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Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

Interviews with Recent Graduates

 

Miles Oakley - 2018

What's your major?

Electrical Engineering

Why did you choose the ECE department?

I actually had a research project on which I hoped to continue working alongside my adviser, Dr. Charles Nelson, after graduation.  I am hoping to present my findings at the Directed Energy Professional Society Symposium this fall before heading to flight school in Pensacola, FL.

What do you think makes the ECE department at USNA unique?

The most incredible faculty, easily the best on the Yard.  Some pretty great facilities, equipment and lab spaces as well.

Did you participate in the internship program?

I did, I was an intern with Naval Railgun in Dahlgren, VA over the summer after my Plebe year, and I liked it so much I came back the next summer to work on Railgun again!  I also studied Russian language abroad in Latvia during my time as a Midshipman, and the EE faculty were very receptive and even encouraging of me broadening my horizons like that.

What would you tell plebes thinking about the Electrical Engineering program?

Hands down the best majors in the E&W division, which therefore also means they’re the best two majors at the Academy!

What would you tell the incoming Electrical Engineering students?

You made the right choice, now remember why you love Electrical and Computer Engineering when it gets tough!

If you are to pick a major again, how would you do it differently?

I honestly wouldn’t change a thing!

Do you have anything not covered in the other questions you want to add?

I hope more incoming Plebes realize that Electrical Engineering might not have the flashiest title or just use all of the currently  in-vogue buzzwords, but I guarantee we are the major with the most substantive and relevant material. Don’t fall for the most eye-catching demonstrations at the briefs, actually look at the coursework and how in-depth you’ll be learning each topic!

 

Kevin Chen - 2015

What's your major?

I double majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. I did independent research on wireless optical networking during my senior year.

Why did you choose the ECE department?

When I talked with the ECE faculty, I felt like they had more time and energy to invest in their students and their students' work. I wanted to specialize in a specific topic instead of knowing a little about everything. I think that ECE is one of the most challenging engineering disciplines and that it gives students a unique perspective on how technology functions in their world.

What do you think makes the ECE department at USNA unique?

The small number of students makes it easier to work in groups and to create a collaborative environment. The capstone projects in ECE are usually research-oriented, innovative, and very rewarding. Students are often asked to do something that either has not been done or is not well understood.

Did you participate in the internship program?

Yes, I participated in two programs: MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Naval Postgraduate School. In my experience, almost all ECE students who want to participate in internships have the opportunity to do so.

What would you tell plebes thinking about the Electrical Engineering program and the Computer Engineering program?

The brigade has negative feelings about ECE because of the core courses: EE301 and EE331. They should understand that these are courses taught to non-ECE majors and their interest in the field is generally low. There is definitely an initial investment that has to be made to get into the material. It is challenging, and when you first see it, some of it is pretty counter-intuitive, but the classes are always rewarding in the end. The majors offered by ECE are challenging, but very doable.

What would you tell the incoming Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering students?

Frontload. The learning curve is steep, and it takes a little while to be on track so don't be discouraged.

If you are to pick a major again, how would you do it differently?

I might have majored only in Electrical Engineering to get some time to participate in a Semester Study Abroad program. The double major is very demanding of one's time. It adds about a semester's worth of credits to the program.



Joshua Goetz - 2015

What's your major?

I majored in EE.

Why did you choose the ECE department?

My father is an electrical engineer and topics such as circuits and power were always my favorite in physics during high school.

What do you think makes the ECE department at USNA unique?

We are very fortunate to have new tech incoming all the time for capstone projects as well as EE courses in general.  In addition to this, the special attention we get due to our smaller major group means we can more readily access assistance in class and EI after class.

What would you tell plebes thinking about the Electrical Engineering programs?

It gets a reputation in the brigade as one of the hardest majors due to those who see only EE331 and EE301 and hear the complaints against it.  It is important to note, however, that those opinions are put out by non-majors who see it as just another technical course to get through. I can't deny that it will be challenging just like any other major here, but if you have a mind for it and an interest in the material, the major can be extremely engrossing and rewarding.

What would you tell the incoming Electrical Engineering students?

Don't underestimate your course work early on.  It gets harder before it gets easier. Some courses may not appeal to your particular interests, but it is worth getting good grades and getting into the electives during 1/C year.

If you are to pick a major again, how would you do it differently?

I would still definitely pick EE.  I struggled with balancing time for my billet, extracurricular, and my capstone as a 1/C.  If I could, I would frontload and start working on it a little earlier.

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