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Electical and Computer Engineering

Dhruv Birla '24

Dhruv Birla '24
Electical and Computer Engineering

Dhruv Birla '24

  • Hometown: Portland, Oregon
  • Class: 2024 (M.S. 2025)
  • Major: Electrical Engineering
  • Minor: Computer Science
  • Out-of-Classroom Experiences/Interests:
    • 4+1 Bachelor's + Master's Program
    • Undergraduate Research
    • RedHawk Racing (Electric Vehicle)
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We have the power electronics lab, we have an industrial robotics lab, we have an FPGA lab for embedded software, and a lot of other different labs as well. There's a lot of dedicated spaces for students to do their work. 
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Dhruv Birla '24

Why Miami?

Seeing an emphasis on undergraduate research was really big for me. I knew I wanted to do research in college, and I feel like a lot of other engineering colleges, that's not really an option because it's usually reserved for either Master's or Ph.D. students. 

Why Electrical Engineering at Miami?

People who are interested in electrical engineering should come to Miami because there's a big emphasis on undergraduate research. We've got a lot of dedicated labs for the different areas of electrical engineering. We have the power electronics lab, we have an industrial robotics lab, we have an FPGA lab for embedded software, and a lot of other different labs as well. So just, there's a lot of dedicated spaces for students to do their work. 

Within the electrical engineering department, you get to know your peers really closely. I know all of the professors and I feel like they all know me. I've been able foster some really close relationships on campus and at off campus events as well. It's been a really fun, tight-knit community. We all kind of take care of each other. 

What is Redhawk Racing?

Red Hawk racing is a club where we design and build race cars, and manufacture them on our own as well. 95% of the work we do is actually designing it and maybe 5% of it is racing it. Right now we're in a really big, design focused area, because we're switching our formula car from a combustion powered car to an electric car. And one of our other cars is being switched from a two wheel drive to a four wheel drive car. So a lot of design efforts going on there. We're hoping to have them done in the next year or two and have some competitive race cars. 

Why Do You Like Redhawk Racing?

I really like Red Hawk racing because I personally am super interested in electric vehicles, and starting this year, we're making an electric vehicle for our Formula race car.

It really is an interdisciplinary effort. We have people from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and so many other areas working on so many different parts of the car. We have someone working on the driver interface, so a lot of software. We have people working on the motor, the battery pack, all the electrical systems. We have people creating the CAD for the frame. We have people working on welding and manufacturing the frames. So all of those things combined to actually create a final product at the end, and hopefully being able to see it work and race at the end, I think that's really satisfying. And that's what engineering is about: Being able to apply what you learned in the classroom to an actual project.

I'm glad Miami allows us to do that in the form of clubs like Red Hawk racing. It's been a really fun club to be part of.

Experience as an Out-Of-State Student

Coming to Ohio was a big change, for sure. It's a lot colder here. It's a lot drier here. And also, being in Oxford versus being in Portland, it's coming from a big city to a smaller area. But it's been a great change. Everyone around me is super friendly. I had no trouble finding new people and making friends.

All of my professors have been really helpful in helping me, making sure I get set up well, and that I'm doing well here. In my freshman and sophomore year, my professors would always like make sure that I was doing well.

Why Did You Decide To Pursue Your Master's at Miami?

There are a lot of reasons I chose to do the combined bachelor's and master's program here at Miami. A big one was that I had a really close relationship with a professor. I had been doing undergraduate research with him since my freshman year and I decided that I also wanted to stay in his area of interest, which was power electronics and continue doing some work there. So now I'm doing a thesis centered around power electronics.

Creating a close connection with that professor was one of the key things that helped me stay on. Another big thing was also learning about the assistantships that Miami offers to help cover the costs of graduate school. And then being able to graduate in one year instead of two years, not having to take the GRE to do the program, all of those things combined. I already know the city, the school, the professors, and the department. So all of those combined made it a pretty easy decision to stay on for my master's.