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Master’s Q&A: Eddie Rodriguez, ECE ‘22
Eddie Rodriguez, Master of Engineering in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) ‘22, was born and raised in Porterville, California. He received a BS in Computer Engineering with a minor in Computer Science from CSU East Bay.
What is your favorite class this semester?
I have been enjoying Sensors, Systems, and Algorithms for Precision Behavioral Health. This course dives into methods used to identify, diagnose, treat, and manage mental and behavioral health care. It’s a beautiful marriage of technical thinking and psychological concepts.
This course is structured so we, as the students, can dig into the current research that works to classify cognitive behaviors and disorders. Our discussions are moderated to discuss how we can positively influence behaviors while also keeping data privacy in the foreground. The semester project also allows us to build novel devices for our original research.
What excites you most about your program?
While ECE is currently a small program at Cornell Tech, we have ample opportunities to apply what we learn in class towards building hardware solutions either in Studio or in semester projects. We’re repeatedly asked to go a little bit further, and when you’re able to take interdisciplinary classes, that makes it all the more fun to get deep into new topics.
Why did you choose Cornell Tech?
Cornell Tech seemed like the lovechild of Y Combinator and the Ivy League. I spent close to a full year researching programs and cold calling faculty at various universities. Once I saw Cornell Tech’s approach to higher education through practical learning, I knew I had to come here.
The most attractive parts of the curriculum were the ability to tap into industry leaders’ knowledge-base and work alongside people with various backgrounds. Everyone here is so committed to building something with a positive societal impact, and that came through clearly when I saw the profiles of past Studio teams. Cornell Tech offered me a way to refine my skill set and apply it to problems I felt needed to be solved — it wasn’t something I could pass up.
What has surprised you most about Cornell Tech?
Having started my program in the era of COVID-19, I was amazed by how well-adapted our courses were for remote learning and how eager our faculty was to find ways to adapt the course to work with global timezones.
The diversity, both cultural and in the form of thought, of our campus (virtual and otherwise) is also a pretty spectacular thing to see.
What’s the most interesting use of technology you’ve seen lately?
The People Aware Computing (PAC) Lab here on campus has some projects in the works that are exciting to me using smartphones in new ways. One PAC project uses smartphone speakers and microphones to detect chest movements to see if someone is breathing. Another project is using phone displays and front-facing cameras to develop a cheaper form of spectroscopy. Seeing how PAC adapts and augments phones to create new ways of sensing is pretty inspiring. PAC does a fantastic job of showcasing how creative ideas and products can be developed with relatively inexpensive equipment.
What is one of your favorite things to do on the weekend in NYC?
When I do get some free time, I’ve been enjoying riding my bike around the city. As a biking enthusiast, it’s been fun to see the different kinds of bikers that go to Central Park and then do my best to keep up with the folks in lycra riding on the fancy road bikes.
In what way do you hope your work might affect others and society at large?
What’s motivated me to get into higher education has been my hope to apply my life’s work towards enabling people to do something meaningful and lead more prosperous lives. That means solving problems in the accessibility space, working alongside people with various challenges, developing products that they can intuitively use, and keeping user privacy in mind every step of the way. If I can work on something that makes someone’s day better or positively impacts their wellness, that is a success.
How do you describe ECE to your friends and family?
I’ve told my loved ones that I’m at a school that is challenging us to learn challenging topics in machine learning, electrical engineering, and computer engineering while simultaneously taking what I’m learning and applying that towards launching a new company.
This article originally appeared on the Cornell Tech website.