“During my time in the electrical engineering program, I learned so much in a variety of areas that whenever I looked over a position’s job requirements, with very few exceptions, I knew I was qualified.”
That is Bonnie Cheng, who recently accepted a position as an electrical engineer at Arup—a consulting firm located in Boston. Success stories like hers are what the College of Engineering is all about.
During her senior year of high school, Bonnie knew she wanted to go into engineering, but wasn’t sure which branch was right for her. As she perused the UK College of Engineering’s website, she began to lean toward electrical engineering.
“When I looked through the website, I was able to see the kinds of projects the students and faculty were working on and that really encouraged me to choose electrical engineering,” she says. “One factor was the community. It seemed so tightly knit together. So with electrical engineering I was able to choose a degree that was large enough to provide different options for study, yet still have close friends.”
Not only was Bonnie able to make friends, she also landed a job at the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CeNSE) the very first weekend of her freshman year. CeNSE, which specializes in device development at the nanoscale level, combines academic research with commercial product development on the Lexington campus under the direction of Dr. Chuck May and supervisor Brian Wajdyk. Bonnie spent three and a half years working at CeNSE while working on her bachelor’s degree.
“Working at CeNSE gave me a unique opportunity to get an inside look at how graduate students work” Bonnie explains, “It was a unique opportunity, especially since they hired me after only one week on campus!”
Although Bonnie’s time at CeNSE gave her a taste of the industry while also earning an income, her favorite aspect of being a UK electrical engineering student was her time in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) student chapter. Serving as vice-chair this year, Bonnie is heavily involved in outreach and recruiting. She also treasures the mentoring support she has received from the electrical engineering faculty.
“All of my professors were extremely helpful inside and outside of the classroom. I never had an experience where I needed help and couldn’t get it. Drs. Regina Hannemann and Jeff Ashley both mentored me and I greatly enjoyed working alongside them in IEEE,” she asserts.
In the classroom, Bonnie focused on a field of study that is both academically challenging and personally rewarding: power and alternative energy. “I have always been environmentally conscious,” Bonnie states. “As a result, when scheduling my courses, I took several electives in solar power, alternative power, alternative energies, environmental consequences and even overlapping philosophy classes like Environmental Ethics. I believe these issues are crucial for the well-being of our planet and civilization.”
With that kind of passion driving her, Bonnie is sure to be an excellent electrical engineer for Arup!