Alumni Profile

Parker Woodard

Working writing software almost doesn't feel like a job. It's what Ive been doing the last four years at UB only now they are paying me. It is amazing that you can get a paycheck for doing something you would enjoy doing anyways."

Where I've Been

Cities

  • Buffalo, NY
  • Erie, Pa
  • Rochester, NY
  • Rome, Italy
  • Newry, N. Ireland
  • New York,  NY

Organizations

  • Buffalo Sabres
  • General Electric
  • ON Semiconductor
  • First Derivatives

Positions

  • Data analytics intern at Sabres
  • Electrical engineering intern at GE & ON
  • Currently working as a data scientist at first derivatives.

What I've Done

What types of work have you performed? What projects have you worked on?
Recently I have been working on a client project at a hedge fund writing software that detects stock market manipulation (like insider trading, pump and dump schemes, etc.)

What have been some favorite aspects of your work?
Working writing software almost doesn't feel like a job. It's what Ive been doing the last four years at UB only now they are paying me. It is amazing that you can get a paycheck for doing something you would enjoy doing anyways. Another thing that gets me up in the morning is just knowing that my work is really benefiting society. Working with the stock market data, our software combs through terabytes of data and is able to detect illegal activity (like insider trading). Knowing that what we are doing is helping to prevent corruption and helping to hold corrupt people accountable, is really just the icing on the cake.

What was one of your most satisfying days as an engineer?
Going to a Sabres game this year I saw all the seats full. They have finally hit the year where they are tuning it around and there was an energy in the arena hasn't been in there in a decade. Finally the guys we drafted during my tenure with the team are starting to hit their prime. As I sat there I couldn't help but wonder if in my three years working as a data analytics intern with the hockey department, if I had in any small way a contribution towards making this happen.

Was it worth it? What has your engineering background made possible for you? What value has it added to your overall life?
Yes! Even though I work at a consulting company that employees people out of engineering as well as out of business school, it is a known fact here that those with a technical background get put on the most demanding and interesting projects. The value of being able to learn and apply challenging new information quickly in any field is one of the hallmarks of an engineering education and is something makes engineers so valuable throughout any industry sector. I remember landing my first client project doing a stock market surveillance project at a hedge fund. I walked in the first day and 6 of the 8 people I was working with at the client site of this finance company all had engineering backgrounds.

Why it Matters

What would you say to the freshmen currently sitting in your shoes?
I had just got a 53 on my first Chem test, had no clue what was happening in Calc 2, and I was ready to quit engineering. Stick it out! I never would have thought that in the four years since sitting as a freshman engineering would take me the places it has. It is a lot of work but it pays dividends. You will look back after graduation and be so glad you didn't quit.