FIRST Alumni Spotlight: Jordan Burklund

Feb 03, 2017 by Jordan Burklund, FIRST Alum

We caught up with FIRST Alum, Jordan Burklund from FIRST Tech Challenge Team 3550; BETA from Des Moines, IA

Jordan is a recipient of the 2016 Roberto Padovani Scholarship.The Roberto Padovani Scholarship program was created in 2008 to recognize Qualcomm Research interns who demonstrate extraordinary technical talent during their summer internships. It is a global program that includes nominees from Qualcomm Research offices across the globe.

Candidates are nominated by their mentors or managers based on their technical contributions and overall impact to the organization.

Recipients of the Padovani scholarship receive a $5,000 academic scholarship to be used towards school expenses. In addition, recipients who come back to Qualcomm Research as an intern or as a full time employee immediately upon graduation are eligible to receive a return bonus.

We got a chance to ask Jordan about his experience as a FIRST Alum and Intern at Qualcomm. Jordan Burklund

What did you do after becoming a FIRST Alum? I am a third year student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) double majoring in Robotics Engineering and Computer Science. I’ve spent two summers interning at FIRST Headquarters and one summer with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

What did an average day look like for you interning at Qualcomm? While I was at Qualcomm, I worked in their drone lab. I tested drones and compared their capabilities to other products on the market. The best part of my internship was being selected for the Roberto Padovani Scholarship.

What are your future plans? I’ll graduate from WPI in 2018. Right, now I plan on either pursuing a Master’s Degree or entering the workforce. I’m mostly interested in working in exploratory robotics, like the Mars Rover, or robots that explore new environments here on earth.

What is your favorite FIRST memory? My FIRST Tech Challenge Team competed remotely in the Australia FIRST Tech Challenge Championships. We had worked on a project to drive our robot remotely from anywhere in the world. So we shipped our robot to Australia, and controlled it from Iowa. Overall, it was a really cool experience, even though we didn't do as well as we expected at the event (there was a one- second delay in communications); but it was cool to experience something that felt like controlling a robot on mars.

What is the best piece of advice you have received? My dad taught me to keep chasing your dreams and goals. It may get tough at times, but don't ever stop.


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Background on Dr. Roberto Padovani:

The scholarship is named after Dr. Roberto Padovani, who is currently an Executive Vice President and Fellow at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Dr. Padovani served as Qualcomm's Chief Technology Officer from 2002 to 2011. He holds numerous patents on wireless systems and has published numerous technical papers in the digital communications field and was the co-recipient of the 1991 IEEE Vehicular Technology Society Best Paper Award. He was elected to the national Academy of Engineering in 2006, and in 2016 received the Alexander Graham Bell Medal for innovations enabling efficient, wideband, wireless access to the Internet, that is central to all third generation cellular networks. Dr. Padovani is an IEEE Fellow and an Affiliate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of California, San Diego.

Qualcomm Research is a division of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

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