Class of 2017
Adriana Cisco Sullberg
Although it’s a strange dream for a child to have, I have wanted to work in the nuclear energy industry since sixth grade. When I received information about Tandon, I was enthusiastic to apply! At Tandon, I was able to major in Electrical Engineering, concentrate in power, and earn a minor in Nuclear Sciences and Engineering.
I had never visited New York City before I arrived on campus from Arizona, but I felt welcomed as soon as I moved in. The friends I made living in Othmer Hall during my freshman year are still some my closest. Due to small class sizes, I knew all my classmates. We stuck together semester after semester and became a tight-knit group outside of class.
The faculty are approachable and provide outstanding support and mentorship. Working with professors in the Electric Power area and completing my senior design project under the direction of Prof. de Leon was invaluable. As a result of work I did during my senior year on Conservative Voltage Reduction, I co-authored a paper that was published in the IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery.
Tandon has many outstanding student organizations to join. I was Chair of IEEE, President of Eta Kappa Nu, and a member of Tau Beta Pi and Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Being a founding sister and Professional Development Chair of the Beta Sigma chapter Alpha Omega Epsilon, Tandon’s first and only sorority, is one of my proudest accomplishments. The Tandon chapter enables young women to build meaningful, lifelong social and professional relationships. The sisters of Alpha Omega Epsilon are exemplary student leaders on campus; I could not be more honored as an alumna.
I currently work at Palo Verde Generating Station, a nuclear power plant just west of Phoenix, Arizona. Palo Verde Generating Station is the nation’s largest power producer, and the only plant in the U.S. to produce more than 30 million megawatt-hours in a year — a milestone attained by the plant eleven times. It is the only nuclear power plant in the world not located on a major body of water; instead, waste water from the city of Phoenix is recycled to cool the plant to the tune of 60 thousand gallons per minute. I am responsible for maintaining some of the largest power producing equipment seen in the world. It is rewarding to know that my work as an engineer serves more than four million people with environmentally friendly, carbon-free energy. My time at Tandon enabled to me to have the career at a nuclear power plant that I had dreamed of as a girl!
When I was fourteen years old, I saw my neighbor working on electronics in his garage. I was really impressed by the possibilities of electronics and since then I knew I wanted to be an engineer. I started dreaming about the best engineering schools and my path led me to Tandon.
During my days at NYU Tandon, there were several things I really liked. First, it was the people that came from around the world. Getting to know all the different cultures helped me form a better picture of the world and motivated me to do things that really matter. Second, Tandon has a positive competition among students, which pushed me beyond my comfort zones and made me perform at a higher level and achieve many things that I would not have without the Tandon energy.
I currently work at Spin Master Inc, the fastest growing toy company in the world. I am an electronics engineer, and my primary focus is to design electronics and write firmware for complex toys. This usually includes, but is not limited to, robotics and remotely controlled toys. I love the toy industry because it is very fast-paced. From an idea to a toy in the stores is about ten months. Product development season also gives me the opportunity to develop my management and negotiating skills, learn about marketing and finance, and other essential functions of running a successful business.
School can be very tough at times, but the knowledge you are gaining right now will put you in the driver’s seat of tomorrow’s innovation. Electrical and Computer Engineering are the best fields in the world. So, keep your mind open for opportunities because almost every product and service around you had an engineer design it, and soon that engineer will be you.
I always knew I wanted to pursue engineering, but it was not until my exposure to digital electronics and computer science that I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I entered Tandon as an Electrical Engineering (EE) major in 2012. I was accepted into Tandon's Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and awarded the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) Bechtel Engineering Scholarship. I would not have been able to afford an education without the support of these programs.
While majoring in EE, I also pursued two minors: Integrated Digital Media (IDM) and Computer Science. I even enrolled in graduate courses in electrical engineering starting in my junior year.
As a student at Tandon, I had both industry and research internships. Through the school’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), I became an intern with John Deere. The following year, I participated in Tandon's Undergraduate Summer Research Program, and was advised by HEOP alum and math instructor, Dr. Medina. That experience jump-started my appreciation for academic freedom and research. The following summer, I researched signal processing with Prof. Selesnick, and I advised two other students on sound synthesis. As a senior, I took a course in machine learning with Prof. Rangan. As a result of this course, I did a senior thesis in machine learning. This research trajectory led me to my current position.
Currently, I am a first-year Ph.D. student at Northwestern University and a research assistant for Prof. Katsaggelos in his Image & Video Processing Lab (iVPL). Under his advisement, I am working on deep learning applications for music and medical imaging. I also assist senior Ph.D. students on super-resolution, stroke-lesion segmentation, and visualization of deep learning networks. The research in the lab builds on what I learned at NYU Tandon.
My advice for students is to not limit yourself to the boundaries of required coursework. Pursue your interests inside and outside your major. Step outside your comfort zone. Pursue internships and research. These experiences are extremely beneficial, even if it leads you to change your mind about your goals. Also: find a work-life balance. You are more than a set of skills and a resume.
I graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and currently work as a Product Engineer in Radar Engineering at Honeywell. In this position, I support radar systems for the Kansas City National Security Campus of the Department of Energy. This job involves both design and manufacturing.
Radar technology is used in many industries (e.g., defense, aerospace, and mobile communications) and provides many opportunities to engineers. A great thing about working in radar engineering is that it spans almost the whole spectrum of Electrical Engineering, from microelectronics to radio-frequency design. Moreover, radar engineering as a field is evolving: many new engineers are needed to improve and transform the systems in use today.
Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) offers students a multitude of career paths to follow. An ECE background holds great value to employers. It can also give you the background to develop your own company or product.
A great thing about NYU Tandon is that it fosters creativity and innovation. Being a creator, someone who can think outside-the-box, is necessary for new graduates entering the competitive workforce. I believe new graduates have the power to transform the current status of technology into what we dream the future to be. Tandon promotes this perspective. For example, the MakerSpace gives students a place and the resources to create something new, to practice and study concepts from classes, and to collaborate with fellow students.
At NYU Tandon I have learned it is important to be bold. Let your ideas and thoughts be known. There are many professors, staff, and classmates who can help you succeed. I encourage students to take up as many opportunities to learn as possible: seminars and talks, company tours, club activities, and career fairs. Be persistent.
Another great thing about Tandon is the added benefit of the NYU community and New York City which broadens your world beyond engineering. Keep an eye out for classes you might want to take. Maybe learn the violin like me! The incubator in DUMBO and the technology and finance companies in NYC provide great opportunities. I have greatly benefitted from being a student in the ECE Department at NYU Tandon, and I hope you will too.