By Angie Dixon (B.A., ’94)
Shea Robinson (B.S., ’07; M.E., ’12) loves to create. As a mechanical engineering manager for Facebook Reality Labs, Robinson gets his fill of creating by designing and building Oculus augmented and virtual reality prototypes. His work is mostly confidential, but his work on technologies such as optics and displays, brain-computer interface, haptic interaction, eye/hand/face/body tracking, perception science, and true telepresence, are on the leading edge of areas that merge the physical and digital worlds.
“My work is so fun,” says Robinson. “It’s all about human-computer interaction, cognitive science, and human perception science, and I get to be on the ground floor of developing it.”
When Robinson was young, he was convinced that he would be an architect. However, after enrolling in a couple of engineering drafting courses during high school, he set his sights on a future in mechanical engineering. He researched a short list of schools and chose to attend CSU. Not only for its quality engineering program, but also for the multi-year scholarship support Robinson received from the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.
Robinson says his scholarship, gifted to CSU from Walter Scott, Jr., helped pave the way for his career.
“I worked while I was in college, about 10 hours a week,” he said. “but because of my scholarship, I could be more flexible and selective where I worked, like in the Honors department. I didn’t have to worry about covering every expense to attend college.”
His work in the Honors department was key to him landing his first job out of college with Hewlett-Packard in Ft. Collins.
“My dream at the time was to design personal computers,” Robinson recounts, “and this opportunity to work on HP workstations came along from a CSU alum working at HP. I felt like I got my dream job right out of school.”
Robinson worked at HP for four years before moving to Otterbox where he helped start a new research and development program. He then went back to HP to develop new high-end computing solutions before shifting to Microsoft where he and his team designed the first Xbox controllers for people with disabilities.
“I feel so fortunate for my first job at HP and to have had the professors, teachers, mentors that I had while at CSU. I take them with me every day,” says Robinson. “They are some of the nicest people, and they gave me the springboard to do the next thing.”
Robinson practices that mentoring spirit today at Facebook, overseeing four interns and two younger employees.
What would he say today to Walter Scott, Jr. if he had the opportunity?
“I would say thank you for sure,” he said. “Thank you for giving away your prosperity in unconditional ways. How you track that as an investment, I don’t know, but because there were multiple scholarship recipients each year, his investment has compounded many times over.”
Celebrating a Tradition of Giving
Founded in 1870, Colorado State University is celebrating its 150th anniversary throughout the 2019-20 academic year. From the moment the first graduating class received their diplomas, alumni have committed themselves to making an impact in their communities, the world, and their alma mater through their talents, hard work, and ongoing generosity. Learn more about 150 Years of Impact at giving.colostate.edu.