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GrizzTech Talks

GrizzTech Talks

By The Team at GrizzHacks
In every episode, we’ll be spending about 20 minutes with an alum, maker, engineer or prominent individual in the workforce. They’ll share their insights and advice from their career path in order to help you navigate your future.
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An Interview with Dan McCurdy, Senior Director of Technical Program Management (AR/VR) at Facebook
Dan McCurdy is a Senior Director of Technical Program Management (in AR/VR) at Facebook. Dan graduated from Oakland University in 1991 with a degree in Finance, and shortly after joined Ameritech (which is now AT&T). Over the years he has held director positions in technical program management, spanning software and hardware engineering at both Motorola and Amazon, before joining Facebook in 2019 as a director. In this episode, Dan tell us about lessons from his career path, how to stand out as an employee early in your career, and what it’s like to work on “Version 0” and “Version 1” projects. Get a limited edition GrizzTech Talks sticker here:
April 09, 2021
An Interview with Jacklyn Biggin, Senior Developer at Royal Bank of Canada & MLH Coach
Jacklyn Biggin is a Senior Developer at the Royal Bank of Canada. Jacklyn studied Digital Media at the University of Leeds in the UK, and in March of 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic she founded and was the lead organizer of Hack Quarantine, a 3-week online hackathon with thousands of participants. Today, in addition to working at RBC she is everyone’s favorite hackathon coach and creates awesome content for Major League Hacking.  Shownotes: Follow Jacklyn on Twitter (, connect with her on LinkedIn ( and subscribe to her YouTube channel (  Get your limited edition GrizzTech Talks sticker at
March 26, 2021
An Interview with Tom Shea, CEO of OneStream Software
Tom Shea graduated from Oakland University in 1991 with degrees in Accounting and Finance, and he brought his business acumen with him as he transitioned into the world of software and technology. Tom’s work and the products he built pioneered a whole new space of Financial Data Quality. He sold his first company in 2006, and a few years later he founded OneStream Software which is a company based in Rochester, Michigan currently valued at over a billion dollars. Tom Shea is the founder and CEO of OneStream Software. In this episode, listen to Tom talk about his journey as an entrepreneur, from his time studying at Oakland University to founding OneStream. Tom talks about the innovation happening at OneStream Software and shares his best career advice along the way. Shownotes: Learn more about OneStream Software at and view their job openings at
March 19, 2021
An Interview with Minn Kim, Principal at Bloomberg Beta
Minn graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Economics and Psychology. She is a former New Yorker turned San Francisco-based investor at Bloomberg Beta, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in the future of work. At Bloomberg Beta, she focuses on automation, productivity tools for knowledge workers, and robots.  In this episode, Minn tells us about working in venture capital, talks about Bloomberg Beta and the future of work, and gives her best career advice for students and recent grads.   Shownotes: Connect and follow Minn on her Twitter ( and website ( Learn more about Bloomberg Beta on their website (
March 12, 2021
An Interview with Amanda Fischer, Product Manager at Ford
Amanda Fischer is an early career professional at Ford Motor Company. She graduated from Oakland University in 2016 with a degree in IT and entered the rotational program at Ford. During the rotational program, Amanda chose a variety of roles including project manager and software engineer on three separate products. Her current role as a Location Based Services Product Manager brings her close to some of the company's most coveted upcoming vehicles as she works with her team to deliver drive assist vehicle features. Outside of her daily job, she is a passionate advocate for women in tech, STEM outreach, and meeting exceptional candidates as a recruiter.  In this exciting season kick-off episode, Amanda talks to us about STEM outreach, her work in tech, and shares helpful early career advice. Along the way, she also shares her industry insider’s perspective on the current state and future of autonomous vehicles, and what has to happen to alleviate any doubts on the future of autonomy.  Shownotes:  Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn ( and learn more about Ford at 
January 15, 2021
An Interview with Andrea Koenigsknecht, Cybersecurity Analyst at CyberForce|Q
Andrea Koenigsknecht is a graduate of Oakland University and currently works as a cybersecurity analyst in the Michigan Healthcare Security Operations Center (MI|HSOC) at CyberForce|Q. Her team works to provide specialized cybersecurity operations for the healthcare sector. During her time at OU, Andrea maintained an impressive track and field record, as well as participating in cybersecurity research, all leading to the success she enjoys today. In today's episode, Andrea discusses how phishing attacks are masquerading as COVID-19 vaccine information, how to keep yourself safe online, and how a research program at Oakland University sparked her interests in cybersecurity.  Show Notes Cyberforce|Q’s Mi|HSOC page: CompTIA’s Security+ certification course: - An excellent entry-level cert for individuals seeking a career in cybersecurity. Successful completion of the certification offers an overall baseline of skills necessary to perform core security functions. Cybrary: - A community where people, companies and training come together to give everyone the ability to collaborate in an open source way that advances the cybersecurity educational experience. Andrea's LinkedIn: UnCoRe: - The research program Andrea participated in at Oakland University Music by Clockwork Passerine
December 18, 2020
An Interview with Cassidy Williams, Principal Developer Experience Engineer at Netlify
Cassidy is a Principal Developer Experience Engineer at Netlify. She's worked for several other places, including CodePen, Amazon, and Venmo, and she's had the honor of working with various non-profits, including cKeys and Hacker Fund as their Director of Outreach. She's active in the developer community, and one of Glamour Magazine's 35 Women Under 35 Changing the Tech Industry and LinkedIn's Top Professionals 35 & Under. As an avid speaker, Cassidy has participated in several events including the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, TEDx, the United Nations, and dozens of other technical events. She wants to inspire generations of STEM students to be the best they can be, and her favorite quote is from Helen Keller: "One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar." She loves mechanical keyboards and karaoke. In this episode, listen to Cassidy talk about finding mentorship and how to stand out as an engineer. Cassidy also reflects on her favorite projects from her time at Venmo, Clarifai, CodePen and Netlify. Shownotes: Connect with Cassidy on her Twitter ( or GitHub ( Subscribe to Cassidy's weekly web dev newsletter ( and check out her course on Building Reusable React (
November 13, 2020
An Interview with Jarek Wojciechowski, Software Consultant & Developer at Atomic Object
Jarek Wojciechowsk is a Software Consultant & Developer at Atomic Object. Jarek studied computer science at Oakland University, and during his college years he founded the GrizzHacks hackathon with his classmates. Jarek also worked as a coach for Major League Hacking where he helped out at collegiate hackathons across North America. And shortly after graduating, he found himself at Atomic Object, where he works in small team of developers and designers to build custom software for a wide variety of clients. In this episode, Jarek talks with us about his time at Oakland University, life working as a software consultant, and generative art. Shownotes: Connect with Jarek on Twitter ( and Twitch ( Learn about Generative Art here ( and read Jarek’s blog post on it here (
October 30, 2020
An Interview with Joe Karlsson, Developer Advocate at MongoDB
Joe Karlsson is a Software Engineer and Developer Advocate at MongoDB. Joe studied computer science in college and graduated in 2012. He worked in roles as a consultant, javascript instructor, and full-stack software engineer before becoming a technical lead at, one of the top 10 e-commerce sites in North America. For more than a year now, Joe has been working at MongoDB as a software engineer and developer advocate. In this episode, listen to Joe talk about his journey as a software engineer and how he got to work at MongoDB. Joe talks about being a developer advocate, and how he is able to build projects and support the developer community through his work. He walks us through how he starts building new projects, brainstorms technical blog posts, and plans conference talks.  Shownotes: Connect with Joe on Twitter (, LinkedIn ( and TikTok ( Connect with MongoDB on their careers page ( and check out their developer portal (
October 16, 2020
An Interview with Benjamin Maxim, Asst. VP of Digital Strategy & Innovation at MSU Federal Credit Union
Benjamin Maxim is the Assistant Vice President of Digital Strategy and Innovation at MSU Federal Credit Union. Ben graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Telecommunications at Michigan State University in 2007. Now, he has spent over 13 years working at the Credit Union working his way through many positions on his way there. In this week's episode, Ben talks about how banks are finding ways to connect with local communities in a digital age, new technology programs at MSUFCU, and how events like GrizzHacks allow the company to empower students.  Music by Clockwork Passerine
September 25, 2020
An Interview with Tony Hamama, R&D People Operations Lead at Dynatrace
Tony Hamama is the R&D People Operations Lead for the Detroit Lab at Dynatrace. He helps Dynatrace with building the best engineering teams and culture to drive innovation for the leader in software intelligence. He is an alum from Oakland University and has a passion for technology and helping others. In this week's episode, Tony discusses his path into technology, the effects of COVID-19 on the modern workforce, and his valuable industry insight as a recruiter for building the right skills early in your career and how to build an attractive resume. Along the way, he also shares his thoughts on the role of hackathons and internships in an aspiring young professional's career.  Connect with Tony on LinkedIn and learn more about Dynatrace on their website. Music by Clockwork Passerine
September 18, 2020
An Interview with DJ Bridges, University Relations Manager at Rock Central
DJ Bridges is a graduate of Denison University, with a BA in Economics. DJ currently serves as a  University Relations Manager at Rock Central. He has been with the company for over 6 years, and has participated in a variety of roles, including program manager. In this week's episode, DJ talks about what to do if you don’t have a lot of experience, important soft skills for developers to have, and dealing with imposter syndrome. Find careers with Quicken Loans at Music by Clockwork Passerine
September 11, 2020
An Interview with Sathish Muthukrishnan, Chief Information, Data, and Digital Officer at Ally
Sathish Muthukrishnan is a graduate of the University of Madras, and has worked in the technology industry for over 20 years. After starting his career as a hands-on mainframe assembly language programmer with Singapore Airlines, Sathish rose through his career to become the present-day Chief Information, Data, and Digital Officer at Ally. In this week's episode, Satish talks about how he approaches new roles, finds 10% goodness in all ideas, and how Ally is continually innovating. From constantly learning to never pigeon-holing one's self, Satish's advice will help students succeed far beyond their first job. Connect with Sathish on Twitter or on LinkedIn. Connect with Ally and learn about their opportunities on Twitter and LinkedIn. Music by Clockwork Passerine
September 04, 2020
An Interview with Harpreet Kaur, Senior Technical Product Manager at Microsoft
Harpreet Kaur is a first generation senior technical product manager at Microsoft. She has a proven track record of leading business and digital transformations, managing teams, and shipping high quality products. She is a well known speaker and thought leader across the industry on a variety of topics, including but not limited to: technology, personal and career branding, as well as diversity & Inclusion. When she is not doing her job, she can be found being a mother of 2 and an abstract artist. In this week's episode, Harpreet discusses her journey into software engineering, what to do in the face of failures, and how to become your best self. She'll provide inspiring insights and motivations to help you land your next role. Connect with her on Linkedin, Instagram and Music by Clockwork Passerine
August 28, 2020
An Interview with Garlin Gilchrist, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
Garlin Gilchrist studied computer engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. After graduating with honors, he had a successful career as a software engineer at Microsoft. He then took a career shift into politics and public service, where he worked for the Barack Obama campaign and eventually became the Director of Innovation and Emerging Technology for the city of Detroit. In 2019, he was elected the 64th Lieutenant Governor of Michigan. In this interview, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist discusses his unique career path. He tells us about his time in college studying engineering, describes his work at Microsoft, and outlines how he took a shift into politics and public service. Along the way, he shares his best career and life advice.  Music by Clockwork Passerine This episode was recorded on May 4th, 2020.
June 12, 2020
An Interview with Emma Atkinson, Fuel Economy Development and Benchmarking Engineer at FCA
Emma Atkinson is an Oakland University alumna with a degree in Electrical Engineering.  She is studying to receive her master's degree in Systems/Mechatronics Engineering, while working at FCA as a Fuel Economy Development and Benchmarking Engineer. Emma has also previously worked at companies like BAE Systems and Valeo. In this week's episode, Emma discusses her undergraduate experience at OU, and gets into details on working professionally while pursuing her master's degree. You can connect with Emma on Linkedin at Music by Clockwork Passerine
June 05, 2020
An Interview with Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering at Oakland University
Barbara Oakley is a retired United States Army Captain, and holds degrees from both the University of Washington and Oakland University. After tackling Russian fishing trawlers and the South Pole, Dr. Oakley now spends her time as a professor of engineering at Oakland University, inspiring students in the classroom and online in one of the world’s largest massive open online courses. In this week's episode, Dr. Oakley discusses what individuals can do to learn more effectively, based on her own experiences as a student. You can learn more about Dr. Oakley on her website - Music by Clockwork Passerine
May 29, 2020
An Interview with Rohit Timmagi, GM Resident Engineer at Valeo
Rohit Timmagi graduated from Oakland University in 2018 and served as the president of the League of Engineers and Computer Scientists (LECS) during his time at OU. Currently, Rohit works as a GM Resident Engineer at Valeo, and has also worked in an associate R&D role in the past.  In this week's episode, Rohit talks about his experience as the president of LECS, the unique traits of his role at Valeo, and gives advice on what students can do in order to best prepare themselves for the workforce. Music by Clockwork Passerine
May 22, 2020
An Interview with Adam McNeilly, Senior Software Developer at OKCupid
Adam McNeilly is a graduate from the Oakland University SECS Class of 2016 and is a GrizzHacks co-founder. Currently, he’s a senior software engineer for OkCupid. In this interview, he talks about his experiences as a student at Oakland, and as a software developer at his current and previous positions. He also gives his own perspective on what engineering and computer science students can do to help further themselves in the field.  Show Notes: You can follow Adam @AdamMc331 on Twitter, and connect with him on LinkedIn at Music by Clockwork Passerine
May 15, 2020
An Interview with Jonathan Gottfried, co-founder of Major League Hacking
Jonathan Gottfried is a co-founder of Major League Hacking, and he formerly worked at StartupBus and Twilio. Jonathan is listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 for his work with Major League Hacking, which is a company that supports student-run hackathons across the world. MLH is growing the hackathon community around the world and helping students learn valuable coding skills.   In this episode, Jon talks about his career path and how hackathons helped him learn, build, and get to the next stage of his career. Along the way, he gives advice to students and recent grads today. Show Notes: Jon's Twitter: Jon's Email: The MLH Fellowship Opportunity: Upcoming MLH Events: Music by Clockwork Passerine
May 15, 2020
An Interview with Kelli Foskic, Career Consultant at Oakland University
Kelli works in Oakland University's School of Engineering and Computer Science Department, helping students secure internships and jobs in the fields that matter most to them. In this week's episode, Kelli talks with the team at GrizzHacks about what students can do in order to best prepare themselves for today and tomorrow's job market. Show Notes: LinkedIn Alumni Tool: Using Parker Dewey as a Student: Parker Dewey Example Projects: A Sample Message for Connecting on LinkedIn: “Hello ABC, while searching for Oakland University connections on LinkedIn, I came across your profile. I am an Oakland Computer Science student, and your company is one of interest for me in my internship search. Would you be willing to share some advice about how you got start with XYZ company?”. Music by Clockwork Passerine
May 15, 2020
GrizzTech Talks Trailer
Tune in to the latest episode of GrizzTech Talks weekly! Premiering May 15th. Music by Clockwork Passerine 
May 05, 2020