Engineering students from all three Arizona public universities don’t often gather at one time.
But that is what happened when 22 students from the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University joined the 2014 Antenna Measurement Techniques Association, or AMTA, Meeting and Symposium, held in October in Tucson.
The annual conference highlights the latest technology and research in antenna and other electromagnetic measurement technologies. AMTA Student Day, which was started seven years ago, gives college students a chance to interact with industry experts and learn more about careers in the field.
“The reality is, there are quite a few jobs in this field,” said Lydell Frasch, past president of AMTA. “Many companies have a hard time finding young, qualified students to connect with, and Student Day allows students a chance to speak with these companies who are looking for bright minds.”
Students toured vendor exhibits, sat in on paper presentations, did hands-on antenna design activities and participated in social events.
Ian Armstrong, a UA electrical and computer engineering graduate student, considered himself lucky to be one of the students at the conference.
“Student Day is a wonderful opportunity to meet other students with the same interests and identify companies that need engineers with a passion for antenna design,” said Armstrong.
For ECE graduate student Arghya Sain, the conference was an opportunity to apply theories learned in class to real-world scenarios.
“We learn about antenna theory in class, but we rarely get to see the instruments used to perform antenna measurements in the industry,” Sain said. “The complex machines that we saw in action at the conference were the product of different engineering disciplines and principles working in tandem, and this realization can inspire students to look beyond their field and take a holistic approach to engineering.”
Antenna engineering can be overwhelming for young engineers, said AMTA president Chi-Chih Chen, adding that Student Day helps demystify the field.
“Once students have seen how engineers solve problems in industry, they can see their field from a different perspective,” he said. “These students are our future. We need to pass on this knowledge to them.”