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Outside view of Engineering Systems Building.

Student Veteran’s Balancing Act

By Sherry DiBari


Justin Heisterkamp is a busy man.

The fall '21 computer and electrical engineering graduate just started a new job and moved into a new home in Manassas, Virginia. Next month, he and his wife are expecting their firstborn daughter.

Adjusting to all those changes shouldn't be a problem for Heisterkamp, an eight-year Navy veteran.

"During my service with the Navy, I wore many hats, and I learned the value of cross-training," he said.

After transitioning to Old Dominion University, Heisterkamp applied that same strategy when he chose to double major in electrical and computer engineering. He focused on the computer hardware systems specialization option, which overlaps both programs.

Coming to college with previous work and academic experience - he attended Texas Tech University briefly - Heisterkamp took his education seriously.

"My time at ODU has felt like a second chance and I've been much more focused because I don't take that for granted," he said.

Heisterkamp is appreciative of guidance from faculty members like Lee Belfore, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

"His mentorship throughout my senior design project will never be forgotten," Heisterkamp said. "His professional advice and the skillsets I've learned from his guidance are and will be invaluable."

Belfore was equally complimentary. "Justin brought a unique blend of enthusiasm, determination, leadership, life experience, and newly acquired knowledge to the senior design project work," he said. "His contributions to the project set the example for the rest of the team to be successful."

In April of 2021, Heisterkamp was selected for a coveted research internship with the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium where he worked as a process engineer intern in the clean room of Micron Technology Inc.

"My internship at Micron provided me with a great opportunity to gain work experience in semiconductor manufacturing and learn more about Ion Implantation from industry professionals," he said.

Heisterkamp credits Sylvain Marsillac, professor of electrical and computer engineering, for his continued interest in microelectronics.

"Dr. Marsillac's enthusiasm as an instructor and abundance of microelectronic knowledge has been particularly inspirational and a great help for my career prospects following ODU," he said.

The cross-training philosophy has worked out for Heisterkamp. He was recently hired by Micron Technology as a full-time process engineer.

"It's going to be a great place to start my second career and I can't wait to begin!" he said.