MEET THE STUDENTS
| Steve's Three Favorite Things about the ECE Department:
1) Student body. The friendly and pleasant atmosphere created by the ECEGSA and the student body provides a welcome complement to the rigors of academic study. Also, the diversity of the student body is great! Our differences in background and lifestyle is often a source of stimulating conversation.
Research Opportunity. Whatever your research interest is, there is most likely some faculty member whose interests are a perfect match!
Diversions. There is a lot to do both on and off-campus!
Advice to Incoming Students:
Focus. My best advice for future students is to focus. You, the department, and the university all have something invested in your success. Do not let yourself down by not meeting (or better yet, exceeding) expectations. Ultimately, the graduate experience depends upon what you put into it. If met with the proper show of attention and determination, the experience can be the most fulfilling thing you’ve ever done.
talks about ECE @ Maryland:
"Before coming to Maryland in 2000 for my Bachelor’s degree, I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Succasunna, NJ, a suburb located 40 miles west of New York City. While growing up in New Jersey, my parents – a pharmacist and a mechanical engineer – nurtured my interest in science and engineering at an early age. With their guidance, I excelled in technical disciplines all the way through high school, earning various awards in mathematics, physics, and chemistry.
In my opinion, the most appealing aspect about electrical engineering is the unique blend of mathematical theory and practical application. As one progresses through the engineering curriculum, this relationship becomes more apparent, particularly in areas such as communications, signal processing, and control theory. Seeing the connection between physical and statistical phenomena and mathematical models is absolutely enlightening, and using these connections to create useful real-world applications is even more rewarding.
The ECE Department, as well as the university as a whole, is excellent in many aspects. In my seven years at the University of Maryland, I have witnessed incredible growth all over campus, especially in the ECE Department through industrial partnerships, private donations, and new facilities. These factors have led to an increase in original, innovative research opportunities for students and the rise in prestige for both the department and the university.
My advisor, Professor K. J. Ray Liu, is at the forefront of such innovative research, and I am honored to work with him and our research group, the Signals and Information Group.
Despite the relentless pursuit to make advances in research, the faculty, staff, and student body maintain a warm and collegial atmosphere. The ECEGSA helps create this atmosphere by sponsoring social events which give students a chance to relax.
I earned my Master’s degree in 2006, and I am now pursuing my Ph.D. degree. Currently, I am working in the promising area of multimedia signal processing and forensics. There are many situations where we wish to detect manipulations that might have been performed upon a piece of data, such as a digital image or an audio recording. Some manipulations -- e.g., compression, resizing, cut-and-paste -- often leave behind traces of evidence, much like a fingerprint. Through forensic analysis, we can examine these 'fingerprints' to identify which manipulations and operations were performed upon the data. So far, this research has yielded publications in IEEE conferences, and we hope that more will follow.
Besides research, undergraduate education remains a primary mission for the university. I am proud to help that mission by being a teaching assistant, a role that I enjoy and take seriously. As a graduate TA, I taught ENEE428, a laboratory course in communications design, and ENEE408G, a senior capstone design course in multimedia signal processing. I enjoy acting not only as an instructor but also as a mentor, providing insights into the real-world application of concepts, directions for research, and advice for future academic study. The ability to instill enthusiasm in the classroom, to stimulate imagination, and to influence a student’s future professional goals are great rewards for a TA. As a result of my efforts, I was honored to have received a Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award from the Center for Teaching Excellence for 2006-2007.
Outside the classroom, I enjoy all sports! The Campus Recreation Center is probably one of the best athletic facilities you will find on any university campus, and when I’m there, I like to play basketball or swim. My other interest is in music. Having earned a minor in Music Performance as an undergraduate, I love being around the Clarice Smith Performing Center to hear performances by my former ensemble, the UM Symphony Orchestra, as well as other world-class ensembles and soloists.
Although there were many reasons for me to return to Maryland for graduate study, perhaps the most important reason was (and should be) the high quality of research. There are many professors whose research interests not only cover a broad part of the current research landscape, but which also redefine the frontiers of that landscape. Furthermore, the department’s capacity for research is held in high regard by other universities and industries. Many local laboratories, companies, and agencies find the department to be a great place for producing talent, ideas, and most importantly, results."
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