I am a professor in the electrical engineering department at Boise State University (BSU) in Boise, Idaho. Boise State is located in the largest city in Idaho and has an enrollment of approximately 15,000 students. The engineering program was established in 1996 at BSU. It is very exciting and challenging to be part of a new program. I teach courses in the microelectronics area and have research funding from the National Science Foundation to investigate electrical and thermal stability of magnetic materials used in data storage applications. I also coordinate a research program for undergraduates that are majoring in engineering, chemistry, materials science, or computer science that allows students from all over the country to come to BSU for 8 weeks in the summer and perform research under the supervision of our faculty.
My path towards a career in engineering was not very direct. In high school I enjoyed mathematics and science classes but I did not have the confidence to pursue engineering as a major. Instead I chose to major in dietetics at Southwest Missouri State University. After graduating in 1980, I worked as a dietitian in a hospital in Kansas City. The work was not very challenging and the pay was low. Advancement would require a 2-year internship so I decided to go back to school for an engineering degree instead. A high school friend was in graduate school and she was really enjoying engineering. I finished my B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1985 at the University of Missouri - Columbia. I worked for AT&T Technologies in the department of yield improvement for a memory product. I decided to pursue a graduate degree when AT&T began phasing out their memory division. I returned to the University of Missouri and there I completed my M.S. and then a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.
After finishing my doctoral studies, I completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Becton Dickinson Research Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. While I was there I developed a system which dramatically increased the shelf life of a product and received 5 patents for this work. I also met my husband while working for this company. After my postdoctoral fellowship was over, I decided to pursue a career in academia. I began teaching at the University of Alabama and was the first woman faculty member to be hired in the electrical engineering department. At that time my husband began working on his doctoral degree in computer science. After 3 years there, he finished his degree and we began searching for faculty positions for each of us. We found them at Boise State in 1997 and we are now both professors here. We enjoy working together and own a home in the mountains outside of Boise. We enjoy hiking, canoeing, reading and the solitude of the Idaho wilderness. We also both enjoy teaching very much. It is very exciting to be involved in preparing our future scientists/engineers and it is extremely rewarding to follow their successes. My long term goal is to become a dean and help new professors be successful in their research and teaching.