Addison Schwamb

Electrical & Systems Engineering
Degree pursuing: PhD in electrical engineering
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, Oklahoma

What motivated you to earn a graduate engineering degree?
I enjoyed the research I did one summer during my undergrad. I also wanted to become a professor.

Please provide your lab and a description of research.
I work in the Brain Dynamics and Control Research Group, focusing on personalized medical treatments for neurological disorders. These personalized treatments are both model-based, which uses neurological data, and model-free, which leverages artificial intelligence methods.

What drew you to this area of research?
I wanted to use my skills in engineering to help those facing medical issues. Why did you pick WashU? I chose WashU because the research in the Brain Dynamics and Control Research Group lab was the most interesting of all the potential labs I could have worked in.

Who is your favorite instructor and why?
My adviser, ShiNung Ching, is a fantastic professor. His lectures are clear, principled and convey not just the key mathematical ideas, but also the ideas behind them and their applications. I have also greatly benefited from working for him as an assistant in instruction and learning his philosophy of pedagogy, which I plan to integrate into my own ideas about teaching in the future.

What advice would you give to a new student?
I would tell them to go at their own pace and explore things they are curious about. To use a cliche phrase, “a PhD is a marathon, not a sprint,” and there will be times when it seems slow. Nevertheless, it can be done with persistence. I'd also tell them to join a lab they fit well in led by a principal investigator they work well with. A good lab experience is so helpful.

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
It's unique! I love that all the neighborhoods have their own flavor. I love to go running in Tower Grove or Forest Park and enjoy seeing local bands play on weekends.

What campus activities or groups would you recommend to a new student?
I'd say to form a good community with your lab and cohort. Your lab can provide both mentors and opportunities to mentor others, and your cohort can provide camaraderie through the years of classes, research and ultimately, dissertation preparation.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to be a professor so that I can teach and inspire future generations of students.