"Engineering is about making things work, and I needed to find the major that was going to work for me. I chose Electrical Engineering because I wanted a better understanding of how modern technology works in order to be able to develop new technologies that will help shape society for a better future."
Hometown: Lackawanna, NY
Level of Study: BS, Class of 2018.
Why did you choose to study electrical engineering?
In a world that’s constantly changing, there are never a lack of problems that need to be solved. Electricity controls almost everything and that is something that has always fascinated me. Electrical engineers create the technologies that have defined time periods such as radios, televisions, the internet and cell phones. My father is an electrical engineer and he has always been a role model in my life. He influenced me from a young age with the various projects that needed to be fixed or built around the house from cars and sheds to video games and Legos. He was able to answer my questions of why things work the way they do and that only peaked my interest even more. Engineering is about making things work, and I needed to find the major that was going to work for me. I chose Electrical Engineering because I wanted a better understanding of how modern technology works in order to be able to develop new technologies that will help shape society for a better future.
What do you like best about electrical engineering?
Electrical Engineering covers a wide array of topics such as Photonics, Energy, Solid-state Electronics, Wireless Communication Networks, Signal Processing and Optics. The applications are endless and Electrical Engineers are needed everywhere. It seems like one day I am learning about new renewable energy technologies that could save the planet and then the next day I’m learning about cutting edge nano-robots that are used to combat cancers. I can use my Electrical Engineering degree to do a wide variety of impactful things like saving the environment, helping to find cures to diseases like cancer, or working to create cutting edge electronic devices for a better tomorrow.
What research are you working on as an EE Undergraduate Scholar?
Leveraging the Sensors and MicroActuators Learning Lab’s (SMALL at University at Buffalo) expertise in both microfluidics and test phantoms I am working to create a physiologically accurate model of the human finger. It will be acoustically, electrically, and optically equivalent to that of the human finger. This finger “test phantom” will include dermotographic features, such as ridge valley structures, digital arteries, bone, fat, muscle, and a fully functioning 3 dimensional (3D) capillary network. Being able to have a controlled test phantom (i.e., blood flow, heart rate, bone structure, fat and muscle thickness, as well as a known capillary design) will allow for a wide variety of applications. This innovative finger model could be used as a medical training aid for doctors, nurses, and EMT to practice on, a testing device for new wearable HealthCare sensors, and for Biometric Liveness Detection testing.
I have received firsthand experience doing things like, circuit analysis, material characterization, studying the human physiology, learning how sound travels through the human body, and a number of microfabrication techniques that have to be done to create structures that are the size of a pin head.
What makes UB Electrical Engineering special?
With UB being a large comprehensive research university, the knowledge, resources and opportunities available to me are endless. The only catch is that I have to get them myself. I wasn’t forced to get involved with research, but with UB being a top research University it was a no brainer. I get to work outside the classroom on something practical that I enjoy, but it also uses what I learn in the classroom. UB has made it easy for everyone to get involved in clubs, teams or research that fit your interests. Although the school is large, I have found my home in the Electrical engineering department.
UB Electrical engineering has given me the opportunity to receive mentorship and hands on experience getting involved in research as an undergraduate under Dr. Kwang Oh. Being an Undergraduate Research Scholar has opened doors to work on innovative, impactful, projects that have applications on a global scale and learn valuable skills along the way. Since joining UB’s SMALL Research Lab I have become Clean Room certified, fluent in many different microfabrication techniques, gone to a conference, have had a ton of hands of experience, and developed many of the soft skill sets, like working on a team, that will help me throughout my entire career as an Electrical Engineer. UB provided me with the fundamental skills needed to succeed in electrical engineering while also giving the opportunity to focus upon my future career and take courses that are in my field of interest.
A favorite memory of your experiences thus far?
A part of what I love about Electrical Engineering is that its applications are limitless. While working in the research group SMALL we have mainly focused on biomedical devices and sensors, but found that what we are doing overlaps in the field of biometrics. This opened up an opportunity for me to attend the CITeR biometrics conference in Niagara Falls. Part of the trip included a tour of the Peace Bridge where we got to speak to and hear from Customs and Border Patrol about high level operations and Beyond the Border activities. Although the system is not perfect, it gave me an idea of what important problems are going on in industry and what people are doing to fix it. All of this has been happening only twenty minutes from my house, but working in the field of Electrical Engineering gave me the opportunity to learn more about it. At the conference I was surrounded by distinguished professors and industry leaders along with representatives from the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security. I listened to presentations on the newest cutting edge technology that will help protect not only our personal belongings but also our country as a whole. The experience as a whole emphasized the limitless part of engineering that I love.
What are your career plans?
I plan to continue as an Undergraduate Research Scholar until I graduate and then move on to receive a MS in Electrical Engineering.
Anything else you would like to mention?
I am very thankful for all the opportunities the University has provided to help me grow as an engineer. It is the things like scholarship support like Acker, the meaningful mentorships, passionate professors, and just overall great learning environment that have shaped and will continue to shape me as an Electrical Engineer.