrix, a virtualization/cloud/networking company based out of Fort Lauderdale, FL. For my first year at the company, I relocated to Fort Lauderdale and was intensely trained on Citrix’s technologies as part of a technical new hire training program. Once I completed the training program, I was offered a job as a systems engineer in Boston focusing on our networking product line. I support our enterprise sales team, and so my role mostly consists of meeting with the networking administration teams and executives at large companies to perform Proof of Concept deployments, deliver product demonstrations, and to validate technical requirements.

My Alma education

It’s pretty clear how Alma helped get me to where I am. The director of the graduate program I attended was an Alma alumnus. He came on campus, visited one of my physics lectures in fact, to recruit for the program. Everything fell into place after that!

My favorite place(s) on campus included

The chapel is beautiful – I spent a lot of time there during choir rehearsals. I’d be skewered if I didn’t mention my fraternity house, DGT. Also, I thought the lab next to Dr. Argueta’s office was cool. I had a lot of fun toying with the 3D printers and other unique tools that were housed there.

My favorite professors(s) included

I couldn’t possibly pick just one! Dr. Argueta was great, as was Dr. Jensen. I was also a big fan of Dr. Nancy Dopke.

My most vivid/best memory of my time at Alma is

There are lots of good memories. I could talk about the research opportunities, the leadership roles of Greek life, or the Alma Choir tours – all of which were great and stick with me.

One that stands out as defining Alma for me, though, is the countless afternoons spent in Dr. Jensen’s office. I struggled at first in my Physics courses. Every week I’d end up visiting him for help with the homework assignment, and every week he’d spend as much time as it took to help me understand what I needed to understand. You wouldn’t get that at every school.

My off-campus study experience(s) included

I did a spring term with the Alma Choir in Ireland. Coming from a low-income household, international travel wasn’t something I could have done on my own. I’ve found that having travel experience is kind of important in the professional world – regardless of what it is you did. It comes up in interviews all the time, especially your first few out of school. People love to see that you’re adventurous and have an open mind.