Alyssa Apsel
Dr. Alyssa Apsel
Assistant Professor, Cornell University
NY

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Close Up
  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    Being a professor in Electrical Engineering entails working both as a teacher and as a researcher. My teaching focuses on electronic circuits and microchip design, while my research focuses on specific aspects of microelectronic design for things like low power radios and computers.
  • Why did you choose engineering?
    Engineering is a great choice for people who love to solve problems in creative ways. As an engineer I have the opportunity to use the latest ideas in physics, math, chemistry, biology, etc. to actually build things that work and are useful to the world. It is really very exciting to see something that you developed working!
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    I got a B.S. from Swarthmore College, an M.S. from California Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.
  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    Most of my work experience comes either from being a graduate student or a professor. Some of the things that I have done have included design of microelectronic circuits and system to drive lasers and receive signals from lasers. I also work on design of electronics for low power radios. Day to day this involves quite a bit of design of both circuits and larger systems of circuits as well as testing and lots and lots of writing.
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    When everything works! It is a great feeling to see a new idea realized in a working system for the first time.
  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    That's very hard to say. I'm quite proud of the students in my group and what they are able to do after a few years of training and experience in my lab. I'm proud of some of the early work that I have done in optical interconnect for computer applications. When I started working in this area, no one thought that it had a chance. Now it is a popular research area. I'm proud of being in on the early stages.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    When everything works! It is a great feeling to see a new idea realized in a working system for the first time.
Biography

Alyssa Apsel received a B.S. from Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, in 1995 and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, in 2002. She joined Cornell University in 2002, where she is currently an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The focus of her research is on power-aware mixed signal circuits and solving the problems that arise in highly scaled CMOS and modern electronic systems. She has authored or coauthored over 75 refereed publications in related fields of RF mixed signal circuit design, interconnect design and planning, photonic integration with VLSI, and circuit design techniques in the presence of variation resulting in five patents and several pending patent applications. She received a best paper award at ASYNC 2006, had a MICRO "Top Picks" paper in 2006, received a college teaching award in 2007, received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2004, and was selected by Technology Review Magazine as one of the Top 100 Young Innovators in 2004. She has also served as an Associate Editor of various journals including IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I and II and is the chair of the Analog and Signal Processing Technical committee of ISCAS 2011.

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