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GrizzTech Talks

GrizzTech Talks

By The Team at GrizzHacks
Every week, we’ll be spending about 20 minutes with an Oakland University 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 Sathish Muthukrishnan, Chief Information, Data, and Digital Officer at Ally

GrizzTech Talks

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 4, 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 5, 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 5, 2020