From a young age, Tiffany Montgomery knew she wanted to go into science.
She followed other interests, such as fashion, music, sports, acting and politics. But she kept coming back to science and robotics.
“I became interested in robotics after watching a FIRST Robotics competition team on TV in the eighth grade,” she said. “After taking programming classes, joining my high school’s robotics team, and becoming the vice president of the Engineering and Technology Club at College of DuPage, I have found that I gravitate toward anything that has to do with computers.”
Montgomery selected COD because it was more cost effective than other schools. She was impressed with the quality of the engineering courses and was excited that the College has a student robotics team. Becoming involved with the Engineering and Technology Club proved invaluable.
“Being the vice president taught me amazing teamwork and leadership skills while allowing me to get a better understanding of what field I would want to work in after college,” she said.
Montgomery also joined the Honors Student Advisory Committee and began working as a clerical assistant for the Honors program. She enjoyed taking two Honors courses: Global Ethics and an independent study.
She liked the small class sizes at COD, which allowed her to interact easily with her professors.
“Having professors who care about quality teaching and how I did in the class was very motivating,” she said.
Now at Georgia Tech studying computer engineering, Montgomery actually returned to COD to finish a statics class while doing an internship as a voice engineer at StratusTalk in Naperville. She also took several classes at Universidad Carlos Tercero de Madrid in Spain.
Montgomery’s goal after college is to begin gaining industry experience.
“I plan to continue working with robotics as a software, computer or electrical engineer, but I can also see myself focused on any sort embedded systems programming,” she said. “After this, I would like to start my own business, focused on robotics, home automation or any artificial intelligence application.”
Montgomery advises students to take advantage of what COD offers – especially scholarships, whether they are the Scholars Awards for incoming high school graduates or the scholarships offered through the COD Foundation. She also recommends networking with fellow students and attending events.
“While at the Society of Women Engineers networking night, one of our speakers said something along the lines of this: ‘Aim for proficiency instead of just getting good grades.’ A large difference between high school, college and working is how much you are rewarded for your effort,” she said. “If you are unable to produce quality results, employers will not take sympathy on you because you tried really hard. They will just hire someone else that can get the job done. Understanding the knowledge that is relevant to your career, not just memorizing enough to pass an exam, is what will allow you to creatively solve problems when there are no longer any right or wrong answers.”