MEET THE STUDENTS
Elisha's Three Favorite Things about the ECE Department:
1) I appreciate the availability of mentors and staff to answer questions I have about my future. It’s incredibly easy to approach the advisors about any doubts or concerns that I have about my coursework, and then I have my mentor who can provide options about more career-oriented questions.
2) The ECE curriculum isn’t very strict. Unlike some other engineering majors, each ECE class is offered every semester and there isn’t a set order of when you need to take each class. I think this also creates connections between students of different years. There will always be new faces to get to know in each of your classes depending on when students decide to take them.
3) I think the thing I like most about the ECE Department at the University of Maryland is the number of societies with which to get involved. There is the ECE Undergraduate Student Council (ECE-USC) to provide a closer social bond between the students and the department. Then we have IEEE which is more professional or career-oriented. In addition, there is Eta Kappa Nu, the exclusive ECE honors society. There are so many opportunities to be involved.
Advice to Incoming Students:
Take advantage of opportunities. You’ll be bombarded daily with emails of all the happenings on campus so all you really need to do is pick out what you like and don’t be afraid to take chances.
talks about ECE @ Maryland:
I never really know how to respond to the question of “Where are you from?” I was born in a very small city in Germany called Emmendingen, but I hardly consider myself “from” there, as my family resided there for only a year and the only German I know is the little I learned from high school. My family moved to Utah and I lived there for 12 years. My heritage is Chinese and I can speak the language fluently, but I was raised entirely in America and now currently live in Ellicott City, Maryland.
I come from a family of engineers. Both my mother and my sister received degrees in Electrical Engineering so it appears to run in my family. I love the flexibility that comes with pursuing this degree. You can study one thing consistently, but still dabble in other areas of interest.
In 2004, I participated in a program offered by the Computer Science Department for high school students called Java Passport. They not only offered classes on the Java programming language, but also invited various guest speakers to talk to us about the different fields of computer science. The lecture that I remember most distinctly was the one on robotics which instantly got me interested. Because I was also interested in the more hardware aspect of robotics, I decided to choose electrical engineering instead of computer science.
What appeals most to me about ECE as a career field is its versatility. Though my initial goal was to study robotics, I’m now focused more towards the area of signal processing. The variety of classes at UMD really exposed me to the different areas of electrical engineering and I decided to pursue a different path than originally planned. There really are an incredible number of areas to choose from.
Personally, I appreciate the lack of cutthroat competition at Maryland that one could experience at private institutions. Students can study at their own pace and succeed here without needing to worry too much about how they stand compared to others. There are also many outlets to get involved with the department. I believe that a connection between student and department should exist outside of pure academics.
I’m specializing in the field of communications and signal processing. I currently have an internship with the Department of Defense, and this field applies most to the work I have done and will potentially do in the future while I work full time.
I’m currently the Secretary on the executive board of the ECE-USC. In addition to book-keeping and logging meeting minutes, I help the board in the planning and executing of student activities. Also, I’m the President of IEEE. In addition, I participate in the ECE Leaders program where we can attend open house events and meet with prospective students and families. ECE Leaders serve as ambassadors to the department.
I don’t believe you can attach a specific description to ECE students. I’ve seen so many different personality types. We have outgoing students leading the various student groups. There are also students who are incredibly ambitious and start their own companies through other programs such as QUEST or Hinman CEOs. Then you meet students who are more technically-oriented working with professors on research projects. The professors and advisors definitely encourage branching out beyond the classroom. Initially, all students tend to be shy approaching professors about research prospects, but after taking a class or two with them, it becomes easy. The class sizes begin to decrease as you start taking the upper level classes and the professors have an easier time remembering faces.
Without question, I have become more extroverted since coming to the University of Maryland. This is in part due to participating in all these different societies. Connections with other students and faculty are created and it becomes easy to interact with new people. Coming to the University of Maryland (and the ECE Department especially) has been a great character building experience not only academically, but socially as well.
Dr. P.S. Krishnaprasad has been the mentor assigned to me since freshman year. Being able to talk with him every semester has helped me tremendously. He has made a point to discuss each concern of mine thoroughly and provide many options for me to choose from. It’s great that the ECE Department has so many classes and specializations to choose from, but I think it’s also necessary to have a mentor like Dr. Krishnaprasad to guide me through.
Dr. Mel Gomez has recently been a mentor to me of a different sort. Like Dr. Krishnaprasad, he has been a wonderful help with the possibility of research but he has also helped me in another way. Dr. Gomez was first my ENEE 204 professor about 2 years ago. Recently, I have taken on the duties of an undergraduate teaching fellow for ENEE 204. Though he is not currently teaching the class, he provided useful advice about teaching the students. At first, leading two discussions was a daunting task, but after talking to Dr. Gomez, I felt more at ease with the job and his advice helped me to teach better.
I’ve mentioned how helpful the faculty have been, but I would also say to look forward to meeting the staff! I have needed to request many things of the staff through the societies, and they are also great to just have a nice chat with.
I plan on continuing work with the Department of Defense most likely in the field of signals intelligence. The ECE program has helped me prepare for this through its specialized classes. Even though knowledge is a great preparation, having acquired better interpersonal skills by being involved will be useful in the workforce as well.
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