Olivia Christie

Engineering Futures Scholar

Like her mother and older sister before her, rising sophomore and engineering futures scholar, Olivia Christie, shares their love for math and “sciencey things.” Christie knew from a young age that engineering- specifically electrical engineering- was an interest she wanted to pursue, as she got to witness firsthand the kind of opportunities a career in that field would offer.

“Because I knew people who were already doing it, it kind of helped,” she said. Once in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, Christie found the mentors and support needed to get further involved in her academic pursuits, ultimately leading to her involvement in an eight-week summer program known as the Sensor, Signal and Information Processing (SenSIP) Devices and Algorithms Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

“My professors have had the greatest impact during my time at ASU. They have mentored and encouraged me to pursue different opportunities, like research.”

The SenSIP REU program at ASU gives undergraduate students experience in applied research. Participants spend weeks creating autonomous thermal-imaging robots, and present their work with a research poster and IEEE-style paper at the end of the summer.

“I’m pretty new to all of it, so right now I am just working with template matching for people-following using Python and a little Raspberry Pi robot,” Christie explained.

She will continue her research in the Fall with the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI), a program run by ASU that allows students who apply with a mentor to get up to two semesters of research funding for their projects.

Now that she’s completed her first year at ASU and many of the required gen. Ed. credits that come with being a first-year student, Christie will get to take more electrical engineering classes directly related to her interests, and she said those classes are what she’s most excited for.

“I’ve found it hard sometimes to not just spend all of my time studying,” she said. “I’ve found that planning out my time in the morning has helped me study more efficiently and not waste time, so that I can have free time later.”

In her free time she likes to swim, read and play her violin. Finding the balance between academics and hobbies is important to Christie as she gets further into her engineering degree. Beyond these efforts at time management, Christie encourages other students pursuing engineering to get involved.

If she had to offer any advice, “I would tell future engineering students to work hard in their classes and make an effort to get to know professors. Also, I would encourage other students to get involved in research.”

By Summer Sorg, Science and Technology Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
July 01, 2019