“I hope to be able to solve large problems in an economical way.”
Maria Martin, an electrical engineering major from Pennsylvania, wants to put her passion for software development to work by providing people affordable access to traditionally expensive services such as healthcare and education.
Rostraver Township, Pennsylvania
Belle Vernon Area High School
What is your favorite thing about being a student at UGA?
I really enjoy the sense of community on campus and in clubs. I have been able to meet so many people from different backgrounds, in and out of the realm of engineering, who have really challenged my thinking and opened my eyes to how unique and interesting we all are in different, but similar ways.
Why did you choose to study engineering?
I chose engineering because a core part of my personality is a problem-solver. Engineering I believe gives me the capacity to be able to solve virtually any physical problem. From studying engineering, I began to believe I could possess the ability to basically do anything I could dream into reality and accomplish my goal of ultimately improving the world in some way.
What has been the greatest challenge you have faced while at UGA, and how did you overcome it?
I have struggled the most with time management, and more specifically underestimating the amount of time it takes to do things. Engineering course work requires a lot of time. I have spread myself thin a few semesters in college, and it wasn’t because I didn’t have enough time, but rather I used my time really poorly. I have learned a schedule is absolutely the most important thing to have in college or even in jobs. I have accomplished so much more when I have written down exact time frames to do things as opposed to when I would just loosely make plans. Schedules are the key to making the most of your time.
What have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference for you?
The biggest thing I have learned recently which I now find to be super important is to ask others for help. It is great to be able to find answers on your own and it is something I primarily do, but I also think more than one perspective on an answer can be incredibly useful and can benefit your own learning and understanding of a topic.
What or who has helped you become a successful student here at UGA?
In my personal life the past couple of years I have been facing some adversity, this has affected my ability to succeed in my academic career. I reached out to some of my professors to express my concerns because while I did want to succeed, I really did not know how to in my situation or if it was possible. I would credit the professors who encouraged me and saw my potential when I did not as a main factor in my success here as a student. I think having someone see something positive in you that you fail to recognize in yourself can be incredibly powerful, especially when you are close to giving up.
Describe your undergraduate research:
I have had the pleasure of working on a few research projects during my time here at UGA. Part of my research with the Innovation Factory involves a project I am currently leading which is focused on developing a delivery robot within buildings which is economical and easy to use. I also have begun working with Dr. Bilskie this semester on the Coastal Ocean Analysis and Simulation Team creating surge models for hurricanes and tropical storm. I have also worked with Dr. Bourlai in the Multispectral Imagery Lab researching iris machine learning algorithms.
Why did you choose this area of research?
I have a lot of interests pertaining to applications of computer science and electrical engineering, but the reason I have chosen to work on those projects is because I happened to be very interested in the topics which the research encompassed.
What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
Anywhere there’s a courtyard! Studying under a tree is the quintessential college experience.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens?
Cali-n-Tito’s, because I can’t turn down good chips and dip!
What has been your favorite class at UGA?
Engineering Entrepreneurship, I enjoy the business aspect of engineering most because I think it is the key step to making engineering dreams a reality.
Best memory at UGA so far?
I don’t have a particularly best memory, but I have a lot of great memories which I collectively look back on to remind me why I enjoy being a student at UGA so much.
What advice do you have for younger students who wish to pursue engineering?
Philosophically, I would say don’t give up because it is incredibly rewarding and the opportunities are endless. Practically, I would definitely say to really try your hardest in Physics, Chemistry, and Calculus before college or while in college!
How do you hope to impact society with your engineering degree?
I hope to be able to solve large problems in an economical way. I personally am interested in software development, so I would love to use my skills to be able to make certain services which are incredibly expensive, like healthcare and world-class education, more economically accessible through the means of software development.