Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
Saint Louis University

What played into your decision to get a graduate engineering degree?
wanted to gain a deeper understanding of topics that I only briefly learned about in my undergraduate years. I also wanted to get some exposure to graduate-level courses and research. I knew that a graduate degree would be invaluable in my career in research and development (R&D), as I developed the specialized skills needed for my job. I decided to pursue a graduate engineering degree part-time, while working and gaining valuable experience in the industry.

Why did you pick WashU?
When I decided to pursue a graduate degree, I had already accepted a job at a small research and development firm in St. Louis. I restricted my search for graduate programs to the greater St. Louis area. WashU has a reputation for pioneering research and rigorous coursework. I had always hoped to get the opportunity to attend one day. I had applied to WashU as an undergraduate but did not get admitted. I attended Saint Louis University for my undergraduate years, which I enjoyed and appreciated very much. I knew that I wanted to attend a different university for my graduate years. WashU has a large graduate student body, which helps foster an environment of learning from peers, as well as faculty. When I got accepted to WashU, the choice was very easy for me.

What was your favorite course and why?
I really enjoyed ESE 415: Optimization because the material has a wide range of applications and plays a critical role in my work in the industry. The elegant blend of theory and applications make it the most versatile course in my entire academic career. The core principles of optimization that are used to select the best possible solution is a crucial skill for engineering and life in general. It continues to transform the technological design process and will always play a fundamental role in engineering.

Who is your favorite instructor and why?
Ulugbek Kamilov was my favorite instructor because he cares about every single student. The courses he teaches are challenging, yet he presents the material in a simple manner that allows everyone to understand it. He is very passionate and enthusiastic, making the topics fun and exciting. He is always available to meet outside of class and provides plenty of opportunities to ask questions. Dr. Kamilov makes his own lecture notes and posts them all online, making it easy to review lectures. His homework assignments are very rigorous but rewarding because they resemble the type of problems that current academic research is trying to solve. The point is to struggle on a few problems here and there, but this will truly reinforce the concepts covered during the lectures.

What advice would you give to a new student?
My advice is to start your first semester with some of the less challenging classes (maybe a 400-level class), so that you have time to transition between undergraduate and graduate school. Depending on where you went to undergrad, there is a bit of an adjustment. Also, use this opportunity to specialize in the field that you want to pursue a career in. Some graduate courses are only offered once a year or only for a few semesters. If you see a course you really like, I recommend taking it right away because it might not be offered later on.

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
The cost of living is relatively low and there are lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. WashU is located right by Forest Park, which is the largest city park in the U.S. There are lots of free events and museums.

Do you have any work history?
Since graduating with my bachelor's degree in 2017, I work full-time at Lickenbrock Technologies as a Research and Development Engineer II.

What are your plans for the future?
My plan is to pursue a DSc in electrical engineering and continue to work full-time in R&D. I want to get published and get more exposure to topics related to imaging and signal processing. I want to continue pursuing a career in the industry. Eventually, I'd like to develop a product from start to finish and perhaps start my own company.