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Spring 2014 ECE Newsletter

April 9, 2014

Download the Spring 2014 ECE Newsletter

Dear ECE Alumni and Friends,

It has been another great year for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. As in the past, I like to start by highlighting the accomplishments of our students. Last May, we granted 14 bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and another four in computer engineering. At the graduate level, we continue to see strength in our program with eight master’s degrees and four doctorates.

Over the past few years, ECE departments nationally have seen declining enrollments and Tufts has been no exception. Working with folks both in the Dean’s Office as well as the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, I am happy to say that this year at least we have managed to reverse that trend. Initial enrollments for the class of 2017 in ECE are up from 30 last year to 37 this year. This is a great sign for us, and we hope to see it continue well into the future.

This has also been a year of much success for our students and alumni. Last May, a team of undergraduates including our own Nicholas Ferrentino, Hassan Oukacha, Denise Nguyen (EE), and Mical Nobel (CE) were awarded the 2013 Ricci Prize for their project to improve an ophthalmological device used to determine the recommended course of treatment for glaucoma patients. This is the second year running where ECE students have been on the winning team! I am also thrilled to let you know that Sampathkumar (Sam) Veeraraghavan, EG10, was awarded the 2013 Tufts Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding leadership and pioneering contributions in the field of large scale computing to address pressing global challenges in the field of healthcare, education, and disabilities. For this work, Sam was also honored with the 2013 IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Young Professional Award and the 2013 IEEE Member and Geographic Activities Achievement Award for Technological and Leadership Excellence.

Among the faculty, Assistant Professor Usman Khan was the recipient of the prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for his work on using unmanned aerial vehicles for civil infrastructure health monitoring. The NSF also awarded John A. and Dorothy M. Adams Faculty Development Professor Tom Vandervelde more than $1M to construct a state-of-the-art Molecular Beam Epitaxy system to support his work in constructing the solar cell of the future. I am also happy to announce that Professor Karen Panetta has been appointed the Associate Dean for Graduate Education of Tufts School of Engineering. While we see a bit less of her around the department, Professor Panetta is doing a great job helping to move the school's graduate programs to the next level.

Should you be in the Boston area, I hope you will stop by Halligan and see what is happening, though you may not recognize the place. Among all of the other great things last year, the university completed a major renovation of Halligan, gutting the space on the second floor formerly occupied by Athletics and providing us with beautiful new offices, conference space, and open collaboration areas. With all new windows, it is literally like night and day. In the meantime, I hope to see you at the next Senior Dinner and Awards ceremony on May 9 in Alumnae Lounge.

With best regards,

Eric