In 2001, Robert Graves graduated from the University of California at Riverside with a degree in history, yet always felt a persistent interest in technology and engineering. Following graduation, Graves worked for several years in information technology and attended the University of San Francisco where he received a master’s degree in information systems.
Having worked in business until August 2015, he decided to pursue his interest in engineering and enrolled at Arizona State University to complete a degree in electrical engineering. Combining his business skills with digital design and computer networking courses, he hoped to work with internet of things projects to help develop sensors and systems that involve connecting people and information needed to analyze and solve complex problems from medical to educational improvements for those in need.
Graves’ senior design project, in conjunction with four other students, involved designing a hospital bed that incorporated a variety of actuators and sensors to help adjust the mattress of patients confined to a bed. In addition to the added mobility features, the project incorporated several sensors to allow hospital staff to monitor the patients position. Ultimately the movement and sensor information reduce and potentially eliminate the chance of a patient developing pressure ulcers and related discomfort.
At home, Graves’ wife Kelly returned to work as a high school art teacher and he took on the role of stay-at-home dad of three kids and full-time online student. Graves worked part time as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant during his sophomore and junior years at ASU for Instructor Bassam Matar and Lecturer Marnie Wong. Living just south of Sacramento, he found it challenging to connect and interact with other students. To compensate, Graves actively participated in course discussion boards, Google Hangouts chats and on an EE Study Group Slack channel.
Outside of the classroom, Graves continued his significant involvement with Boy Scouts of America and the regional Golden Empire Council. He currently serves as the district chairman for the Soaring Eagle District and as a board member of the Golden Empire Council. These two groups serve approximately 14,000 youth across the Sacramento and Northern California area. With BSA’s membership change that welcomed young women into the BSA programs, Graves started a new Scout Troop for girls and currently serves as scoutmaster.
BSA has a National Youth Leadership Training Course that teaches youth members servant leadership, including project leadership, communication, conflict resolution and teaching others. He has served as a staff member on these leadership courses while attending ASU. Graves’ work with BSA provides him the opportunity to mentor and work with youth as they grow into young adults. He hopes that by sharing his experiences while pursuing his engineering degree and sharing his projects provides inspiration and motivation to the next generation to pursue a science, technology, engineering or mathematics career.
Graves has completed his Project Management Professional certification and continues as a member of the Project Management Institute and the local Sacramento Valley PMI chapter. He is also a Certified ScrumMaster, a student member of IEEE and a member of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society. Lastly, Graves serves as a Fourth-Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.
On May 8, 2019, Graves will walk across the stage to receive his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.