Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2021
When Rebecca Martin was younger, she enjoyed taking things apart so that she could see how they actually worked. This kind of curiosity led to her choosing computer systems engineering as her major in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. For Martin, the opportunity to study both computer software and hardware has been an ideal fit.
“Computers are a fundamental part of modern life,” says Martin. “Soon, most appliances and tools will have a computer in them.”
During her time at ASU, Martin was successful in the classroom while also being an active participant in the engineering community. She was the treasurer of the Society of Women Engineers and the Women in Computer Science clubs. Martin also spent two semesters involved with the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative and seven semesters as an undergraduate teaching assistant. She additionally served as a grader for both engineering and mathematics across three semesters. And it was during her time as a teaching assistant that Martin had what she considers her greatest achievement as an undergraduate.
“For two semesters of my UGTA experience, I got to have my own recitation,” she says. “Usually only graduate students are allowed to hold recitations, which are 50-minute teaching sessions every week. But my professor believed that my grasp of the material was equivalent to that of a graduate student.”
Throughout her undergraduate experience, Martin received a number of accolades. She was awarded the ASU/NASA Space Grant, the Society of Women Engineers Scholarship, the Panhuise Engineering Scholarship and the Stanley C. and Helen K. Delpier Scholarship
Martin says one of the most inspiring figures she worked with at ASU is Professor Andréa Richa. Martin credits Richa with helping both her undergraduate career as well as shaping her future aspirations.
“As a high school senior applying to ASU, I first noticed Dr. Richa because she was the only female full professor in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at the time,” says Martin. “In my sophomore year, I found out that Dr. Richa’s research area combined computer science and math, which were both subjects I loved, so I joined her lab. In the two years that I have worked with her, she has always been a great mentor. One of the most important things I’ve learned from her is balance, both professionally and personally.”
After graduation, Martin will complete a summer internship in aerial robotics (drone) research with Nokia Bell Labs. She then plans to pursue a PhD in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University with the goal of one day becoming a professor.