Kelly Vanderwerff is February’s Alumni of the Month. Kelly grew up in Brookings with a dad working at SDSU, so she knew and liked many professors in the department. That was a big reason behind her decision to attend SDSU later on. Kelly appreciated having many majors to choose from, but she never left the EE department. One of her favorite moments was when she wore a University of Minnesota sweatshirt to an SDSU photo shoot. Dr. Hietpas was not happy with her, which was, of course, why she did it! She worked hard for her degree and took the time to understand the material, making her a talented engineer today.
Right now, she is a part-time software engineer for Raven Industries in Sioux Falls and a part-time stay at home mom. Kelly and her team are working to start automated testing for Raven’s Applied Technology products. She has also taken time out of her busy schedule to mentor women taking up electrical engineering.
With all the new technology coming out, Kelly is especially excited about the Internet of Things, which refers to the ability of devices, mechanical systems, objects, animals, humans, etc., to exchange information without interaction. She can already see the doors it will open in making people’s lives easier. Kelly is also excited for the data revolution—how data are being processed and stored. Now that data have been stored for years, that data can now be processed and tell us about the future.
Kelly gave the advice to remember to have some fun. Even though an EE major takes a lot of work, she wanted to remind students the grades won’t matter to employees in the end if the material was learned. She encourages students to have a life outside of school work and enjoy college.
The SDSU EE Monthly Alumni Spotlight is conducted on a voluntary basis by the Electrical and Computer Engineering honor society, IEEE Eta Kappa Nu, to broaden EE outreach.