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Class Notes: ECE

Degree Year
  • 2010

image of race car

Allison Smyth

Degree(s):

  • MEng

The Cornell M.Eng program was a great experience for me. I have always believed that it is important to balance both theory and practice when learning. The ECE M.Eng program was able to effectively provide this balance. In addition to a great learning environment, I also met great people who I continue to stay in touch with today.

Since graduating, I have worked on en route air traffic control systems at Raytheon Company and now drag racing timing systems at Portatree Timing Systems. In my free time, I work on other racing/car related projects including Smart Signals (wireless blinkers for antique cars) and the Moroso Electronic Switch Panel (power distribution and control system for race cars).

My family has been involved in drag racing since before I was born. I began racing at 14 years old and have not stopped since! My hobby has definitely affected the projects I have worked on and even influenced my M.Eng project. 

Hopefully the future will hold more fun projects and learning experiences. :)

Degree Year
  • 1962

photo of Randolph Scott Little

Randolph Scott Little

Degree(s):

  • BS

I took the “electronic” track in studying EE at Cornell.  Although semiconductors and computers were both fledgling developments at that time, those studies prepared me well for a career at Bell Laboratories. There I developed the first solid-state, stored-program-controlled system for automatic routing of long distance calls throughout the Bell System. A favorite class was that in digital logic design taught by Professor “HC” Torng.

A strong interest in birds, bird sounds, and recording bird sounds in particular, led me to take an elective course in acoustics. Although the course was listed in the catalog, it had not actually been taught recently. Professor Ingalls agreed to monitor the course for two students, with the two of us alternating as the instructor for successive chapters in the primary textbook. That experience not only enhanced my understanding of sound propagation, but also served well when I was tapped at Bell Labs to teach their in-house post-graduate course in the design of switching systems.

One of the most important lessons of the Cornell EE experience was learning how to learn, by which I mean realizing that while a grasp of fundamental principles and current practice may be sufficient to perform today’s tasks, self-driven continued education is a key to lifelong success.  Several times during my career at Bell Labs and AT&T Headquarters, significant technological advances and changing business parameters required learning new methods and procedures. Not the least of those was developing management and marketing skills to complement my engineering talents.

Today’s ECE students have excellent opportunities through such initiatives as team projects and undergraduate research to develop skills that will help them excel beyond the strict engineering "box," while still getting the very best education in engineering theory and practice. 

R. S. Little CU’62 (BEE’63)

Degree Year
  • 1985

Karl Towle

Degree(s):

  • MEng

I loved my time at Cornell and hated to leave, but my work there prepared me for a varied and fulfilling career. I spent several years designing telcom hardware and software at AT&T Bell Labs, then transitioned to networking hardware design, first at Larscom and then Cisco. I'm now a few years into rebooting my career as a web software engineer, first at McClatchy Interactive and now with Vital Source Technologies.

Degree Year
  • 1991

photo of Jesse Lackey

Jesse Lackey

Degree(s):

  • BS

I received my BSCS/BSEE double-major in 1991, and then spent most of the 1990s working on 3D rendering software/R&D. Don Greenberg's computer graphics class blew me away and I knew I wanted to work in computer graphics after graduation. I was very fortunate to work with some stellar people (other Cornellians!) doing just that for more than 5 years in Ithaca at 3D/Eye and later Autodesk. 

Around 2001 I decided to change careers and became a freelance electronics designer. I've done hundreds of designs in pro audio, zigbee smart energy, LED lighting, and control systems areas in volumes of a few to 10,000. Most of my clients are small startups and occasionally artists, but I have also custom-designed and installed 5,000-10,000 pixel LED systems in three nightclubs in the UK, Washington, D.C., and Prague. I also sell a specialized LED controller that was used by the Metropolitan Opera in NYC for their production of Rigoletto last year and just recently in the movie Ender's Game.

I moved from Ithaca to NYC in 2000, and from NYS to the Bay Area in 2006. I enjoy the more laid back pace (relative to NYC) and how technology and entrepreneurship thrive here, and expect to stay here for a long while.  :)

Degree Year
  • 1954

Vic Wintriss

Degree(s):

  • BS

I am presently the Executive Director of a non-profit school teaching kids Java starting in the 5th grade. Previously, I founded three electronics manufacturing companies in San Diego and served 20 years as a U.S. Navy patrol plane pilot, retiring at the rank of Commander.