Tanja Karp

Nationality: German
City, Country: Lubbock, Texas, USA
Study Program/Degree: Electrical Engineering (Signal Processing and Communications Engineering), doctorate
Year of Graduation: 1993 (Dipl.-Ing.), 1997 (Dr.-Ing.)
Employer & Position: Employer & Position: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Texas Tech University, Associate Professor

Professor Karp, why did you choose to study at the TUHH and do you now think it was a good decision?
The TUHH was a small, young university with a good reputation. The family atmosphere at the uni was very much to my liking. The professors
knew almost all of us by name and you soon got to know your fellow-students. There were many opportunities to gain an early insight into research as a student assistant. In spite of its modest size the TUHH was already a gateway to the world. As part of the Erasmus program I spent a semester studying in Bordeaux and and as a postgrad I took
part for a while in research projects at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and at the ENST in Paris, France. By attending conference I was able at an early stage to build up an international network
of my own.

How would you summarize your time at the TUHH?
It was a labor-intensive time but also a time when many new friendships developed. Back then the TUHH looked young and dynamic and was still
under construction, so our basic studies included lectures at the Helms-Museum and Eichenhöhe and we ate lunch at the IRS Office. Our professors
were highly committed teachers. After so many years and passing exams, the stress that they imposed on us all you no longer feel they were quite
so bad.

What do you use in your career that you studied at the TUHH?
I use a lot from my specialization in signal processing and communications engineering and I regularly have recourse to the math basics and what I learned about programming. In other subjects, such as materials science or energy technology, I still feel confident that I can understand somebody who works in that area and that if need be I could work my way back into it.

You now teach at the Texas Tech University. What, in your opinion, are the greatest differences between the Texas Tech and German universities?
The Texas Tech University is a wide-ranging university with around 35,000 students. It is a typical American campus university, and because Lubbock with a population of 25,000 is the largest city within a radius of about 500 kilometers nearly all of the students live on or near the campus. For the
students, of course, the main difference is the tuition fees, which are extremely high from a German point of view. In addition, a large part of the course work is done during the semester. Overall, the bachelor program is organized more along school lines and more practical in orientation. Students also enjoy intensive support. Outside of lecture times there are many more student organizations here that you can join and get involved in.

What does your typical working day look like and what competences do you need for it?
Most days consists of a time multiplex of teaching, research, looking after students and doing committee work. In the spring term I also organize a
robotics competition for school students in order to awaken or sustain their interest in MINT subjects. Around 700 school students take part and my
Introduction to Engineering Science students look after them. Before and during the eight-week competition I spend much of my time organizing.

You now live in the United States yet keep in touch with the TUHH. Why?
Connections with the TUHH have already been of benefit to me in my career. This spring, for example, school students from Germany, USA and South Africa, jointly took part in a robotics competition that I organized, with the Hamburg group being recruited by the TUHH. In international student exchange I have also advocated a partnership between the two universities. The first GES+ students from the TUHH were very successful during their semester at the Texas Tech University. I still have family ties in northern Germany and look forward to including a visit to the TUHH when I visit.