Jenna Barton

Jenna BartonWhy CMPE at Penn?

I have always been fascinated by engineering, but it was the concept of wearable devices that drew me to CMPE. I want to understand how software and hardware interact – how the code controls the device, how different sensors and pieces of hardware can be used to collect data, how the hardware limits what the software can accomplish, and plenty more. For me, CMPE is a way to understand these interactions and get a comprehensive idea of technology. Furthermore, my technology fascinations are all in the context of an entrepreneurial passion, and the ability to study Economics/Entrepreneurship at Wharton in parallel with CMPE makes Penn unmatched.

What would you say is your favorite CMPE class?

My favorite CMPE class thus far is CIS 240. The course is designed to give you a thorough understanding of how a computer really works, diving into low level gates up through assembly and the C programming language. It’s been a great mix of hardware and software elements, and allows us to develop a strong foundation in how the two interact.

How would you describe CMPE to friends or family who aren’t familiar with it?

Computer engineers are the middlemen between the electrical engineers that build the hardware and the software engineers that write the code that bring it to life. We understand the underlying limitations of the hardware as well as how it can be manipulated through code by studying a combination of computer science and electrical engineering courses.

What do you think it takes to be a “successful” computer engineer?

To be a “successful” computer engineer, you need to be intrigued by technology and passionate about what you are learning. Our courses are challenging, but they are highly rewarding when you are interested in and passionate about the topics.

What internships have you done? (Or for seniors, what are you doing next year?)

The summer after my freshman year I interned for Google in a software engineering role. After my sophomore year, I will be returning to Google as a software engineering intern.

What other activities do you participate in at Penn?

I am on the logistics board for WeissLabs, the student-run incubator within the Weiss Tech House, and a member of Architechs, Penn’s hardware hacking club. I am also a TA for a graduate-level course in financial derivatives within the Wharton School. As a freshman, I was a research assistant for a Wharton professor where I focused on identifying and developing software solutions that enhance financial research. Additionally, I fuel my love of being outdoors as a member of Penn’s Outdoors Club.