Senior’s computer science BS launches career with Collins Aerospace

May 12, 2023

jack theall poses in a gray suit and light blue shirt, with a quinnipiac plaid tie in front of a light gray background. he has dark brown hair and blue eyes

A bachelor’s in computer science is fueling a career that’s about to take off for John "Jack" Theall, ’23. In June, Theall will join the flight avionics simulation team at Collins Aerospace in Binghamton, NY.

“The way they described it to me is they basically make the world’s most complicated video games and sell them to the Air Force. I said, ‘Sign me up! That’s right up my alley,’” said Theall. “I like to take on projects that allow me to be creative, let my imagination go and see what exactly I can make, rather than make some average website for some developer.”

As he heads toward graduation on May 13, Theall said the faculty at Quinnipiac’s School of Computing and Engineering has been with him all the way during his four years.

“One of the biggest reasons I chose to come to this school in the first place was talking to computer science faculty at Accepted Students Days and on tours, because I got the sense they really care about the success of their students,” said Theall. “I’m incredibly grateful and could never repay the faculty for what they’ve done. I think every professor at this school is just incredible, and the level of detail they have in their classrooms is amazing.”

As an active student panel participant, Theall often speaks with prospective students about the advantage of the school’s smaller class sizes.

“Most of the other schools I was looking at were big, polytech schools where my lectures would be with hundreds of students. At Quinnipiac, my capstone class was maybe 12 kids. I’ve loved that attention to student success,” he said. “Every single one of the professors really cares about your success, and that you understand what you’re learning. Those are the biggest contributors to my success here at Quinnipiac.”

Landing his new job was a combination of preparation and networking which also links back to Quinnipiac.  

As a junior, Theall undertook a remote summer internship with Hartford-based Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting.

“I was on a team of technical mentors, managers, and other interns developing internal web applications. I was responsible for the backend of that development,” said Theall.

Theall credits John Bau, director of career development at the School of Computing and Engineering, with helping to hone his career hunt.

“I really feel I would not have been able to do this at all without John Bau, between the classes that I’ve taken with him developing my career presence, and him helping me through the process,” Theall said.

Bau also suggested Theall look at job openings within Raytheon Technologies, the parent company of Collins Aerospace. In the process of applying, Theall did a little investigating on LinkedIn and found a Quinnipiac alumnus working at Raytheon.

“I let him know I was applying to a few of these jobs, and that I was wondering if he might have any insight. He suggested I check out Collins, so I did. I found a few positions that were available for entry-level software developers that sounded interesting, so I sent out a few applications, and they got back to me,” said Theall.

After a single interview with Collins Aerospace, Theall was offered the position.

“After my interview, I asked about next steps, and they said they had a few other candidates to talk to, and I would hear from them soon.  So, when I woke up the next morning to an offer in my inbox, I was over the moon,” said Theall.

While his job opportunity may be unique, landing a job ahead of graduating is a common experience for School of Computing and Engineering students, Theall said.

“I would say that’s definitely consistent with what everyone in the school experiences. Before they graduate, they’ll have a job lined up.”

As he leaves Quinnipiac, Theall has a special memory he’ll be taking along.

“It kind of encompasses my thoughts on the computer science program here. It’s from my freshman year, when my roommate and I were on the team that won first place in the Quinnipiac Hackathon. For the application that we wrote, we had to calculate the probability of success of stealing something from a store, which is an absolutely ridiculous idea! We didn’t take it seriously at first, but then we decided if we present this well, it might do well.”

He feels the win jump-started his four successful years with the School of Computing and Engineering.

“When that idea was well-received by the panel of professors, I really knew I was in the right place. I knew right then that at this school, I’m going to have some ridiculous ideas that I just want to be creative with, and I’ll apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to it.  It really solidified for me that I’m able to do that here.”

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