Department of

Electrical Engineering

Serving society through excellence in education, research, scholarship, and public outreach


Meet Sonny

Why did you select Penn State for graduate school?

Often, our choices in life are necessitated and/or influenced by varied seen and unforeseen circumstances. In short, my decision to matriculate at the Pennsylvania State University was, largely if not solely, due to one word: opportunity.

Here, at this institution, I found a place where one could discover and delve into innovative as well as diverse research opportunities, which, to my liking, inherently demanded “interdisciplinarity” to sufficiently tackle a given problem. Moreover, Penn State offers an individual the tools required to always maintain a strategic competitive advantage. Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the financial support was another significant driving force.

How did you become interested in electrical engineering?

Born to a mother afflicted with a neurological condition, I had subconsciously devoted my future to becoming a neurologist – hoping to unearth a cure for her illness. Yet, gratefully, as her situation improved over the years, I started exploring other options for a future. Stimulated by understanding how things work and a love for mathematics, I began to develop an interest in the fabrication of things. That interest blossomed into a desire to be an inventor. Ultimately, that desire culminated in my decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

What specialization area did you choose and why?

My affinity for design and an appreciation for the draft process that moves from a stage of analysis to synthesis to finally the realization of the end product compelled me to focus on area of study that would afford one the ability to balance between theoretical and experimental work. Consequently, I work with RADAR systems with a specialization in electromagnetics.

What do you like most about the electrical engineering program?

Plainly stated, as an engineer you are, without loss of generality, a problem solver. Moreover, your ability to objectively identify the source of a problem and, after some quantitative and qualitative consideration, offer a plausible plus efficient solution is a much regarded skill set in many different fields of work. In my humble opinion, Penn State’s electrical engineering program embodies and promotes this principle.

Therefore, the chance to study, learn and work in the electrical engineering program here at Penn State is much appreciated. Under the auspice of such a renowned faculty, we (i.e. the students) become very adept in novel research and ground-breaking work.

What are your plans after graduation?

“What’s next?” is not always an easy question to answer; since, in many cases, the future is a stochastic process. However, my wishes are to pursue entrepreneurial ventures; then, look into consulting and/or research and government work. Finally, I hope to consummate my career by fulfilling a pedagogical goal – becoming a professor.

Any advice to prospective students?

My advice is two-fold:

(1) After settling into a proficient academic rhythm and deciding on an area of research interest, find an advisor that you can work well with. One who stays active and current in his/her field as well as others and, most importantly, has a vested interest in your professional and personal success.

(2) Equally important, is to enjoy and enrich your social welfare while you spend the next few years in Happy Valley. Remember that you are not just an academic member of the community; and that, this community, in fact, has a lot to offer towards developing who you will become in the years ahead. So, once in awhile, leave the lab/office and go explore.