Where are you from?
Why did you choose UB?
I chose UB for engineering for a couple reasons: its distinguished engineering program and the fact that the campus is close to my house, which allows me to commute.
What do you like most about engineering at UB?
I enjoy the ability you have to make whatever you want out of the program. UB engineering gives you the opportunity to excel as long as you are motivated and search for those opportunities in each area of engineering. This would include things like research, scholarships, fellowships, etc. You can make the program what you want it to be.
Why did you choose to go into engineering?
I love thinking of cool and unique solutions to problems. I love designing and building things with my hands and both of these things can be done in engineering. I also enjoy the business aspects of engineering, including being able to communicate with clients and other engineers.
What is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus would have to be Davis Hall. I love the structure and this is where my lab is located so I spend most of my time here.
What are you working on now?
Currently I am an undergraduate research scholar in the Sensors & Microactuators Learning Lab (SMALL) under Dr. Kwang Oh. I work on projects having to do with biometrics, microfluidics, ultrasonics and 3-D printing. My current project has to do with hacking into the iPhone X through realistic facial masks that are made through 3-D printing. Once I am able to hack into the phone, I am then able to propose ways to make the sensor better for security. I am also a Student Leader for the freshman engineering course EAS 199 where I teach and mentor engineering thinking and process.
What else do you do?
I am highly involved through the community. I am an Eagle Scout and continue my involvement by reaching out to local scouting troops, revitalizing and teaching merit badges in inventing, entrepreneurship and fingerprinting. I am also involved in UB's Science is Elementary program at Westminster Charter School where I teach STEM experiments to kids K-8.
What have you done that you are most proud of?
I am very proud of my most recent internship project at the Jacobs Institute, where I built and coded "Smart" vascular test phantoms. These are patient specific models of the internal vascular structure of the body and I gave them the ability to measure blood pressure, temperature and flow on these models. These models are then used for product testing of stroke and cardiac surgical devices to help save the lives of people who suffer stroke or heart attack.
What are you passionate about?
As a current Western New York Prosperity Fellow, I am passionate about being involved in the Buffalo community. The Prosperity Fellowship program supports entrepreneurial-minded students who have the drive and potential to revitalize and improve the WNY economy and job growth. As such, I want my research and business to have an impact on the WNY area and its people.
What are your future plans?
I want to go on to higher education to receive my PhD in electrical engineering. I then hope to dive into the local startup community and use my unique angle of being highly technical, accompanied by my business skills from the Fellowship, to lead a research department in a startup company. I could also see myself being an adjunct professor.
What is your advice to prospective engineering students?
Building a strong network of colleagues is one of the best things you can do in college. So get as involved in as many things as you can handle because the people you meet are the people that are going to follow you through college and you are only as strong as your network when it comes to jobs!
Liam Christie is a 2018-2019 Western New York Prosperity Scholar.