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Delores Etter

Texas Instruments Distinguished Professor in Engineering Education
Director of the Caruth Institute in Engineering Education
Southern Methodist Univ., Dallas, Texas
Country of birth: USA
Country of residence: USA

Educational background: BS and MS in mathematics, Wright State Univ.; PhD in electrical engineering, Univ. of New Mexico

Delores EtterA typical work day.
My research is in identification using iris recognition, an area of biometrics. Other areas of biometrics include fingerprint identification, face recognition, speech recognition, and gait recognition. These techniques are used not only in criminal identifi cation and forensic work, but they are also very important in providing access control. Biometrics can also help protect your identity. In addition to my research, I am very interested in helping young people from grade school through high school learn more about engineering and science.

What I enjoy most.
I enjoy solving real problems using engineering, mathematics, and computing. I have had two very special opportunities. I spent three years in the Pentagon as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology, and two years as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. What incredible opportunities those were for me!

Words of wisdom.
It is important for young people to take advantage of opportunities to understand various careers. This means participating in internships, co-operative programs, and working in research labs at school, even if this delays your graduation by a semester or two. You also have to work hard to achieve significant goals. The best engineers are not necessarily the ones at the top of the classes; the best engineers are often the students who understand how the classes and concepts fit together to help solve real-world problems.