Andrea Martinez, BS '14, MS '16.

"Every time an airbag deploys to save a life, every time a parachute works, or a plane stays in the sky, every day a building stands, it’s thanks to engineers. The need for cleaner energy drew me into Electrical engineering, and I knew, as a small school in a big university UB would provide the perfect environment for me."


Hometown:
Flushing, NY

Level of Study: BS, 2014; MS, 2016; and continuing on, as an NSF Graduate Fellow, for a PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University at Buffalo

Why did you choose to study electrical engineering?

I’ve always wanted to be in a career that allowed me to see my impact on the world, and I knew engineering was a career where I’d never have to wonder if my job was worthwhile. Every time an airbag deploys to save a life, every time a parachute works, or a plane stays in the sky, every day a building stands, it’s thanks to engineers. The need for cleaner energy drew me into Electrical engineering specifically, and I knew, as a small school in a big university UB would provide the perfect environment for me. As a student I was able to take advantage of a large university’s benefits like clubs and activities but as an engineering student I got to take advantage of a smaller school with more individualized attention and smaller classes.

What are your areas of interest in EE?

Electrical engineering is one of the most versatile disciplines in engineering. Anything involving an electrical system has need of an electrical engineer so specific companies like Praxair, Cameron, Lockheed Martin and so many more companies are looking for electrical engineers. As an electrical engineer, I can still work anywhere in the world on anything. Specifically, I find myself most interested in greener energy, biomedical applications and material science aspects of electrical materials.

What made you decide to continue from undergrad to graduate study?

When the time came to graduate I had a job lined up in an area I wanted, and I honestly was eager to be done with exams and late night studying but I suddenly didn’t feel like I was done. I had questions I knew I could answer in the lab, and a desire to be more and do more than a bachelor’s. I wanted to live a life where I was someone who could leave an impact on the world and staying a little longer to live much larger was well worth it to me.

A favorite memory of your experiences in engineering thus far?

Obviously, my research professors, Jennifer Zirnheld and Kevin Burke, are some of my favorite professors, but other favorites include Erik Einarson, Kwang Oh, Pao Lo Lui and even professors in other disciplines like Dr. McGuire, Troy Wood, and Dr. Furlani. My favorite project was looking into Photoabsorbers for my senior design project and some of my favorite classes included Introduction to MRI, Nanophotonics, Optofluidics, and Materials.

And outside of engineering?

I joined the UB Women’s Rugby team my freshman year, and at our peak we placed 4 in the country at California. I also received an award for undergraduate research that same week!!

What are your plans following graduation?

My actual path still isn’t clear to me, but I can be sure I will be changing the field and paving the way for others to succeed!