Electrical engineering student uses project to land full-time job

Student Spotlight
Alvaro Prieto, electrical engineering

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

A. Sue Weisler

Electrical engineering graduate student-researcher Alvaro Prieto, far left, worked on developing assistive and non-invasive medical devices.

Alvaro Prieto, an electrical engineering graduate student, worked with RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering to develop assistive and non-invasive medical devices. These devices are worn externally by the patient and allow for physicians to monitor vital signs and perform initial diagnostics from a remote location.

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: I was born in Mexico City and lived there until I was 12. My family then moved to Miami.

Q: What brought you to RIT?
A: My main reason for coming to RIT was the co-op program. I also love the weather!

Q: Why did you choose electrical engineering?
A: I chose electrical engineering because I love programming and making things. I figured I could learn programming on my own and learn all about electronics at school.

Q: What is the most unusual thing you have ever done?
A:I studied abroad in Russia and did co-ops in both Finland and Switzerland. During co-op in Finland, I took a week off and went to Svalbard, where I went camping and kayaking. It’s up in the Arctic Circle—they have polar bears and glaciers.

Q: What types of projects were you involved in at RIT?
A: My thesis involved conducting research on wireless body-sensor networks. I needed a platform to do the research on. I used 10 Texas Instrument wireless development kits. I actually had to write a lot of the firmware for the project from scratch, so I spent a lot of time reading Texas Instrument data sheets.

Q: You now work with Texas Instruments. What has the transition been like?
A: I used microcontrollers and radio modules in my thesis project, but didn’t really have contact with the company until after completing my thesis. I was familiar with their products so when I started my job search I figured it would be a good idea to apply there. They later gave me a call; I traveled for an on-site interview and later got the job.

Q: What do you do for Texas Instruments now?
A: My official title is embedded software applications engineer. My job consists of developing and supporting software libraries for the C2000 microcontroller. Customers buy these processors and have to write programs to make them complete various tasks. My division focuses on writing the necessary software libraries to make the customers’ lives easier.

Q: Do you like being in Houston?
A:Besides the intense heat, it’s a great city!

Q: Any advice you would offer to other RIT students?
A: Take advantage of the study-abroad and work-abroad programs. If you want to study or work while you travel, they can help you do it. Co-ops abroad are like vacations where you get paid. You work during the week and then travel on the weekend. Did I mention you get class credit?

Additional information about wireless sensor body networks can be found at www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=48623.

Scott Bureau covers student affairs for University News. Contact him at sbbcom@rit.edu with “Student Spotlight” suggestions.