Devon Griggs (MSEE ’18)

What inspired you to choose the master’s in electrical engineering program at UW Bothell?

After finishing my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Portland, I started working at The Boeing Company in Everett. I still wanted to continue my formal education by earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering, and when I learned that UW Bothell could fulfill that desire and still allow me to work full time, I was quick to apply. UW Bothell was a strategic choice for me because I wanted an opportunity close to my workplace that would pave the way for me through evening courses and research to future PhD study at UW Seattle. As a current MSEE holder and a full-time graduate student in the department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at UW Seattle, I am pleased to say that the strategy has been fruitful.

What would you say makes the program unique or innovative?

I found that the professors were flexible and open to students participating in research around work hours. I had good experiences in two labs, both of which helped prepare me for my current research in my PhD lab.

What are some highlights from your student experience?

I appreciated the diversity of my fellow students. I was impressed by the number of women, including mothers, and non-white students in the classes. I also appreciated that a strong portion of the students were, or had previously been, working professionals. This offered me a different perspective on life and engineering than my traditional undergraduate experience.

What courses did you enjoy the most, and was there an area of research that inspired you?

I found two courses on ultrasonic devices particularly interesting, which led me to volunteer with Dr. Pierre Mourad’s lab where I studied ultrasonic neural activation. This step proved helpful to my academic journey, because I am now aiming in my current lab to harness neural activation to develop therapies for neurological disorders. Without my start in Mourad’s Lab, I am not confident that I would be pursuing my dreams today.

What were the most challenging and rewarding parts of being a student?

For me, the most challenging part of being a student was being a full-time employee at the same time. This proved rewarding, however, because I was able to gain industry experience and save up for a house down payment. I am the only student in my current lab with four years of industry experience and a homeowner, and I find it a good life position to be in.

Do you have any advice for future students?

Before committing to the program, ask yourself if this program is the right program for you. If you choose to commit, I recommend taking only one course for the first quarter if you are working full time. This will give you an opportunity to feel out the time commitment before registering for multiple classes.

Where are you currently working, and what is your job title?

I am a full-time electrical engineering PhD student in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at UW Seattle, and I am blessed to be a member of a neurotechnology lab. In this lab we are developing technologies to study stimulation-based therapies for neurological disorders such as stroke. I am not actively working at The Boeing Company, but the company graciously blessed me with an educational leave of absence for the time being.

Do you feel the degree prepared and supported your professional career goals? How did this job opportunity come about?

Yes, the degree certainly better prepared me for research as a PhD student. Because of my performance in the coursework and research in the master’s program, I was able to make a strong application to my current graduate program. It is unlikely that I would have been admitted if I did not have the opportunity to earn a strong MSEE degree through UW Bothell.

Are there any other thoughts or advice you would like to share?

Now is the time to make steps towards fulfilling your dreams!