Ph.D. Information & Computer Science, 2011
Why did you choose this degree?
I wanted to do research. Thus, I was looking at PhD programs. When I was looking at different programs, UCI informatics had one of the few programs in the world focusing on ubiquitous computing; programs looking at social aspects of Ubicomp were even fewer. UCI informatics faculty, their research areas and their reputation made the decision easier.
What has been your career path since graduating with a Ph.D.?
I started as a Senior Researcher at Nokia Labs. Even though the title says “senior,” it was the entry-level position for those with Ph.D.s. As my expertise evolved and was more valued, I was promoted with increased responsibilities. Now, as principal researcher in the Emerging Technologies Group, I’m leading projects and enjoying the challenges that new responsibilities always bring.
What do you enjoy most about your current position?
My current position allows me to explore and invent new technologies. I look at different aspects beyond the technology itself – social opportunities, business challenges, infrastructure possibilities and so on. I’m learning everyday (and often in areas outside of technology).
What does a typical work day look like for you?
I think I have the typical industry research day – meetings, more meetings, emails, more emails, paperwork, mentoring junior colleagues, reading related research, some prototyping, framing research and demos, and on good days, I get to bounce ideas off of colleagues.
What was the best part of your experience at UCI?
I miss the community of Ph.D. students at UCI. You get to be surrounded with other smart, curious people who enjoy geeking out, too. What fun!
In what way(s) did your studies prepare you for your career to date?
The program builds your expertise, which is great. However, understand that there are always new challenges that the Ph.D. program won’t prepare you for. Don’t worry though; you’ve passed the challenges of a Ph.D. program; that “preparation” will help you find ways to address new challenges.
What would be your advice to incoming students who might want to follow a similar career path?
If possible, nurture your curiosity and the curiosity of others. Allow that curiosity to make you ask more questions and dig deeper. No matter where you end up, when you dig deeper, there’s always something interesting to be found.