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Alumni Profile

Monday, November 14, 2005

Interview of Jeremy Hay, '05 BS - CS

When several SOE faculty members got to work one morning in early August 2005, a rewarding e-mail awaited them. "I just wanted to thank you all for my amazing education at UCSC," the message read. "I feel extremely proud to be here among the Stanford, UCLA, and UC Berkeley grads and to know that my educational experience was just as good, and often better than theirs."

The unsolicited praise came from Jeremy Hay, who earned his bachelor's degree in computer science in June. The "here" in his e-mail refers to Microsoft's branch in Mountain View, California, which hired Jeremy three months before he graduated to work as a software design engineer. Already, the young employee has earned responsibility for developing tools to test components of the popular Powerpoint software package.

In a recent interview, Jeremy credited his early-career success to the many close relationships he developed with SOE faculty. "A lot of them took personal time to help me," he recalls. "The professors are very high quality. They do care about their students, not just their research. I wouldn't be here without them."

Jeremy was particularly influenced by CS 115, a course in software design. The course gave him an opportunity to work with a team and create a major project by the end of the quarter. Jeremy's team invented a computer video game called Dark Matter, a multiplayer challenge with intensive 3D space graphics and a chat function.

"That really sold me on a software job," Jeremy says. "Communication was extremely important for the group project, and 50% of the work here [at Microsoft] is communication. Otherwise, nothing gets done." Jeremy notes that his team did "an awesome job" on Dark Matter, and that the computer gaming emphasis at SOE has helped many graduates earn jobs in the rapidly expanding and lucrative field.

As for his e-mail message, Jeremy says that it just felt right to let his mentors know how he's doing. "I love my job, and I didn't expect to be working here right out of college," he says. "I just wanted to thank the faculty for a great education."