Master's Profile: Jonathan Buie
Current Position: Software Engineer at Intel Corporation
Undergraduate: Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois-Champaign, 2014
Duke ECE Path: Master of Science (MS) – Project Path, 2017
Why did you choose Duke for your graduate study?
I chose Duke because of its commitment to each one of its graduate students, and because of Duke's commitment to increase the presence of students of color. In addition, my research as an undergraduate student had medical applications, and that led me to look at Duke for graduate study due to its excellent reputation in biomedical engineering.
Duke has provided me the opportunity to mature not only personally, but also in technical knowledge. Studying for a master's degree has given me more confidence in my technical skills, while providing me with the freedom to explore outside interests in the form of start-up ventures and professional development opportunities.
What was the most valuable part of your educational experience at Duke?
The most valuable part of my educational experience was close interaction with faculty. As a graduate student, I had the chance not only to take focused classes, but also to get more one-on-one insight into technical expertise and how to tackle tough problems. At the same time, I was inspired and motivated by being surrounded by other talented and creative students.
Which classes were the most useful?
Courses I found useful have been ECE 551 for teaching the fundamentals to professional programming and essential programming skills, ECE 651 for introducing professional software engineering practices and understanding the importance of documenting and recording software solutions, and ECE 590.04 (Team Design Challenge) for providing an opportunity to take on real-world problems and develop creative, innovative and hands-on solutions.
Tell us about your research project.
My masters project was part in my involvement with the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition. The project began as part of the ECE 590.04 Team Design Challenge Course taught by Martin Brooke and Tyler Bletsch. The goal of this competition is to create a system to accurately map our oceans. My role was creating a portion of a synthetic aperture sonar diving pod. I created a system that combines sensors to record the precise location of the diving pods as they drift through the ocean.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying to the Duke ECE master's degree program?
The Duke experience is what you make it. The university has resources invested in just about any field of interest that a student might have. As a graduate student, you have more access to distinguished professors. If they are conducting research you are interested in, you can reach out and potentially join their group. Take advantage of resources outside of class, such as the DUHatch student start-up incubator or the Deep Sea Start-Up Challenge, to get your ideas out into the world.