Brook Sandy-Smith ’05

Brook Sandy-Smith working
Photo courtesy of Indium Corp.

By Neil Nachbar

The Electronic Design Innovation Conference & Exhibition (EDI Con) to be held Sept. 11-13 in Boston is expected to be the only industry event for radio frequency engineers and microwave engineers in the continental United States in 2017, and the biggest high-speed design conference on the East Coast.

One of the presenters at the conference will be Brook Sandy-Smith, who graduated from the University of Rhode Island’s International Engineering Program (IEP) in 2005 with a B.S. in chemical engineering and a B.A. in German. Sandy-Smith, who is a technical support engineer at Indium Corporation, will speak about, “Overcoming Assembly Challenges with Bottom Termination Components.”

“I give presentations like this several times a year,” said Sandy-Smith. “Sometimes I present at large electronics industry events such as IPC APEX Expo and SMTA International, and other times I present at more local SMTA events.”

When Sandy-Smith isn’t talking about engineering at conferences, she’s actually performing engineering at Indium’s facility in Clinton, NY.

“I mainly characterize materials and processes to make sure that they perform well for printed circuit board assembly,” stated Sandy-Smith. “I focus on solder, whether it is in wire form or solder paste, or even wave soldering. This PCB assembly process is critical for almost all of the electronics that we use today, so part of my job is applications engineering or process engineering. The Boston event is an unusual one for a soldering expert because the focus is on design more than process, but the show coordinators reached out to Indium Corporation for some new topics.”

Sandy-Smith’s first experience with working on electronics in a laboratory was at URI as a research assistant in Professor Otto Gregory’s Sensors and Surface Technology (SST) Partnership. She researched metallized thin polymer films for IR imaging applications.

Sandy-Smith took a couple of materials courses at URI as professional electives and later, while conducting her internship in Germany for the IEP, she enrolled in graduate courses in metallurgy and failure analysis at Carolo-Wilhemina Technical University in Branschweig.

After her semester of studying in Branschweig, Sandy-Smith worked for Hilti in Kaufering, Germany. Hilti is a company that provides products, systems and services for the construction industry.

“I worked in a chemical analysis and thermo-analytical lab on a project that characterized chemical anchor materials through DSC and TGA analysis,” recalled Sandy-Smith. “This was such a valuable experience, not only because I was conducting long-term experiments in the lab, but because I had to figure out how to communicate the results in English and German.”

Sandy-Smith credits her IEP experience for developing her into the person and engineer she is today.

“Studying abroad truly made me the person I am,” said Sandy-Smith. “I’m so happy that I chose the IEP program. My year abroad opened my horizons and gave me toughness and great adaptation skills that have served me well in the almost 15 years since then. I still think fondly of my time abroad almost every day. My mentor at Hilti, Josie Ender, was a remarkable woman who has continued to be an inspiration to me in my career.”

Sandy-Smith also credited the honors courses she took as electives at URI for giving her a more diverse educational experience.

“They were some of the most interesting courses I took at URI, whether it was a film course, or the genetics symposium I attended, or the globalization economics course,” said the Glens Falls, NY native. “Those classes really enriched my time at URI and made me a better person, in addition to the curriculum that made me a good engineer.”

Sandy-Smith’s well-rounded education has served her well at Indium Corporation, where she has worked since in 2010.

“The position I’m in really suits me because it requires an engineer who can communicate effectively with a large interdisciplinary team, as well as in written communications with customers,” explained Sandy-Smith. “Even though my focus changes periodically, these skills always serve me well.”

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