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Carrie Bradley: Undergraduate

Electrical Engineering
Degree Program: 
Electrical Engineering, B.S.
Undergraduate Institution: 
UC Santa Cruz

Carrie Bradley is a fourth year electrical engineering undergraduate student at the Baskin School of Engineering. She talks about her passion for engineering, graduating in a pandemic, and what her future looks like. 

Why did you choose UCSC, and more specifically, the Baskin School of Engineering?

I was always interested in engineering, so I knew that when I was applying to schools. I visited UCSC and I loved the campus, so I ended up applying. I have a lot of family in Santa Cruz, so I decided on Santa Cruz because I was able to be near family and I got to run on the cross-country team, so it checked all the boxes and I really liked the campus so I was excited about coming here. 

When did you first become interested in electrical engineering?

Initially, I knew I wanted to do engineering. My dad was a civil engineer, so I grew up always doing weird projects with him. He would say to me “Let’s go build this thing!” and I’d be like *shrugs* “Okay!”, so I knew that I wanted to be in engineering. I wasn’t really interested in electrical engineering, but I liked UCSC so much that I figured I might as well try it,  and I ended up really liking it! 

You’re graduating in a pandemic! How has online learning been for you?

I was really lucky in the sense that I had gotten my design elective done before the pandemic started, so I think I’m having a very different experience than other students in electrical engineering because I had already gotten the hands-on experience, so now I’m just doing electives that are more viable online. I’ve been really lucky in that sense. It’s definitely been a big change, but I’ve been lucky. I was stressing out about graduation but I ended up getting a job, so that’s super comforting! 

That’s so exciting! What are you going to be doing?

I got a job with General Motors, the car company, in Michigan! They have an engineering rotational program that I’ll be joining.

What kind of opportunities opened up for you at the Baskin School of Engineering?

I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities at BSOE. It’s been really amazing. I was able to join a bioelectronics lab my sophomore year, and I’m still working in that lab. From that, I made a lot of great contacts. I also ended up working for the electrical engineering department chair as an assistant for a couple months, which was really cool because I got to meet all of these older, successful engineers and hear their stories of how they got to where they are. I’m also a peer advisor at BSOE, which has been a really cool experience, helping students navigate everything. 

What is your favorite memory from Baskin Engineering?

This is probably an unpopular opinion, but my favorite memory is finals week. Electrical engineering is really small, so you’ll know most of the people in your major, and most of them are down in the Baskin Engineering lounge during finals week. It’s kind of a community, even though everyone is going through a hard time and it’s really stressful, you have tests coming up, but you have this place where you can go to be with students who have the same priorities, which is really helpful. 

You already got a job for after graduation, which is amazing, but what is your dream job?

I got my dream job, honestly. I worked on cars a lot in high school, so I always thought that cars would be cool to develop and engineer. I got lucky, I guess! Especially now with renewable energy and making everything electric, I think it’s a really cool place to be. I’m lucky enough to be a part of that next year.