Musings of an EEE alumni
19 April 2021
A social media encounter with a Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) alumni, Hamed Haddadi, led to some interesting tales about the life of a university student in the early noughties.
When I received my A-Level results in the summer of 1999, it sent a cold shiver down my spine. One of the grades was just below the offer condition for the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) at University College London (UCL), and I was so worried. Before starting my shift at the local café in Hammersmith, I went to a phonebox and made a desperate call to the admissions office and asked to speak to Professor Richard Jackman. After a few minutes of holding the line, I was told that I could keep my place. My world changed from that point onwards.
The next few years were full of immense work yet endless fun. I remember I struggled a little in the first two years, with transitioning to university life, time demands and personal finances. Despite this I thoroughly got involved with the various university initiatives, within the department, UCL and the wider University of London. There were a lot of fun activities that promoted, amongst other things, the significance of team building for success. Who can forget the Cumberland Lodge outings, the EEE Flemingo Society, EEE Xmas Dinners, Cricket Days, and helping in UCAS interviews. During the summers I carried out two internships with Sony Europe, which opened my eyes to the world of work in an engineering setting and helped pay my fees.
This was challenging but such a joy to implement. I enjoyed working most of the time from the electronics lab with easy access to the wealth of knowledge, experience…and wit of Gerald and Andy, the then lab technicians.
After my undergrad years and a short experience of working in the lab for the EEE startup Sencieve, I continued with a MSc in Telecommunications followed by a PhD - all at UCL EEE.
From my experience - and I don’t say this lightly - I believe EEE is one of the most friendly, inclusive, and supportive academic “families” I have encountered; these encounters changed many elements of my life. On numerous occasions, members of the EEE team (I specifically recall Sally Day, David Selviah, Joh Mitchell, Izzat Darwazeh, Miguel Rio, and many others) going out of their way, actively finding ways to support and help me early on during my undergrad years and again later during my PhD.
It has been over 13 years since I graduated but I still regularly visit the department, walk down those long corridors and reminisce about days gone by. I hope that EEE keeps striving and building engineering futures – just like it did mine and so many others in its glorious history.
Hamed Haddadi is a Reader in Human-Centred Systems and the Director of Postgraduate Studies at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, at the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial College London. He also serves as a Security Science Fellow of the Institute for Security Science and Technology. In his industrial role, he is a Visiting Professor at Brave.