Frequently Asked Questions - Common questions
James M. Conrad, Ph.D., PMP
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UNC Charlotte
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223-0001
Phone: 704-687-8597, Fax: 704-687-5588
James M. Conrad received his bachelor's degree in
computer science from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and his
master's and doctorate degrees in computer engineering from North
Carolina State University. He is currently a
professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has served
as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas and as an
instructor at North Carolina State University. He has also worked at IBM, Ericsson/Sony Ericsson, and
BPM Technology. Dr. Conrad is a
Professional Engineer, a Senior
Member of the IEEE and a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
He is also a member of Eta Kappa Nu, the Project Management Institute, and
the American Society of Engineering Education.
He has been elected to
serve on the IEEE Board of Directors as Region 3 director for 2016-2017.
He is the author of numerous books, book
chapters, journal articles, and conference papers in the areas of
embedded systems, robotics, parallel processing, and engineering
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Why are you Dr. Robot?
A: I have published three books on the robot
Stiquito. I also have a Ph.D. (so
students call me Dr. Conrad). Back in 1999, when I signed up for eBay, I
used the name "drrobot" as my ID. Unfortunately, I do not own that web
Q: What exactly is the difference from a
degree from here (UNC Charlotte) as compared to one at a technical college such
as ECPI? It seems that here we mostly focus on designing hardware and
circuits while at a technical college, they focus on things such as web
building, network security, etc.
A: The UNC Charlotte William States Lee College of Engineering is an
accredited Engineering college in one of the 100 largest universities in the US
(out of about 4600 in the US). As an accredited program, you are taught
design skills which help you solve a wide array of problems that engineers
encounter. An engineering degree is respected by companies that hire
employees to design and develop products and services. These skills should
last a lifetime even though the technology will changes rapidly. This is a
reason why you should continue personal development after you graduate by
pursuing an advanced degree, attending conferences, reading technical journals,
and/or taking short courses.
A technical college (and a community college) will concentrate on specific
technical skills, not the broad topic of problem solving. These degrees
are respected by employers that have specific immediate needs of employees
trained in specific software/hardware environments. Their useful skills
decay faster that those with an engineering degree, so these degree holders have
a more urgent need to continue technical personal development after they
Q: What is the list of courses I need to take if I major in Computer
Engineer? Also, what courses I need to take in high school?
A: For a "Plan of Study", a list of courses a student should take for a
Computer Engineering degree at UNC Charlotte, visit:
http://academics.uncc.edu/undergraduate-majors. In high school, it is helpful to have 4 years of science, math, and English
(each of these subject each semester in high school).
Q. Can I get a letter of recommendation from you?
A. Dr. Conrad will be happy to write a letter for you if you are a current
IEEE Member AND:
- You are one of his research students (MS with project or Thesis, PhD, or BS doing additional
- You are one of his Senior Design Project students and are performing well on
the project ("pulling your weight").
- You were an active officer of the IEEE Student Chapter or the Charlotte Area
Dr. Conrad will not write letters if you were only a student in one or more
of his classes, except for UNC Charlotte Graduate School applications. He
will fill out UNC Charlotte Graduate School references for past students who
earned A's and B's in his classes.
to follow to ensure a timely response to the recommendation request:
- Go to the
UNC Charlotte Legal Department FERPA Consent web site and fill out/print out the FERPA consent form
(this is a permission form to allow Dr. Conrad to actually complete your recommendation). Read more
about the protections of the US FERPA law at the
UNC Charlotte Legal Department FERPA web site
- Hand Dr. Conrad the signed permission form.
- Provide Dr. Conrad the detail of the reference (college application,
fellowship application, job reference)
- Provide Dr. Conrad the first version of the letter that has the correct
formatting, the correct address, and some important comments of your
studies. Here is a sample
MS Word file you can use as a base.
(Not needed for UNC Charlotte Graduate School applications).
Q. Have you been interviewed by the media?
A. Yes! Over the years I have been interviewed by various TV
Stations, newspapers, and others for stories on the Space Shuttle, embedded
systems, and robotics.
- Interviewed by
WJZY-TV (Charlotte, NC) on the UNC Charlotte Science and Technology Expo,
live studio piece, April 13, 2016.
- Interviewed by
Morning Program "Wilson's World" (Charlotte, NC) on robotics at UNC Charlotte,
September 2, 2015.
- Interviewed by
WCNC-TV (Charlotte, NC) on the UNC Charlotte Science and Technology Expo,
live studio piece, April 21, 2015.
- Interviewed (with two students) by UNC Charlotte Student Newspaper on
- Interviewed for a
podcast on the Stiquito Robot,
August 8, 2014.
- Interviewed (with many students) by WFAE on
May 29, 2014.
- Interviewed by WCNC-TV (Charlotte, NC) on the UNC Charlotte Science and Technology Expo, interviewed March 18, 2014, aired March 30, 2014.
- Interviewed by Charlotte News 14 on a story about the death of Neil Armstrong, aired August 26, 2012.
- Interviewed by Charlotte News 14 on a story about the landing of Mars rover Curiosity, aired August 6, 2012.
- Interviewed by Charlotte News 14 on a story about United Technologies Corporation relocating to Charlotte, aired June 13, 2012.
- Interviewed by Charlotte Observer on a story about Summer Camps, published in a special magazine supplement, March 31, 2012.
- Interviewed by WSOC-TV (Charlotte, NC) on a story on the Space Shuttle Program, July 21, 2011.
- Interviewed by WBTV (Charlotte, NC) for the cover story on the Space Shuttle Program, aired July 8, 2011.
- Interviewed by WSOC-TV (Charlotte, NC) on a story on Consumer Product Safety, aired November 2, 2009.
- Quoted on the Senior Design Program, Charlotte Business Journal, January 16, 2009, “Engineering closer links”.
- Subject of a story for Charlotte Observer, February 20, 2007, on using electronic toys for engineering education.
- Featured in “A day in the life” website of the UNC System, April 2006, found at: http://uncfacultyassembly.northcarolina.edu/profiles/Conrad.htm
- Served as expert of technical background to Gillian Wee, Charlotte Observer, January 8, 2005, “A niche market window: Charlotte circuit board maker embodies specialty firms’ expertise, speed, grit.”
- Subject of the cover story for Charlotte Observer, September 29, 2004, “Mecklenburg Neighbors” Section, on Stiquito and Education.
- Quoted in Durham Herald-Sun (Durham, NC), August 1, 2004 on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
This page maintained by James Conrad.
This page maintained by James Conrad - last modified 2015-04-22.
Copyright 1994-2015 James M. Conrad. All rights reserved.