Welcome to our Alumni Class Notes page, in here, you can find recent activities and accomplishments of our alumni. If you have any activity or achievement that you want to share with us, please contact Dr. Pong (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
As a recent graduate of SFSU's Electrical Engineering program, I can attest to the quality education provided by the dedicated staff in the department. Icurrently work as anElectrical Engineer for Silverman & Light Inc., a company that specializes in designing state of the art electrical systems for architects and building owners. I work closely with the design team in San Francisco, a team dedicated to the construction of a 555-bed hospital in the Cathedral Hill area.
Born and raised in Oakland California, I completed my primary and secondary education in Oakland public schools before graduating from Skyline High School. I also attended Merritt College where I earned an Associate's degree in Social Behavioral Science while obtaining a California State Barbers License. While working as a barber for the last 12 years, being a devoted husband and supporting a family of five, I continued my education in electrical engineering on a part-time basis.
Oakland Unified School District did not adequately prepare me for college. It didn't take me long to realize that I was significantly behind other college student in the areas of Math and Science. In fact, I struggled in many courses and spent a considerable amount of time trying to catch up with my peers. Along with being burdened by remedial classes not offered in high school, I also had to work full time in order to pay for school and help support my family. Most of my college years I worked 30 or more hours a week (mostly on weekends and nights) and went to school during the week day. There were many times when I was overwhelmed with some of the curriculum, but progressively got stronger as I continued my studies. This was a result from studying twice as long, meeting with study groups, and learning how study more effectively.
There were several things that made learning and re-learning material more manageable. Instructors such as Professor Jiang, gave me insight on how to learn in ways I wasn't accustomed to. He insisted that solving problems is only part of the solution, understanding what you are solving is the ultimate goal. Engineering isn't about remembering a bunch of equations; it's about building from the ground up. Professor Jiang and Professor Shahnasser also gave me an opportunity to work on a project which involved making a tutorial for the programs such as Cadence and Eagle for PCB (Programmable Circuit Board) design. This project allowed me to gain engineering experience, cut evening work hours and also prepared me to design a wave function generator required for my electronics laboratory course. Dr. Ozer, Director of theMESA Program and Dr. Pong, Director of the engineering program, helped me reach my potential, set attainable goals, and encouraged me to think outside of the box.
Although I still have many things to learn, I believe there isn't much that I can't handle after graduating from SFSU. I am grateful for my academic struggles because it made me more appreciative of the learning process. Besides, if engineering was an easy field of study, everyone would do it!
"At SFSU I was able to get a good, broad education in Electrical Engineering and engineering as a whole. While SFSU is a small school, that small size allows for many engineers of all the disciplines to get to know each other and work together. During the last semester of my undergraduate career as an Electrical Engineering major at SFSU I had the great opportunity to take a masters course. As it was my last semester my professor, Dr. Mahmoodi, extended me an opportunity to participate in an unpaid co-op internship at Synopsys. Because of that opportunity I was able to show the manager that had taken me under her wing my abilities and work ethic. My knowledge of digital electronics allowed me to quickly learn the tools created by Synopsys and know what they were doing. Since I was able to impress them and an opening was available they offered me a position at the end of the internship. And now using the skills and knowledge I learned at SFSU I am able to perform well at a top company in my field."
"In my short time in the professional engineering world, my career is already taking me to really high places.
My company does structural inspections for Sutro Tower and last week I got to go along on one. We look for rusty fasteners and cracked welds on one of the tower legs from top to bottom (See picture on the left)
This engineering gig might not be so boring after all."
Karen Rayment, MSEE, class of 2005, currently is a Senior Engineer in the Electrical Practice at Exponent, Inc. - the largest and best-known Scientific and Failure Analysis Consulting Firm in the USA. www.exponent.com
She said that her SFSU CoSE Masters degree paved the way for this good job, and she always is grateful to the entire staff and faculty.
Matthew Lee, a graduate student in Structural/Earthquake, was named a New Face of Civil Engineering by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Please click this link for more information: http://www.asce.org/pressroom/news/display_press.cfm?uid=3155 .
Jake Olsen, MSCE, class of 2005, current is the Director of Technology of Powers Fasteners www.powers.com .
Mr. Olsen is charge of research, development, testing and evaluation for new products, design assistance for service conditions with Powers products. He passed Professional Engineering license exam in California and will apply for additional licensure by committee in New York and Florida.