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Burlington is a long way away for Malaga-born Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez, but he was taken by the career opportunities presented to graduates from the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS). Through industry exposure in the form of internships and capstone projects, many CEMS students have gone on to work with impressive engineering and tech companies in the US and beyond.

Inspired, Cotilla-Sanchez packed his bags and joined UVM’s Electrical Engineering PhD programme. The small-sized classes were particularly helpful in supporting his transition to a new language, and offered a more in-depth focus in his studies.

He found the class in Fundamentals of Electrical Energy particularly insightful. “It changed my perspective on what were the most important problems for society to be working on and inspired my own research,” he shares.

At UVM, he served as president of the Graduate Student Senate, marking the first year where both the graduate and undergraduate representatives were of Hispanic origin. His most impactful opportunity, however, was taking part in the UVM Complex Systems Centre. “We had great collaborations with the research group of professors,” he says. “This helped me realise that effective trans-disciplinary work is meaningful to everyone, and is not just limited to a change of equation names or variables.”

Today, Cotilla-Sanchez is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oregon State University, where he contributes to teaching and research on the climate crisis. “My most proud accomplishments have been all the things that my own students and former students are doing out there to improve energy access, resilience, and sustainability,” he shares. “I apply the principles I learnt from UVM every day in my courses and the mentoring of the research students in my group, in hopes that they will also feel the urgency of making the planet better for all.”

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Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez

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