ECE students make Arecibo Observatory their classroom

This past J-Term, around 15 Miami students traveled to Puerto Rico to make the Arecibo Observatory their classroom.

For three weeks, Dr. Qihou Zhou conducted a course titled “Undergraduate Hands-on Experience with Incoherent Scatter Radar,” where students learned about the technical aspects of radar operation, characteristics of the different ionospheric regions, recognizing techniques and more.Arecibo Observatory classroom

“The ionosphere is a big, natural lab,” Dr. Zhou said. “It is a region of complex fluid, thermal, and electrodynamics.”

While the trip was centered around academics, there was a major cultural component as well. During their stay, students got to experience the culture in Puerto Rico and explore the island.

“After this trip I have a newfound appreciation for cultural understanding and compassion,” said Adrianna Patch, a senior computing and electrical engineering major. “What I will take away from this trip and apply to my career is that the most cost effective, or easiest solution is not always the best. You should always put the people first.”

It was an experience that the students will not soon forget.

“The stories that I heard during my time in Puerto Rico accounting the difficulties experienced by Puerto Rican’s has allowed me to gain a new perspective on the lives of people outside of the states,” said Brendan Moran, a sophomore electrical engineering student. “’s prompted me to visualize new solutions that might make tragedies in the future more manageable.”

For more information on the experience abroad, visit the Arecibo Observatory blog

By Jenna Calderón, CEC Reporter