U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
Background: I am an electrical engineer by training but my expertise is in micro/nano-fabrication technologies with a primary focus on MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems). I am currently a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow looking at integration issues of renewable energy technologies and the electric grid at the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability in the U.S. Department of Energy.
Question 1: Why did you become an engineer?
Answer: After being exposed to the sciences in high school, I was very interested in understanding how the world around me worked. It seemed like the mysteries and complexities of life finally began to make sense. It was exciting every time I "discovered" some new piece of information that connected the dots of my world. I felt privileged with knowledge that the general population was not aware of. That sense of adventure combined with a desire for applicability led me to a career in engineering throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies.
Question 2: Tell us about a hobby or passion outside of work.
Answer: I thoroughly enjoy traveling to different parts of the world to learn about various cultures and histories. I document the sights, cuisines, and people that I encounter throughout my travels with my digital SLR camera.
Question 3: Share a lighthearted story (can be recent or from the past, work related or not) about yourself.
Answer: During my first winter as a graduate student, I was still getting comfortable with the idea of being informal with my supervisor such as talking to him on a first name basis. At the annual lab retreat/conference, I took some liberties at the social event held prior to dinner and a keynote speaker. After an early morning commute, half a day of snowboarding, several drinks, and dinner, I proceeded to doze-off during the keynote. I woke abruptly and confused from the applause at the end of the speech and realized that my supervisor was sitting in line-sight of me two tables over. He shook his head disapprovingly when I looked his way and I was flushed with shame and embarrassment. I learned later that night that he was giving me a hard time in jest for being a light-weight. That experience was a good ice-breaker into the world of informal student-supervisor relations but I refused to drink in front of him from then on.
Question 4: What's your favorite food? Got a sweet tooth? Caffeine junkie? Tell us about it!
Answer: When it comes to sweets, it's a tie between cookies 'n cream ice cream, dark chocolate (86 percent or darker), and gummy bears.
Question 5: Share a web link that you found that really excites you and tell us why.
Answer: The Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org) is an amazing website/project with a great mission statement. There are 1800+ videos on a wide range of academic topics that are explained in a very intuitive and concise manner. These short video lessons teach complex topics in layman's terms are an invaluable resource for educating those who may not have the opportunity to access a world-class education through conventional means. I firmly believe that knowledge is power and an empowered populace will make the world a better place.
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