[Seminar] How I used my technical experience as an engineer to help drive strategic innovation at DARPA
Industry Perspective Series, a collaboration with AIM-Photonics
Who: Dr. Yan Zheng
When: Thursday, May 26th, 2016 11:00 am
Where: ESB 2001
Pizza lunch will be provided!!!
For me, a career in science and technology was pretty straight forward: study hard, go to grad school, and develop the next killer invention that would land me among the ranks of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk. But as I looked at life after grad school, the choices before me just weren’t appealing. Do I look for a postdoc? Apply for a tenure track position? Work for a tech company? I knew that I was looking for something different and I was fortunate that UCSB gave me the resources and support to figure it out.
What I realized was that there are many exciting opportunities for those looking to apply their technical expertise in alternative ways and, ultimately, to align their career path with their interests. I was lucky to have found a position with Booz Allen Hamilton consulting for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where I am helping to develop tomorrow’s technology programs. In this talk I will share my journey navigating alternative technical careers. What worked, what didn’t and what I wish I knew!
Dr. Yan Zheng is a technology consultant with the firm Booz Allen Hamilton where he specializes in semiconductor-based microelectronics and optoelectronic devices. Currently Dr. Zheng supports the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in developing innovative technology programs for the Department of Defense. Programs that Dr. Zheng has helped develop include the detection of biological and chemical agents using ultra violet lasers, low cost semiconductor-based optical phased-arrays for light detection and ranging (LIDAR), advanced cooling for high energy lasers, and heterogeneous integration of advanced RF electronics. In the course of his work, Dr. Zheng regularly works with universities, small businesses, military, and government organizations on projects aimed at addressing the needs of both the commercial sector and national defense.
Dr. Zheng received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a BS from the University of California, San Diego both in electrical engineering. While at UCSD, he served as vice president and president of the IEEE student chapter and spearheaded a range of student led projects. In recognition of these efforts, the IEEE student chapter was awarded an IEEE student chapter growth award. Dr. Zheng continued his community involvement at UCSB through the development of the Leadership In Team Engineering (LITE) which he established as a program that engages both student-led teams and local nonprofit organizations in solving technical problems for the community. Dr. Zheng was also a mentor in the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) research experience for undergraduates program as well as for local community college students where he mentored traditionally underrepresented students in engineering. Dr. Zheng is a member of IEEE, AAAS, and a founding member of the UCSD chapter of Eta Kappa Nu (HKN).