The Bridge - Issue 3, 2019 - 4
Letter from the Editors-in-Chief
The theme of this issue is
"Graduate Education: Advice
from Professionals and Students."
The theme of this issue is "Graduate Education: Advice from Professionals and
Students." As editors, we chose this topic because we are confident that every
IEEE-HKN member values scholarship and is capable of reaching the pinnacle of
leadership in their chosen profession. Graduate education builds on scholarship
to facilitate and accelerate the journey towards professional leadership. In almost
every country across the world, postgraduate qualification, i.e., a master's or doctoral
degree, is a requirement for a career in academia. In industry and government, these
qualifications are typically required for positions with greater authority and more
intellectually challenging work. With undergraduate qualifications alone, it could take
years longer to advance to these desirable positions.
This themed issue presents multiple perspectives on graduate education. Each of our
contributors shares the story of his or her graduate education, and you hear directly
from them about their journey from motivation to graduation and employment -
and the lessons they learned along the way. Our contributors are demographically
and professionally diverse, and the insights they provide are impressive in breadth
and depth. A highlight of the issue includes an article by Dr. Karen Panetta, President
of IEEE-HKN and Dean of Graduate Education for the School of Engineering at Tufts
University, who draws on both roles to inspire and inform.
Emily Hernandez and Katelyn Brinker, two recent winners of the IEEE-HKN Alton B.
Zerby and Carl T. Koerner Outstanding Student Award are among our contributors.
This award annually honors the most outstanding students in the IEEE-HKN
designated fields of interest. Both of the awardees featured in this issue describe
how they built on their excellence as undergraduates to succeed in graduate
school. Wendy Fernandez, a 2019 Graduate Education for Minorities (GEM) Fellow,
describes the role of service in inspiring her graduate education and professional
ambitions. Each of our other contributors has a unique voice and story, and their
accomplishments demonstrate not only the value of graduate education, but more
generally, the scholarship, character, and attitude encouraged and rewarded by
Many contributed to the creation of this themed issue. Special thanks go to each of
our contributors; Dr. Emmanuel Oyekanlu, member of the magazine's editorial board;
Ms. Nancy Ostin, IEEE-HKN Director and Managing Editor of the magazine; and Ms.
Stacey Bersani, our assistant managing editor who coordinated every aspect of the
creation of this issue.
A plethora of funding mechanisms and distance education have made graduate
education more accessible than ever. The rapid advances in our field make it
increasingly critical. We hope that this issue inspires our readers to pursue graduate
education. Each of the 263 chapters around the world is a home for IEEE-HKN
members, including graduate students who are new to the institution. Enjoy the
issue. May all of your efforts be fruitful!
Photo courtesy of IEEE-HKN Mu Nu Chapter in Turin, Italy.
Why Should I Go to Graduate School?
Dr. Karen Panetta, Epsilon Delta, IEEE-HKN President
Why should I go to graduate school? It is a question I often hear from students who have
"had enough" of school and just want to go out and make money, pay off debt, and start
"living" as a human being.
Imagine not having to lose sleep anymore, having a focused work plan each day, and being
able to support yourself and those you love. Don't forget the best part: no more exams or
demands from those evil professors who have never worked a real job in their life!
These are all the reasons I hear for not going back to school to pursue a graduate degree,
but let's dive a bit deeper and ask a few more questions.
First, to move ahead in your career, you need to
always be learning. Now, that can be through company
training and professional development workshops
and not necessarily through a formal degree program.
However, most companies are structured to pay based
on an individual's experience and degree attainment.
This means that if you are in the workforce today and
have five years of work experience under your belt, a
student out of school who walks in with a graduate
degree may be making as much as you or more. Is this
fair? From the industry point of view, new hires have
the latest and greatest skill sets and a master's degree
or Ph.D. is a metric that typically indicates that the
individual has done something in-depth in a current
hot-topic research area.
A master's degree can be earned in as little as one
year at many institutions. This is especially true for
students who remain at their undergraduate institution
for the master's program. Compare this scenario to
moving to a new institution which may be in a new
city. You will need to get to know new professors and
spend up to two years earning your master's degree.
Meanwhile you are panicking that you are losing out
on two years' worth of work experience and income.
The real reason to go to graduate school may not be
financially motivated at all. It may be because you want
to expand your skill set, change disciplines, or become
more diversified so that you are qualified for broader
opportunities rather than a discipline-specific job.
The Bridge - Issue 3, 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Bridge - Issue 3, 2019
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