Employee Spotlight: Ashley Enderlin
Ashely Enderlin, Systems Engineer
Since you attended grad school at Stanford, how does living in Chicago compare with California?
Palo Alto is not a typical college town, and although it has fantastic produce and cheap electronics, I love the Midwest. Ever since I watched The Blues Brothers as a kid, I’ve wanted to live in Chicago because of the wonderful music scene. There are so many festivals and cultural events, and it’s great seeing everyone out and about.
My favorite place in Chicago is The Green Mill. Besides having a lot of history, the small intimate venue makes for a great atmosphere and there is high quality music any night of the week.
What was it like playing with the Stanford band?
Stanford’s football team did pretty well the last year I was there, and it was the first time I had played on the band for a team that was actually good. Performing at the Orange Bowl was a great time. It was fun to play for such hardcore fans who were thrilled to be there. We got to play so many great rallies in the streets and on the beach, performing everything from fight songs, to Green Day, to Paul Simon.
I recently started playing with the Chicago Concert Winds, where we play mostly classical music or orchestral pieces transcribed for winds and sometimes musicals.
Do you have any engineering hobbies?
I like to play around with Atmel microcontrollers, especially the ATmega328. They can drive LED display signs for nametags, communicate to other smart devices, or take analog inputs and toggle digital outputs commonly used on robotics. They are surprisingly powerful for their price. I also like to use Elctro luminescent (EL) wire for sewing into clothing. EL wire is thick and flexible, perfect for making light-up outfits, which the Stanford band has been known to do.
Even without EL wire, I crochet hats, blankets, and scarves. I also like to draw, mostly comics and some charcoal drawings. Ever since my sister gave me a copy of Watchmen, I have been taken with graphic novels, and I am currently working on one with a friend of mine who is a writer.
Can you explain what managing a geophysics research laboratory entails?
Essentially, we crushed rocks. The lab received cylindrical well bore rock samples and pressurized them with a huge hydraulic press. We tested the permeability by pushing fluids through the rock. Oil companies and individuals who study earthquakes are then able to use the data to create models.
What has been your favorite project at DMC?
My favorite project thus far has involved interfacing with a sous vide apparatus to maintain an exact constant temperature in a water bath. This is useful in many lab experiments, as anyone with an internet connection can interface with this controller running its own control loop and control the device to gather data. This was an especially interesting project because I was involved from start to finish. We built several low-level drivers and then combined them into a state machine, enabling users to connect to the device without having to program anything. The customer also requested user-friendly drag and drop VIs for more technical users to build their own programs, and it was fun taking the time to customize interface and include features I wished were available in LabVIEW equipment drivers when I was a research assistant.
Do you have a favorite programming language?
One could say that C is the “gateway drug” for any engineer. C was the language that got me interested in programming as an undergrad, because I liked the idea of interfacing with something that controlled things in the real world. These days, I am quite fond of LabVIEW.
What are three words that describe you?
Curious, nerdy, and persistent.
What do you like best about working at DMC?
The variety. I was interested in different aspects of engineering in school, first mechanical and then electrical, and at DMC there is the opportunity to employ a diverse skill set. The people at DMC create a fun atmosphere. Everyone encourages each other to learn new things and is genuinely excited by what they do. It’s enriching to couple with customers in a range of other industries because every new area becomes something exciting to learn about.
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