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Musician Finds New Career in Engineering

June 2, 2009

Ryan Challcombe

Ryan Challacombe
Spring 2009 Graduate
Everitt Award Winner 
(Sponsored by the International Engineering Consortium, the Everitt Awards honor EE, CoE and CS seniors in the top 10 percent of their class and interested in areas of communications and computers, and in outside activities.)

Why did you choose KU?
I was in a band and started becoming more interested in how amplifiers worked. At the same time, I was tutoring someone in math and realized I was pretty good at it. I was in a dead-end job and wanted a better one. It led me back to school. I could commute to KU.

How has your time at KU changed you?
I have learned to keep things in perspective. I may be extremely busy right now, but in six months, I will not be as busy. It is good to remember you will not have to maintain this pace. Also, I have become really good at prioritizing.

What have been some of your favorite experiences at KU?
I have enjoyed my senior design class. You take a project from the design phase to a final product. It is hands-on, which I like. We were able to send music through a transmitter to a receiver. Our group built both the transmitter and receiver.

What was your biggest challenge?
Commuting eats up a lot of time. I also have a part-time job. Finding time to fit everything in can become a challenge. Balance can be hard to achieve. I try to remember that time spent with friends and other breaks help me keep my sanity.

What advice would you give to new students?
You need to have a long-term perspective. Right now, calculus and differential equations may be hard and not what you want to do. Remember the things you are learning now are important and will help you in future classes.

What is your favorite place to study?
Spahr Library is a great place for groups to study. As long as it stays on task, the group often benefits from synergy. People may have a solution you had not even considered.

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