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Department News

ECEn Faculty and Staff Awards 2020

Award Picture

The start of the academic year brings with it advancements, awards, and recognitions for outstanding faculty members. The university conference, which transpired the final week of August, honored this year’s worthy faculty and staff members on both university and college levels.

President Worthen personally awarded forty-seven faculty and staff for outstanding service, including the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s own Professor Brent E. Nelson, who received the Abraham O. Smoot Citizenship Award. It honors one faculty member for his or her unsung sacrifices and services for the university, which often include tenures as chair of committees and their respective department and subsequent returns to the ordinary ranks of faculty. Dr. Nelson served as department chair twice, totaling ten years, and created the department’s Globalization and Technology study abroad to China, which he directs every other year. He has filled leadership positions in various other committees too lengthy to include here as well as demonstrated excellence in his everyday academic endeavors. He could not be more worthy of the Abraham O. Smoot Citizenship Award.

On the college level, more of the department’s faculty and staff members received honors of their own. The college honored Professor Brad Hutchings with the Engineering Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Education for creating a hands-on design experience for juniors in the major. His leadership and design shaped a program intended to increase camaraderie and confidence amongst students and solidify difficult junior core concepts.

Professor Mike Wirthlin earned the L. Douglas Smoot Research Professorship in recognition of his contributions to improving FPGA reliability in harsh environments. In addition to the Research Professorship, his track record has brought him international recognition. NASA, several national laboratories, and other companies developing computing products for space, have all sought his expertise.

Dean Michael Jensen personally recognized External Relations Manager Allyson Gibson for her significant impact on the Capstone program. Her solitary recruiting efforts - normally the responsibility of two people - brought sponsors for fifty-four projects and over one million dollars in funds to support senior Capstone learning. She received one of two college recognition awards.

Doctors Ryan Camacho and Cammy Peterson are both candidates for continuing faculty status, and Dr. Wood Chiang advanced this year from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. The college also recognized Janalyn Mergist, Academic Advisor, for fifteen years of service to the department.

Each of these men and women have striven to advance the academic pursuits of the department, college, and university. Each merited the award he or she received, and the department gratefully acknowledges the unrewarded sacrifices they make for their students and colleagues each day.