Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2022
King Hei Ma
King Hei Ma began tinkering with computer parts at around 11 or 12 years old after emigrating from Hong Kong to the United States with his family in 2008. Most of these parts were a fascinating mystery to Ma and it became a goal for him to find out how they actually work.
“While pursuing electrical engineering at ASU, I realized that almost everything we use today is based on the fundamentals of electrical engineering, going from a silicon atom all the way to billions of transistors tucked inside a smartphone,” Ma says. “It is a rigorous major that allows you to think from a different perspective about the ever-so interconnected world we live in today.”
Some of his biggest achievements while a student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University were his internship experiences at the Intel Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Moog Inc. and his competition accomplishments such as being on the first place team for IBM’s Code and Response Hackathon.
“Working at three different companies allowed me to see different perspectives on the electrical engineering field and apply different skills I learned from school,” Ma says. “I got to work on things ranging from satellite hardware currently in space to leading-edge computer processors in the market.”
Everything started coming together for Ma when he was able to start applying new knowledge from coursework to his everyday technology usage.
“Knowing how a cruise control or an AC control system works from a signal processing class made me appreciate the engineering and effort behind most things we use in our daily life,” Ma says. “Designing circuits that are similar to the computer circuits I tinkered with about a decade ago felt like my journey has come full circle.”
After graduation, Ma will pursue his master’s degree in electrical engineering as part of ASU’s accelerated 4+1 program. He also likely will be continuing his internship with Intel.
Ma says that his long-term career aspiration is simply to continue learning.
“Learning is a life-long process and I hope to work at a company that lets me learn something new throughout my career, while having the work-life balance to continue pursuing my hobbies,” he says.
Ma also says engineering has changed his view of most things in life.
“Most engineering designs are built with intent,” he says. “I feel like this can be applied to life as well. Most actions have intentions behind them, and figuring out the intent or confirming the lack thereof is like solving an engineering problem. It allows me to understand why I do things or behave in a certain way.”