Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 129 Co-op Student Establishing Connections with Ericsson Carleton undergraduate student Salma Hassan admits she hadn’t always known that she was destined for a career in engineering. “Engineering was an area I had never really looked into until I was already in high school” she says. “I had always really enjoyed math and science, but it wasn’t until grade eleven that I was introduced to the idea of pursuing it as a career.” Now in her fourth year in Carleton’s communications engineering program, Salma wouldn’t have it any other way, as she finds herself working with information and communications technology leader Ericsson through Carleton’s co-operative education program. With customers in 180 countries, Ericsson carries 40% of the world’s mobile traffic over its networks and provides comprehensive industry solutions ranging from cloud services and mobile broadband to network design and optimization. Originally hired in May 2016 as a Radio Software Designer, Salma is now involved with the company’s Long Term Evolution Advanced/Active Antenna System (LTE AAS) project, working on the implementation of interfaces that are needed for high-speed wireless communications and data exchange between software and hardware. “Working on the LTE AAS project has been amazing because it’s allowed me to experience both the hardware and software aspects of telecommunications,” she says. “These systems are, for the most part, invisible to the user so it’s been exciting to get a first-hand look at how these networks are actually implemented.” While Salma enjoys spending time on campus, she also believes what happens outside the classroom has become an integral component of her educational experience. “Experiential learning allows you to see the bigger picture,” she explains. “Developing a theoretical background is extremely important, but having the opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge in an actual work environment gives you a greater understanding of the industry.” While many don’t think twice about the messages they send and receive every day, Salma notes that the impact made by communications engineers is more widespread than people realize. “Nowadays, most people cannot imagine themselves living without the internet or without their personal cell phones,” she says. “Behind the scenes, communications engineers are working to keep us connected and to maintain the systems that power the social infrastructure we’ve come to depend upon.” With communications systems now integrated in everything from security networks to global positioning systems, it’s evident that technology producers are looking ahead to an increasingly connected future. As society’s communications needs continue to diversify alongside the emergence of new technologies and systems, Salma believes the need for communications engineers will only continue to grow. “The field itself has transformed into one with virtually unlimited applications,” she says. “New technologies and systems are being developed every day and each of them is looking to connect with its users in some manner.” Looking towards to future, Salma hopes to one day be a role model for young women who are considering careers in engineering. Drawing from her own experience, she advocates that simply exposing girls to science and technology can make all the difference. “I think the main reason women are discouraged from pursuing engineering is the misconception that engineers only build things,” she explains. “What’s really important is that there be ongoing initiatives to ensure that women and girls’ interest in technology is encouraged and supported.” Believing her own interest in engineering may have been sparked at a rather late stage in her education, Salma also feels that girls shouldn’t be afraid to start asking questions about science, math and technology at a young age. “Once I started to look at all of the different options within engineering I became really interested in specific things like how voice recognition works or how data can be sent securely,” she explains. “The more I explored, the more I wanted to know how everything interacts together within a broader system.” Fourth year Communications Engineering student Salma Hassan has been working with Ericsson since May 2016 as part of Carleton’s co-op program.