Barbara Oakley PhD
AUTHOR

Barbara Oakley PhD

I work at Oakland University as a professor of engineering. I started studying engineering much later than many engineering students, because my original intention had been to become a linguist. I enlisted in the U.S. Army right after high school and spent a year studying Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey California. The Army eventually sent me to the University of Washington, where I received my first degree'a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature. Eventually, I served four years in Germany as a Signal Officer, and rose to become a Captain. After my Army commitment ended, I decided to leave the Army and study engineering so that I could better understand the communications equipment I had been working with. Five years later I received a second degree: a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. In the meantime, I worked several fishing seasons as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers up in the Bering Sea. I wrote a book about that experience in 'Hair of the Dog: Tales from a Russian Trawler.' I also spent a season as the radio operator at the South Pole Station, where Philip and I met. (We were married as soon as we got 'off the ice,' in New Zealand.) With the B.S.E.E. degree in hand I settled down and spent three years working as a instrumentation and controls engineer at a laser research and development firm near Seattle. We moved to the Detroit area in 1989. I worked for Ford briefly, and then began doing consulting and attending Oakland University part time while our children were small. I received a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1995, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering in 1998. I was hired after my graduation to continue on as a professor at Oakland University. Since then, I've become interested in learning about people and places using an out-side-the box perspective--as you can tell from my books. I feel compelled to explore ideas and concepts in writing--thank goodness I have a family that's forgiving of my compulsion!
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