Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
PhD Student, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
It was UC's reputation for the quality of its Engineering degree that inspired Richard to study here. 'The Electrical and Electronic Engineering programme at UC is respected in New Zealand and internationally. In fact a majority of all electrical power engineers in New Zealand – including some of the most respected and influential – are UC graduates.'
He adds: 'The Electrical and Computer Engineering department produces some leading edge research; one example is its pioneering work on HVDC (high-voltage direct current) and power quality, for which it is renowned throughout the world'.
After completing his BE(Hons) degree at UC, Richard had no problems landing his first job as Graduate Power Electronics Engineer at ABB, Napier. His main responsibilities were in developing and testing new power quality products.
'Poor power quality – think flickering and dimming of lights – is a major issue for industries like paper mills and semiconductor fabricators due to their particularly sensitive equipment,' he explains. 'ABB's products help remedy this problem, potentially saving customers millions of dollars from the otherwise inevitable downtime and wastage.'
He describes electrical engineering as a vital discipline that is important to the everyday lives of many. 'Its applications are far reaching, ranging from industrial machines and the national grid to cutting-edge new technologies such as wind and solar power generation, electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.'
Now Richard is studying towards his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) after being awarded a prestigious William Georgetti Scholarship, one of just four awarded to outstanding New Zealanders. Richard began by completing a Master of Science before moving onto his PhD, for which he is investigating computational electromagnetism techniques for electric power engineering applications.
He credits his time at UC for helping him make a fast start in his career. 'I developed a solid foundation in electrical engineering throughout my four years at UC. The Electrical and Computer Engineering staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their areas of expertise, and are extremely supportive of their students.'
He advises anyone considering a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering that 'the degree is not easy; there is going to be hard work, probably a few all-nighters. However, the awesome career ahead and the chance to befriend so many interesting and like-minded people make everything worthwhile in the end!'