Ellen A. Onderko, Class of 1986

My name is Ellen A. Onderko. I graduated with my M.A. In Human Relations from UOK on the island of Guam in December of 1986. My last name was different then, it was Stoddard. I was also in the USAF then. When I retired from the USAF I started a career in Silicon Valley. I was hired to teach Engineers to operate and program Mixed Signal Automated Test Equipment. The interesting thing was that I was the first woman doing this. I also faced classrooms that were 100% white American male. But that did not last. Almost overnight our classes filled with the world. Silicon Valley’s Engineers became the world’s population. I did very very well. Apparently while a degree in Engineering helps you to engineer, a degree in Human Relations is much more useful when facing a classroom filled with mixed cultural, national, linguistic, religious and sex students. I was successful at two different companies for over 15 years and made quite a reputation of being able to teach anyone from anywhere.

As a result I was invited to work at Texas A&M University in one of their schools of engineering. I am a Project Manager for Semiconductor Testing and Continuing Education. I teach undergraduate students, also from all over the world, to become practical hands on engineers, to communicate, to team, and to present. My degree in Human Relations applied not only to understanding myself but to understanding the “humans” in my classrooms.

We are the only program in the world on which undergraduate students get to learn the tools of test engineering. This summer we started teaching Engineers already in the industry through a continuing education program. I thought you would find it interesting that someone could be successful in Engineering because of Human Relations.


Ellen A. Onderko