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UC April Engineer of the Month applies engineering to the military

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/LNsZWIWI73I?rel=0

University of Cincinnati April Engineering of the Month Douglas Mace found his passion for engineering in combat. In the U.S. Marines, Mace saw the great, but sometimes flawed, equipment at work.

One such piece of equipment was an antennae backpack that could track information on opposing forces. The pack effectively collected information, but it also had a 20-foot mast attached to it, which made it an easy target in combat.

“It seemed to be a case where you need to consider the implementation of how exactly that worked,” Mace said. “I got into the computer engineering and electrical engineering field, so I could influence those decisions at the base level.”

Mace stands outside computer lab

UC computer engineering student Douglass Mace is the College of Engineering and Applied Science's April Engineer of the Month. Mace stands outside the Cyber Research Laboratory, where he works on his research and hosts Cyber@UC meetings. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing

Being an older student coming in as a freshman, I definitely wanted to be able to get out there in the corporate world as fast as possible. UC allowed me to do that.

Douglas Mace, UC April Engineer of the Month

After the military, Mace came to UC to jump-start his career in computer engineering through the university’s renowned cooperative education (co-op) program.

“Being an older student coming in as a freshman, I definitely wanted to be able to get out there in the corporate world as fast as possible,” said Mace. “UC allowed me to do that.”

Mace spent two co-op rotations with Rockwell Automation and another two with Raytheon. At these companies, Mace developed his passion for computer engineering, working in hardware and software design, power supplies and circuitry. He also worked on cyber security projects.

One of these projects led to his undergraduate capstone project and then master’s thesis. For the project, titled “Social Media Pattern of Life Analysis,” Mace and fellow student Bo Brunton compared the physical activity to the cyber activity of more than 200 UC engineering students. They found a high correlation between the two.

Mace in lab talking

UC student Douglas Mace discusses his master's thesis. Mace is studying how to use social media patterns to track physical locations. The project led him to launch his own company, TadPoL, LLC. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing

“You can actually predict what somebody’s doing physically based solely on their cyber activity,” Mace said. 

This can have significant military applications, he added. Terrorist organizations commonly use social media to recruit. Social media sites deactivate these accounts if they suspect terrorist activity, but often these people can just make new accounts. If soldiers could track the physical location of these accounts, however, they could get directly to the source.

The project won the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science senior design showcase, as well as the grand prize at UC’s Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch Competition, which included $5,000. Mace and Brunton took that money to start their own company, TadPoL, LLC, that focuses on analyzing pattern of life based on metadata.

You can be an absolutely brilliant engineer, but if you’re not able to convey your point, then you won’t be able to bring your idea to fruition.

Douglas Mace, UC April Engineer of the Month

Mace at computer

UC student Douglas Mace works in the Cyber Research Lab. In his spare time, Mace makes informational YouTube videos to help students with introductory classes. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing

Mace’s success at UC isn’t confined to the classroom or lab, though. Mace believes what makes a successful engineer is communication.  Mace founded the UC student organization Cyber@UC as a place to discuss and analyze cybersecurity trends. He also makes informational YouTube videos to help students with introductory classes.  

“Communicating person-to-person is extremely useful in the engineering field,” he said. “You can be an absolutely brilliant engineer, but if you’re not able to convey your point, then you won’t be able to bring your idea to fruition.”

Mace is finishing his master’s degree in computer engineering at UC and has accepted a software engineer position with Raytheon in Salt Lake City, Utah. He will start the position in June.

On his time at UC, Mace said, “The co-ops were absolutely amazing. I really think the actual real-work application is what helped prepare me for the future.” 

Featured image at top: Douglas Mace poses in UC's Cyber Research Laboratory. Photo/Corrie Stookey/CEAS Marketing

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