SFSU Class of 2006
When the tech bubble burst in the early 2000s, I was laid off from my web design job and could not find work going on a year. My undergraduate degree in Art was meaningless. I told myself that this could not be all that life had to offer me, that I had to make a change. I was dating the woman who would later become my wife, and I knew that I had to provide a better future for us. More education was the way forward.
I started at SFSU School of Engineering in the fall semester of 2002. Always having been a right-brained person who mostly feared math, it was a major adjustment. I was learning a lot from great teachers (some of whom I still keep in touch with to this day), but it was incredibly hard. Nonetheless, my enthusiasm was high throughout because I felt I was actively taking charge of my life. After nearly two years of technical prerequisite classes, I was admitted to the Electrical Engineering Masters program. Two years later I successfully defended my Masters applied research project and finally had my degree.
But a funny thing happened along the way. I received an internship at NASA Ames Research Center in the South Bay a year before graduation, via another SFSU student who was an intern there. During my internship I participated in a Space Shuttle External Tank Foam study, worked on robotics projects, and assisted part of the science team for the Mars Phoenix Lander.
After graduation, NASA retained me as a contractor where I was a critical part of a team that built two hypersonic sub-orbital space vehicles that launched in 2008 and 2009. Eventually I was hired as a civil servant, and most recently had a number of significant roles on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) project, including working the launch itself. LADEE is orbiting the moon and sending back science data as of November 2013. My other current projects include a small satellite network and a lunar lander.
Looking back, I could not have ever dreamed I'd have as great a career as I have now. It is amazing to make a living building cutting edge technology and watching it fly in space. I love that my work directly helps to expand the breadth of human knowledge. None of it would be possible if I hadn't taken those first intimidating steps and enrolled at SFSU. The education I received there prepared me very well for the future I could scarcely see coming. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The moment I got the admission letter from the Ph.D. program of University of South Florida, I took a deep breath. I knew another stage of my life would start soon. Looking back to the seven-year-long study in San Francisco State University, I have achieved a lot that I never imagined before.
I entered SFSU in 2007, the fourth year after I moved to the United States. I had a strong interest in courses related to mathematics and physics. In my second year, I decided to have my major inthe filed of electrical engineering. Following the curriculum of the engineering departments, I got a lot of chances to know different branches of electrical engineering such as analog, digital, power system and etc. I especially enjoyed doing experiments in analog electronic circuits, microprocessors & micro-controllers, power electronics and IC design. In those engineering laboratories, even though they were like three to four hours long, I never got bored but enjoyed the process of designing and debugging. Practice makes perfect is always true for engineering labs. Although I didn't ace all the engineering courses, I conceptually got what they are really about. It is also important to build your own library with a list of topics and references you understand, which makes it a lot easier for revisiting later on.
My senior design project was "Low Power Wireless Heart Rate Monitor System" where I applied electrical engineering with wireless communication for medical purposes. My team, William Yu, Dennison Lorenzana and I, combined analog and digital circuits together. We built the analog circuit with operational amplifiers to magnify the signal and filter out the noise, and then used micro-controller to transmit the digitized signal wirelessly. It was successfully implemented. And this was my first officially presented project. Looking at the posters and presentation, I never felt that rewarding in my life.
It was the rewarding feelings from the research that encouraged me to move forward. I got accepted by the graduate program "Embedded Electrical and Computer Systems" in SFSU. Graduate study was so different from undergraduate. Graduate research gave us a real time to apply the knowledge into actual engineering practice. Courses like Embedded Systems, Advanced Digital Design, Digital VLSI Design, Nano-Scale Circuits and Systems and Advanced Analog IC Design gave me a much more in-depth insight into the design and devices themselves. Each project was a great training for my "hands-on" skills such as data collection, circuit analysis and problem solving. It was the first time I had the chance to start my project from schematic and keep following it until the day it was published.
My most unforgettable project was my first graduate research "Design MEMS Passive Sensor for Biomedical Applications", which provided me with the opportunity to be acquainted with foundation of doing research.My goal was to develop a wireless passive pressure sensor that is less than 2-mm in diameter and can operate at least 5-cm in distance. The SFSU team was responsible for the sensor design, whereas our industry partner focuses on the sensor fabrication and our university partner focuses on clinic testing. I also attended the UCSF PDA general meeting once a week to follow up what was going on. I started this project with the literature research, so I could see what had been done by other research groups and what the specific constraints for implants were. I outlined an analytical equivalent circuit model of the system's responsivity that determined the accuracy of the wireless telemetry and operating distance, and the sensitivity that shows the minimum detectable capacitance variation. The model was implemented in MATLAB and verified by a two-dimensional electromagnetic simulation package, ADS-Momentum. Based on the design guided by the derived model, a number of inductor coils on Silicon substrate were fabricated using the MEMS process technology by our industrial partner H-Cube, Inc. Then, I carried out the electrical test bench to validate of my initial design theories. I have learned a lot from doing this project, especially cooperating with others in the team. I developed experimental skills about inductor measurement by network analyzer and gained experience with planar inductor design. I familiarized with ADS-Momentum simulation, inductor layout, MATLAB data collecting and post processing after I have done many times in this project.
Doing graduate research was like going on an adventure. You never know what the results would be. I believe there is no such thing as overnight success and keep trying is the only way to open the door of success. I have studied in SFSU for seven years and joined school project showcase for many times. Finally in seventh year, I won the SFSU graduate research competition and was selected as a finalist for the CSU wide research competition in Long Beach, CA, with my project "A Feed-forward controlled AC-DC Converter for Biomedical Implants" presented there.
I highly encourage EE students to volunteer in a research group and participate in real projects during the senior year. I joined Dr. Jiang's Bioelectronics Lab since I was a senior undergraduate in SFSU. The experience in the lab gave me extra practice opportunities in engineering and other interdisciplinary area. You will not only benefit from gaining the experience and knowledge from the actual laboratory work, but also opening your vision of the current engineering world. This will always make you ready when you make your decision for your next step. There is no such thing called "failure" in the research. But there is always "hope" after each try.
Finally, I would like to express my deepest appreciation and thankfulness to Dr. Hao Jiang, Dr. Hamid Shahnasser and Dr. Hamid Mahmoodi for their long-term helps and support, especially Dr. Jiang, who is my instructor, advisor and mentor for many years. Their valuable comments keep me improving all the time. Without their helps, I won't get to this new page of my life. I still remember how anxious I was when I first moved to the United States, spoke poor English and didn't know what to do. But now, I make it to finish all my graduate work in SFSU and still keep moving forward to a higher stage. It's never too late to chase a dream, as long as you hold it tight and never give up.
Abhishek Sadananda Shetty
My name is Abhishek Sadananda Shetty, a Graduate Student under Dr. Hamid Mahmoodi. After going through this University website and the faculty list and the research that is being undertaken by them, I was immensely impressed. I was given an opportunity by Dr. Hamid Mahmoodi to work at Synopsys Inc. during Summer 2011 to gain corporate experience. As my aim was to mainly focus on Design Verification jobs, I was more inclined towards courses such as Advanced Digital Design, Verilog and System Verilog. In-spite of System Verilog not being offered as a part of the main curriculum, I was successful in carrying out an Applied Research Project on System Verilog & Verification Methodology Manual and also write a self study tutorial for the prospective students at S.F State School of Engineering.
With the experience and knowledge acquired while being a research student under Dr. Hamid Mahmoodi, I choose to carve my path of fulfilling my dreams by acquiring a job at Intel Corporation for the position of Design Verification Intern. I would like to thank the School of Engineering and especially Dr. Hamid Mahmoodi for the tremendous encouragement and support in helping me realize my dreams and turn them into reality.
My name is Eli Lyons. I entered the PhD program at the University of Tokyo in Fall 2011, in the School of Frontier Sciences, Department of Medical Genome Science.
As an undergrad and master's student at SFSU I was inspired when professors would discuss current research or industry trends. Part of what made made my admission to a PhD program successful was that I took advantage of many opportunities as an undergrad and master's student, such as the science project showcase, and applying for university-wide and national fellowships. I did not always meet with success, but I was able to build a competitive resume and build skills preparing research proposals (recently I have been accepted to the GCOE-Research Assistant program at University of Tokyo). I was fortunate to have the support of engineering faculty in these pursuits and I'm thankful for the skills I learned during my time at SFSU.
Hi, my name is Michael Chan and I am a graduate student at San Francisco State University studying for a M.S. degree in Embedded Electrical and Computer Systems. I am currently doing an eight month internship at Intel for hardware validation. Some of the things that helped me get the internship was taking an advanced digital systems course and networking with other graduate students. Also doing my research on a hardware model and implementation of a neural network for orientation selectivity of the eye helped me learn outside of my comfort zone. I had to learn neural biology, but overall, the project was a great experience nonetheless. If there is one thing I will miss at San Francisco State University, it is the times I played pop/rock songs on the piano in the music building to de-stress and stay creative.
My name is Bin Wu. I enrolled in the Engineering School of San Francisco State University in August 2010. The two years of study in SF state was quite beneficial to me academically. The schedule of the courses is well designed, and we were able to build a solid foundation based on the knowledge learned from those courses. The program also taught us how to communicate our thoughts with others more efficiently; this skill is critical to an engineer's career. The professors here are quite patient and responsible, and a large part of my learning was achieved through communication with my professors. I received a Ph.D. offer from University of California, Santa Cruz in 2012, and I would accredit much of my success to my participation in this program.