This year for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is sponsoring a contest at WE11 (their annual conference) called the Mosaic of Memories Quilt. Each contestant was asked to submit an essay and a 6" x 6" quilt square illustrating their point of view as an engineer or SWE member. Each submission will be judged at this year's conference and the completed quilt will be on display at WE12. I was inspired to take advantage of the change to combine my crafty side with my engineering side. My submission to the Mosaic of Memories Quilt contest is below.
Controls are my passion, which started during my first class at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. I took all of the controls classes offered, which led to my first full time job designing control laws for the Automatic Flight Control System at Rockwell Collins. While working, I pursued a Masters degree at Iowa State University and researched controls. My next goal is to continue my education, earn a PhD, and then teach controls to the next generation.
The first control law I learned how to model was a Proportional (P), Integral (I), and Derivative (D) design. The pink block labeled with a P corresponds to a proportional gain on the error signal, the I block is a gain times the integral of the error, and the D block corresponds to a gain times the derivative of the error. The pink block labeled with “SYS” is the system under control.The buttons represent summation points. The first button creates an error signal by subtracting the feedback from the reference. The second summation adds all of the control terms to input to the system being controlled.
Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, leadership coach and teacher Ginny Wilson-Peters selects a word to focus on for the year. It has become an annual tradition for her; this year I’ve decided to do the same. My word for 2012 is passion. I chose passion as my word for 2012, because I want refocus my time on my passions: controls and learning. Dictionary.com defines passion as:
any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.
Controls are my first passion, not only because I enjoy designing them as a pure engineering exercise, but also because of the potential to impact humanity in many different applications. For example, the control laws that I help design for the automatic flight control system help reduce pilot workload and make airplanes safer.
I also have a passion for learning because I enjoy the quest for knowledge, understanding new technologies, and solving problems. Last semester, I completed the advanced track of the Artificial Intelligence class that was offered online for free from Stanford University. This meant completing all of the homework assignments and exams that the students on campus were required to complete. I opted to take the class because it was something I have always been curious about and I looked forward to watching the class and completing the homework each week.
In 2012, I am going to look for more opportunities to spend time on my passions. The first thing I am going to do is participate in the Code Year sponsored by Codecademy. The mission of Code Year is to “make it easy for everyone to love and learn how to code” in one year, currently there are over 300,000 other people signed up. Learning how to code will open up more opportunities to implement controls in new ways. I am also going to read some of the books on my shelf, and catch up on IEEE articles that I have flagged to read.
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