Alyssa Apsel

Current Position: Assistant Professor at Cornell University
Alyssa Apsel
Highlight When everything works! It is a great feeling to see a new idea realized in a working system for the first time.
Her job: Assistant Professor, Cornell University
Describe what you do in your current work situation? Being a professor in Electrical Engineering entails working both as a teacher and as a researcher. My teaching focuses on electronic circuits and microchip design, while my research focuses on specific aspects of microelectronic design for things like low power radios and computers.
Why did you choose engineering? Engineering is a great choice for people who love to solve problems in creative ways. As an engineer I have the opportunity to use the latest ideas in physics, math, chemistry, biology, etc. to actually build things that work and are useful to the world. It is really very exciting to see something that you developed working!
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have? I got a B.S. from Swarthmore College, an M.S. from California Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work? Most of my work experience comes either from being a graduate student or a professor. Some of the things that I have done have included design of microelectronic circuits and system to drive lasers and receive signals from lasers. I also work on design of electronics for low power radios. Day to day this involves quite a bit of design of both circuits and larger systems of circuits as well as testing and lots and lots of writing.
What do you like best about being an engineer? When everything works! It is a great feeling to see a new idea realized in a working system for the first time.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of? That's very hard to say. I'm quite proud of the students in my group and what they are able to do after a few years of training and experience in my lab. I'm proud of some of the early work that I have done in optical interconnect for computer applications. When I started working in this area, no one thought that it had a chance. Now it is a popular research area. I'm proud of being in on the early stages.