Bridging the Technology Gap
A major in electrical engineering came naturally to Elvina Mintarno. After all, most of her family studies in the same field, including Evelyn, Mintarno's twin sister who is also an electrical engineering sophomore at Stanford University.
But Mintarno's interest isn't limited to electricity and circuits. In the summer of 2003—only a year since she moved from Indonesia and took an intro physics class—Mintarno earned a research spot in a high-profile physics project that studies the deformation of the space shuttle insulation foam, the most speculated cause of the Columbia accident in February 2003. This year, however, she will try to focus only on her electrical engineering study and plan for a career in the semiconductor sector or finance. She'll also make sure that she'll work with a great team. "The first year in my job is where my learning curve is the steepest," Mintarno explains. "I want to make sure that I'm learning from the best people."
Ultimately, Mintarno adds, she'd like to go back to her home country and introduce to the Indonesian people new technologies from the United States. She also hopes in Indonesia to help raise the respect for humanities, one of the biggest surprises she found at Stanford. E-mail Mintarno at email@example.com
True to His Dream
A mechanical engineering junior at the University of California, Berkeley, William Hartman says he fell in love with machines as he was growing up as a Disney kid in Florida. His interest in mechanical engineering was further encouraged by his father and grandfather, both of whom worked at General Motors. Before it was time to go to college, Hartman was already building high-tech, sensor-equipped haunted houses in the backyard. He says his "lofty dream" is to design and manage his own amusement park, and this dream is what motivates him, keeps him going every day, and helps him survive all the nerve-wrecking exams.
But Hartman has a down-to-earth career plan, too. When he graduates in spring 2005, he will most likely work in a cutting-edge technology sector or the automotive industry. Then, within five years, he plans to pursue an MBA before moving into the engineering management side or starting his own company.
For now, Hartman is researching MEMS, which he believes will play a large role in the future. He is also preparing for a spring co-op in either auto manufacturing or the semiconductor industry. Hartman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Effort Shows and Impresses
A chemical engineering junior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lily Peng has been packing her study with researches. Also a biomedical engineering minor, Peng has, since freshman year, studied cell signaling, which she'll likely continue during her biotech summer research in Singapore in 2004. Last summer, she got her first taste in industrial research while interning with Intel Corp. The company is trying to find new ways to apply the Pentium chips to bio systems, Peng says, and her work included examining different bio sensors and writing a paper about them.
Among all her researches, Peng says she is most proud of her quantitative study on protein, which was published in an MIT journal during her sophomore year. "It was a good experience to give me a glimpse of what grad school is like," she adds. Peng is exploring graduate programs in bioengineering at Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley.
To those interested in pursuing a similar path, Peng has the following advice: "Engineering research could be hard. You see people succeeding and doing well, but you can only succeed after many times of failing. Intelligence can only get you so far. But your effort shows and that leaves an impression on people." E-mail Peng at email@example.com