Featured Spotlight: Jesus Oviedo – Class of 2023
In his own words – interviewed Spring Quarter 2023
- Hometown: Rialto, CA
- Year: Senior
- Favorite Course: Introduction to Computer Communication Networks (CS 176A)
- Senior “Capstone” Project: ECE 189 – Project Dragonfly
- Last Book Read: Project: Hail Mary by Andy Weir
- Interesting Aside About You: Played saxophone for 10 years, with more of lean toward jazz
- Hobbies: Skating
- Band / Performer: The Strokes
- TV Show: Cowboy Bebop
- Movie: Her
- Book / Author: 1984 by George Orwell
- Activity: Gaming
- Sport: Soccer
- Geeky Possession: Too many mechanical keyboards
Favorite things about
- CE Program: The freedom to pick my upper-division electives allowed me to explore my interests and find my niche within the major
- UCSB: Wonderful community of students with a similar mentality and many resources to help one feel at home
- Santa Barbara: The weather is simply amazing most of the year, really makes me wish I did not have to leave at some point
Jesus’ most memorable moments that happened each year
- Freshman Year: Living in the Santa Catalina dorms during Halloween where most of the people living on our floor got together to celebrate and have fun
- Sophomore Year: Finishing this year was most memorable, feelings of hope for the following years to be much better than 2020 (due to Covid)
- Junior Year: The hybrid quarter to start the year, was bizarre but memorable as a sign that things were starting to change and get better as well as being in the latter half of my time here at UCSB
- Senior Year: Looking forward to completing my capstone project and seeing the final product on display
Jesus and Computer Engineering
Why CE as a major? I had not even heard of CE as a major a few days prior to submitting college applications. Engineering overall was not on my radar but computers have always been and I just had to learn more about them. Just based on the title, CE seemed like the best path. I realized I made the right choice when I first experienced the joy of seeing the code I wrote and the hardware I designed function as intended – simply electrifying.
Why did you select UCSB's CE program? The research being conducted here by faculty in the ECE department was the deciding factor. I figured being this close to the amazing work being done at this institution was an opportunity I shouldn’t pass on. Plus, the beach is so close I just couldn’t say no.
How did you hear about UCSB's CE program? A few graduating seniors that I met in the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) program from my high school had mentioned UCSB and that’s how the program got on my radar.
Prospective students and parents often ask, what can you do with a CE degree? A Computer Engineering degree opens many doors within the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering field and truly builds computer experts capable of programming a computer or designing one.
What have you learned that has surprised you the most so far? How important fundamental math is to the understanding of just about anything, and computers are no exception. More specifically to my major, the vast reach that computer engineering and computer science have within other fields of study has been mind-blowing.
What has your experience been like taking the Math and Physics core classes? The courses were enjoyable yet challenging, mostly due to my weaker background in these subjects coming into UCSB. Take these classes as an opportunity to develop these fundamentals and not be discouraged to ask for help, studying with peers is when I felt I learned the most.
What has been your most challenging but rewarding course? Hardware/Software Interface (ECE 153A) with Prof. Brewer, requires a new mindset for creating programs and puts embedded systems into a perspective I will make use of for years to come.
Are there any specific classes that you are looking forward to? Distributed Systems (CS 171) should be a ton of fun since it teaches one how to think beyond a single computer and into a network of computers.
Talk about your Capstone (ECE 189ABC) experience so far: Project Dragonfly, a low-cost solution to state estimation for unmanned vehicles, has been a challenge and joy to work on with a wonderful team of talented CEs.
What area do you want to specialize in? Embedded and/or distributed systems where the connection between hardware and software cannot be ignored are currently my areas of interest. Small, low-power devices and the Internet-of-Things are how we will be able to bring the positive impact of computers and technology to underrepresented communities.
Have you had any on-campus research opportunities at UCSB? I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Early Research Scholar’s Program (ERSP) my third year where I joined a team of undergraduates to work under Computer Science Profs. Chandra Krintz and Rich Wolski. Here I developed a machine learning model to identify and filter empty images to enable the ecologists studying animals found at UCSB’s Sedgwick Reserve, which has been augmented with motion-triggered cameras.
Preparation from High School to College
What prepared you the most for studying engineering in college? Dedication to learning and not feeling intimidated by completely foreign topics. Building a mindset that there is nothing one can’t learn with enough time and dedication. This was possible through MESA, an engineering program offered in my HS, where we participated in many engineering challenges local to the high school.
Are there any classes that you suggest CE students take before entering UCSB: Even if not doing engineering or CS, learning a bit of programming will go a long way as it will facilitate a number of tasks that one will face at UCSB. AP Physics C, AP Calculus, and AP Statistics will be quite useful and could help ease the amount of classes needed during your first year.
Student Life at UCSB
What is campus life like for CE students? Harold Frank Hall will become your second home. Be it the Capstone lab or the Computer Science Instructional Lab (CSIL), these are the places I would spend most of my time. As a CE, most of your work can be done remotely, so exploring and finding a nice spot to debug your code will go a long way.
What is the social scene like on campus, in Isla Vista and off-campus like for CE students? In my experience, the social scene is very dependent on personal interest. I prefer to relax and take the opportunity to enjoy any chance available outside of the rigorous coursework. Frequent visits to the beach at various times during the day or countless nights playing board games at a friend's house were typical for me. I have yet to meet someone in IV or on campus that was not welcoming, it is not too daunting of a task to find people to hang out with at any moment.
Describe your housing experience frosh to present: My first year was spent in Santa Catalina Hall which is one of the off-campus dorms. It was a great experience if you can look past the mile long trip to school and back, so definitely plan on leaving early and make use of the SB MTD bus system. My floor was particularly social and living off-campus gave a nice separation between living space and school. My second year was spent at home, which was the most challenging year in my experience. The situation at the time and coursework as a CE this year pushed me to redefine how I approached school and develop a better work-life balance. In my last two years, I have had the opportunity to lease an apartment with five other people in Isla Vista, which came with its own pros and cons. Being able to cook and truly set your own schedule was liberating, limited only by the fact that there are five other people doing the same within one home. However, luckily the other five people were friends that I met during my first year on my floor and we have supported each other as friends and housemates, leading to a great off-campus experience. I highly recommend beginning one’s housing search during the beginning of the Fall quarter the year before to secure a spot in IV, especially if you have a group of people in mind.
What are your “big picture” plans/aspirations after graduation? Currently looking to enter the embedded systems industry as a full-time engineer. UCSB has shown me the beauty in research and academia, as such I have not entirely ruled out returning to graduate school to further my expertise as a computer engineer.