photo of Julian outside of ESB

Julian Maravilla, Junior Year – Class of 2020

In his own words interviewed Junior Year

  • Hometown: Oceanside, CA
  • Favorite Class: Signal Processing Applications (ECE 148)
  • Student Organizations: Tau Beta Pi Honors Society
  • Interesting aside about Julian: I am a huge Los Angeles Chargers fan

Your favorite

  • Last Book Read: Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • Hobbies: Attending Sporting Events, Flight Simulation, Analyzing Sport Statistics
  • Book & Author: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Band: Zoé
  • TV Show: The League
  • Movie: The Big Short
  • Activity: Watching/Playing Football
  • Sport: Football
  • Geeky Possession: Collection of old CPUs

Favorite things about

  • Electrical and Computer Engineering Department: The faculty. The student to faculty ratio is small allowing for the opportunity to form close relationships with Professors. Every Professor has their own unique area of research that results in having a rich department full of innovation.
  • UCSB: The vast number of students from around the world culminate into a very diverse student body.
  • Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara reminds me a lot of home. It is a small piece of paradise located on California’s golden coast. The beaches are spectacular, and the surf is spot on after a good storm. It feels like a mini San Diego with some influence from Northern California.

Julian and Electrical Engineering

  • Why Julian chose UCSB's EE program: UCSB is known for their excellent program and student to faculty ratio. Combined with the proximity to the beach, UCSB had more to offer than competing schools. I knew I was going to be happy at UCSB after seeing the campus and meeting some of the Professors. It is the perfect choice for aspiring engineers.
  • How did you hear about UCSB's EE program? In high school I had two teachers that attended UCSB. They are still filled with Gaucho Pride. Both teachers highly recommended the engineering program. They knew that the Electrical Engineering program was rigorous yet rewarding and encouraged me to apply.
  • Why EE? Growing up my dad would take me as his apprentice while he worked as an electrician. The passion for my dad’s devotion towards electricity pushed me towards the direction of Electrical Engineering. Soon after working with my dad I began to build and repair personal computers. The process of building and debugging computers confirmed my devotion for Electrical Engineering.

Advice Julian gives to students/parents

  • About applying to UCSB: Students – Keep on top of your work in high school, it will prove vital when building study habits at UCSB. Parents – This is an excellent engineering institution and the investment will follow your children for the rest of their lives. If your son or daughter wants to pursue Electrical Engineering this is the place to be in Southern California.
  • Looking back, what do you think you would have wanted your parents to know about UCSB EE? That UCSB EE is full of great faculty that want to help. There are faulty that give great advice about industry and others give great advice in academia.
  • Students and parents often ask, what can you do with an electrical engineering degree? There are two paths, industry or academia. In industry an Electrical Engineering degree can land you a job in Signal Processing, Circuit Design, Control System Design, Computer Hardware Design, and many more areas. The car you drive, the phone or computer you’re reading this on has some sort of Electrical Engineering in it. Industry is full of jobs and the projects will always be interesting. In academia you can conduct research, teach, and potentially run a research group.

The Curriculum

  • What has your experience been like taking the Math & Physics core classes? There are many stories surrounding Calculus 2 (Math 3B). Taking the AP Calculus BC test and passing it with at least a 3 will ensure that you will start in Math 4A. Math 4A is also known as a challenging course as it is very abstract. Read the textbook and utilize UCSB's Campus Learning Assistance Services (CLAS) to ensure that you fully understand Linear Algebra (Math 4A). The rest of the math courses (Math 4B, 6A, and 6B) build off concepts from AP Calculus BC (Math 3A and 3B). Therefore, make sure you know calculus well. To prepare for the rigors of Physics I, I recommend reading the textbook and working practice problems until the material comes naturally. When you get past Physics I, the rest of the Physics courses will be a breeze.
  • What was your most challenging but rewarding course and how did you overcome it? Fundamentals of Logic Design (ECE 15A) was my first exposure to digital logic design. The course was challenging as I had to train myself to think like a logic designer. I did poorly on the first midterm and I had to adjust my study methods. I purchased logic chips and built circuits around them until the material started to click. Just playing with logic circuits allowed me to obtain a more intuitive understanding of the material. I proceeded to do better in the class which resulted in the mastery of the material making upper division logic design courses trivial.
  • Are there any specific classes that you are looking forward to? Communication Electronics (ECE 218A and 218B) as they will delve into RF engineering. At my current internship I do a lot of work with RF Circuits and Systems. The ECE 218 series will further my knowledge and make me more valuable to an RF position in industry or in graduate school.
  • What area do you want to specialize in? Signal Processing and RF circuit design are two areas I want to specialize in. Signal Processing is used in every aspect of Electrical Engineering. If I want to know the impulse response of my mixer (type of RF circuit) I can use circuit theory and signal processing techniques to find it. Finding system stability also uses signal processing techniques. For example, if my feedback circuit is unstable it can cause my circuit to oscillate. Therefore, I can use signal processing theory to calculate if my circuit is stable before I turn it on.
  • Have you had any on-campus research opportunities at UCSB? I currently conduct research by taking the Undergraduate Research (ECE 196) course and I work in Professor Lee's Signal Processing lab. My areas of research include using lidar to make aids for those with visual impairments. I also combine different types of sensors to create range estimation devices.
  • Have you done an internship? I am doing an internship locally in Goleta with Toyon Research Corporation and I am working on RF antenna design, semiconductor devices, and RF filter design. Toyon is a great place to work for as they allow you to work on a variety of topics. One day I can be measuring antennas on a VNA and the next day I can be measuring breakdown voltages on diode junctions.
  • What have you learned that has surprised you the most so far? All aspects of Electrical Engineering involve linear systems (unless if you’re taking non-linear phenomenon). Circuit design, signal processing, and control systems all use the concept of LTI systems. LTI systems do not change over time. They have unique impulse responses and any input signal can be represented as an infinite collection of delta functions – take the Signal Analysis & Processing (ECE 130A) course to learn more. By convolving the input signal with the impulse response of the system you can calculate the output signal. When you turn on the lights in your room you are providing an impulse to the light switch causing an impulse response of the lights turning on.

High School Experience and College Search

  • Tell us about your high school mentor: I had many high school mentors while attending MVHS (Mission Vista High School). Mr. Hill would show his class college videos every Friday to encourage his students to apply. Mr. Yip was my engineering and physics teacher multiple times. His projects and class environment lead to my pursuit of majoring in engineering. Mr. Umlor is a UCSB alumni who encouraged me to go to UCSB. He was an excellent biology teacher and prepared us for writing lab reports UCSB style.

  • Favorite class in high school: Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Aerospace Engineering was my favorite course in high school. I was able to design and build an RC aircraft from scratch. I also learned about advanced concepts in Aerospace Engineering such as satellite orbit, and airfoil design.
  • Share what your college search was like: My high school was very fond of UC and CSU. Therefore, we focused on getting into those schools. I am very grateful for going to a high school where the main goal was to prepare their students for the rigor of college. My college search was very direct as we had excellent counselors who recommended schools based-off our interests and stats.

Preparation for UCSB

  • What prepared you the most for studying engineering in college? While excelling at math and physics is important in high school, tinkering with electronics prepared me the most for the ECE program. Tinkering leads to self-discovery of concepts and ideas saving the hassle of learning them in engineering courses. You don’t need to become an electronics or programming expert before you start university, it just eases the transition from high school.
  • Are there any classes that you suggest EE students take before entering UCSB? Take AP Calculus BC, and AP Physics C (Mechanics and E/M). Passing the AP Calculus BC exam will ensure that you begin with Linear Algebra at UCSB saving time and stress when other classes get more challenging. You will retake Physics at UCSB, however entering with the background knowledge gained in AP Physics C will allow you to focus on other courses (Circuits, Devices, & Systems – ECE 10 series).
  • Any additional experiences that you would like to share with students to help them prepare for college? Be prepared to change your study habits. In high school it was easy to start assignments last minute and even prepare for exams the day before. Those strategies will not fly in a rigorous engineering program. Begin adjusting your study habits in high school to avoid the crash and burn may students experience their first quarter at UCSB.

Student Life at UCSB

  • What is campus life like for electrical engineering students? EE students and other engineering students spend nearly all their time on the east end of campus. The Computer Science Instructional Lab (CSIL) is filled with ECE and CS students collaborating on projects and working on homework. Clubs like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) offer the opportunity to collaborate with other students on interesting and innovative projects. The EE students tend to stick together which is something other schools lack. We are competitive but are always willing to help each other out.
  • Describe the social scene: UCSB’s social seen is mostly contained on campus and in Isla Vista (IV). Students in IV are welcoming to ECE students. Some of my best friends are from outside of my major. There is a plethora of events in IV and on campus throughout the year. IV has the annual Pardall Carnival and UCSB offers concerts throughout the school year. Off-campus offers great places to eat and downtown is beautiful and vibrant on the weekends. ECE students are never bored with the social seen at UCSB.

Future Plans...

  • What are your "big picture" plans/aspirations after graduation? I intend to go to graduate school for a PhD. I want to specialize in the field of Signal Processing as it is the area of Electrical Engineering I enjoy the most plus there are many areas of research associated with it. This will lead me to my aspirations of obtaining a research position in industry or becoming a Signal Processing Professor.