May 1, 2014

In 2008, Jim Conroy took his first class with Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals. It was a basic antennas course taught by Dr. Steven Weiss, an accomplished electrical engineer at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

Four years and a lot of calculations later, Conroy was inspired not only to take more advanced antennas courses but also to start pursuing an intensive independent study project with his now friend and mentor, Dr. Weiss.

Dr. Weiss would help me to get unstuck, Conroy said. Often meeting outside regular class times at coffee shops and other locations, the pair worked well together to help sort out the hurdles in Conroy's research.

Weiss emphasized, though, that Conroy was a real self-starter who didn’t need too much persuading. I can give him some overall suggestions, he said, and he actually takes them.

The results of Conroy’s independent research impressed Dr. Weiss, who encouraged him to submit an abstract to the 2013 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation and USNC-URSI National Radio Science Meeting held in Orlando, Florida.

The paper, co-authored by both Conroy and Weiss and titled Evaluation of the Sommerfeld Integral for a Dipole Over a Layered Earth Model, was accepted to be a part of the Antenna Design and Measurements II session, which Conroy was also chosen to chair.

Networking at the conference was tremendous, Conroy said. He even had the opportunity to interact with authors of several books he had read throughout his studies.

Now a graduate of the Electrical and Computer Engineering program at Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals, Conroy has no plans to slow down just yet.

He is presenting a follow-up paper (A Dipole in the Presence of the Earth's Surface: Analytic Solutions and Realization with HFSS) at the 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation and USNC-URSI National Radio Science Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee in July.

Recently brought on to a full-time position at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Conroy is also currently pursuing his PhD in communications systems at Virginia Tech. His independent study project with Weiss, he said, will give him a running start for my dissertation.

In speaking about the Electrical and Computer Engineering program at Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals, Weiss said, It's well-focused and directly applicable to your job but there’s also a balance for students with the vigor to pursue a PhD.

Weiss, who teaches three courses, both online and in the classroom, was a recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award at Johns Hopkins Engineering for Professionals.

To learn more about Jim Conroy and his experience in our graduate program, you can watch the recent Electrical and Computer Engineering online information session where Conroy made a special guest appearance to help answer questions from prospective students.

Describing the benefits of working with instructors like Weiss, Conroy concluded, You can buy the software but you can’t buy their experience.