MEET THE STUDENTS
|Steven's Three Favorite Things about the ECE Department:
1) The professors
2) The academic advisors
3) The opportunity to do undergraduate research with a professor
Advice to Incoming Students:
Learn to manage your time! That’s one of the biggest problems high school students have when transitioning to college. There are a lot of great things for you to get involved in within the ECE department, and the University at large, but the only way you will have time to fit that in with your studies is to learn to manage your time well.
talks about ECE @ Maryland:
I grew up in Bel Air, Maryland, a suburb about 40 miles north of Baltimore. I have a pretty traditional family, a mother, a father, and two younger brothers.
I always liked math, and I found physics fascinating. As you’ll find on Maryland’s campus, there are many cultures and languages in the world, but math is the one and only universal language. I always liked that unifying aspect of it. Since electrical engineering is a combination of math, physics, and modern technology, it seemed like a fun and interesting career field.
In my opinion, probably the best thing about electrical engineering is how broad and diverse it is. There are a ton of options for you to choose from within the department. This broad array of choices was really important to me. When I first came to Maryland, all I really knew was that I liked math and physics, and I didn’t know anything beyond that. However, as you progress through the undergraduate level, you get introduced to more and more specializations within electrical engineering, and you start to get a sense of what you really like. By the time you’re finished with your 300 level classes, most people know what they want to specialize in. Because EE offers so many different things, there’s practically something for everyone.
I came to Maryland as a transfer student. My previous University wasn’t particularly strong in the sciences, so I wanted to find another school in Maryland that was. College Park is one of the top schools in physics, math, and engineering in the nation, so my choice was pretty simple.
I’m currently a senior here in the ECE department, and I expect to graduate this May (2010). My focus is in electrophysics, specifically semiconductor physics.It is the unique properties of semiconductors that have allowed the rapid development of modern technology, and it is through semiconductor physics that we have been able to continually make our electronics devices smaller and smaller. Semiconductors also make up the material from which LEDs are made from. LEDs are much more efficient at emitting light than regular incandescent light bulbs, and there has been a big push in the optoelectronics community to reduce the cost of producing LEDs, so that it would be economical to start replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs. Lighting accounts for 20% of all the energy consumed in the US, so if incandescent bulbs were replaced with LED bulbs, huge energy savings would be realized, at great benefit to the environment. Some of my other interests are optoelectronics, photovoltaics, nanoelectronics and microelectronics.
Starting this semester, I will be doing research with Professor Peckerar and his optical rectenna. A rectenna, short for rectifying antenna, is a special type of antenna that converts microwave energy into useful DC electricity. To operate in the optical range, the antenna had to be made in the nanometer range, which is one of the reasons why the project interested me. I also participate in the ECE leaders program. ECE leaders are kind of like ambassadors for the ECE department. We go to recruiting events, talk to prospective students and prospective students' parents in an attempt to show them all the great opportunities that exist within our department.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever been around such a high quality group of people before I came to our ECE department. There are many smart, industrious students here, yet there isn’t some overly competitive atmosphere when it comes to grades. Everyone is very friendly and approachable, and even though this is a very big school, as you work your way through your freshmen and sophomore years, you will be taking classes with the same sets of people over and over again, so you will start to develop a sense of community with your fellow ECE students.
Like I said before, possibly my favorite part of the University of Maryland is the quality of its professors. It’s pretty cool when you get taught by someone who is internationally known for being one of the best in his field. Yet, big egos don’t come with their big names, and they are almost always ready and willing to assist you in every way that they can. The professors are really passionate about their subjects, and it comes through in their teaching styles. They don't just stand up at the chalk board and drone on monotonously; they try to get the class involved in some way. This makes the whole experience much more enjoyable.
My experiences at Maryland have really opened my eyes and helped me see things in a broader context. I grew up in a very homogenous town, where nearly everyone was of similar socio-economic status, religion, and ethnicity. Because of this, I kind of had a narrow view of the world. This definitely changed when I came to Maryland. Maryland has a very diverse student body, and I’ve been exposed to a multitude of different cultures since coming to Maryland. It’s been a great learning experience for me, and I’ve made a lot of good friends.
I would definitely have to say my academic mentor Professor Murphy has been a great help to me. I can’t say enough good things about him. I’ve really tried to plan my academic career out carefully, and he has helped me tremendously throughout the whole process. Whenever I have an important decision to make regarding my academics, I consult him. Most of the time when I go to his office asking for advice, I’ll talk to him for literally two hours, until I feel confident in the solution him and I reach regarding whatever problem I came to him for. Yet, despite the fact that he knows I’m probably going to take up a lot of his time whenever we have a meeting, he always makes time for me. If you come to Maryland, hopefully you will be as fortunate as I have been when you get your mentor.
I plan on going straight to graduate school and pursuing a Ph.D. upon completion of my bachelor’s degree here at Maryland. I have received a first rate education here at UMD’s ECE department, and I can honestly say I feel prepared to take this next step in my academic journey.
Its hard to say just one reason as to why other students should come to Maryland. However, I would have to say that it's the opportunity to get a great education, in a very open and friendly environment.
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