A few weeks ago, I had the honor of being the student speaker at the 10th anniversary of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering! It was a wonderful reception, and I was so excited to meet the namesake of USC’s amazing EE department, Dr. Ming Hsieh. I enjoyed myself immensely, especially when I listened to Dean Yortsos, Provost Michael Quick, Professor Narayanan, and Dr. Hsieh himself speak at the event. In the preparation for my speech, I got to thinking about the effect of the EE department has had on my life in the two short years I have been an engineering student here. I would like to tell some of the stories I shared at the event, because they reflect how much the Ming Hsieh Department of EE has made my life better.
I actually remember going to my first electrical engineering course as a freshman and what my professor said on that first day: “It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.” As a junior now, I can already confidently say that is 100% true, and the first half of what he said was especially true: the classes I have taken have been very challenging. I have had the privilege of learning from professors who know that we are capable and that we have no limit to the knowledge we can gain, and so they are not afraid to push us. My fellow EE friends and I have been able to hone our learning abilities: we work harder, smarter, and solve increasingly difficult problems to better the world we live in. But we don’t do this alone. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve gone to office hours, where my professor would patiently and tirelessly answer the questions I would scribble on little post-it notes. I have had professors stay on campus until 7pm to answer questions, and I have even had one professor hold office hours over the weekend before a midterm.
I couldn’t have even imagined that my professors would be so devoted to students life me, and it’s incredible considering the groundbreaking research that these same professors conduct. I also remember my first time going to office hours: I finally mustered up the courage to ask my EE 105 professor, Professor Nasiatka, about his research which he had briefly mentioned in class. He was doing research on retinal prostheses, and the goal was to restore sight to the blind. I was interested in the topic, particularly because my eyesight is really bad. There was so much passion in the work, and it is truly something that improves lives, and that short conversation has stuck with me even until now.
As a college student, I always have my future in mind, and because of the amazing education I have received so far and the vast resources available to me, I am currently an intern at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where I work in the Avionics group of the Europa mission. And in my time there, I have met countless EE Trojans, and there’s no better feeling than that instant connection and instant feeling of camaraderie. I have had the opportunity to learn from these people even outside the college environment, and I think that is so special and such a privilege. I’m so grateful for the Ming Hsieh department of EE for helping me achieve my dreams of working at NASA. I grew up in Florida watching the shuttle launches with my parents at the Kennedy Space Center. If you had told my younger self that I would be in California working at NASA right out of my freshman year of college, I would have said that is impossible. But, as I’m learning more and more every day at USC as an electrical engineering student, nothing is impossible.
It meant so much to me to be able to share how much the EE department at USC has positively impacted my life. Dr. Ming Hsieh’s dedication to USC’s EE department has changed so many student’s lives for the better, and I’m proud to say that I am one of them. Read more about the event here, and as always, Fight On!Meet Michelle