CB FI 419

Circuit Break Podcast #419

Kent Johnson: Religious Diversity in Electrical Engineering

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February 27, 2024, Episode #419

Kent Johnson, Senior Corporate Advisor at the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation joins us this week to discuss the multifaceted role of religious diversity in the workplace. Topics range from addressing challenges, fostering inclusivity, and integrating faith with mental health support. We discuss authentic expression and trust building, social media's impact, interfaith collaboration, and the intersection of religion and science. Join us for this exploration of how religious diversity is an important aspect of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

Contest Announcement

Introducing a new Circuit Break Contest! This contest is themed around building food-related electronic projects. We’re offering over $5,000 in cash prizes, themed trophies, and free prototyping from MacroFab. The deadline to submit is March 31st, 2024. Thanks to Mouser Electronics for sponsoring the contest prizes!

  • Defining Religion Broadly: Extending beyond adherence to sects and emphasizing shared values, principles, and beliefs that individuals adhere to with ardor and faith.
  • Religion as a Business Issue: Affecting employee retention and workplace satisfaction. Highlighting the importance of employees feeling seen, appreciated, and free to express their beliefs.
  • Challenges in the Workplace: Fear of disruption due to religious expression and the perception that religion is irrelevant to work, or prejudice for different ideologies.
  • Authenticity and Trust Building: Building trust in the workplace, emphasizing the positive impact of transparency and realness in fostering an inclusive environment.
  • Religious Diversity Initiatives: Faith groups collaborating on community service projects, and inclusive worship services during religious holidays.
  • Social Media and Echo Chambers: The impact of social media on amplifying echo chambers and reinforcing biases, contributing to increased polarization in society.
  • Religion and Science: The intersection of religion and science, highlighting potential areas of activity and dialogue around this topic.
  • Healing Through Interfaith Collaboration: The positive impact of interfaith collaboration, such as visiting each other's places of worship.
  • Authority and Religion in the Workplace: The impact of an individual's position on expressing religious beliefs in the workplace is discussed.
  • Wearing Symbols and Openness: Discussion on wearing religious symbols in the workplace as an invitation for questions and engagement.
  • Integration with Mental Health Support: Connection between faith in the workplace and addressing mental health issues. Highlighting the issue of loneliness in the workplace.
  • Avoiding Compulsion: Stressing that sharing about one's faith should not be compulsory, advocacy for an open-door policy rather than a forced one.

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About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

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