The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Dr. Sandra Cruz-Pol

"My Experiences and Challenges in Pursuing an Engineering PhD degree"


Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 2:30pm


Dr. Sandra Cruz-Pol, Program Director for the ERC at the National Science Foundation



Title: “My Experiences and Challenges in Pursuing an Engineering PhD Degree”


In this talk I will share my personal career path and how it has allowed me to make some difference in the world. I will talk about some of the challenges of pursuing a doctorate degree (specially while being a Hispanic woman raising two little girls) and offer tips on how to deal with them. My experiences and adventures serving US agencies and other entities at national and international levels, as well as in the Academia, research and outreach activities, will be briefly presented. I hope that some of my experiences help you embark your own professional life path.


Dr. Cruz-Pol received a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University working with passive and active satellite sensors studying atmospheric gases and the sea surface emissivity. She worked in active remote sensing at UMass Amherst for her master’s degree. Her Bachelor’s degree is from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). All three degrees were obtained with the Suma Cum Laude distinction. She joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UPRM in 1991.

She was a member of U.S. National Academies (NAS) Committee on Radio Frequencies (CORF) from 2010 until 2019. She was also an appointed member of the NAS Active Spectrum Study. She was the Program Director for the EARS (Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum) program at NSF, where she was also a Spectrum Manager from 2014 to 2015. She is a member of the IEEE FARS (Frequency Allocations for Remote Sensing) Technical Committee. She was appointed by NSF as member of the U.S. Delegation for Spectrum Management to the ITU in Geneva and was the NSF Representative for the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) at the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and for several subcommittees including the one that deals with Frequency Allocations, FAS. During her stay at NSF she was selected as the Federal Liaison for the U.S. National Committee for the International Union for Radio Science (URSI). At NSF she's a Program Director for the Engineering Research Center (ERC) program and the ERC International Center-to-Centre (C2C) Liaison.

Her interests include microwave sensors, weather radars, atmospheric attenuation, RF spectrum, and climatemonitoring. She received the NASA Faculty Award for Research in 2002. Dr. Cruz-Pol is a Senior member of the IEEE. She was the Associate Editor for University Affairs for the IEEE GRSS Newsletter for 5 years. She’s the author of several books on RF Spectrum Management, Antennas, and Environmental Sustainability and coauthor on books on two RF Spectrum published by the National Academies.