Welcome to "My Week in ESTEEM" where students reflect upon their experience in the program. This week's blog is brought to us by Dan Paquin, who graduated from St. Anselm in May 2015. He discusses the start of fall at Notre Dame and his incredible experience working on an industry-sponsored thesis project.
My decision to attend Notre Dame was not an easy one to make. I was born and raised in New England and lived there through my undergraduate career. My first day in South Bend was quite unusual, but after these first two months I would not trade the experience for anything. The day before orientation in late June some members of the 2015 class gathered at a local pub. This gave us some time to introduce ourselves to each other and on that night I knew it was going to be an amazing 11 months. My time in the program has been flying by and this past week brought along October with it.
Fall weather comes fast in South Bend and the sun still strives to keep it warm. Last Monday I worked with my classmate Paul Mahony to complete a financial model to forecast revenues and expenses for a startup attempting to attract investors. The exercise revolved around key assumptions for our pseudo-prospective business. We organized our findings in Excel which unified a great deal of our ESTEEM experience into this simple exercise. Experience finds ESTEEM students in all sorts of ways throughout the program.
The Capstone thesis project is an ESTEEM student’s largest concern at this time of the year. I have the honor of working with Oak Financial Software Corporation to complete my thesis. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I spend my mornings in their office at Innovation Park where they work on their mobile application called Chapulin. I do not have access to a car for my time in South Bend so having an office next to campus was a huge factor in my decision to work with Oak. Tuesday through Thursday I ride my bike to Innovation Park and work on building a skillset I only recently fell in love with: programming.
My undergraduate degree is in Applied Physics, but my final semesters at Saint Anselm College (Manchester, NH) were spent mostly in Computer Science classrooms. I used my newly discovered passion to find a thesis project which would accelerate my knowledge in this field. Since the thesis is a project I knew that I would be working on for 11 months, it was extremely important for me to decide on a project that made me excited. For me, I heard there was a project involving cryptocurrencies and I knew that it was for me. On my mornings in the Oak Financial office I may speak with representatives of partnering companies or conduct tests on the volatile cryptocurrency market.
The latter part of the week was spent finalizing my first chapter. The first chapter outlines and describes the underlying technology used for the thesis. In my case that meant focusing on how different cryptocurrencies function and comparing them to current payment processing protocols in use today. The thesis forced me to get a full technical understanding of my entire industry, rather than just the new technology. I wish there was an extra day in the week as each one arrives faster than the last.
Notre Dame challenges me every day in whatever I choose to do. I have never second-guessed my decision to attend Notre Dame. Other than not having a car I really do not feel like I am living in the Midwest. Notre Dame is full of energy from research to sports and I am enjoying every second of it.