Electrical powerhouse

June 16, 2011

Just one name graces the first prize certificate from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region 4 Student Paper Contest, but winner Emma Muir ’11 says her accomplishment was really a Bradley family achievement.

Muir presented her senior project research on ultrasound technology at the institute’s regional gathering in Minnesota last month, earning Bradley’s third consecutive first place award in the annual competition. Last year, Bradley engineers took both first and second prizes.

Muir’s Bradley family even includes a member of her real family. Sam Muir ’11 is her younger brother and project teammate.

“Although I competed on an individual basis, I could not have won without the help of my senior project teammates, Sam Muir and Jacob Sandlund ’11, the support of Dr. José Sanchez, and classmates Patrick Ellis ’11 and Andy Fouts ’11,” Muir said. “The electrical engineering department at Bradley is a close-knit family that supports each other in order to succeed.”

In fact, Ellis helped Muir prepare for the contest by critiquing and coaching her oral presentation, despite the fact he, too, competed for the award. Refining such soft skills, as Sanchez characterizes the writing, presentation and delivery aspects of research, was a key factor in Muir's success at the IEEE competition.

“Through the course of completing their senior projects, our department requires students to present three times. My students present 10 or 12 times,” Sanchez said. “I emphasize project management skills that will make all the difference once they begin their professional careers.”

Backing up Muir’s polished delivery was research Sanchez called “beyond the level of undergraduate work.” Her platform prototype was designed to dramatically cut the cost of ultrasound research.

Muir received a cash prize of $800 for her achievement and her work will likely be published in an IEEE journal that showcases outstanding undergraduate and graduate student research.

“I have always been proud to call myself a Bradley electrical engineer (EE), and I wanted others to recognize the prestige that comes with completing a Bradley EE senior project,” Muir said.

Muir will begin her career as a software engineer for Harris Corporation in July.