WATCH: Florida Tech’s Scholar-Athlete Spotlight Recognizes Swimmer Sean Catron
By Space Coast Daily // December 8, 2021
catron is majors in electrical engineering
ABOVE VIDEO: Scholar-Athlete Spotlight Ep. 13: Sean Catron
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Being a scholar-athlete at Florida Tech takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to excel both in the classroom and on the field.
In this Scholar-Athlete Spotlight, we feature Panther men’s swimmer Sean Catron, a senior who is majoring in electrical engineering.
Making the short trip to Melbourne from Orlando, Catron has been named to the Sunshine State Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll and Florida Tech Athletic Director’s Honor Roll with a perfect 4.0 GPA in each of his first three years at Tech.
In addition, Sean was also named the Department of Computer Engineering and Sciences 2020-21 Outstanding Student of the Year.
There are many engineering stories wherever you go at Florida Tech and each one is different.
We sat down with Sean for his story, what makes him thrive in the classroom, and Panther swimming’s hopes for this season.
What’s your major at Florida Tech and why did you choose this? Is it something that you’ve always wanted to be a part of?
My major is electrical engineering, and my dad is an electrical engineer.
I grew up in the Orlando area, and he worked at Lockheed Martin, he’s been there for over 30 years and that was his major. In high school, I was studying a lot of physics and calculus. Math and science really intrigued me.
I kind of wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and get a good career opportunity with kind of a tougher degree in electrical engineering.
You’re graduating this fall, are you planning to continue your education after that?
Yes, I’m a part of the Fast-Track program here. I’m going to get my master’s in electrical engineering, and I think I’m going to take the focus on wireless communications and systems. Then after that, I should be graduating in the spring of 2023.
Whether I go on for a PhD or work at Lockheed Martin, where I’ve interned the past few summers, it’s kind of yet to be determined. I’m definitely interested in working with some cutting-edge technology, specifically with different pieces of hardware, and that sort of stuff.
What are some of the exciting projects that you’ve been able to work on in classes here?
We do a lot with both hardware and software. Right now, I’m in this virtual instrument class we’re trying to build a communications setup using electro-optics.
Basically, by sending a light signal, and it has message data on it, we can receive it and then transmit that back into its original message.
I’ve also worked with more software where it’s kind of like a programmer, and we have a Morse beeper. You can send different bits of messages and, it’s a wireless receiver, so it picks that up. It’s really cool.
What’s an average day of classes like for you?
Well, an average day is really starting with some practice. We get up really early and start at 5 to 6 in the morning.
We swim for about an hour and a half. And then depending on how my schedule is, if I have morning classes, I’ll go to those classes and try to eat at either PDH or at home in between.
Then when I don’t have class, I’m either studying or trying to rest because then we have afternoon practice. At night I try to get a lot of homework done.
On the weekends, we mainly have met. So, when I’m not at a meet, I’m usually studying for tests that are coming up or other homework that’s due.
So how do you manage all of that once you’re in season?
It’s a challenge, we have to really be proactive with it. It’s all about time management.
You can’t study for a test the day before the test happens, you have to study a week, two weeks before it happens so you know the material and it isn’t necessarily a cram.
You learn it as you go, you don’t want to just absorb it and lose it. You want to keep it for the rest of your career because it’s going to be valuable for the rest of your life.
How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for what you’re doing now and what do you take from swimming that you apply to your studies?
In swimming, you go through a lot of challenges, a set in the morning is not going to be easy, we have to do a lot of sprinting. When your body aches, you want to give up and you want to give in.
But you have to fight through, you have to keep working through it, you want to keep getting better. And that’s kind of how you have to live life, right?
You have to go in every day and say “How can I improve this? How can I make it better? How can I learn more? And get more out of it?”
What advice would you give to an athlete coming here that also wants to get into electrical engineering?
I would say know your math and physics. It’s all about learning the fundamentals. And then growing as a student and as an athlete.
When you’re a freshman, learn calculus, learn the physics, and make sure you retain it. And then the next year, apply it in engineering classes, and then apply it further. If you keep applying it soon enough, you graduate and then you become an electrical engineer.
How is the team feeling coming out of the Panther Invite this past weekend and what are some of the goals you guys have for the rest of the season going forward?
We’re really excited! Our coach David Dent told us that we’ve been working really hard this year, and it’s the hardest he’s ever pushed us.
Before our schedule, we had a recovery in the middle of the week, but now we’re going more days consistently hard. During the holidays and exams, we’re going to have a little time off but then we’re going to hit the ground running and get ready for conference championships come February.
We’re looking to hopefully send maybe a few relays on the men’s side to Nationals, and maybe a relay or two and a couple of individual events on the women’s side.
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