REU Student Spotlight: Haileyesus Ephrem

By Christelle Paul, SEAS Correspondent

NAME: Haileyesus Ephrem


COLLEGE: University of Massachusetts, Lowell


MAJOR: Civil Engineering

HARVARD LAB: Center for Integrated Quantum Materials


What have you been doing in the lab this summer?

My labmates and I are creating a diamond radio receiver, with the capability to receive messages and operate in the highest temperatures, worst environmental conditions, and the highest pressures around the world. In order for this to be a possibility, we must make changes, such as increasing our operating temperatures and hearing frequencies by a large amount. It has been my job to figure out a way to shrink the size of our current radio into a model that could fit into small devices, like a cell phone.

With this experience, do you think you’d change your major or interests?

This experience was something new for me. Although I am a civil engineering major, the creation of this diamond radio receiver involved electrical and mechanical engineering. I have loved every part of the project, but I don’t think this experience has led me to stray away from my passion for civil engineering. I am happy for the exposure I have gained through this program.

Once you graduate with your civil engineering degree, do you have any plans? Do you see yourself working in a specific place, or in certain fields?

I would like to focus on construction and infrastructure projects in cities. I’d like to contribute to the building of bridges, highways, and skyscrapers. It is a dream of mine to go back to Ethiopia and improve the lack of infrastructure and poor road conditions.

Do you have any hobbies, related or not related to engineering? What do you like to do for fun?

I love soccer; I like to play whenever I get the chance. I also enjoy listening to music and going on walks. During my walks, I pay attention to the buildings and roads, making observations on their designs and thinking of ways to improve them.