The ECE Current: Student Spotlight
Hoontaek Oh | ECE PhD student
Why did you choose UCSB’s ECE department?
UCSB is one of the universities that has the greatest faculty in signal processing. Their amazing ongoing research inspired me in Korea. Moreover, when I realized the campus is located right on the beach, I became totally mesmerized by UCSB.
How did you learn about the program?
When I decided to start my graduate study in the United States, UCSB was one of the schools my undergraduate advisor recommended to me. Since I had never been to the U.S. before, I had no information, so I listened to their recommendation and I learned more about the program through the ECE website.
What is campus life like for ECE students?
I believe that ECE students are very passionate about hobbies as well as their study. A balanced campus life keeps us happier and more satisfied with what we are doing. Since Harold Frank Hall and the other engineering buildings are quite close to the beach, students often get out and take a walk with friends while enjoying the wonderful ocean view.
Looking back, what do you think you would have wanted your parents to know about UCSB?
Honestly, the thing my parents were most worried about was my safety since I was going abroad. I would explain to them how safe Santa Barbara is compared with other cities.
What were some challenges you faced as a student/researcher?
In my case, the biggest challenge was the moment when my long-term research didn’t perform as well as I expected. I think this is common among graduate students, but honestly, it is frustrating at first. However, when I look back, overcoming that moment was an important experience for my growth.
Can you tell us of anyone who you looked up to?
The answer to this question is always my parents. Their generation has been commonly raised in hungry and poor situations. Most people, when they were growing up, gave up studying at school and began farming. However, my parents never gave up studying and pursuing their dreams, even when in a poorer situation than others.
What have you learned that has surprised you the most so far?
It is simple. If I never give up, eventually I will get a reward for that. This looks like a kind of rule or algorithm of life.
Is there anything else you’d like to share regarding the department, your program, or UCSB?
Because of COVID-19, we lost about two years of precious time at UCSB. But, nonetheless, I often read about the great works of UCSB faculty and students, and these great works were possible with the endless support from all UCSB employees. I sincerely respect and appreciate all of them for their ongoing efforts during this time.