Jeff Reilly '85 surprised Tim Corica’s Advanced Computer Science class with a visit this winter where he shared advice, both practical and personal, on finding a career in the world of tech. As the principal engineer and lab director of the client platform evaluation and assessment group at Intel, Reilly tests systems – from gaming systems on down to internet devices – for performance, power and user experience. He had a wealth of experience to share.
Reilly’s interest in computers was first instilled by his father but nurtured at Peddie with his first formal computer science classes and the instruction of Corica. “Most excellent person ever,” said Reilly. “He’s still doing a great job teaching technology and I think more of that came out after the class was done, when he had a one-on-one session with one of the members of Peddie’s robotics team. It was great to see Tim continuing to be a good mentor to these students.”
Corica’s mentorship continued after Reilly’s graduation. Reilly’s first summer job was assisting Corica in the writing of a textbook on programming. Reilly went on to Purdue University, where he earned his bachelor's in computer and electrical engineering and a master’s in electrical engineering. Intel hired him immediately after college. Reilly’s relationship with Peddie remains strong. His family still lives nearby, so he visits campus for reunions regularly, and he keeps in touch with former teachers, including Corica, on social media.
Advanced Computer Science focuses mostly on software, but Reilly was pleasantly surprised at how much students knew about the actual hardware in their devices, from phones to the laptops they use in their classwork. “I think the key thing is that computing is much more pervasive in the student’s world of today. It’s part of their schoolwork – part of any work that they do – but it’s also part of their social engagement with others. It touches on more aspects of their lives, and that creates more opportunities. Some students have already had lab internships at research institutes or are using computing to solve scientific problems. They’re well informed about the tools available to them and have a lot of good experience, way more experience than I might have had at the same age.”
To his fellow alumni, Reilly urges, “Remember your roots. Whether you’re a recent grad or a somewhat older grad, it’s good to remember where you came from. It feels pretty good to be able to come back and provide useful advice or perspective that students might not already have.”