Adrian Alabi, B.S. '16, M.S. '17

Recalling Professor Pauly's lab, Adrian was captivated by being able to pick up a radio station from a signal that seemed to be static and noise. Adrian's interest in electronic devices and signal processing continues to grow, propelling him to pursue B.S. and M.S. degrees in the coterm program. 

Completing his M.S. in spring, his plan to help people connect is taking shape.

How did you become interested in your research area?

Before I came to Stanford, I spent time thinking about what I could do in the coming four years to propel me to a meaningful position in the workplace. I didn't know anything specifically, but I did know that I wanted to do something that would help people be better connected to one another. I began taking courses in Electrical Engineering because I had a fondness for electronic devices and thought maybe I would design and make them. I continued taking EE courses in signal processing, I really enjoyed some of the labs, particularly the radio assignment in Professor Pauly's class where we picked up a radio station out of a signal that originally sounded like a bunch of noise. As I dove deeper into the major, I began to see how topics that interested me connected to my inital desire to better connect people. Through my work under Professor Dutton in the summer REU program, I was able to apply the communication theory to practical circuits and applications. As an engineer, I feel it is very important that the application of your knowledge and impact of your work is something positive and worthwhile. For me, communications combines a special application with material I enjoy studying and learning more about.

Explain a project you're currently working on.

I am currently working on a digital communications project that is a part of a larger medical imaging project. I am helping to design a radio that will be able to pick up the ultrasonic imaging data recorded by a pill in the intestines of a patient and transmitted wirelessly through the patient's body. We are currently in a prototyping phase, but we hope to make the receiver small enough that a patient could wear it comfortably during everyday activities so that they can be imaged without being confined to a hospital or medical facility.

Why did you choose Stanford EE?

I chose Stanford EE because of its physical proximity to industry. I wanted to not only study at a school that was generating great ideas, but one that would be able to see those innovations improve the lives of the everyday person, which often happens through industry. I want my friends, family and the rest of the community to not only know that cool things are in the workings, but that they can taste and see it for themselves and their lives can be improved from that knowledge. Stanford is right next to Silicon Valley where many of the top software and hardware companies are working hard to see new technology transform the lives of people not only locally, but around the world.

What other activities are you involved with on campus?

In addition to studying in the EE department, I am a member of the varsity soccer team. I have played soccer since I was 4 years old and also enjoy watching the beautiful game! My parents are both from Ghana where soccer is the most popular sport, so I have always been surrounded by the game.

I am also very involved in the Christian community on campus. Last year I had the privilege of co-leading the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Action at Stanford. While at Stanford, I've had the opportunity to serve in many different fellowships. Not only is it a welcoming community, but it is place to grow and explore the bigger picture of what's possible. All the work we do can sometimes prevent us from enjoying the purpose we have been created for – for me, it's wonderful to be part of a community that keeps me grounded and focused.

What are your career plans?

After finishing my Masters (2017!), there are a couple directions I plan to explore. One is the telecommunications industry. I want to work for either a mobile phone company, or a manufacturer that specializes in radio frequency circuits that are used in telecommunications and other forms of communication, most notably the internet of things (IOT) which is now super-popular.

An additional direction is partnering with Trans World Radio (TWR), an international missions organization. I could use my expertise to help broadcast and deliver Christian resources to all corners of Earth. TWR has many short-term projects that require radio frequency engineering knowledge as well as full-time missionary positions that require similar expertise.

In either case, I hope to make a positive impact, whether I remain in the Bay area, or travel around the world.