Ready for the future: Hill earns degree in computer engineering

May 06, 2024

Woman stands in front of a building

Aleesa Hill took a childhood love for the TV show “BattleBots” and plans to turn it into a career. She says the show is what got her interested in robotics, and after getting involved in high school FIRST Robotics she knew she wanted to pursue engineering.

Hill says that while coursework was sometimes challenging, that challenge helped her learn much more than if those classes had been easy. In particular, she called out Mizzou’s senior capstone course for teaching her how to apply classroom knowledge to a real-world project.

“I now feel ready to take on anything that industry has to throw at me,” Hill said.

Read on for a Q&A about Hill’s Mizzou Engineering experience.

How did you get involved at Mizzou?

I’ve participated in many different student organizations in my time at Mizzou. I was president of Mizzou IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), where we held workshops and events to help fellow students learn new skills in engineering. I was on MU Robotics BattleBots team, where we built a fighting robot and traveled for competitions to pit ourselves against other teams. Finally, I’ve participated in ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) all four of my years here, where we have a different engineering and robotics-related competition each year. I’m super competitive, so I’ve had a lot of fun being on different competition teams. 

What made you interested in your major?

Growing up, I was always a huge fan of the “BattleBots” TV show. It was so fun to watch the robots fight each other and tear each other to shreds. As I got older, I got more interested in the robots themselves and joined my high school’s FIRST Robotics competition team. I was instantly hooked – every second in the lab learning something new about engineering and electronics was so much fun. That really solidified my interest in engineering. I also had an interest in programming, both for robotics and otherwise, so I chose to major in computer engineering and get the best of both worlds.

What’s your favorite thing about computer engineering?

I think one of my favorite things about computer engineering is that there are so many different choices for electives. I’ve taken classes on programming algorithms, machine learning, robotics and even neurotechnology! It’s super cool to be able to learn about a bunch of different things all related to the same major, and it helps you figure out what fields you’re most interested in for the future.

What’s your favorite Mizzou Engineering memory?

Definitely the time I’ve spent with ASME. As the name implies, most of the students in this club are majoring in mechanical engineering, whereas I studied computer engineering. It was really interesting to learn from their perspective on solving problems and designing solutions and I learned a lot about mechanical engineering from them. In turn, I was able to teach them a lot about computer engineering and the things that I’m passionate about. It was fun to be able to learn about another field and exchange ideas.

We also had fun with our competitions, where we got to design something new each year. This year we created a robot that could play mini golf, which took fifth place in our competition. Last year we created a hovercraft that could carry a payload and took second place in the race competition. I loved competing, but traveling and spending time with the team was the best part. 

What’s next for you after graduation?

Right now, I plan to take a couple months off to relax, spend time with my family and hopefully do some traveling. After that I’ll start looking for work in computer engineering.