Computer Engineering Profiles
Yang Ren, Senior Computer Engineering Major
- Hometown: Albany, CA
- Hobbies: Video Games, Camping/Backpacking
- Favorite Course: Operating Systems (CMPSC170)
- Senior Project: Hyperloop project (Sensors and Controls leader) – a multi-disciplinary project to create a pod for SpaceX’s Hyperloop competition
- Interesting Aside about Yang: I have gone backpacking in New Mexico and Alaska
- Band / Performer: Maroon 5
- TV Show: How I Met Your Mother
- Movie: Ant-Man
- Book / Author: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
- Sport: Ice Skating
High School Experience and Preparation for College:
- Favorite class: AP Computer Science was my favorite class in high school because it was easily the most interesting class. Science classes often have these cool labs and experiments, but learning how to program gives you the tools to go and create whatever you want. You aren’t restricted in any way because there are tons of resources and reference materials online. The way the class was taught also made it enjoyable. Our teacher Mr. Morris didn’t believe in learning to code from a textbook but instead thought that the best way to learn how to code was to write lots of code.
- What prepared you the most to study engineering in college?: Taking AP courses in high school helped me the most in preparing me for my freshman year courses. Just being used to taking classes with the same level of difficulty made the transition a lot smoother.
- Are there any classes that you suggest CE students take before entering UCSB?: AP Computer Science, or any computer science course offered at your school. Knowing how to program before you start your Freshman CE classes gives you a huge running start.
Favorite Things About:
- UCSB: The bike paths make getting to class extremely convenient if you own a bike.
- CE Program: The variety of interesting courses offered and the professors who are super friendly and ready to answer questions.
- Santa Barbara: The location. Goleta and Santa Barbara are right in-between the mountains and the ocean, so you have a national forest on one side and several beaches on the other. Downtown Santa Barbara is also just a bus ride away from the UCSB campus.
Why CE / UCSB?:
- Why Computer Engineering?: I didn’t know too much about what Computer Engineering was when I was first applying to college. At the time, I had taken a few computer science classes in high school, so I knew that programming was something that I enjoyed, but I didn’t know much else. In the end, I chose Computer Engineering as my major because I wanted to explore the computer hardware and circuit design side of computers that I didn’t know anything about, to find out if it would be something that I might be interested in.
- Why UCSB?: I heard a lot of good things about UCSB’s engineering program and the research that was being done here. After looking around online and visiting the campus, I decided that UCSB was the right place for me.
- How did you hear about UCSB's Computer Engineering Program?: My high school academic counselor was the first to suggest UCSB’s engineering program to me.
Advice to students/parents about UCSB and CE:
- Advice to students on applying to UCSB: If you’re still trying to decide if you want to apply to UCSB or if you don’t know what major you want to apply as – look through the UCSB course catalog. Seeing exactly what classes are offered here, and what the curriculum for each major looks like can help make the decision a lot easier. The UCSB engineering department also has the GEAR (General Engineering Academic Requirements), a booklet available online with engineering course descriptions and major requirements. Look through the upper division courses for each major and see if there’s a subject being taught that really stands out to you.
- Looking back, what do you think you would have wanted your parents to know about UCSB Computer Engineering?: I would have wanted them to know more about what differentiated CE from CS and EE, and about the different subject matters that each major focuses on.
- Explain to students and parents what you can do with a computer engineering degree: A Computer Engineering degree shares several benefits with both a Computer Science degree and an Electrical Engineering degree. Computer Engineering students have the option of taking courses from both the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments, so what you can do with your degree can be greatly affected by what courses you decide to take. Most of the jobs that are offered to CS or EE majors are also offered to CE majors, but you need to show that you understand and have experience with the material related to the job. In addition to the CS and EE fields where CE majors can find employment, there are several CE-specific fields, like embedded system and processor design.
- Favorite Class: CMPSC170 Operating Systems has been my favorite course so far here at UCSB. It’s a challenging course that ties together a lot of the concepts taught in earlier CS and ECE courses (data structures, hardware parallelism) while at the same time introducing a completely new set of ideas (software threads, scheduling). Because an operating system acts as the bridge between the software running on a computer and the computer’s physical hardware, it interacts with both sides in unique and interesting ways.
- Senior Project: I am working on the Hyperloop project as the Sensors and Controls team leader. The project is a multidisciplinary project where computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering teams are working together to create a pod for SpaceX’s Hyperloop competition. The focus of the Sensors and Controls team this past quarter has been on interfacing our printed circuit board with new pod sensors and peripherals. Next quarter we will be creating a state machine based control system for the pod while the ME teams get the pod physically constructed.
- What are the benefits of a program that is a cross between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering?: You can choose to take most any of the classes offered to both EE and CS majors, so it becomes easier to find the subjects that interest you the most. This gives you a lot of flexibility when choosing your upper division courses, allowing you to lean more towards CS or EE depending on your preferences.
- What have you learned that has surprised you so far?: The most surprising thing I’ve learned is just how simple the underlying design of a computer processor is. In the computer architecture courses (ECE154A/B) you design a very basic processor in Verilog, a language that models the behavior of digital circuits, and then gradually improve upon your design with techniques that are used in the designs of actual computer processors. The schematic for an extremely basic, but functional, processor easily fits on a single sheet of paper.
- Are there any specific classes that you are looking forward to?: I am looking forward to my programming languages course that I am taking next quarter (CMPSC162). Learning how to code in a new language is one thing, but learning about why a language is designed the way it is, or learning about the different types of programming languages and their advantages sounds extremely interesting.
- What area do you want to specialize in?: I want to specialize in operating systems, simply because it’s been my favorite subject so far and because it utilizes so many ideas from different fields of computer science and engineering to solve its unique problems.
- Have you done an internship?: I am currently a software engineering intern at a local tech company in Goleta called InTouch Health where they develop telepresence robots for hospital environments. My work there involves researching and integrating WebRTC C++ APIs into their robot software. WebRTC is a peer-to-peer real-time video and data transfer library that has been adopted by most of the popular web browsers used today. Familiarizing myself and working with their large code base has been my biggest challenge, but I have learned much in the process.
- What are your plans/aspirations after graduation?: My plan is to attend graduate school for two years to get a Master’s of Science in Computer Science. I want to learn more about operating system design and see if research and academia might be a good fit for me. If not, I would want to go into industry and look for a job in the Bay Area.
Yang's Off-campus Life:
- Describe your housing situation: I started off living in the Santa Catalina dorms during my freshman year, moved off campus to live in The Sweeps my sophomore year, and lived in university-owned apartments my junior and senior years (Sierra Madre and Santa Ynez). Living in the dorms is great for meeting new people, but apartments are more spacious and it’s nice to have a living room and a kitchen. Once you get to know some people during your freshman year, it’s easy to get a couple friends together to rent an apartment in Isla Vista. My favorite location so far has by far been Santa Ynez.
Noura Kiroloss, Senior Computer Engineering Major
About Noura Kiroloss :
- Hometown: Lawndale, California
- Favorite Class: Mobile embedded systems (ECE 150)
- Senior Capstone Project: ResQ Sensor – a motion / heat sensor system that detects heat, follows it and when it's too hot turns on a water sprinkler
- Organizations: Sigma Theta Psi Multicultural Sorority, Inc.
- Last Book Read: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- Hobbies: Going to the beach, watching TV shows, crafting, hiking, cooking
- Band / Performer: Drake
- TV Show: Game of Thrones
- Movie: The Notebook
- Book / Author: Paulo Coelho
- Sport: Basketball
- Activity: Painting my nails
High School Experience:
- Favorite class: My favorite class was the AP calculus series. I thought it was challenging and I usually competed with two other friends for the highest grade on exams.
- High school mentor?: My high school mentor was my math teacher. He always challenged me to go above and beyond the course work given.
Preparation for College:
- What prepared you the most to study engineering in college?: I would have to say that taking AP math and science classes in high school was what mostly prepared me for engineering and what college classes would be like in general.
- Are there any classes that you suggest EE students take before entering UCSB?: Any AP math or science class will help with engineering especially if you pass the AP exam since these classes can count for credit which can reduce the number of required prerequisites.
- Any additional experiences that you would like to share with students to help them prepare for college?: Try to expose yourself to college courses prior to college, for example taking a college robotics class. These courses will help you adjust quicker when you become a full time engineering college student.
Favorite Things About:
- UCSB: UCSB is such a friendly community of staff and students. There are plenty of resources available in all aspects of college life. Not to mention the location of campus being alongside the beach which provides for some amazing personal downtime.
- CE Program: My favorite thing about the computer engineering program is all the hands on experience and real life applications. It makes the material easier to learn and more enjoyable.
- Santa Barbara: My favorite thing about Santa Barbara is the slower pace of travel. You can actually take time to enjoy the scenery rather than always being rushed to get somewhere or being stuck in traffic.
Why CE / UCSB?:
- Why Computer Engineering?: I knew I wanted to become an engineer because I have always had an interest in math and science. Coming in as an undeclared freshman, I was able to compare and contrast the difference between the different engineering majors and decided that computer engineering was the major for me. It is a good balance between computer science and electrical engineering and deals with many day-to-day uses in life.
- Why UCSB?: I specifically chose to come to UCSB because I knew it had an amazing engineering program. Prior to attending, I was still undecided on what specific engineering major I wanted to be in. I was fortunate to have met people living in my dorm that were in the major and we quickly bonded over it.
Advice to students/parents about UCSB and CE:
- Advice on applying to UCSB: Do not let the "party" reputation of UCSB stop you from applying to this amazing school. The diversity of students you will meet and all the other opportunities you can become a part of helps shape you into a well rounded individual that is ready to take on the real world by graduation.
- Looking back, what do you think you would have wanted your parents to know about UCSB Computer Engineering?: I would have liked my parents to know a little more about the program and what types of things I'd be working on with the major.
- Explain to students and parents what you can do with a computer engineering degree: With a computer engineering degree, one can work as either a software engineer or hardware engineering since both are taught. There is also the opportunity to continue with education and become a teacher or professor. One can even build their own start up company. There are infinite opportunities with this degree.
- What are the benefits of a program that is a cross between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering?: The benefit is the unlimited job opportunities you'll have after college as well as being able to switch back and fourth between the two.
- Are there any specific classes that you are looking forward to?: One of my favorite things about college is that you get to focus on the subject you like the most. Since math is my favorite subject, I enjoyed taking all the classes I had to take and went beyond what was even required for CE majors.
- What was your most challenging but rewarding course?: The most challenging courses I had to take was the Circuits, Devices, & Systems series (ECE 2A/B/C) . These courses were really challenging but helped put into perspective what engineering would be like. To overcome the difficulty of the course, I had to dedicate more time to studying the material and surround myself with classmates that did the same. We helped each other learn by forming study groups.
- What area do you want to specialize in?: I look forward to specializing in app development. I have taken an android course and enjoyed it very much that I am currently taking another. It was rewarding to see how hours of coding can be put into an application that is designed from the bottom up by you.
- What are your plans/aspirations after graduation?: After I graduate, I plan on first traveling before starting work right away. I plan on moving to LA and finding an entry level position in app development so I can use the knowledge I have gained so far.
Noura's Off-campus Life:
- What is the social scene like for CE students?: I don't think there is a huge difference in social lives of CE majors than most other majors offered at UCSB. Occasionally there will be times where you spend a large number of hours in labs. However with good time management, one can always find time to enjoy campus life and have fun.
- Describe your housing situation: For my first two years, I lived in the on campus student dorms. I enjoyed it because I was very close to classes, didn't have to clean much or worry about cooking, and made lots of friends easily. After that, I lived off campus in regular apartments. This was also a good experience because it allowed me to feel what adult life is like. Dealing with bills as well as cooking and cleaning after myself was definitely different than living on campus.
Connor Buckland, Senior Computer Engineering Major
- Hometown: Honolulu, HI
- Organizations: Tau Beta Pi Honors Engineering Society
- Favorite CE-related Courses: Hardware/Software Interface (ECE 153A) and Robotics – Control (ECE 179D)
- Senior Capstone Project: SpaceX Hyperloop – a magnetically levitated capsule to enter into the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition
- Last Book Read: The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
- Hobbies: Snowboarding, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Painting, Reading, Chess, Cooking
- Something Unique About You: I once lived on a ranch, and spent many weekends building and repairing fence-line
- Band / Performer: Ratatat
- TV Show: Breaking Bad
- Movie: The Lord of the Rings (trilogy)
- Book / Author: Foundation, Isaac Asimov
- Sport: Snowboarding
- Activity: Hiking
- Geeky Possession: A helmet from the movie set of "Gladiator"
High School Experience:
- Favorite class: Other than AP Physics C, the courses that most prepared me for university were Introduction to Java and AP Computer Science. Without these classes, I would not have pursued a career in computer programming, as I would not have had enough exposure to the field. I think that more high schools need courses like AP Physics C and AP Computer Science to ECE 153A - Hardware/Software Interface and ECE 179D - Robotics: Control introduce students to what Engineering involves.
- High school mentor?: I was lucky enough in high school to have many excellent mentors, but the most relevant to my Engineering degree was Dr. Inouye. He taught AP Physics C, which was really an introduction to Engineering. In Physics C, I built a magnetic damped harmonic oscillator, and analyzed it numerically using a 6th order differential equation. I then constructed a robotic arm using Lego parts and controlled it using an Arduino. What was most effective about his teaching style was that he was hands off, and let the students figure out how to solve problems for themselves.
- Share what your college search was like: My university search was focused on a positive experience over university ratings. Many schools receive good ratings, but at UCSB students support one another, which is conducive to learning. In order to excel, I need to genuinely enjoy what I am studying, and I feel that UCSB has allowed me to find great passion in my coursework.
Preparation for College:
- What prepared you the most to study engineering in college?: Outside of high school coursework, I was very lucky to have an Engineer as a father. He taught me from a young age how to solder simple circuits, how to program, and instilled in me a work ethic. He provided me insight into what Engineering is and why I would enjoy it, without doing anything to push me towards the field.
- Are there any classes that you suggest EE students take before entering UCSB?: Engineering courses are rare in high school, so take any that are available. Take the highest level math class available, and take anything involving programming or circuits. If these are not available to you, try to take a Computer Science class online or at your local community college, buy a book and teach yourself to program, or buy an Arduino and experiment with simple projects.
Favorite Things About:
- UCSB: UCSB to me is one of the most comprehensive college experiences available. Students learn much more than what they came to study, and gain an appreciation for working and interacting with other people. While coursework is challenging and competitive, there is a genuine sense of camaraderie among students that seems unique to our campus. The UCSB community really does mean it when they say they "GauchoBack".
- CE Program: The Computer Engineering program at UCSB has a great balance of lab-based hands on learning, and theoretical studies. On top of this, the program gives students exposure to some very prestigious experts in the field. These Professors are more than happy to help students, both inside and outside of the classroom, whether it be with coursework, to provide insights into complex and abstract ideas, or simply to stop and chat.
- Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara is a beautiful city. With ocean on one side, and mountains on the other, it seems like there is no escaping adventure.
Why CE / UCSB?:
- Why Computer Engineering?: I really like the Capstone element of the UCSB Computer Engineering program. All Computer Engineering students can either choose to complete the Computer Science Capstone, a software project sponsored by industry, or the Computer Engineering Capstone, featuring the design, fabrication, and programming of a printed circuit board based on the team's product idea. I chose the Computer Engineering Capstone, and our team is working with two Mechanical Engineering teams, and an Electrical Engineering team. Together, we are designing and constructing a magnetically levitated capsule to enter into the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in June. We will be competing with a plethora of other schools and businesses for the most effective design. Our team is responsible for controlling this system and I am learning a huge amount about the Engineering design process.
- Why UCSB?: I came to UCSB interested in computer programming, but was unsure which direction I wanted to go. Computer Engineering has allowed me to stay open with my studies, picking and choosing courses, and delving into a multitude of curiosities. I’ve received a very versatile education, and feel that I have many open options to pursue, as well as gaining a much more concrete understanding of my career goals.
Advice to students/parents about UCSB and CE:
- Advice on applying to UCSB: Students – choose a major up front, especially if interested in Engineering. The College of Engineering does not have an Undeclared major, so this requires some soul searching before submitting an application. Once you've been accepted and are on campus, talk to your adviser about what you're interested in. You don't have to commit to anything just yet, but it's good to have a general idea of where you're going, or at least to be thinking about what interests you. Finally, don't be afraid to reach out to your peers, and more importantly to your mentors. They are there to help you. Parents – have an open discussion with their children about career interests before they start applying to schools. Many incoming students don't know what Engineering involves, or which major is right for them. On top of this, I’ve seen some students pushed by their parents into a field that they are not necessarily keen on, and this can be detrimental to their education.
- Explain to students and parents what you can do with a computer engineering degree: Computer Engineering is to a large degree the intersection of Hardware and Software. Computer Engineering students learn about computers at all layers of abstraction - from the individual transistors at the chip level, to the implementation of objected-oriented code. A Computer Engineering degree can open many doors to either a Hardware or Software career, and can be tailored to fit a student's interests. Personally, I have specialized in Embedded Systems, Networking, Robotics, and Control Systems, to a large degree positioning myself on the borderline between Hardware and Software. This has allowed me to pursue many interests throughout my education, while keeping plenty of options open.
- What are the benefits of a program that is a cross between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering?: Because CE is a cross between CS and EE, students learn a large amount about both fields, and can specialize in whichever they like more. Students have access to all courses in both departments, so as long as they have the prerequisites, they can explore any of their interests on either side.
- What have you learned that has surprised you so far?: A very powerful concept that I learned from both Computer Science and Electrical Engineering courses was orders of magnitude, or negligibility. While this was not necessarily surprising, negligibility is a fundamental concept existing in many fields of Engineering that allows mathematical models to be simplified by eliminating unimportant details.
- What has your experience been like taking the Math & Physics core classes?: Although the core Math courses were interesting, I found the core Physics courses to be frustrating, as I had already learned the material in high school but these AP courses did not receive credit, as Engineering major requirements cannot be displaced with AP credit. If you have taken classes up to AP Physics C, I would recommend taking an alternate series of Physics courses, such as the series for Physics majors.
- Are there any specific classes that you are looking forward to?: I am very much looking forward to ECE 179P - Robotics: Path Planning. I enjoy routing algorithms, and I think that there will be some interesting crossover between the two fields. Some of the best insights in Engineering come from seeing the same problem from multiple perspectives.
- What was your most challenging but rewarding course?: The most challenging but rewarding course I have taken was ECE 153A - Hardware/Software Interface. ECE 153A was taught by Professor Brewer, who assigned complex engineering tasks and took a hands off approach to the course. At first, learning embedded software with little guidance was very frustrating, but over time I gained a fundamental understanding of how an embedded processor functions, and how to program one. This class taught me a huge amount about Computer Engineering and my own interests, and even led to an awesome internship that summer. I had to put in a huge amount of effort, but the results and knowledge gained were entirely rewarding.
- What are your plans/aspirations after graduation?: I plan to go into industry after graduation. I will be working for Sonos.
- Do you plan to go into graduate school?: I may go back to school after working for a few years, to enhance my readiness for industry. This could either be in pursuit of a Ph.D., or more likely, an M.B.A.
Connor's Off-campus Life:
- What is the social scene like for CE students?: UCSB has a great social life with opportunities for everyone. There is an on campus club or organization for almost any interest, so get involved! One of the most valuable things you can learn here is time management.
- Describe your housing situation: I didn't have the best housing experience freshman year, as I found that my interests didn't closely align with those of my floor-mates. I would advise living in an engineering or honors floor if possible. Chances are that the people there will have much more in common with you.
Ryan Kaveh, Junior Computer Engineering Major
Hometown: Hillsborough, California
Favorite Class: Circuits, Devices, & Systems (ECE 2C) taught by Luke Theogarajan
Organizations: Little Big Engineer, Tau Beta Pi, Engineers Without Borders
Last Book Read: Aftermath: Star Wars by Chuck Wendig
Hobbies: Running, Rock Climbing, Drawing, Reading, Soccer, Volleyball and Cooking
Band / Performer: The Killers / Arcade Fire
TV Show: Game of Thrones
Movie: Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back
Book / Author: Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
Activity: It's a tie between running and learning new activities
Geeky Possession: I may or may not own a disproportionate amount of Star Wars legos, toys, and shirts...
High School Experience:
- Favorite class: English classes — my high school had an incredibly developed English track. I will forever love math and physics but they are too preoccupied with the physical world. Sometimes you need to focus on yourself and deconstruct your feelings to move forward. I feel that this sort of analysis is unique to literature-study. Without my English classes I would never be able to analyze people's thoughts or construct my own arguments.
- High school mentor?: My cross country coach was the closest thing I had to a mentor in high school. If it wasn't for him I don't know if I would have the discipline or mindset to apply myself in academia or athletics. He showed me how to push myself past illusory walls to do things I never would have thought possible. Granted all of this was with running — but the work ethic was easily applied to school, relationships and other extracurriculars.
- Share what your college search was like: A little rushed and nerve-wracking. I should have started doing things in the summer so that I would not have felt pressured during the school year.
Preparation for College:
- What prepared you the most to study engineering in college?: My high school was very much academically oriented. The Crystal Springs Uplands School forces its students to get good at time management or die trying (not actually but you get the point). When I came to college I was prepared/willing to put in the hours.
- Are there any classes that you suggest CE students take before entering UCSB?: Learning your first programming language can be difficult so taking a python class in high school is one of the smartest things you can do. If your school has a circuits class you should try that also.
Favorite Things About:
- UCSB: I had all of my sophomore labs in Harold Frank Hall. I would spend hours hunched over circuits and code only to be hit with exploding components and/or errors. One time I left the lab a little early and went surfing with some friends. We were out until dusk and right before I went back to shore the setting sun light up the water around me with purple and red. With the waves, birds, and my best friends around me I felt completely at ease. Yes, I love the academic culture here but that one sunset is my favorite memory of UCSB. Those feelings of ease and happiness are the reason I've never second guessed my choice to come to Santa Barbara.
- CE Program: The flexibility. I actually switched from Electrical Engineering to Computer Engineering because of all the extra options. Now I have access to all of the CS classes in addition to my EE classes and get to specialize earlier than others. I practically get to build my own curriculum.
- Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara's charming downtown has a lot to offer. Between all of the dining, music venues, and classy stores you'll always have something to do. Just do yourself a favor and go to McConnell's ice cream shop.
Why CE / UCSB?:
- Why Computer Engineering?: I love Space — I love Star Wars — and I love computers. If you take these three things and look for common ground you'll probably end up on space stations, space ships, and robotics: three things that require some serious electrical and computer engineering. ECE just seemed like the natural path to take based off my childhood dreams and desires.
- Why UCSB?: UCSB has been becoming more and more renown in academia due to the ground breaking research going on throughout our STEM labs — I realized this and wanted to be a part of it so I looked deeper in to their engineering program. I talked to a few alumni and they told me about UCSB Engineering's unique approach to building great engineers. The administration genuinely cares about its students and is more focused on helping them learn and grow rather than weeding them out (like in some other schools/fields). Once I heard about their emphasis on nurturing, I was sold.
- How did you hear about UCSB's Computer Engineering Program?: I heard about UCSB Engineering through my high school physics teacher and college counselor.
Advice to students/parents about UCSB and CE:
- Students — You want to express your passion for engineering in your applications and just be yourself. Furthermore, make sure you can see yourself doing the cheesy things involved in your desired major. For example, if you hate language you should stay away from linguistics. If you think it's cool to work with circuits and build things and the you're interested in electronics then you should a) check out CE and b) express that exact sentiment in your apps.
- Parents — Do factual research about UCSB and guide your son/daughter through the process. As kids get older we tend to get better at expressing ourselves but in high school, it's very weird having to write applications where we talk about ourselves. It means a lot when you guys to help us hash out what we want to say. So please, help us by talking to us! Also push your children to do their own research and not solely listen to word of mouth.
- Explain to students and parents what you can do with a computer engineering degree: Anything! Becoming an engineer isn't just about learning how to build things — Its learning how to approach obstacles and solve problems we've never seen before. With a computer engineering education you also learn how to think like a computer (logically). With these two perspectives you can tackle anything you can imagine. I want to make prostheses while some of my peers want to build space ships, go into politics, and build water filtration systems. Your desire is the limiting resource. That sounds super cheesy but it's true.
- What are the benefits of a program that is a cross between Computer Science and Electrical Engineering?: By studying both fields you put yourself in a nice position to better understand a system's dependence on the smaller details. This allows more flexibility and helps you think of more creative solutions to problems that EEs and/or computer scientists might miss. That may be too abstract but bottom line: learning is good, and learning more is better.
- What have you learned that has surprised you so far?: The most surprising thing I've learned is by far how many transistors we can fit in to our computers. We, as a people, can shrink things so far that we can have computers on our wrists.
- Are there any specific classes that you are looking forward to?: I'm looking forward to the rest of ECE 154A and the 130 series. I came into this field because I wanted to learn how computers work and with these classes I'm finally getting there. 154A is an intro computer architecture class (sounds cool, right?) while the 130 series is all about signal processing. Both are important when it comes to designing your own devices and that's where I want to go in the future.
- What was your most challenging but rewarding course?: ECE 2C – Circuits, Devices, & Systems. It's the last bit of the ECE intro series and Luke Theogarajan was the professor. The man was brutal but he forced me to think about/see circuits completely differently. In order to get the material I would stare at new circuits and analyse them without using math. It was weird at first but slowly I started to get an intuitive understanding of how these systems would work and interact with each other. The first time I solved one of his challenge problems I felt like Rocky at the end of his first training montage... Yea, I'm a nerd...
- What area do you want to specialize in?: I want to focus on digital circuit design/building bio-medical devices but I don't know how to go about it yet. No one builds a prosthetic completely on their own — it just isn't practical. It's smart to focus on a specific part of the system, design it really well, and let others take care of other areas. So right now I'm trying to figure out where along the design/production process I want to fit in.
- Have you done an internship?: Not in college, unfortunately. I shadowed a few doctors throughout high school to see if that's something I might want to do. I really just followed them around like a lemming. It was fairly simple, I got their contact information through my high school and asked if I could hang out with them for a few weeks.
- Do you plan on going into industry?: I do — I think I would like to work in aerospace and or robotics. Remember how much I like Star Wars and computers? Those childhood desires are a huge factor (I would do anything to work on a space shuttle or prosthetic limb). Both fields also have enormous potential to help mankind/make a difference so the idealist in me is happy. If I'm really lucky (and I mean really really really lucky) I'll get to be an astronaut doctor who designs and implements robots in space but now I'm just grasping at the stars (pun).
- Do you plan to go into graduate school?: I am definitely going to enroll in a master's program after UCSB. After I get my master's then my future gets cloudier, but I'm leaning towards doing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. If I want to keep rigorously learning about the forces behind electronics then I'll need to stay in school. It does not hurt that a Ph.D. opens a lot doors in both academia and industry. Ideally I'd get my Ph.D., research robots and prosthesis at NASA, and then settle down as a professor and conduct my own lab.
Ryan's Off-campus Life:
- What is the social scene like for CE students?: UCSB has something for everyone — it doesn't matter what your major is. If you like to go out on weekends there will be plenty of places to go, people to see, and things to do. Some engineering students coagulate while others spread out — It's 100% your choice. You shouldn't worry, the UCSB social culture is all-inclusive and open to anything/everything. That means there are just as many quiet/low-key places to kick back and relax as there are crowded rooms with loud music.
- Describe your housing situation: I lived in Manzanita as a freshman, San Rafael as a Sophomore, and San Clemente as a Junior. I'm not sure if I got the full freshmen college experience by living in Manzanita during my first year because it was so quiet but I don't think I missed out either. I made friends who lived in all of the other dorms and thus had more control over my social life. When I needed quiet I would stay home but when I wanted to see friends/have fun I'd go to the other, more active, dorms. This way I was rarely dragged out when I needed to work. In the end it all depends on what you are looking for.