Meet Sharlina Keshava

"I’m a computer engineer with a focus on cyber security and embedded systems programming."

Why did you choose Rutgers?

I participated in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) night, when female students are invited to stay overnight to see if this is a good fit. All the girls were really welcoming. I stayed in touch with them afterwards -- so when I got here I felt like I had a bit of a head start.

When did you know you wanted to be an engineer?

I come from a family of engineers, but I made the decision on my own, when I realized it was the best fit for my personality and interests. My parents are both engineers – they met as undergraduates. I wouldn’t be here at all without engineering!

What do you think first year students should know about ECE?

I would tell students that with a degree in electrical engineering they can do anything.

What is your focus in ECE?

I’m a computer engineer, with a focus on cyber security and embedded systems programming.

What is your capstone project?

With my capstone group – Thomas Slonaker, Matthew D’Angiolillo and Anthony Yang – I’m building an electromagnetic linear accelerator (coil gun) that launches magnetic projectiles. It’s the kind of technology that the military uses to launch missiles. Honestly, we wouldn’t have been able to complete this project without our advisor Richard Howard!

Do you have a favorite professor?

Bernhard Firner. He was my first embedded systems professor and his class was a good handshake into the whole field of embedded programming. If it weren’t for him and his class I probably wouldn’t be interested in embedded programming.

My other shout out goes to Professor Chris Rose, who taught Principles of Electrical Engineering 1. He was extremely responsive – and still answers email questions even at five a.m.

Have you had any internships?

I’ve had three internships. I was lucky to have an internship as a freshman -- it helped me get the next ones, where I learned a lot about professional programming.

What will you do after graduation?

I have a job lined up, but first I’m going to travel this summer, in California, Japan and Taiwan. I’ll be working in cyber intelligence at Lockheed Martin in Herndon, Virginia when I return.

What do you hope to be doing five years from now?

I hope to be pursuing a master’s degree of some sort. I want to continue my education, but need to figure out what I want to do first.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your first-year, first-semester self?

I’d talk about the importance of integrity. Take your commitments seriously, maintain your relationships, and be thorough in the work you do.

How do you hope to give back to future SoE students?

Every graduate is an ambassador of the alma mater to the world at large. I hope to give back by representing Rutgers to the best of my ability.  I’d also love to be directly involved with student life at Rutgers post graduation, but since I am moving, I hope to give back financially.

What is a favorite memory?

In freshman year my entire floor and RA would go outside and play Frisbee once a week. The friends I made that year are the friends I have now. We really did have a great sense of community.

What else do you do for fun?

With the support of Dean Ilene Rosen and the EGC, I resurrected the SoE yearbook in my freshman year. I did yearbook in high school, so this year’s will be my 8th eighth yearbook. Yearbooks are a great way to share people’s stories, which in turn brings the community together.

In the same vein, my co-editor-in chief, Zhen Lin, and I started “Engineers of Rutgers,” a Facebook page inspired by “Humans of New York.” Its purpose is to show everyone that not all engineers are nerds who study all the time. We have lives, too!