51: PHD in Electrical Engineering and MSOE College Professor-Dr. Eric Durant

Dr. Eric Durant earned a PHD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and his Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering– MSOE and is currently a professor at MSOE

Dr. Durant has done research in Genetic Algorithms which is a form of Artificial Intelligence and adaptive signal processing focusing on applying mathematics in engineering. He is now digging into Deep Learning for Audio Processing.

Going into college he did not plan to get his PHD or become a professor, he got involved in digital signal processing in undergrad via elective courses and learned that it was an area he could learn more about during graduate school and went on to pursue his PHD. The standard advice is to get your PHD from a different university than your undergrad, but not a requirement by any means.

Many times as a professor, your summers are open for you to work in industry, do research, your summers can be very flexible. MSOE is very focused on teaching and is not an R1 Research University – something to ask when you are taking your college tours to make sure the school is a good fit for you.

He is really fired up about deep learning as an engineering tool and especially how it applies to signal processing – this is a whole new realm.

Ah-ha moment – as a sophomore in college struggling with an assembly language problem in lab, he learned how to debug problems as he struggled to figure out why it was not working. He just stuck with it and finally figured out the small problem he had and that was a very powerful moment. But some advice is when you are not making progress take a break and give your mind a rest and then come back an hour or so later and if still stuck ask a friend or a professor.

He tries to think outside the box, but be you need to be very laser focused on a task but then be able to break away. He likes Feedly to get access to RSS feeds and a book recommendation is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.

You can get a free book from Audible at www.stemonfirebook.com and can cancel within 30 days and keep the book of your choice with no cost.
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