Sierra Olympic Technologies Inc.

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Five questions to answer in three months: Summer intern dives into the world of infrared

My name is Grace Whitmore and I’m just starting a summer internship program at Sierra-Olympic Technologies, which is located in my hometown of Hood River, Oregon.

As I finish my sophomore year studying architecture and computer science at Barnard College in New York City, I’m often asked why I’m interested in two very different subjects. After giving this some thought, I’ve realized that I enjoy both disciplines because of their focus on effective systems. In my studio courses, I’ve learned to design spaces that serve a specific function. Similarly, my computer science courses have taught me to write programs that solve difficult problems.

As I start out at Sierra-Olympic as a technical writing and marketing intern, I am most curious about learning what systems, big and small, technical and social, make the company successful after 25 years in business.

I arrived at five key questions I’d like to investigate throughout my internship with Sierra Olympic Technologies. By the end of the summer, I hope to share some detailed answers as I learn more about the exciting world of infrared.

  1. What does the design process look like for new infrared cameras and components? I’d like to know how engineers, designers, software developers and sales and marketing teams come together to bring new products to market.
  1. What is the process for testing new camera technology? How do we know when something is ready for the market? From my experience with programming, I know it’s important to test new systems in various contexts. I’d like to know how developers at Sierra-Olympic test thermal imaging technology.
  1. How does Sierra-Olympic help customers find the best products for their individual needs? I am interested in how relationships with customers are built and maintained, how Sierra-Olympic markets its brand and products and how communication throughout the process can be improved.  
  1. What are some of the key technological systems within thermal imagers, and how have they evolved to become smaller and more powerful? I know it’s an enormous subject, but I would like to gain a basic understanding of the key technical aspects of thermal imaging and the development of the technology Sierra-Olympic specializes in.
  1. What can infrared cameras offer us that other imaging technology cannot? I’m curious about how thermal imaging can be used to streamline defense, civil, and social operations. In the future, how can we use infrared cameras in new and creative ways?

These are just a few questions I would like to answer during my time at Sierra-Olympic.

As of now, I’m not sure what field I’ll enter after I graduate college, but I do know that it will bring people and technology together to solve important problems.

Efficient systems are critical to any field, and Sierra-Olympic provides many examples of how they work to our advantage. I’m looking forward to learning everything I can as an intern here and can’t wait to see what the summer will bring.