It was inevitable that Janine An (B.S. ’18) would pursue a STEM career. “I always liked math and science growing up,” she says. “My grades were always good in those subjects, and my parents and teachers were very encouraging.”
In middle school, she took a circuit class. “Seeing how electricity flows in the circuit and lights up the light bulb, let’s say it ‘sparked’ my interest!” she recalls. But seeing so few women in STEM fields solidified her decision. “[It] makes me want to help bridge the gender gap,” she says.
At NYIT, she took full advantage of all of the programs and clubs offered. She was on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) executive board as alumni chair and a member of all the engineering clubs.
An, who in her spare time plays trumpet in a marching band, sat down with The Box to talk about her college experience and how that has helped prepare her for the future.
Why did you choose NYIT?
By high school, I knew that I wanted to pursue a STEM career and I also knew I wanted to live in New York. My guidance counselor recommended several schools for me to look at, but when I found out that NYIT offered a combined degree in electrical and computer engineering, I thought that was really interesting. The fact that the school is located in midtown Manhattan really sealed the deal.
What attracted you to this area of study?
I was very excited that this major exposed me to three different fields: computer engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. It gave me the opportunity to experience and explore, figure out what I like and dislike, and eventually decide on the area that I want to pursue.
What are you up to post-graduation?
I graduated in May 2018 and received an offer as a solutions architect from Verizon. I have really enjoyed the experience so far. I get to see the other side of Verizon, aside from being a wireless provider. The company does business with 98 percent Fortune 500 companies, offering them connectivity, network services, unified communications, and security solutions to help them achieve digital transformation. It’s been a bit of a learning curve but well worth it for sure.
What are some of your most memorable experiences as a student?
In my sophomore year I interned with the Long Island Railroad as a signal engineer and I had a co-op internship with Con Edison as an engineering aide.
Another memorable experience I had at school was my senior design project with Associate Professor Ziqian (Cecilia) Dong, Ph.D. for which I was the team leader and software engineer. We designed a smart cane that guides visually impaired users in an indoor environment using ultrasonic sensors and BLE beacon positioning technology. We participated in the New York State Industries for the Disabled CREATE competition against 13 teams from other universities and won fourth place. We were only one point away from third and two points away from second place.
What advice would you have for first-year students at NYIT?
College is a place to explore and find out what you want to do. Get involved on campus, make lots of friends, and apply for internships that interest you. Make sure you build up your portfolio before you graduate and apply for a real job.
This interview has been edited and condensed.