Research Opportunities Draw Engineering Professor Back to Idaho

Idaho Department of Labor Choose Idaho

David Estrada, Ph.D. shakes hands with Idaho Department of Labor Director Ken Edmunds at a September 2014 Choose Idaho press conference.

David Estrada, Ph.D. was born and raised in Idaho. After leaving the state for some time, first for a career in the U.S. Navy, and again to pursue his master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering, Estrada ultimately decided Idaho was the right place to raise his family and continue his career.

“What drew me to come back to Idaho, other than the quality of life and family ties, was the chance to do quality research without sacrificing quality of life,” Estrada said.

According to Estrada, Boise State University has one of the fastest growing materials science and engineering programs in the nation. With the help of local industries and the State Board of Education, the Boise State University Department of Materials Science and Engineering recently started a Ph.D. program in materials science and engineering. This has attracted several new faculty who are some of the best in their field.

“Couple that with access to tools at the Center for Advanced Energy, other Ph.D. programs on campus and a great faculty who place as much emphasis on quality of life as high impact research, and Boise State has all the ingredients to have a global impact in engineering and science,” Estrada said.

Research wasn’t the only deciding factor for Estrada when contemplating a move back to Idaho. With an emphasis on his family, he also took into account their love of the outdoors, especially hiking, fishing and camping.

“It’s great to live in Boise and have such activities readily accessible,” Estrada said.

With both Estrada and his wife working in education, finding quality schooling for their son was an important determining factor in the family’s decision to choose Idaho.

“The Boise School District has some of the best high schools in the country,” Estrada said. There are quite a few options for quality private schools as well, he said.

Idaho’s low cost of living was also a huge plus for Estrada. In his career field, he found the areas where he could work within his industry were limited, with most career opportunities located in the San Francisco Bay area.

“Boise offers a much lower cost of living as compared to some of these other options,” Estrada said.

Currently, Estrada is an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Boise State University and is building his research in emergent semiconductor nanomaterials and bionanotechnology.

• • •

Did you know one out of five Idaho employers are hiring in 2015? Choose Idaho for your next career move and let one of our recruiters match you to available job opportunities in Idaho.

Idaho residents who would like to see family and friends stay or move back to Idaho for work are also being urged to go to, send an electronic postcard to their loved ones and invite them to upload their résumés.

A professional Idaho Department of Labor recruiter will personally respond and look for opportunities that match the job seeker’s skill set.

Choose Idaho is an employee retention and recruiting initiative designed to connect incoming résumés with Idaho employers. Idaho Department of Labor recruiters are working with 552 clients and so far, have found potential matches for 138 job seekers and 229 employers since the program launched in September.

Paper postcards can also be picked up at any of the department’s 25 local offices throughout the state and can be ordered for distribution at conventions, college and university homecomings and holiday and alumni association events. For an office directory, visit and click on ‘Contact Us.’

 – Tabitha Bower,