Seminar at the University of Houston

Back at the Alma Mater! It was great to go back to my old stomping grounds at the University of Houston (UH). While visiting family in Houston during the holidays, I had a chance to squeeze in a visit to the place and people that had an enormous impact on my life. I made it a point to roam the halls of the engineering buildings and reflect on my time at the university. I stopped by the first lecture hall where I first learned how to program in Matlab. I sat in the computer lab where I remembered the feeling the rush to finish numerical programming projects before they were due by midnight through FTP. I walked through the same hallways that my senior design project demonstrated our project to develop a wirelessly tethered luggage cart that would automatically follow the user. While so much changed at the university over the past years I was gone, my memories had not faded.

Stuart Long and I after graduating with my BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston.

The time I spent grueling over homeworks and electronics labs had such a big impact on how I think and how I approach problems. Yet, I cannot think of a bigger impact than those brought by the faculty that took a personal interest in my future. The Applied Electromagnetics group (http://ael.egr.uh.edu/) at UH has an EM for Undergraduates program (they call us EMUGS) where Profs. Stuart Long, Donald Wilton, and David Jackson invite students to get involved in their research labs. This was a great experience for me to explore a whole new world that I never thought about pursuing: scientific research. It was during that time that I seriously considering changing career paths and heading towards graduate school. While I was visiting the school, I presented my recent work in applied electromagnetics at UCLA, where I discussed my latest work on antennas for Mars Rovers, Cognitive Radios, and CubeSats. The title of my talk was “Towards a Connected Universe: Antenna Systems for Advanced Spacecraft and Emerging Wireless Services.” I brought in the word “universe” because my work spans wireless services connecting a few feet away (terrestrial systems) to planets away (Mars Rovers). That was followed by a fun tour of the new facilities and buildings at UH with Stuart.