Online Student Uses Textiles Degree to Enhance Microsoft Products

Paul Sandoval works full-time as a model maker for Microsoft in Seattle, Wash. Before he decided to continue his education part-time at NC State, he traveled to the University in the spring of 2015.

After visiting the Wilson College of Textiles, Sandoval knew NC State was the right place.

“I knew that I wanted to continue my formal education after completing my undergraduate degree, but I wanted to make sure that the coursework for my graduate degree would align with the subject areas that I was most interested in,” Sandoval said.

Despite knowing he would take his classes online through NC State Online and Distance Education, Sandoval said after seeing the facilities and meeting the professors, he was confident that he selected the right school and online program.

The Microsoft HoloLens

As Microsoft incorporates more textiles into its devices like the Surface and HoloLens, the company needs to have a better understanding of the materials they use. The HoloLens is hailed as “the first fully self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to interact with high‑definition holograms in your world.” The headband unit is wrapped in fabric.

Sandoval’s job is to make sure the software giant knows how to properly answer any textiles-related questions about these products as well as others.

“The training and knowledge that I will gain from my graduate coursework in textiles at NC State will better prepare me for the textile related challenges ahead here at Microsoft,” Sandoval said.

Although he hasn’t completed his degree, Sandoval’s favorite course so far has been Advanced Nonwovens Processing. He said the class gave him a more in-depth understanding of non-woven fabrics and he could directly apply what he was learning to his day-to-day work.

“This was very exciting for me,” Sandoval said.

Although Sandoval would love to be on campus to earn his master’s degree, he says online and distance education has its advantages.

“Taking classes online allows me the ability to watch the lectures and do my classwork whenever it’s convenient for me. This way I am able to simultaneously achieve both my professional and educational goals, he said. “If you miss something, you can just pause, rewind and re-watch. That way you never miss a point.”

Sandoval is expected to complete his online Master of Textiles degree in May 2018.