Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dora Li

Master’s student
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Anticipated Graduation: May 2019

dorali@umich.edu

Dora Li

Academic Interests

Education

  • BS Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan

About Dora

My journey to ECE was an atypical one. To be honest, everyone in my family is EE, so I was quite determined to *not* study EE. I was admitted to the University of Michigan to study chemistry, my favorite subject in high school. I chose to attend the University of Michigan knowing that students are encouraged to try different majors until they find the perfect fit, and regardless of which major I picked it would be part of a highly-ranked program.

Long story short, I took a few programming classes in freshman year and enjoyed the logical thinking process. However, I found programming too high-level and wanted something with a physical connection, so the following semester I took the introductory EE courses – circuits and logic design. And to the amusement of my entire family, I was sold. I thought it was truly amazing how engineers have stretched humble materials to their physical limits to create tiny transistors, which are then combined to create basic logic gates, which are then used to build functional blocks and finally processors. The best circuit designers also have a good understanding of chemistry, materials science, physics, thermodynamics, and so on. The incredible depth of this field is what makes IC/VLSI (chip) design so challenging but rewarding.

The ECE community here is diverse and supportive – everyone including professors, administrators, and GSIs are here to provide you all the resources you need to be successful. For such a challenging top-tier program, the atmosphere is extremely friendly and encouraging. For me, the most effective ways to get engaged were by going to office hours, joining the ECE Ambassador’s program, and being a GSI (graduate student instructor) for a Master’s level design class.

Why get an advanced degree in ECE?

During my Masters, I was able to dive deep into project-based courses that were highly practical and directly related to my interests. The tools I used in those grad-level classes are the exact same ones used in industry, so after graduation I can walk into my job ready to contribute in a meaningful way. An advanced degree will help you gain deeper technical knowledge and practical experience, which will open up more opportunities during the job search.

Career plans

After graduation, I will be returning to California to work full-time at a graphics chip design company where I interned at for 7 months prior to starting my Masters. I’m excited to go back and use the skills I’ve picked up in grad school.

Advice to incoming Michigan ECE students

Go to office hours and get to know your GSI’s well! Professor’s office hours are great for long-term career and life advice, but since your GSI’s are also students, they understand exactly what you are going through and can offer very practical advice for the shorter-term. Pick group project members who are similar to you in terms of working style and personality – these are the people you will spend all of your time with and likely become close friends with.