Leaders in Engineering Education Honored for Their Contributions

pictures of leaders in engineering education
Photo: IEEE Educational Activities Board

By: Johanna Perez

THE INSTITUTE The IEEE Educational Activities Board, one of the major organizational units of IEEE, recommends policies on educational matters while implementing programs intended to serve the educational pursuits of IEEE members, the engineering and scientific communities, and the general public. Every year the IEEE EAB Awards program recognizes and honors individuals and companies for major contributions to engineering and technical education.

Awards are given for meritorious activities in accreditation, continuing education, educational innovation, preuniversity education, service to the IEEE EAB, employee professional development, and related achievements that advance the practice of engineering and of engineering education. This year 10 individuals and one section were recognized for their contributions.

IEEE Life Members Graduate Study Fellowship in Electrical Engineering

IEEE Member Anshuman Sharma was this year’s recipient. Sharma is a graduate student at Ontario Tech University, in Oshawa, Canada, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering with a focus on power electronics. He is a research assistant at the school and is involved with the IEEE student branch.

He has had a paper published in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library.

The fellowship is awarded to a first-year, full-time graduate student for work in any area of electrical engineering at an engineering school/program of recognized standing worldwide. The fellowship is financed by the IEEE Life Members Fund of the IEEE Foundation.

Charles LeGeyt Fortescue Graduate Scholarship

This scholarship was awarded to IEEE Member Nathan Carnovale, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering with a focus on electric power systems. He was a teaching assistant at the school and worked as an intern at power-management company Eaton.

The scholarship was established to honor EE pioneer Fortescue in recognition of his valuable contributions to the field. The scholarship, awarded from a trust for which the IEEE Foundation serves as trustee, is given to a student for one year of full-time graduate work in electrical engineering.

Carnovale received the 2020 Duquesne Light Fellowship from the University of Pittsburgh. Last year he was named the university’s outstanding graduate in electrical engineering. The IEEE Power & Energy Society named him its 2019 John W. Estey outstanding scholar.

EAB Meritorious Achievement Award in Accreditation Activities

This award recognizes efforts to foster the maintenance and improvement of education through the process of accreditation of engineering, engineering technology, computer science, and applied science programs. This year’s recipient was Timothy Skvarenina, an IEEE life senior member, who was honored for accreditation activities that focus on curriculum quality for engineering technology programs and sustained contributions to ABET, the U.S. accrediting body.

Skvarenina is professor emeritus of electrical engineering technology at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind. He has received several awards throughout his career including the IEEE Third Millennium Medal for outstanding contributions to the IEEE Education Society. He has published numerous articles in journals including IEEE Transactions on EducationFrontiers in Education, and the Academy of Educational Leadership Journal. He served on Purdue’s educational policy committee and the University Senate.

EAB Meritorious Achievement Award in Pre-University Education

Lori Nelson received this award, which recognizes individuals for work in a preuniversity school, or those who influence school-based activities for preuniversity students.

Nelson works at Hampton Cove Elementary School, in Huntsville, Ala., where she is the STEM instructor. She was recognized for delivering innovative science, technology, engineering, arts, and math programs and schoolwide initiatives to enhance student opportunities. She has received other education awards including the National Science Teachers Association Sylvia Shugrue Award for Elementary School Teachers.

EAB Meritorious Achievement Award in Continuing Education

IEEE Life Senior Member Roy Cossé and IEEE Life Fellow Jim Bowen shared this award for their 25 years of dedicated service and sustained leadership in the development, implementation, and delivery of continuing-education programs in the Houston area. The award recognizes contributions to the design, delivery, and support of continuing-education courses and programs in the fields of interest to IEEE members.

Cossé is a senior electrical engineer whose consultancy work includes project design and operations support. He helped create the IEEE Houston Section’s Continuing Education on Demand seminar program.

Bowen is a power systems consultant with Aramco. He also is active in the IEEE Houston Section as well as the IEEE Industry Application Society’s petroleum and chemical industry committee.

EAB Meritorious Achievement Award in Outreach and Informal Education

This award, which recognizes members who volunteer their time and effort, highlights the benefits that their work provides to preuniversity and university teachers, students, parents, and the public at large. This year IEEE Member Anis Ben Arfi was honored for delivering outreach education to engage students and young professionals throughout Alberta, Canada. Ben Arfi is a postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Calgary’s iRadio Lab. He is an intern at Analog Devices in Ottawa, focusing on a wide variety of RF components and wireless communication devices.

“Anis’s outstanding achievements in inspiring, energizing, and engaging graduate students and young professionals makes him an influential leader at the University of Calgary,” wrote Tushar Sharma, who nominated Ben Arfi. “He served in different capacities and focused on improving the student experience.”

EAB Section Professional Development Award

This recognition honors IEEE sections for major contributions to IEEE members in the areas of lifelong learning, continuing education, and professional development. The IEEE Houston Section received the award for the sustained delivery during the past 25 years of its Continuing Education on Demand (CED) program.

Jerry Harness, the 2020 Houston Section membership development chair, says the program is a well-known technical resource for electrical engineers in the area.

“The IEEE Houston Section takes pride in its CED program and works hard to keep the program relevant for the region’s needs,” Harness says. “I am amazed at the variety of topics and seminars that are consistently offered, and they do not repeat often. This format of education has provided a great alternative for the Houston electrical engineering community.”

Listen to what Christopher Sanderson, the 2020–2021 Houston Section chair, said about the section’s achievement.

IEEE-HKN Distinguished Service Award

This honor recognizes members who have devoted years of service to IEEE–Eta Kappa Nu, resulting in significant benefits to the honor society’s members. IEEE Life Fellow Bruce A. Eisenstein is this year’s recipient for his exemplary volunteer service to the organization and its professional community.

Eisenstein, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Drexel University, in Philadelphia, was IEEE president in 2000 and IEEE-HKN president in 2010. While president of Eta Kappa Nu, he was a major force behind the merger between IEEE and HKN, according to his nominator, IEEE Senior Member Timothy Kurzweg. Eisenstein’s vision developed a path to bring an honor society to IEEE and ensure a strong future for HKN.

“This contribution helped every past, current, and future member of IEEE-HKN,” Kurzweg wrote.

IEEE-HKN Asad M. Madni Outstanding Technical Achievement and Excellence Award

This recognition—named in honor of Madni, an IEEE Fellow with nearly 50 years of technical and philanthropic accomplishments and visionary leadership—is the highest award given to practitioners who have distinguished themselves through an invention, development, discovery, or innovation in electrical or computer sciences, engineering, or technology, with worldwide impact.

This year’s recipient, Ming Hsieh, was recognized for his innovations in and commercialization of biometric identification systems and his transformational contributions to modern engineering education.

Hsieh is founder, chairman, and CEO of Fulgent Genetics and Fulgent Pharma. He invented a modeling technique that significantly enhanced digital-fingerprint features. He also invented the programmable matching accelerator, which revolutionized automated fingerprint identification.

Fulgent’s technology platform for genetic testing for cancer offers one of the broadest test menus in the market, impacting cancer research and enabling personalized treatments.

IEEE-HKN C. Holmes MacDonald Outstanding Teaching Award

Jennifer Marley received this award, which recognizes the crucial role of college professors in training and motivating future electrical and computer engineers. Marley, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Valparaiso University, in Indiana, was honored for her excellence as a teacher, her contributions to the scholarship of teaching, and her mentoring of undergraduate research students.

“Professor Marley is an exemplary teacher,” wrote her nominator, Douglas Tougaw, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Valparaiso. “She is brilliant, hard­working, and incredibly creative in finding ways to capture and maintain her students’ attention.”

View all the award recipient videos here.

Johanna Perez is the digital marketing specialist for IEEE Educational Activities.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

This article originally appeared in IEEE Spectrum on 17 December 2020.