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UT Tyler Electrical Engineering Student Shares Summer Experience at MIT

October 8, 2012

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

Ask students how they spent their summer. Not many would answer with interning at one of the most renowned research institutions in the country.

Irving Olmedo of Tyler, a senior at The University of Texas at Tyler, did just that.

An electrical engineering major, Olmedo was one of 39 students selected nationwide to intern at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of its nine-week summer research program.

“MIT seemed very intimidating at first, as a world-renowned research institution with famous scientists and engineers,” said Olmedo, who serves as president of the UT Tyler Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Corona Chapter. “It’s hard to not be affected by the pink elephant syndrome, a common reaction of not feeling good enough to be there. Surprisingly, after the first week, I was at home.”

Distinguished scientist Arvind Mithal, professor of computer science and engineering in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, advised Olmedo.

“I was very lucky to end up working in the Computer Structures Group (CSG) under Professor Arvind. Professor Arvind and Ph.D. candidate supervisor Abhinav Agarwal were both very welcoming and listened as well as questioned my ideas and suggestions.”

Olmedo called his internship “both challenging and fulfilling.”

“I know I didn’t change the world in nine weeks, but I learned a few methods for research. I gained communication and team skills. I also learned architecture exploration in hardware designs and worked with industry standard tools such as the Synopsis Design Compiler for ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) synthesis,” he said.

This involves semiconductor testing, a method engineers use to provide support testing, production and technical support of high-tech, everyday devices, including automotive electronics and smart phones.

Olmedo said his fellow interns were just as unique as his experience.

Students studied various fields, and not just engineering – but also physics, mathematics, material science and biology. Among the assorted majors and backgrounds, they all shared common characteristics.

 “All were very accomplished undergraduates and had a passion for what they were working on as well as ambition for the future,” Olmedo said. “It was magical place of ‘A’ players working with ‘A’ players. None of us imagined at the beginning how much work we’d accomplish by the end of the summer.”

For Olmedo, who will graduate next May, the experience has definitely given him the foundation for continued success.

“The MIT Summer Research Program provided me with experiences, lessons and memories that will last me a lifetime,” he added. “This summer was only the beginning, and I know I am ready for graduate school. The biggest observation I made while there at MIT was that there was nothing technical thrown at me that I couldn’t handle.

“This reflects in the strong preparation I have gained from professors at UT Tyler. I’m ready for the next step.”

In addition to outstanding faculty and rigorous programs, the Department of Electrical Engineering features the UT Tyler SPEA Center for Semiconductor Testing Fund, established by SPEA America, a leading automatic test equipment manufacturer.

With SPEA’s gift, UT Tyler introduces hands-on laboratory semiconductor test procedures into the electrical engineering curriculum to prepare graduates for semiconductor testing careers, such as test development engineers, mechanical design engineers and environmental health and safety managers. 

The department is within the UT Tyler College of Engineering and Computer Science. For more information, call 903.566.7040.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.
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