Research for Impact

Whenever people ask me why I chose SMU, my answer is pretty simple. I wanted a school with a strong electrical engineering program, the ability to study abroad for a semester and still graduate on time, and the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research. I’m excited to say that after this fall semester, I will have checked all three of those boxes at SMU.


As a part of the University Honors Program, I had the opportunity to submit a proposal for a Richter Fellowship last year. SMU is one of only 12 schools offering Richter Fellowships, so this was an amazing opportunity. I received funding to investigate rural electrification, a subject I am extremely passionate about. For the last half of October, I will be traveling with my mentor and a graduate student to conduct our individual research projects in Bolivia. I will be determining the impact of several rural electrification projects the Bolivian government has recently implemented and identifying further opportunities to bring clean, reliable power to rural communities.

In preparing for the trip I have learned a lot about alternative energy and grid infrastructure, which was the main goal of my project, but I have also become aware of the nuances of conducting research in another country. Thankfully, I have had the support of my faculty advisor, Engineers without Borders at SMU, and the Lyle School of Engineering, all of whom I can definitely say has prepared me to work with people, and not just numbers, as an engineer.

I’m very excited to realize my goal of conducting research during my time at SMU, and I am one step closer to getting a paper published. This experience, and studying abroad, might have not been possible had I not come to SMU. I’m truly thankful everyday that I go to such an amazing school filled with so many great opportunities. Pony Up!

—Yassi Sahba

Originally presented here.