Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2021
Maria-Elena Sisneroz is not your traditional Arizona State University student. This stand-out scholar is already established in her career as a board-certified neurologic clinical specialist in physical therapy. Looking to make a career change to electrical engineering, Sisneroz began researching online options. She was thrilled to discover ASU, which was not only a proven online educator but also offered one of the only ABET-accredited electrical engineering programs that delivered entirely online.
“I knew that I wanted to get a degree that would complement my PT background and allow me to continue helping people,” Sisneroz says. “I decided to pursue electrical engineering to get a good foundation in areas like circuit design, coding and signal processing to facilitate reaching my goal of working on device design for physical rehabilitation.”
As Sisneroz dove into her new field of study, she felt a bit unsure that she made the right decision, but she had two “aha” moments that helped turn her doubt into confidence.
The first one came early on in her studies.
“I had to put a circuit together on a breadboard and observe the signals on an oscilloscope,” Sisneroz says. “It was so interesting to me and I couldn’t remember being so excited or happy about learning since I was in PT school.”
At that moment, she knew she was in the right place with the right people.
Her second aha moment came later during her capstone project but was arguably the most pivotal moment of her time at ASU.
Sisneroz and a team of three other ASU Online students created electrical-based devices designed for rehabilitation; it was then she realized that her dream of meshing physical therapy and electrical engineering could become a reality. So much so, the foursome started their own company backed by the ASU Venture Devils program. The startup, KinesioTech, LLC., strives to bring innovative and intelligent designs to the market that address gait, balance, and aberrant movement patterns.
Not one to be singularly focused, Sisneroz didn’t just excel in the classroom. She became a leader on and off campus. She served as the vice president for the Online Student Government Advocacy Group, became an undergraduate teaching assistant for Professor of Practice Olin Hartin, interned at Edwards Air Force Base, served as chair of the Pastoral Council at Our Lady of the Mountain Catholic Church and was treasurer of the Ashland Chapter of St. Vincent De Paul.
Sisneroz’s future is bright with opportunities. She will not only continue to advance the research at KinesioTech, LLC, she is also taking her talents to Lancaster, California, to start a new job as an electrical engineer for the 771st Test Squadron (Electronic Warfare) at Edwards Air Force Base.
“In my new job at Edwards AFB, I will be directly impacting the lives of others with my work,” Sisneroz says. “Ensuring the protection of active duty service members and supporting their mission to protect our country, there is no greater privilege and I’m very excited for this next chapter in my life.”