Kurt Schab Joins Department of Electrical Engineering
New to the Department of Electrical Engineering is Assistant Professor Kurt Schab. Prior to joining the faculty here, Schab received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016 and was an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Scholar at North Carolina State University for two years.
“My work focuses on electromagnetics, which encompasses many different and exciting areas—calculations related to antennas, real world applications for wireless devices such as cell phones and automotive radar, and the general theory that impacts all those things,” he said.
This year, Schab is teaching the undergraduate junior level electromagnetic sequence, EE 104 and 105. “One course is required and the other is an elective sequel. I like that I will get to see all the students during their junior year. Some will be captivated and their interest will be piqued enough to take the sequel, but at the very least, they will have the information from the first course to take with them wherever they go. I’ve been experimenting with restructuring Electromagnetics I, bringing in different ideas about why we care about this subject by providing examples from the modern world like biomedical imaging and the basic physics of how an MRI works, and electron optics for manufacturing semiconductors,” he said. “There have been a few hiccups and sometimes I have the sensation of controlled falling, but the students are enjoying the class.”
Coming from a background of “all research, all the time,” Schab is enjoying splitting his time between teaching and research. He has recruited both undergraduate and graduate students for a number of projects. “They will be doing everything from heavy math and computation to constructing reconfigurable liquid metal for a project I’m working on with a civil engineering colleague from North Carolina State,” he said. His other collaborations with colleagues from Sweden, Belgium, and the Czech Republic offer exciting opportunities for graduate students, as well. “SCU has a culture of encouraging faculty to branch out. I’m looking forward to taking students to manufacturing sites where liquid metal structures are made, or to theory-based workshops. But I especially appreciate Santa Clara’s teacher-scholar model,” he continued. “I really like working one-on-one with students—even those outside my area. Having intellectual conversations about homework and studies and being in a partnership with students rather than managing a large lab is valued here. It feels good. I’ve hit the ground running, projects are up and running, students are excited about the material, we’re surrounded by beautiful palm trees. I’m having a really good time!”