I transferred to the University of Washington as a junior. My first two years were spent at Idaho State University in Pocatello. After one semester at Washington, I was called into military duty as an Army aviation cadet, returning two years later to get my degree in electrical engineering.
Two professors in the engineering school were most helpful for me--Professor Lindbloom took me under his wing and helped me greatly to get oriented into the electrical engineering courses. I later taught a laboratory course under his direction.
But it was Professor Ryland Hill who I have to pick as my favorite, since he not only helped me through my senior courses but became my mentor in understanding the real needs of an electrical engineer in industry. The obvious career path at that time for an E.E. was with one of the big electrical firms like General Electric or Westinghouse, but I was not happy with their indoctrination programs before I could start doing "real" engineering work. Professor Hill sat me down one day and told me about his short stay with Standard Oil of California in San Francisco. Now, there was a real engineering job for an E.E. I was very surprised with what he told me--"You mean that an oil company has all that varied work for an electrical engineer!"
I applied with Standard Oil and was pleased with their immediate response to come to San Francisco for an interview. I did and was hired on the spot. I spent 30 years with Standard before I retired, including several foreign consulting assignments. But the most interesting assignment was as a recruiter for engineering and science students at several universities, including the University of Washington. This provided me with the opportunity to visit with Professor Hill again--now dean of engineering. I spent a couple of evenings at his house over the years talking over old times and discussing what I thought would be the best educational direction for engineering students in the future. I also was administrator of several scholarships for engineering students.
John A. Ziebarth, '47
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