LeoSzetoEE

Leo1

At the age of nine, my family and I moved from Hong Kong to San Francisco.  Having lived in these two fantastic places, I’ve always considered myself a city person, so when I was given the opportunity to attend UCLA with a Blue and Gold Scholarship – I was thrilled.  The campus is dense, active, and filled with all the best a city has to offer.

My time at UCLA and in the Electrical Engineering Department has taught me an incredible amount about the field that I’m studying and it has also helped me to grow as a leader. 

I’m currently serving as the President for the UCLA Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  IEEE at UCLA exists to serve the undergraduate community and compliment the education that students are getting from course and labwork.  In the last four to five years, our membership has grown from 20 to about 200 active members.

One of IEEE’s newest programs is Open Project Space (IEEE OPS).  OPS provides freshman and sophomore students with hands-on, practical technical experience.  By investing in our freshman and sophomore members, we teach them fundamental skills that will make a big impact in the classroom as they progress through their education.

IEEE also competes in various nationwide contests, such as Micromouse, which has placed first and second in regional IEEE competitions, as well as Natcar, which was best in SoCal in 2010.  We also recently won UCLA’s Tau Beta Pi Rube Goldberg Competition (Pictures and Video are available here).

IEEE has become a tremendous resource for so many students across UCLA Engineering, and I’m honored to have been able to lead this group during my time here.  While IEEE has been a big piece of my experience as a Bruin engineer, I’m also really grateful that I’ve been able to apply the knowledge that I’ve learned in the classroom into something practical and something that I can be proud of. 

My education at UCLA helped to prepare me for two different internship opportunities.  After working for a year as a programmer at Symantec in Culver City, I was introduced to Topanga Technologies, a UCLA based start-up that is creating plasma lamps. They’re developing advanced plasma lighting technology that is more efficient than LEDs. As a student in electrical engineering, I selected the-computer engineering pathway, which enabled me to develop my interest in circuits, embedded systems, and computer science at a start-up such as Topanga Technologies.

My experience at UCLA Engineering has given me valuable insight into identifying and solving problems in electrical engineering. I am confident about approaching new challenges, asking the right questions and coming up with a plan to move forward. This was made possible due to how UCLA Engineering’s faculty and organizations have constantly challenged me to find solutions for many problems, both in academia and in practical applications. Although the experience is earned, being at UCLA gave me the opportunity to challenge myself intellectually during my time here. 

I’m confident that all I’ve learned here will help me secure a fantastic industry position when I move back to San Francisco after graduation as a UCLA Engineering alumnus.