MEET THE STUDENTS
|Chris's Three Favorite Things about the ECE Department:
1) The availability of professional software to students
2)The undergraduate study lounge
3) Professors' willingness to help
Advice to Incoming Students:
Don’t be afraid of your professors! All professors have office hours and are willing to set up appointments. Get involved in some sort of research or internship as soon as possible. Imagine graduating with a year or two of experience under your belt already! Most importantly, work hard, but remember to take the time to enjoy what you are learning.
talks about ECE @ Maryland:
I am from Roanoke, VA. I graduated from Cave Spring High School in 1998. After working for a period of time, I went on to attend Radford University in Radford, Va., and receive a B.S. in music with a concentration in classical guitar. I have always been interested in engineering as well as music. In late 2005, I began researching computer design and simple electronics in my free time. By the time 2007 rolled around, I found myself living in Maryland and ready to pursue my engineering interests more formally. I enrolled in the computer engineering program at Montgomery College in Rockville, Md. After a few semesters at MC, I transferred to UMD in the fall of 2009. I am honored to have been accepted into the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Being able to have formally studied two fields that are so important to me is a dream come true.
As a kid, I took everything apart that I could get my hands on. I always needed to know not just what things did, but how exactly they did it. I found circuit boards to be both beautiful and mysterious. I always wondered, “What are those strange scuba tank looking things?” I was also utterly amazed at how a computer can function at all. How something that is (on some level) basically a series of switches that are on or off can turn into a CPU and memory is simply amazing. And that human words and logic can be translated into on/off configurations that do useful things blows my mind even now. By being a computer engineer, I get to explore all of these things in significant depth. Aside from satiating my curiosity, studying computer engineering can lead to a career in almost anything from exploring the furthest reaches of space to quantum computers to advanced prosthetics and robotics.
Having already earned a degree, I learned that getting a degree (the piece of paper) is only a minor aspect of college. Almost more important is meeting people with similar interests and getting hands-on experience in an environment where learning is the priority. I believe that the A. James Clark School has a similar view, and they make it evident through extensive undergraduate research opportunities. Once I looked into UMD in a little more detail, I also noticed that the Engineering Co-op and Career Services is a very valuable resource. There are many companies and career opportunities near the university, and the school maintains a close relationship with many of these organizations.
As a computer engineer, I take classes in electrical engineering as well as computer science. Probably the most technically interesting thing I have studied is the line where hardware and software meet, and become intertwined. Some subjects that touch on this are digital logic, computer organization, and low-level programming. I am very interested in robotics and the applications of computers/electronics in advanced prosthetics as well. I plan to focus my studies on artificial intelligence, machine learning, controls and embedded systems.
While I was attending Montgomery College, I was the secretary for the IEEE student branch, as well as the Montgomery College Robotics Club, and I have been a student member of IEEE since returning to school for engineering. I am currently a member of Tau Beta Pi and have been invited to join Eta Kappa Nu, both of which are engineering honors societies. I am currently assisting a professor with a research project pertaining to some specialized uses for antennas.
My general experience with the engineering student body has been very positive. People are very down to earth and pleasant. The thing that stands out the most to me is that people seem to be genuinely interested in their respective fields and enjoy learning about them. It is inspiring as well as encouraging to be surrounded by people who are so enthusiastic about engineering. The professors are passionate about what they do. Being an engineering type, I have spent many years boring my friends and family to death talking about how this technology works or “wouldn’t it be cool if someone made that?” and it is refreshing to be in an environment where other people are interested and excited by the same things.
Being an engineering student at UMD has helped me to learn that, even though things sometimes seem impossibly difficult or complex, if you keep your cool, break things down into smaller pieces and refuse to give up, almost anything can be accomplished. This pertains not only to engineering problems, but also to real life. This is a lesson that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.
Being a transfer student, I have had a lot of red tape to deal with. Mr. Norton and Dr. Bell, who are advisors, were extremely helpful in making this process go smoothly for me. With their assistance, I was able to transfer and fit right in to the UMD groove almost seamlessly.
Currently I am planning on pursuing a career in some sort of robotics. I am interested in many applications of robotics, for instance, space, medicine, domestic, and even defense. Although, as my studies continue I am exposed to more and more, and I do not want to limit my possibilities by deciding on a definite field so early in my career.
Aside from the great education UMD has to offer, all of the research opportunities are a huge asset. Many of the professors on campus participate in multiple research projects. There is such a wide variety of subject matter that I would imagine anyone could find something they are interested in.
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