Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Dartmouth M.S. Graduates in Engineering Bring Project Management and R&D Skills to Industry

By Anna Fiorentino
September 2012 • Thayer By Degrees: MS

Jeff Forsyth Th'11 enrolled in Dartmouth's Master of Science (M.S.) program in engineering sciences to apply electrical engineering to cancer screening and diagnosis.

Professor Alexander Hartov
Engineering professor Alexander Hartov, director of Thayer School's M.S. and Ph.D. programs

"I researched breast cancer screening and diagnostics with a non-ionizing method known as electrical impedance tomography. I created a patient-specific screening device and the algorithms for processing the data, under Dr. Alexander Hartov," says Forsyth, who was one of about 20 to enroll in the program in 2010. "The close relationship I had with my advisor gave me the feedback I needed to continue on the right path in my research."

It was the kind of symbiotic relationship the program is built upon.

"M.S. students work hard and think critically, as inspired by their professors," adds Forsyth.

Similar to the Ph.D. program—with less scope and depth—M.S. students work on a project, write a thesis, and defend it to gain advanced competency in applied mathematics and engineering. The moving target of course offerings for both undergraduate and graduate students has grown in recent years to include Materials in Sports Equipment, The Science and Engineering of Music, Intermediate Biomedical Engineering, Digital Image Processing, and Medical Imaging—to name a few. A number of faculty members have also been added to the roster, among them Margie Ackerman, Solomon Diamond, Jifeng Liu, Kofi Odame, Jason Stauth, Ulrike Wegst, and Brenden Epps.

"We sometimes have M.S. students who do excellent work and whom we strongly encourage to consider continuing to get a Ph.D.," says Hartov, director of the M.S. program. "Unfortunately for us, the good students also get good job offers."

M.S. graduates who don't pursue a Ph.D. in engineering sciences often bring project management and research and development skills they've gained to technology-based industry jobs at companies including Philips, Siemens Global, and Medtronic.

The Thayer School approach to the classroom taught Forsyth to tackle problems until they are sufficiently solved. Forsyth now works as an embedded software engineer for a Florida-based surgical robotics company called MAKO Surgical.

"The robot runs C code and is interfaced via MATLAB scripts, so I have been programming in both languages. In the case of robot issues in the field, I work to troubleshoot by phone and, when necessary, travel to resolve them," says Forsyth. "I love my job."

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