Owen Zacharias

owen BS ('03) MS ('04) electrical and computer engineering

Occupation: Project manager, web design and development, University of Rochester Medical Center
Residence: Rochester, NY

When and how did you choose your major(s)?

Even before applying to University of Rochester I knew I wanted to focus on computing. I had gained extensive experience on the software side of things in high school and summer internships so switching gears and moving towards hardware (electrical and computer engineering) seemed like an exciting change of pace.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

My freshman year I pledged and joined Theta Chi. Greek life was a rewarding experience that I would recommend to anyone. Many of my best friends, who are now spread across the globe, are my fraternity brothers.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

During my senior year I began pursuing a master's degree in the 3/2 Program.  This was a fantastic experience as it got me closely involved in the laboratory of Dr. Wendi Heinzelman. Interacting with graduate students in the lab provided a very different perspective from my undergraduate years and challenged me in ways I hadn't experienced with previous coursework.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I'm a project manager at the University of Rochester Medical Center. I manage a team responsible for the public-facing web presence of URMC (http://www.urmc.edu). I've always enjoyed software development and the fast-paced environment of the Web allows me to continue learning each day and further my technical knowledge.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

Organization and problem solving. Once you're trained to think like an engineer you never stop!

How do you balance your work and personal life?

By using my vacation time. I love my job, just about every minute of it, but I make sure to spend an equal amount of energy playing.  I try to travel to remote areas where the influence of technology is minimal. It allows me to truly disconnect.

What advice do you have for current Hajim School students about their time on campus, graduate study, or the first few years after college?

Explore! It's very easy to get "trapped" on the River Campus and never realize that Rochester is a vibrant, exciting community. Spend time in the city (e.g., Downtown, Park Ave, Corn Hill), visit the Finger Lakes, bike along the Erie Canal path, hike Letchworth State Park, ski Holiday Valley. Play!