Story in the School of Engineering
Electrical engineering professor provides an interactive approach among busy Ph.D. students through research.
Doctoral programs in engineering require years of intense scholarship, and the work is often isolating, but not for Professor Samiha Mourad's Ph.D. students. Mourad encourages regular meetings among the electrical engineering students she advises, knowing that their fellow students make the strongest support network. Most are working full time, many have families and children, and all must learn to balance professional and personal commitments with a demanding academic program.
"Most of the time, we build things starting from very well-known pieces, put them together and have a sense that they will work, from the start," explains Miguel Litvin, who completed his Ph.D. in 2007 and works for Intel Corp. in Austin, Texas. "But in academic research, we never know if we are on the right track?and then, one day, or night, we get the missing piece."
For Bruce Greene '07, his three children were born while he was working on his Ph.D. and working full time at Lockheed. "A few times I had to take a few weeks off from the hectic life just to recover," he says. Greene, now a manager at Synopsys Inc., credits Mourad and his fellow students for helping him through those harried times, including some valuable time "blowing off steam."
"I always was able to get as much help and support as I needed from the other students in the Ph.D. group," says Tom Egan '06, a senior hardware design engineer at BridgeWave Communications Inc. who also has bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from SCU. "That was one of the really nice things about SCU?students didn't get caught up in competing with each other. From what I hear, that seems to be pretty rare."
Egan worked for three different Silicon Valley companies during his studies, and although they were in different industries, he says, "I think what I learned at SCU helped me do things better at each of them."