Bruce Hicks ’22 will receive his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Florida Polytechnic University on May 8. The student from Eustis, Florida, is an accomplished archer with his sights set on competing in the 2028 Olympics. He is captain and founder of the Florida Poly Archery Team, which opened an on-campus range in 2022. Hicks also is set to step into a position with TLC Engineering right after graduation.
Why did you choose your major?
I always knew I wanted to be an engineer. My mom would buy me Legos and I would mess around with stuff. When I was in middle school, I thought I would do architectural engineering because that’s straight-up building. I learned a lot from my high school civil engineering program, but I switched to electrical engineering and it was so fun and challenging. I would spend all my time in the electrical engineering lab at my high school and that’s when I knew I was going to be an electrical engineer.
Where did you complete your internship and what did you gain from the experience?
It started last summer at TLC Engineering in the healthcare department. I was designing electrical plans for hospitals. I learned a lot. The company has been really great. I learned the trade and exactly what goes into designing electrical plans and hospitals.
What are your plans after graduation?
My internship was full time during the summer and they kept me part time during school. The day after I graduate, I will go back to TLC full time as a graduate engineer.
I also am working on a home automation project that runs off the DC distribution grid instead of the traditional AC grids in houses – basically redefining how electricity works in a house. Making homes more efficient is what I want to do.
I also still plan on competing in the 2028 Olympics.
How well do you feel Florida Poly prepared you for life after graduation?
When it comes to electrical engineering, it absolutely prepared me because now I’m ready to take my FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) exam. In the field, you have to take your FE exam as soon as possible – it’s like the SAT of engineering and covers everything I’ve done in college. Talking to a couple of my colleagues, their universities didn’t really prepare them as well and there’s a lot of classes they didn’t take that we take at Florida Poly. It feels like a cumulative exam for my entire college experience and makes it easier to take the exam.
What advice would you give an incoming freshman?
Make friends. It would have been difficult to pass some classes if it wasn’t for study groups and friends. Also, having a social life makes the stress of school worth it. Don’t just focus on school either because your accomplishments also matter. Going into what I’m doing now with TLC and the contracting side of things, experience is a huge thing. How you carry yourself is a huge thing. Being able to talk to people and having presentation and social skills – all that is really important. If you drown yourself in schoolwork, you’re going to miss out on a lot of fun things, but also opportunities for the future. Make connections. You don’t know what can come from it.
What’s something you’ll never forget about your time here?
It’s definitely the archery range. I spent four years of my life in meetings, making presentations, and getting papers ready. There were so many things I had to do to get that range and it finally happened. It’s a huge accomplishment for me and I’m excited to see where the team goes from here. I hope to come back as a coach to keep helping out after I graduate.
Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of Q&As with some of Florida Poly’s Class of 2022 graduates.
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