Tag Archives: The_Institute/IEEE_Member_News

Ten on Tech: Spotlight on Christopher Sanderson

Post Syndicated from Justine Spack original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/ten-on-tech-spotlight-on-christopher-sanderson

An interview with the consultant, IEEE senior member, and active volunteer

THE INSTITUTEIEEE Senior Member Christopher Sanderson has worked and consulted with companies such as Schneider Electric, formerly Square D, General Electric, and Siemens. He is also a U.S. Army veteran. Today, he is an account manager for HV Sales Inc., which provides marketing services to manufacturers of electrical equipment.  

Sanderson is an IEEE Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society member. He is currently serving as the IEEE Region 5 South Area chair and IEEE Houston Section vice chair. Sanderson is the 2019 recipient of the IEEE Region 5 Jim Leonard Outstanding Member Award.

What are you currently reading?

Black Pioneers of Science and Invention by Louis Haber. This is an informative and enjoyable read and a perceptive account of the lives of 14 gifted innovators who have played important roles in scientific and industrial progress. All of the profiled individuals were either unknown or had been put in the halls of obscurity. The achievements of Benjamin Banneker, George Washington Carver, Granville T. Woods, and others have made tasks easier, saved countless lives, and in many cases, altered the course of history.

It’s important for me to share these and other inventions that have contributed to humanity with my kids and students at community schools, were I talk about science, technology, engineering, and math and IEEE.

What invention has most inspired you?

Otis Boykin’s artificial heart pacemaker control unit. During the 1980s, when I was a kid, there was a lot of news about the artificial heart and how it helped prolong the life of patients whose hearts were failing. I was surprised to learn about the inventor, whose key invention was a control unit for the artificial cardiac pacemaker. He died of heart failure in 1982. As a kid, I thought how he died was another weird fact, but now I see his entire body of work as inspirational. I learned that he had more than 25 patents, and his inventions not only helped prolong life but also contributed to other consumer and military applications.     

What recent movies have you enjoyed the most?

Black Panther. To see one of my favorite comic book characters come to life on the big screen was reflective and inspirational. To see its success at the box office was surprising. I only wish I would have kept some of my old Black Panther comic books.

The technologies developed in Wakanda, the fictional country Black Panther is from, and the dilemma its citizens were facing of whether the technology should be shared with the rest of the world reminded me of IEEE’s motto, Advancing Technology for Humanity. For me, the situation in Black Panther parallels some of the challenges of today where technology can be used for both good and evil, depending on who is using it.

What about current technology worries you?

There are two areas of technology that worry me: the lack of U.S. privacy laws compared to those from the European General Data Protection Regulation, and artificial intelligence (AI). I recently participated in the IEEE-USA 2019 Congressional Visit Day (CVD) centered on science, engineering and technology (SET). The objective of CVD SET is to raise awareness of the long-term importance of science, engineering, and technology to the nation through face-to-face meetings with members of Congress, congressional staff, key administration officials, and other decision-makers.

One of the policy concerns shared by the delegates was centered around protecting the digital privacy rights of American citizens and the importance of sensible AI technology. These are challenging and evolving policy concerns that Congress, companies, and citizens of the United States have to educate ourselves about, not only to understand but to also realize the dangers AI can cause to our fundamental beliefs of democracy.  

What in recent years has surprised you the most about technology?

The pace of technology disruption and the lack or limited laws to manage it. During my 2019 CVD, I was pleased to learn that IEEE is viewed as a trusted and respected organization on Capitol Hill. Many of our IEEE subject matter experts are available to help Congress make informed and sensible policies and laws.  

What was the best advice anyone has given you?

“If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem,” a famous quote by Eldridge Cleaver, a writer and political activist. I’ve tried to live my life being the solution and not part of the problem.

This is the motto and advice I give to our current and future engineering community. You can choose to be part of the problem or the solution to it. I chose to be the latter.

How many unread emails are in your inbox?

1,200 junk mail or job alert notices. It’s unfortunate that you have to join a mailing list just to read or download an interesting article or view a picture. I only wish that the job alerts would lead to that ultimate dream job. I’m not sure how much credence I can give to some of the alerts, but it’s interesting to see what positions are available and the qualifications they are looking for. 

What has been or is your favorite equation or concept in engineering, and why?

My favorite Greek letter would be Αα (Alpha), in English, the noun “alpha” is used as a synonym for “beginning,” or “first (in a series), reflecting its Greek roots.

My favorite equation would be a normal distribution equation used by fellow Six Sigma practitioners and statisticians alike. In probability theory, a normal (or Gaussian or Gauss or Laplace–Gauss) distribution is a common continuous probability distribution. Normal distributions are important in statistics and are often used in the natural and social sciences to represent real-valued random variables whose distributions are not known.

In layman’s terms, does your data represent a normal distribution curve that can be improved or is there too much variability in your data and your process is not stable. Nothing can be improved upon unless it’s stable and you’re able to understand what might be influencing the results.

What has been an important life lesson for you? 

I’ve learned how important mentoring the next generation of engineers is. At this time in my life I want to guide students by sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned along my journey. I reflect back on the beginning of my engineering career and remember those mentors who guided me through some of the best and most challenging moments.

What should IEEE be (more) involved in?  

IEEE needs to be a professional and humanitarian organization at the local community level. This could mean different things depending on the community. Some examples of how IEEE could get involved are:

  • Creating IEEE technology badges for Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA
  • Writing career development certification programs (for example, engineer in training, professional engineer, and the National Electrical Code.) with local subject matter experts facilitating the online program
  • Look into offering dual memberships with other engineering societies such as the National Society of Black Engineers and the  Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • Offering formal mentor/mentee online and in-person programs. The program would have some measurable mentor/mentee goals and results that would lead to awarding IEEE reward points and badges.   

Advice for Women, From Women, on Dealing With Difficult Workplace Situations

Post Syndicated from Joanna Goodrich original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/advice-for-women-from-women-on-dealing-with-difficult-workplace-situations

IEEE WIE webinar highlights three ways to improve your conflict-resolution skills

THE INSTITUTEMost people view conflict as negative and something that should be avoided. Women have a more difficult time than men dealing with conflict, because they tend to foster a collaborative work environment, put higher value on fostering relationships with team members, and are more empathetic, says Charmaine Hammond, a conflict-resolution expert.

Hammond, along with corporate trainer Pattie Vargas, gave tips in a recent webinar, “The Resilience Factor Is Your Superpower: Dealing With Conflict and Change Management.” The virtual session was sponsored by IEEE Women in Engineering and moderated by IEEE senior member Kathy Kerring Hayashi.

Through personal anecdotes, the two women offered three ways to deal with difficult but common situations women face in the workplace.


Address conflict head on, they say. Women tend to value relationships and therefore fear hurting someone’s feelings by confronting them, according to Hammond. But when people avoid conflicts, trust erodes and relationships are damaged. Being proactive can keep the situation from getting worse and can help to build stronger relationships and teams.

Two examples of when conflict is typically avoided are when a coworker or manager is disrespectful to you or blames you for something you didn’t do—in front of others. Although those are difficult situations to handle, it’s important to address them as soon as possible, Hammond says. Be respectful to the individual but meet with the person immediately after the incident and explain how you feel.

“Do not let the conflict linger,” Vargas says. “Many times, the coworker who is being disrespectful does not realize how he is coming off. He can’t fix his behavior if he doesn’t know how it makes you feel.”

If that doesn’t work, Hammond says, go to your company’s human resources department and ask it to mediate the conflict.


Women in leadership positions often feel that if they don’t have all the answers, they’ll be perceived as ineffective, Hammond says. But employees generally don’t expect perfection from their supervisor. A manager who lets her staff see a bit of her vulnerability tends to create stronger relationships and actually boosts the workers’ confidence in her because they view her more as an equal.

“It’s important to know that as a leader, you can say, ‘I don’t have an answer, but I’ll find out,’ or ‘I don’t know how to deal with this—what does my amazing team have to say about it?’” Hammond says. By involving the team and asking the workers what they think, the leader is showing trust.

Another time when managers should concede that they don’t have all the answers is during a reorganization. Employees often want to know how secure their job is; more often than not, the supervisor doesn’t know, Vargas says. Instead of acknowledging that, some managers try to reassure their employees that their job is safe, Vargas says, but that can be a dangerous approach because if it turns out not to be the case, all the employees can lose trust in the leader.


Hammond says that one of the most-asked questions she gets is how to deal with being excluded from a discussion or from a meeting. She tells people to insert themselves into the situation.

Many women tend to ask permission to speak, she says. They might use a phrase such as “Can I say something?” Instead, Hammond recommends you be confident and simply state “I have something to add.” That way, she says, you make sure you are heard.

If you’re excluded from a meeting, it might simply be an oversight, Vargas says. Instead of assuming you were purposely left out, approach the organizer and inquire about the meeting’s purpose. One approach is to say, “I noticed there’s a meeting Thursday, and I haven’t received an invitation yet. Maybe I’m not needed at the meeting, but I just wanted to check to see if I need to slot that on my calendar.” Vargas says that most times, the organizer simply forgot to tell you or will explain why you aren’t required.

You can watch the webinar and other sessions on demand.

You can still register for the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference to be held on 23 and 24 May in Austin, Texas. The goal of this year’s meeting is increasing the retention rates of middle- to senior-level women in technology. It will feature panel discussions, a career fair, and workshops. Keynote sessions are expected to cover empowerment, leadership, and diversity and inclusion.

Simple, Effective Public Speaking Tips for Engineers

Post Syndicated from Kathy Pretz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/simple-effective-public-speaking-tips-for-engineers

IEEE-USA e-book offers advice on mastering the art

THE INSTITUTEThere are few skills that can help you climb the career ladder faster than the ability to speak well in public. Senior management is always on the lookout for employees who can clearly and effectively communicate information, ideas, and new concepts throughout the organization. That’s according to Harry T. Roman, author of a new IEEE-USA e-book, Public Speaking for Engineers. The e-book costs US $4.99, but IEEE members can buy it for $2.99.

Roman, who is retired, spent more than 30 years as a project manager for the R&D group of Public Service Electric and Gas Co. in Newark, N.J.

Senior management has little time to interact directly with lower-level employees, he says, so when you are asked to make a presentation to your managers, you need to do a good job.

Roman says he has seen plenty of engineers’ careers get derailed because they didn’t speak well in public.

Being a good public speaker also can raise your visibility. Roman says that because of his communication skills, he was asked to lead corporate project teams, present his work in front of PSE&G’s board of directors, lead VIPs on tours of the company’s facilities, and represent the organization at important forums and meetings.

His book covers how to master the basics of public speaking.


Make sure you do your homework on the topic and understand what you’re going to talk about. If it’s a subject you’re already well versed in, show the audience that you’re an expert. If the topic is not exactly your area of expertise, become better informed by doing research and talking with authorities in the field.

Knowing your audience is important: Are they senior managers, representatives from another organization, or engineering students? Your audience affects your approach and how sophisticated your talk should be.

“Remember, you are there to clearly and concisely communicate important information—not to show off and use big words,” Roman says. “To the extent you can, draw parallels to their interests, professions, or experiences.”


Start preparing your presentation by determining the conclusions you want the audience to leave with, and then work backward. Summarize the main points concisely to help attendees remember them. Roman offers three simple rules: Tell the audience what you are going to speak about, tell them the things you came to say, and sum up by telling them what you just told them.

Each slide in your presentation should contain a complete thought or concept that meshes with the previous one. Have one or two slides for each minute of your allotted time. Be sure to number the slides to preserve the order, and have an extra copy on hand, just in case you encounter technical problems.

To feel comfortable with your talk, rehearse it several times, Roman says. Speak clearly with a strong voice. Enunciate all your words.

Don’t race through the presentation, and be sure to look at your audience, not only at your slides or notes. Do not read your slides to the audience. The visuals should act as a cue about what you want to say.

At the end of the talk, summarize the main points concisely to help the audience remember them.

Encourage questions after your talk. Try to answer them; if you don’t know the answer, simply say so, but then get the person’s contact information so you can send the answer later.

“No audience wants to see a speaker do poorly, because they will have wasted their time,” Roman says. “Good public speakers are remembered, respected, and often emulated.”


A good way to improve your presentation skills is to give talks to groups such as your religious organization and civic groups. Roman also suggests joining your company’s speakers bureau or Toastmasters International, which operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of promoting communication and public speaking skills.

Consider presenting a technical paper at a conference, visiting schools to talk about the engineering profession, or giving a presentation at an IEEE-sponsored event or section meeting.

“Whichever method you use to learn how to speak confidently in public is up to you, but do take the time to learn this valuable skill,” Roman says. “It’s a stepping stone to your career and the perfect way to develop your leadership skills.

New Hampshire to Honor Hometown Hero IEEE Fellow Ralph Baer

Post Syndicated from Kathy Pretz original https://spectrum.ieee.org/news-from-around-ieee/the-institute/ieee-member-news/new-hampshire-to-honor-hometown-hero-ieee-fellow-ralph-baer

Manchester’s Baer Commemorative Square will celebrate the Father of Video Games

THE INSTITUTEVideo game history buffs, you might want to pay a visit to Manchester, N.H., on 10 May to watch IEEE Fellow Ralph Baer’s hometown unveil a statue and plaza honoring the “Father of the Video Game.” He came up with the idea for a home console for video games in 1951. It let people play games on almost any television set and spawned the commercialization of interactive video games. Baer died 6 December 2014 at the age of 92.

In a news release, BAE systems (the successor company to his former employer) called the commemorative square a “fitting tribute to the man who helped the company develop a healthy disregard for the impossible.”

Called the Brown Box—which refers to the wood-grain, self-adhesive vinyl that covered the console—the soundless multiplayer system included some of the basic features most home video game units still have today, such as a pair of controllers. And it had some things unique to that era, such as clear plastic overlay sheets that could be taped to the player’s TV screen to add color, playing fields, and other graphics. It ran games off printed-circuit-board cartridges that controlled switches to alter the system’s logic, depending on the game. Users could play table tennis, checkers, and four different sports games, including golf and target shooting.

Over the years, The Institute has written several articles about Baer. We reported when his Brown Box was named an IEEE Milestone in 2015. Administered by the IEEE History Center, the Milestone program recognizes outstanding technical developments from around the world. In that article we wrote about how Baer got his idea for the console while working as an engineer at Loral Corp., a military electronics company in New York City. But the company could see no use for it, and it languished. Then in 1966, while sitting outside of New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal, Baer used pencil and paper to sketch the technical details for what he called a “game box.” At the time, he was an engineer at Sanders Associates (now BAE Systems), a defense contractor, in Nashua, N.H. An intrigued manager gave him US $2,500 for materials and assigned two engineers to work with him. The project became an obsession for the three men, who built prototype after prototype in a secret workshop.

In 1968, Sanders licensed the system to TV-set maker Magnavox, which in 1972 began offering a version of the Brown Box as its Odyssey system in the United States for $100. Some 130,000 units were sold the first year. Odyssey included football, a shooting game, and a table tennis game that predated Pong, Atari’s popular version, which was introduced in 1972. Baer’s 1971 patent on a “television gaming and training apparatus,” the first U.S. patent for video game technology, was based on the Brown Box.

Aside from today’s high-tech video game consoles, Baer also invented greeting cards that play a recorded song or message when they are opened as well as the electronic memory game Simon, which became a pop culture icon in the 1980s. The saucer-shaped plastic toy has four colored buttons that light up and emit tones in a sequence that the player then has to reproduce. It is still being sold. Baer also developed interactive video entertainment and educational and training games for consumer and military applications.

In 2008, Baer donated his video game test units, production models, notes, and schematics to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. His papers are kept in the museum’s Archives Center. The Smithsonian collected his New Hampshire workshop in 2014 and it is on display at the American History Museum.

The Institute also reported on his son’s quest to get his father elevated to IEEE Fellow status. I sat next to Mark at the 2014 Honors Ceremony held in Amsterdam, where he shared his journey with me. Mark and his son Alex were there to accept the 2014 IEEE Edison Medal on behalf of his father, who at 92, was unable travel to Amsterdam from his home in the New Hampshire. The medal recognized him “for pioneering and fundamental contributions to the video-game and interactive multimedia-content industries.”

Even though Baer was the recipient of many distinguished awards—including the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2006 and induction into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010—he placed that of IEEE Fellow above all the rest. There is no doubt that Baer qualified to receive the organization’s highest membership grade conferred by its Board of Directors, but only other IEEE Fellows can nominate a candidate. When you are a lone inventor like Baer, busily toiling away in a workshop that’s attached to your house, you don’t get many opportunities to meet these distinguished members. 

Mark connected with IEEE Fellow and 2008 IEEE President, Lewis Terman, who helped him with finding other Fellows and took over the application and successfully completed the process. Baer was elevated in 2013 “for contributions to the creation, development and commercialization of interactive video games.”

In our conversation, Mark told me he has made it one of his most compelling personal projects to ensure his father’s legacy gets acknowledged. Mark is the one who notified me about this commemorative square. I think Ralph would be proud of the job his son is doing.

In my research for this article, I found out that Manchester also holds an annual Ralph Baer Day on 8 March, the inventor’s birthday. According to its website, the local community initiative believes the legacy of the Father of the Video Game “should be celebrated by exploring and encouraging creativity, play, and the inventive spirit.” Isn’t that what being an engineer is all about?

Remembering John W. Senders, Pioneer of Human-Factors Engineering

Post Syndicated from Warren Senders AND Abigail Sellen original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/remembering-john-w-senders-pioneer-of-humanfactors-engineering

His melding of disciplines opened the door for his influential contributions

THE INSTITUTEIEEE Life Senior Member John W. Senders, who died on 12 February, was a pioneer of human-factors engineering and one of the first scientists to apply mathematical models to human behavior in real-world contexts.

Human-factors engineering uses research in psychology to improve and adapt technology and equipment for human use.

John once was called Professor of Everything by colleagues at the University of Toronto, where he taught from 1973 to 1985 in the mechanical and industrial engineering department.

He died two weeks short of his 99th birthday.


Born in 1920 to Russian immigrants in Cambridge, Mass., John was the youngest of five children in a family environment full of books, fierce competition, scientific inquiry, and word games. As a child, he demonstrated signs of mathematical genius and antiauthoritarian leanings in equal proportions, excelling in academic tasks—but only if he really felt like it.

Accepted in 1936 as an undergraduate at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, he was sent home a year later for his refusal to take a required first-year math course, saying, “I’ve known this stuff since I was 7, and I’ll be damned if I’ll do it again.” In expelling him, the administration made an exception to its famously lenient policies. His father said to him on that occasion, “They will always make an exception for you.”

John went on to have an exceptional life. His career spanned seven decades and included jobs in academia, engineering, and manufacturing, with service in military research laboratories and private industry. He went back to school in the 1940s and received an undergraduate degree in psychology from Harvard. At the age of 62, just before his official retirement, he was awarded an honorary Ph.D. in quantitative psychology from Tilburg University, in the Netherlands.


His work contributed to human well-being and advanced theoretical understanding in areas such as mental workload, attention and visual scanning, eye movements, queuing theory, control theory, and human-error modeling.

He was the first to postulate, in 1955—and to demonstrate in 1965—the mathematical relationship between the bandwidth of a signal and the frequency of visual attention to that signal. Some of his seminal early work was published in IEEE journals such as IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems. He showed that the attentional demands of skilled human operators of complex systems could be modeled remarkably accurately using both information theory and queueing theory.

He applied his research to carry out groundbreaking work on driving safety—which led to the occlusion paradigm, now an international technical standard essential to instrument panel design in airplane cockpits, automobiles, and nuclear power plants. The research, which involved driving an automobile while intermittently blindfolded, earned him a 2011 Ig Nobel Prize, a parody of the Nobel award given every year to celebrate 10 unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. He cherished the award as much as the more orthodox forms of recognition he received from the scientific community.

In 1976 he became among the first scientists to conceive the idea of an electronic journal, with the entire editing process taking place online. An online scientific journal, he suggested, would save time, money, and resources for publishing companies.

That work followed research in the 1960s with computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider, vice president of Bolt, Beranek and Newman. For that, the University of Toronto awarded him the 2008 Knowledge Media Design Institute’s Pioneer Award “for an outstanding contribution to the field of electronic publishing.”

John was one of the founders of the academic study of human error. He and his wife, Ann Crichton-Harris, established and funded the field’s first gathering, the Clambake Conference on Human Error in Columbia Falls, Maine, in the 1980s. It brought together key researchers. Two more conferences followed—one in Bellagio, Italy, and the other in Chicago—ensuring a lasting foundation for the modern study of error.

His work on human error led to him becoming a key figure in patient safety. He helped found the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), in Toronto, and received an award in 2001 for excellence in the prevention of medication errors.

In 1994 he introduced the failure mode and effects analysis technique into medication and medical safety, through the ISMP. The FMEA technique is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in the design, manufacturing, or assembly of medical products and services.

In an ISMP newsletter, Michael Cohen, president of the organization, wrote that John’s work saved many thousands of people from medical errors.


Simply listing John’s accomplishments cannot convey his exuberant intellectual power, creativity, and fearlessness. He was a generous and stubborn man and a huge-hearted individualist.

When he was invited in 1974 to join the University of Toronto’s Department of Industrial Engineering, a meeting was called to discuss whether he should receive tenure. One skeptic noted that not only did John have just a bachelor’s degree, but he was—at 55—too old for a tenured position and asked, “Just how productive is he likely to be?” A colleague who was better acquainted with John’s fire and energy replied, “Your only concern should be that he might run you all ragged.”

Indeed, well into his 90s, John continued to work as a globe-trotting consultant, lecturer, and expert witness in areas as diverse as human-error medical safety and trademark infringement. He was still doing research with undiminished vigor until a few days before his hospitalization with pneumonia in February.

As friends, students, colleagues, and family members can attest, he was a gourmet cook, an expansive host, and a raconteur who regaled his audiences not just with humorous anecdotes and tales from his career and travels but with a ceaseless supply of new insights and ideas.

Warren Senders is John’s son, and Abigail Sellen is his stepdaughter.

Q&A With Jelena Kovačević, Dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Post Syndicated from Joanna Goodrich original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/qa-with-jelena-kovaevi-dean-of-the-nyu-tandon-school-of-engineering

The IEEE Fellow talks about her career and her efforts to inspire other women to enter the field

THE INSTITUTEEngineers tackle some of the world’s biggest problems, such as bringing electricity to underserved populations and inventing life-saving medical equipment. But for others, like IEEE Fellow Jelena Kovačević, guiding the future generation of engineers is just as important.

“As a leader of a university, I have the opportunity to impact more people,” says Kovačević, dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

She, along with the deans from the City College of New York Grove School of Engineering and Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, recently talked during a panel discussion about how their universities are keeping up with changes in engineering.

Kovačević has been the Tandon School’s dean since August. She is the first woman to hold that position at the school, which was founded in 1854.

She began her career at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J. After that, she became an adjunct professor at Columbia and a professor of biomedical engineering and head of the electrical and computer engineering department at Carnegie Mellon.

In this interview with The Institute, she talks about what led her to accept the position of dean and how IEEE has helped her in her career.

What inspired you to get into engineering?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved math. I was fortunate enough that I had parents who thought that was really cool. When I got a little older, I wanted to go into a field where I could do math for a living. Most of my friends who were good at math went into electrical engineering, then so did I.

I hate to say it, but I did not have some preordained plan. I didn’t really think it through. But people told me you use math in electrical engineering, so that’s where I went. I earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1986 from the University of Belgrade, in Serbia. There I discovered engineering was much more than just numbers. In the end, I found I could have an impact on someone’s life through engineering.

Why did you accept the position at NYU?

I was really blown away by the student body at the Tandon School of Engineering. I was inspired by how many first-generation and underrepresented students there were. All these people, with different experiences and backgrounds, came here to study a subject they are all passionate about.

Whenever I meet students, I think of them as my own kids. It’s important not only to make them responsible citizens and lovely humans, but also to make them feel supported. They had to face many more obstacles than I did during my time in university. I feel a responsibility to do something for others, and that led me to academic leadership positions.

I hold an open house once a month where students can talk to me about issues they are facing. I also meet monthly with student leaders to talk about how we can create a better learning environment and provide more internships and volunteer opportunities.

All 5,400 students motivate me to do the best job I can.

What are some of your goals for the school?

I have spent this past year working with everyone to create a strategic plan; it has crystalized into three pillars: research, students first, and community.

Engineers impact the world through the research we do. We want our research to address problems of societal importance to create healthy, secure, and connected environments around the world. We also want our cutting-edge innovations to be thoughtfully and successfully introduced into society.

It’s important to focus on students from the moment they step foot on campus until they graduate and beyond. We want to be a student-first community by improving affordability and being a nurturing home for all students. We are creating a flexible undergraduate education, focused on doing, critical thinking, and real-world experiences such as internships and research. We are also reimagining our master’s education by expanding its global reach and ensuring its relevance to industry. From student life on campus to the curriculum, there are changes that need to be made, and students are partners in helping us see what they need.

The final focus is to build a sense of community, not only among students and faculty but also with alumni and parents. It’s important for everyone to engage with us to help move our goals forward.

What challenges did you face as a female engineer, and how did you overcome them?

I came to the United States to attend Columbia and graduated with a master’s degree and a doctorate in 1988 and 1991, respectively. When I began my Ph.D., I noticed there were only a handful of women in the engineering program. At first I didn’t question why there were so few. At the University of Belgrade, there were a large number of female students. It was not an unusual thing for young women to choose this field.

When I was pregnant, a male colleague said to me, “Well, you’ll see once you have your baby, you’ll love it so much, you won’t want to come back to work.” I asked him why he came back to work after he had two children of his own, and he was taken aback. Why, I wondered, is my intellectual self any less important than his? Whether you come back to work or stay at home with your children is a personal choice, not a choice based on gender.

As the department head at Carnegie Mellon, students came to me with stories about microaggressions and sexual harassment they had faced, and I needed to address them. It became my mandate to be their advocate as well as to increase the number of both women and underrepresented groups and make the learning environment more inclusive.

I don’t have the blinders I had on when I first came to the United States.

How do you think your appointment will affect the gender gap in engineering and computer science?

I want both young men and women from all backgrounds to see women in positions such as a dean or a scientist. I think my appointment and the increase of women in these roles will help break the stereotype that only a certain type of person can hold these positions.

What would you say to a woman who is thinking about pursuing engineering?

It’s a fantastic field, and there is something for everyone. There is a place for someone who enjoys math, as well as for those who want to be in the lab. But just because things are better now doesn’t mean the environment is perfect just yet. You still may face microaggressions. But if you’re interested in this career, then pursue it. Facing these issues is a lot easier when you come into a classroom and half of the students are women.

How has being an IEEE member benefited your career?

For engineers in research, becoming a member is a no-brainer. It’s a natural part of our professional development. I got involved as a student member. I went to IEEE conferences where we would connect with other graduate students and professors, and we would present papers. This led to collaborations in research and brainstorming sessions about what we could do in the field to make an impact.

Throughout my 30 years in IEEE, I’ve served in a number of positions, including on the board of governors for the IEEE Signal Processing Society. I was the editor in chief of IEEE Transactions on Image Processing and associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing. I currently serve on IEEE Spectrum’s editorial advisory board.

In Memoriam: April 2019

Post Syndicated from The Institute’s Editorial Staff original https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-member-news/in-memoriam-april-2019

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

Warren G. Shulz

Radio engineer

Life member, 72; died 31 December

Shulz was chief engineer for 50 years at U.S. radio stations WFYR, WKFM, and WLS, and he served as chair for 16 years of the Illinois Emergency Alert System, a U.S. public-warning program.

He was a board member of the radio division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which coordinates the government’s role in preparing for and responding to disasters.

After he retired in 2012, he continued to assist others in the Chicago region with their radio engineering projects.

Shulz received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind.

Antonio C. Bastos

Longtime IEEE volunteer

Life senior member, 78; died 3 March

Bastos was the 1996–1997 IEEE Region 9 director. In 1974 he helped cofound the IEEE Bahia Section, and he served as its chair from 1983 to 1985. He was the IEEE Brazil Council vice chair in 1986 and 1987.

He was a professor of electrical engineering at the Centro Universitário Jorge Amado, in Salvador, Brazil. He was also president of InterConsult, an international engineering consulting company dedicated to power research projects located in São Paulo. He had worked at Coelba, a power-supply company in Salvador, from 1992 to 1996, as assistant to the president and as general secretary. He also served as the assistant to the general director at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. He joined Andrade and Canellas in São Paulo as an engineering consultant in 2008 and retired the following year.

Bastos was a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society and the IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Council. He received several IEEE awards including the 2000 Millennium Medal and the 2006 Haraden Pratt Award. He received the 2002 William W. Middleton Distinguished Service Award from the Regional Activities Board (now Member and Geographic Activities).

He received bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering and EE from the Universidade Federal da Bahia, in Salvador, and master’s degree in electric power engineering and in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y.

Roderic J. Procaccino Sr.

Electrical engineer

Life member, 91; died 5 March

Procaccino served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y., where he was the founding president of the Zeta Psi fraternity and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

He spent most of his engineering career at Raytheon, a U.S. defense contractor headquartered in Waltham, Mass.

Procaccino earned a master’s degree in EE from Northeastern University, in Boston.

Mark B. Moffett


Life member, 84; died 14 March

Moffett spent most of his career designing sonar systems for the U.S. Navy. He held four U.S. patents for transducers and other apparatuses.

He also worked as a physicist at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, in Newport, R.I. After he left the center, he became an assistant professor of ocean engineering at the University of Rhode Island, in Kingston.

Moffett received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MIT and a doctorate from Brown University, in Providence, R.I.

Peter Bergsneider

Electronics engineer

Life senior member, 92; died 29 March

Bergsneider immigrated to the United States from Colombia and was trained by the U.S. military as an electronics engineer. After his training concluded, he became a civil servant for the Army and was stationed in various places including Arizona, Hawaii, and Maryland. He retired from the Army’s Electronic Proving Ground, at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., after serving for 30 years.

In 1973 he settled in Sierra Vista, Ariz., where he and his four sons built a ballet studio behind his home. There he built sets for a number of productions.

Bergsneider, a onetime IEEE section chair, received three IEEE-USA Regional Professional Leadership Awards.

 He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Oklahoma City University.