Meet Elsa Acosta de Anda. Acosta de Anda is a fourth- year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. Acosta de Anda is from Mexico and is a Rice Graduate Ambassador. Ambassadors are students who represent the university and help prospective students gain knowledge of student life as a graduate student at Rice.
Acosta de Anda chose Rice as a graduate school because of her passion for medicine and technology. Her research focuses on interacting with the brain, through electronics, to solve medical issues. Currently, her work is on cochlear implants, which provide a sense of sound to people who are profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. This is achieved by bypassing the damaged portions of the ear and electrically stimulating the auditory nerve. Current devices have limitations, such as the quality of sound and extremely high costs, which she is trying to tackle through innovation in design and fabrication techniques, among other approaches.
When she is not conducting research, she serves in various leadership roles within the Rice community. She is a part of Fulbrighter@Rice on campus.
Acosta de Anda advises prospective students to be honest with themselves regarding their goals and expectations in regard to graduate school.
“Graduate school is a very unique adventure, where your experience will be heavily influenced not only by the school, but also by your group, advisor, and other environmental factors,” said Acosta de Anda. “Try to tailor those decisions in the best way to fulfill your personal needs. What works for someone else might not be the best for you;, that is normal, and that is fine.”
Acosta de Anda advises current students to make time to rest, socialize, and visit places that they have always wanted to visit to help provide balance in their life outside of work.
“Do not miss out on fun experiences because of work all the time,” said Acosta de Anda. “Time flies so fast, and organizing your time allows space for special memories that will stay with you for years to come.”
Outside of academics, Acosta de Anda loves to learn about different cultures! Her desire to learn more allowed her to spend a semester abroad in Saudi Arabia to do more research.