Electrical Engineering professor Greg Pottie has some advice on how to succeed in school and beyond.
“The main thing in life is to become part of a community of some kind.”
And he would know. Pottie has been part of many communities throughout his life. He grew up in Canada, moved to Boston to work for Motorola/Codex, then finally made his way to Los Angeles in 1991 after being asked to apply to UCLA as a professor by Henry Samueli himself.
So what does he do at UCLA? As a professor, Pottie teaches courses from undergraduate communications to graduate level information theory. When asked of his favorite class to teach, Pottie knew immediately which one.
“EE 3 (Introduction to Electrical Engineering) is my favorite class to teach. You’re getting undergraduates seeing their first hands-on stuff and there’s an open-ended project. People get enthusiastic about it.”
He’s seen some pretty impressive projects. One of his favorites involved a paper plane launcher that detected a toy car going by with sensors and launched the plane into the car. Pottie described it as “an air defense system”.
Like most professors, Pottie is also involved in research here at UCLA. He says of his research:
“Mostly sensor networks research. The sensor networks stuff was military, then environmental, and now medical related.”
He’s also heavily involved outside of academia. Pottie sings in a church choir, something he’s done since coming to Los Angeles, and stays fit through biking to work and swimming.
As for his students, Pottie believes they are lucky to be at an institution like UCLA.
“At UCLA, there are many additional opportunities. If you can, get involved with summer research. Do directed studies, lots of companies come recruiting. Get some internships and talk to faculty about their research.”
Coming from Canada, Pottie also knows how lucky we are to be in California.
“Having grown up in Ottawa, I’d have to say a really good thing about Los Angeles is that you don’t have to shovel sunshine.”
Reporting by Kieran McGartoll