Polytech 213
At about age 10, I decided I want to be an electrical engineer and, surprisingly, never really changed my mind. I took all the math and physical sciences I could in my small, rural high school. Then, I went to the University of Missouri at Rolla to complete a BS and then an MS in Electrical Engineering. While there, I took the opportunity to do 3 different internships/co-ops: one at an electric power cooperative and two at different motor manufacturing facilities. These gave me a real appreciation for the applications of the material I was learning in college. Also at this time, I had an advisor that convinced me to do some undergraduate research. This gave me a glimpse into the job of a professor and the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing things that haven't been done before. This advisor ended up transferring to Purdue University and he convinced me to follow him there to work on a PhD and continue working with him on research projects. While I was in West Lafayette, I worked as an engineer for a small company that typically worked on military and government contracts. I did that for several years, but realized that teaching was a better fit for me. Fortunately, a position at SEMO opened up and here I am.

I think students get a deeper learning when they are trying things out. In my "crazy" younger days I spent years building games, going through help files, and trying out every command that I could in programs like QBasic and Microsoft Access. Today, we have too much to learn for that to work efficiently. That's why we spend time in a classroom learning the basics, the theories, and the applications. Whether we are programming a robot or analyzing a circuit diagram, I try to give students a challenge and let them apply what they've been taught to come to a solution. While that trial and error can be frustrating, I think a deeper learning comes from that frustration.

Brad Deken, Professor