Electrical engineering master’s student Christina Yeoman always wanted to attend UK. She also excelled in math, enjoyed computers and was a regular at the Engineers Day open house each February. Because she preferred tinkering with computer hardware more than designing software, she anticipated studying computer engineering at UK; however, there was one problem. The College of Engineering didn’t yet have a computer engineering program.
“I really wanted to study computer engineering, so I thought I would need to go somewhere else,” she says.
Fortunately, UK began offering degrees in computer engineering two years before Christina arrived on campus. Since then, she has wrung nearly every drop of educational and extracurricular experience available through the UK College of Engineering.
It began with Christina’s first internship. At Lexmark, located near the Lexington campus, Christina got involved with data mining and website management. She was able to give up-to-date information to her department and liked the experience.
“It was a wonderful first engineering job,” she says. “It taught me a lot about the industry, the working environment, how to run meetings and what it’s like to be depended on. I was fortunate to be hired my first semester of college and work there until my senior year.”
Back on the Lexington campus, Christina began to assume leadership roles in student organizations. She held three different leadership positions during her four years in Phi Sigma Rho—the College’s engineering sorority. In 2010-2011, she served as Vice-Chair of the student chapter of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); this academic year, she became IEEE Chair. Amid these responsibilities, Christina founded WECE—Women in Electrical and Computer Engineering, which encouraged female students to support one another and strategize for a high retention rate among women in the ECE program. These were only a few of the organizations Christina joined.
“I have never become a member of a student organization simply because it looks good on resume,” Christina insists. “I join when I care about the cause and believe I can help it or learn from it.”
When not contributing to a student organization, engrossed in her studies or interning, Christina maximized other opportunities available to engineering students. Through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, Christina conducted research only available to graduate students in most institutions; and in the summer of 2011, she took the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky’s (PEIK) course on renewable energy—in Spain!
“The study abroad class was very impressive. I was able to go inside a wind turbine as well as a geothermal heat pump building as it was undergoing construction. I also saw a solar garden among other renewables Spain is implementing. What impressed me most was the lifestyle of the Spainiards I met. They are so conservative with their water and energy; it made me want to improve this nation with my research and work,” she says.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, Christina enrolled in a master’s program in electrical engineering, while also obtaining the Power and Energy Institute (PEIK) and Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) certificates. She is interning at Seikowave—a small business within the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments that focuses on 3D imaging solutions. Enrolled as a full-time graduate student, Christiana will graduate in the spring of 2013.
“The engineering program at UK has wonderful professors and staff who really encourage learning,” says Christina. “The program is exactly what I needed and wanted from my undergraduate and graduate programs. Eventually, I would like to become a professor and be a positive influence in the lives of students—collaborating together toward the promise of a better life for future generations.”