For some high school students, summer meant lazy days at the pool or hanging out with friends. But for some, it meant getting real-world experience to jump-start their future careers.
This summer marked the return of the Launch Fishers High School Fellowship, a program designed to develop future entrepreneurs and business leaders. The internship is available for Hamilton Southeastern High School and Fishers High School students who want to learn more about entrepreneurship and gain real-world experience through Launch Fishers’ three-day boot camp, where students sharpen their professional skills and the 8-week internship with the student’s host company.
One of the companies that participated this summer was The Audio of Things (TAOT). Based out of the Indiana IoT Lab Fishers, TAOT designs, develops, and sells components, subsystems, and products that may include patented technologies that optimize the performance of voice interactive devices to solve economic and performance problems in consumer, professional, commercial, and tactical audio systems.
We spoke with Gary Roberson, COO of TAOT, and recent high school graduate and summer fellow, Brandon Farber, about their experience working together this summer during the fellowship program.
Supervisor: Gary Roberson
What inspired you to get involved with the program?
TAOT has a sincere commitment to find young leaders in the community that are interested in technology and entrepreneurship. Our co-founder, Spiro, has a unique heritage of coaching young talent in the Technology/Audio market based on his experience at HARMAN, Inc. We believe in building future leaders!
Tell us about the projects that Brandon worked on with your company. How did he impact your business?
Brandon worked on advanced lab test systems for headset and microphone measurements. He significantly contributed to an advanced RF (Radio Frequency) test system development and execution. His contribution will likely lead to a new TAOT Design Win –- meaning more revenue!
What’s one piece of advice you would give students looking to pursue a career in your field?
Find good mentors!
Why is this program important for the community?
We at TAOT believe strongly that we are better able to build our business culture by contributing to others in the community. Since we started recruiting and employing three years ago, we have experienced positive interpersonal and business growth.
Fellow: Brandon Farber
What inspired you to join the Launch Fishers Fellowship Program?
My friends notified me of the internship opportunity nearing the end of the last school year and I thought it’d be a great opportunity to not only earn some cash over the summer, but to also gain some real-world experience and apply everything I had just learned in high school to real life.
What was your favorite part of the summer fellowship?
My favorite part of the internship was working on the Head and Torso Simulator (aka B.O.B). It’s essentially a martial arts dummy with some microphones and a speaker inside it to test different headsets and other devices humans interact with. There were some smoky moments in the development process of B.O.B, namely me supplying too much gain through the amplifier to the speaker destroying both in the process. However, the team at TAOT was very forgiving and it allowed for a nice learning moment— that being, don’t be too afraid to break things.
How do you think the fellowship program will launch your future career?
The internship exposed me to signal processing as a possible field to specialize in. Along with that, it gave me solid experience in applying my CAD skills to be effective for a company’s needs, such as accounting for other factors like the time to develop the CAD and make it versus buying a product outright and getting it in a shorter time.
What’s one piece of advice you would give future Launch Fishers fellows?
My advice is to ask questions. It’s still super early in your life for you to know everything, and the negative consequences of not knowing are practically non-existent. There are of course certain skills you should have, namely the ones you put on your resume, but apart from that, if you have a willingness to ask questions and therefore learn, that will be highly valued and useful to how much you get out of the internship.
What are you up to now that you’ve graduated?
I’m going to Purdue University where I plan to study either electrical or computer engineering.
Learn about some of the other businesses and fellows from previous summer programs here.
Stephanie Perry is the Assistant Director of Public Relations of the City of Fishers. Born and raised in Fishers, Stephanie graduated from HSE in 2006 and is now raising her kids in her childhood home in West Fishers, which she purchased from her parents when they moved. She loves supporting the local small business community, running on Fishers’ trails, and spending time at Conner Prairie with her family (Headless Horsemen and A Merry Prairie Holiday are family favorites!). Stephanie and her husband enjoy getting outdoors and spending time camping, hiking, and boating. Stephanie has enjoyed watching her city grow over the past few decades and loves the assets and amenities that the community provides, from the parks and special events to the array of restaurants and shops.