Writer: Lorena Sánchez
Three electrical engineering students each received $10,000 grants from the National Consortium for Measures and Signatures Intelligence Research (NCMR).
Richard Gutierrez was last year’s recipient, while Robert Pham and Gregorio Hinojos were the recipients of this year’s grants.
The NCMR program was set up to meet the demands of the intelligence community for trained personnel in areas of specific technical skills. In this case, the three recipients had a shared interest in measurement and signal intelligence, scientific and technical intelligence gathered by intercepting signals.
Each student received a $10,000 grant to cover educational expenses.
“My first reaction was shock and excitement. I had never been awarded a scholarship of that amount before so I was extremely happy,” Gutierrez said.
Pham called the receiving the grant “great honor” and was taken back by the news that he was one of the recipients.
“I had to read the e-mail a couple of times before I could believe I actually got the scholarship,” Pham said.
For Hinojos, the experience proved to be emotional, but it also gave him a tremendous amount of determination to prove to himself that he deserved this grant.
“I felt a great responsibility to Dr. De Leon who nominated me for this scholarship.”
Phillip De Leon, professor of electrical and computer engineering, recommended the students for their work and interest in the field of signal processing. Courses taken with De Leon proved to be the catalyst that directed each student to this specific field of study.
“I had taken a class called Signals and Systems I with Dr. De Leon. I really enjoyed the class and I did great in it. Then, Dr. De Leon recommended taking Digital Signal processing so I looked into signal processing and that is when I became interested in this field,” Hinojos said.
De Leon said the grants will provide his students experience in signal processing and signal analysis that will greatly benefit them in the future.
“I am very happy for all three students. This demonstrated the high-quality of our students in electrical engineering and signal processing on a national level,” De Leon said.
All three students are now looking toward the future and have plans to advance their education in engineering and other fields.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree electrical engineering and applied mathematics in December 2009. Gutierrez is now working toward a master’s degree in electrical engineering specializing in communication systems and digital signal processing areas with an emphasis on speech processing and speech recognition.
“I would like to conduct research that is vital to national security or critical to the defense of the United States. More importantly, I would like to conduct research that is pertinent to the advancement of our society,” Gutierrez said.
Like Gutierrez, Hinojos, now a senior, expressed a desire to obtain his master’s degree.
“I want to pursue my master’s degree I electrical and computer engineering. As a personal goal, I want to continue doing research with De Leon while working on my master’s,” Hinojos said.
Pham, also a senior, is working toward completing a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and plans on taking a different route after graduation.
“After graduation I will be going to school for a degree in graphic design. This is another field I am interested in,” Pham said.