Janay Frazier - graduate student | ECE | Virginia Tech

Janay Frazier ECE graduate student


Portrait photograph of Janay Frazier
Janay Frazier

Where were you born?

Greenville, South Carolina but I mostly grew up in Fredericksburg Virginia.

What are your hobbies?

I love to play volleyball, sing, and play the piano.

What's one interesting fact about you?

I played Division I volleyball for Norfolk State University for all four of my undergraduate years. I am also a part of the women's club volleyball team here at Virginia Tech.

What are you researching? How might it impact society?

I am studying Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS). In literature, DTS has been used to measure the temperature distribution along a fiber optic line.

One advantage of fiber optic DTS is that there are no electrical connections along the line to pose a fire hazard from electrical sparks. Its applications help society in many areas, including oil and gas production, monitoring oil wells for anomalous fluid production, monitoring power lines for over loading, and monitoring pressure vessels to detect hot spots.

What influenced you to choose ECE at Virginia Tech?

I chose Virginia Tech because it is a prestigious program that was close to home. Also, I applied to be a GEM scholar, and since Virginia Tech is a GEM University Member, it was a clear choice that this would be the school for me.

What is your ideal job? Why?

My ideal job is something related to research. I want to constantly impact society, and I believe that research will allow me to do this while also having flexible work hours.

What influenced you to become an engineer?

Several people in my family are engineers, so I was constantly surrounded by engineers growing up. However, it wasn't solely their influence that led me to major in engineering. I have always been curious, and as I grew older, engineering became the avenue to allow my curiosity to soar and thrive.

What can be done to attract more students with backgrounds similar to yours? What might be the challenges?

Go to historically black colleges and universities to recruit some of the top talent that is so often overlooked at these colleges and universities. Explain to students that there is funding available for graduate school. Then do a two-day open house event geared towards minorities, providing travel funding, if possible. Encourage current graduate students to host a prospective student from your alma mater. Seeing more people who look like you and creating supportive programs will help attract more students—for instance, last year I was a part of Black Girl Magic.

In your opinion, what are the benefits to having diverse participation in a classroom, research group, or community setting?

If you have diverse participation in the classroom, it gives different perspectives—holistic perspectives. As engineers, we are serving society, and people from different cultures, regions, ethnicity, etc., provide different outlooks on a problem.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell myself to pick a research topic before entering graduate school. It just makes the process of writing your thesis and sticking to one project a little bit smoother.