Alenka Zajic always enjoyed physics, but truly fell in love with it after learning about Ohm’s law in the seventh grade. Wanting to learn more about circuits, she asked her teacher what she should study – thus beginning a lifelong love of electrical engineering. Having three grandparents as teachers and an uncle as a professor of medicine at the University of Belgrade, Zajic found that teaching came naturally to her.
Zajic says that she loves two aspects of her job–the thrill of unknown and working with students. “I always describe research as reading the most exciting novel that you cannot wait to turn the next page, except you also have to write that next page,” she said. “Doing research with students makes it even more special, because I get to observe firsthand their growth, being infected with the same research bug I have, and in the end becoming independent researchers.”
Always drawn to multidisciplinary research, Zajic has combined her expertise in electromagnetics, telecommunications, and signal processing and applies them in her current projects in vehicle-to-vehicle communications, monitoring of analog signals for cybersecurity, and terahertz chip-to-chip communications. She also teaches diverse subjects, including electromagnetics, telecommunications, and computer architecture.
Zajic, who is a Ken Byers Professor in ECE, enjoys the creative process of solving new problems. However, she hopes that she will not be the only beneficiary of that work. “Finding the right balance between making new fundamental discoveries and transferring them into practice for a broader community to enjoy is one of my ultimate goals,” Zajic said. “I am hoping to pass on to younger generations my passion for engineering and the endless possibilities it offers.”