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The 2016 IMS Project Connect Experience

IMS Project Connect is a program that connects engineering students from all over the United States. This year the conference was held in San Francisco, California where a group of 17 students participated from universities including Alabama, Hawaii, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Washington and California. At the International Microwave Symposium, students were given the opportunity to see the latest products and software from different companies around the world. Some booth representatives showed demonstrations of their products and talked about how they are implemented in circuit designs. Companies spoke about their software and how CAD designing skills will be beneficial to businesses in the industry. Project Connect created a professional yet student friendly networking environment. Students were housed at the University of California Berkeley where they became acquainted and worked together to create videos of their personal experiences. Q&A panel sessions with successful engineers helped answer questions about the paths taken to grow from student to engineer. Also, graduate research papers and technical talks on various topics were accessible throughout the week. MTTS President Prof. Ke Wu addressed the participants and gave an insight on opportunities for students in MTTS.

What students had to say about their experience

Description: 13271625_1238166122862051_474868758_o.jpg“I had a great time meeting so many Microwave Engineering professionals and learning about the wide variety of topics and research included in the field. I can’t wait to start my career in Microwave Engineering!” – Lauren Levenhagen, Auburn University.

“Being chosen to be a part of this year’s event really opened my eyes about RF technology and how it is used in applications. I met engineers that worked in the industry as well as the academia field. I also connected with new friends that are majoring in Electrical Engineering! My experience with Project Connect was more than I could imagine. I now know how useful the technology is and am interested in pursuing a career geared towards RF Engineering.” – Larsha Johnson, University of South Florida.

Description: IMG_5680.JPG“The experiences and network that I have developed from IMS 2016 have broadened my knowledge in the field of Microwave Engineering. I greatly appreciate being given the opportunity to attend IMS 2016.” – Kainalu “Nalu” Matthews, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“It was a great opportunity for me to better understand this field by participating in this conference. It helped me focus and I hope now I can do better in this area.” – Jannatul Ferdous, UTDallas

A personal journey by Anjali Mann

It was in February when my RF circuits and systems Professor Dr. Jenshan Lin discussed about IMS project connect 2016 in my class. At that time, nobody in my class seemed interested in the opportunity. My curiosity towards microwave field made me search about it and I felt the need to not miss out on the chance. I applied for Project Connect 2016 hoping to get some learning experience. What I didn’t know at that time was how this decision will change my life completely. When I was boarding my flight to San Francisco, I had mixed emotions about how my five days were going to be in a strange city. I freaked out a little when I realized that my flight got delayed and I was scared to be in this unknown place. But the hospitality I received from organizers of Project Connect 2016, relieved me from my worries. Our supervisor Abhay Samant stayed up whole night just to make sure that every student arrived safely at UC Berkeley campus. The next morning, we had to leave early for the conference and commute through the local train system called BART. Seventeen students from different parts of the country, with completely different backgrounds were traveling together for about two hours for three days continuously. We bonded with each other so well that we’re like best of friends now.

When we reached the Moscone Center, where the IMS 2016 was taking place, we came across a whole new view of the world of microwaves. Apart from the free goodies given to us on our arrival and the scenic beauty of San Francisco, we met so many personalities successful in their field of interest. The Project Connect 2016 technical planning committee selected few of the many technologists belonging to the field of Microwave Engineering to share their experiences with us. Over a course of three days, we were introduced to strategically planned panel sessions where speakers from academia, industry and government charmed us with their talk. Teaching faculties, entrepreneurs and company representatives discussed their success and failures. They helped clear our doubts about our future prospects and how we can efficiently utilize the time we have now so that we can continue their legacy. The success stories made me believe that harder the path, brighter the future. Each student was given an IMS Project Connect Workbook to obtain riveting educational, industrial and networking experiences of IMS 2016. We got a chance to attend technical sessions and presentations of our own choice. It helped us in getting a clear idea about shaping our plans for the career we want to pursue. We got to know about the current products in the market as around 600 microwaves related companies were showcasing their latest products in the symposium. Description: IMG_5679.JPGWe learned that theoretical and practical knowledge is not enough to achieve our life goals. Networking is one of the key skills that a student has to develop to get the ideal job. Due to the help of Project Connect, we had access to the technical receptions organized by IEEE societies and successful companies. Interacting with smart, charismatic and experienced identities, made me so confident about myself. I made great friends in and out of Project Connect, the time that I will cherish for many years to come. My perspective of approaching my dreams has changed after this experience.