William Poland follows his curiosity and interest in every endeavor he undertakes.
A senior honors student in Radio Frequency and Microwave Engineering in the College of Engineering, William contributed to the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program as a member of its inaugural cohort. This studio-based program supports students in experiential learning as they work with industry partners on real-world projects.
Drawn to additive manufacturing throughout his freshman studio, William followed this interest into a research role in the SMART Lab within the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
His second semester, William worked with a robotically directed 3D printing assembly. This experience led him to a summer internship at the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing under a grant from the I-DREAM-4D Consortium, which conducts impactful research for defense development and prepares engineers and scientists to lead innovation in U.S. defense manufacturing.
As an electrical engineer, William wanted to integrate his interest in manufacturing with his degree focus in electromagnetics. This alignment of interests guided him into a research position at the Hume Center for National Security, in the Manufacturing Engineering Education Program. In this role, William found a passion for the intersection of his major with the areas of manufacturing and materials.
This connection across disciplines drove his collaboration with other students at Virginia Tech’s DREAMS Lab to create a 3D-printed dielectric lens to focus electromagnetic waves. Following this experience, William gained an appreciation for design and analysis of electromagnetics and materials, leading him to a research interest in computational electromagnetics. William is preparing a poster presentation on this work for the Hume Center’s Spring Research Colloquium in April.
William passionately pursues electrical engineering as a way to meaningfully impact others lives, and he brings the same passion to myriad other pursuits — as an avid music listener and musician, a student of foreign languages, and a member of Virginia Tech’s community, including serving as a Resident Advisor and Senior Student Leader.
After graduating next spring, William plans to return to Virginia Tech to complete his accelerated master’s degree in electrical engineering.
From his Virginia Tech experience, William offered insight that illustrates the aspiration of curiosity: “Put your best effort into everything that you do, and treat everything as a learning experience so that no time or effort is ever wasted,” said William. “Knowledge is vast, and there is no one piece of information as important as the mindset to accumulate and assimilate knowledge.”
William credits science fiction for shaping his curiosity and interests and driving him to pursue the depths of understanding that allow us achieve things once thought impossible. His commitment to investigating, learning, and applying new knowledge exemplifies the aspiration of curiosity.
I am honored to present the Aspire! Award for COMMIT TO UNWAVERING CURIOSITY to William Poland.