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May 8, 2023

2023 ECE department awards reception highlights excellence

Written By: Allyson Crowley

The Vision Statement for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) reads: To improve the world through bold research, educational excellence, effective technology transfer and impactful service. On Friday, May 5, 2023, ECE staff, faculty, and graduate students gathered for a very special awards reception which recognized excellence in research, teaching, and service throughout the department. Department Chair and Philip Dunham Reed Professor Susan Hagness was on hand to present the awards to the very deserving recipients.

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Gerald Holdridge Faculty Teaching Excellence Award – Line Roald

This award recognizes outstanding performance and contributions to the department’s teaching mission by instructors.  Outstanding performance includes excellent teaching and instruction, application of creativity such as developing or adapting innovative teaching methods or techniques, and contributions to improvement of teaching by others. Professor Roald provides an excellent student experience and is exceptional in embracing best practices in teaching and learning pedagogies that correlate with a high level of actual student learning.

Line Roald
Assistant Professor and Grainger Institute Fellow Line Roald with Department Chair Susan Hagness

Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor – Mikhail Kats

This award recognizes excellence in mentoring of graduate students, which includes providing effective scientific mentorship, fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive graduate student work experience, and providing opportunities for students to present, perform, and publish their work in a professional setting. Professor Kats is described as an exceptional mentor who puts his students’ well-being and development in the forefront of his mentoring philosophy.

Mikhail Kats and Susan Hagness
Jack St. Clair Kilby Associate Professor and H. I. Romnes Faculty Fellow Mikhail Kats with Department Chair Susan Hagness

Gerald Holdridge TA Teaching Excellence Award – Yoganand Biradavolu, Haoyu Chen, Talha Sultan, and Huanran Li (not present)

This award recognizes outstanding performance and contributions to the department’s teaching mission by Teaching Assistants. Outstanding performance includes excellent teaching and instruction as well as application of creativity such as developing or adapting innovative teaching methods or techniques.

Yoganand Biradavoulu with Susan Hagness
Yoganand Biradavolu with Department Chair Susan Hagness
Haoyu Chen and Susan Hagness
Haoyu Chen with Professor Susan Hagness
Talhan Sultan with Susan Hagness
Talhan Sultan with Professor Susan Hagness

Graduate Student Service Award – Yigit Tuncel

Each year, the department recognizes an exceptional graduate student who makes a difference within the ECE department, the UW-Madison campus, or the community, beyond their scholarly pursuits and assistantship or fellowship appointment. Many graduate students volunteer their valuable time in meaningful ways by providing their time, perspectives, support and/or leadership in various ways.

Yigit Tuncel with Susan Hagness
Yigit Tuncel with Department Chair Susan Hagness

Department Administrative Service Award – Alex Conrad

The Department Administrative Service Award recognizes the significant contributions made by ECE’s administrative staff throughout the year that positively impact the student and faculty experience. This award was presented to Alex Conrad for the meaningful impact she has had on our graduate programs and her excellent support of graduate students throughout their entire academic journey, from the application process to graduation.

Alex Conrad and Susan Hagness
ECE Graduate Student Academic Advisor Alex Conrad with Department Chair Susan Hagness

Department Faculty Service Award – Bernie Lesieutre

This award puts a spotlight on the many ways in which Bernie Lesieutre has served the department, not only for 2022-2023, but in years past as well. Lesieutre has served as the ECE Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies for the last five years, which included the challenging task of providing outstanding academic undergraduate coursework throughout a pandemic. In addition, Lesieutre has assumed the duty of chair for the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Undergraduate Advising Committee, and faculty search committees, which exemplifies his leadership role in the ECE department.

Bernie Lesieutre with Susan Hagness
Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies Professor Bernie Lesieutre with Department Chair Susan Hagness

Harold Peterson Outstanding Dissertation Award – Rahul Parhi (not present)

This award recognizes the excellence of the student’s individual contribution to their field of inquiry during the PhD study, as evidenced by the PhD dissertation. Rahul Parhi’s dissertation, “On Ridge Splines, Neural Networks and Variational Problems in Radon-Domain BV Spaces,’ has answered one of the most fundamental and important open problems in contemporary machine learning and data science: What kinds of functions do deep neural networks learn?

Photos from the event:

ECE faculty, staff and students gather for the awards presentation
Faculty, staff, and students gather in the Cheney Room
Faculty, staff and graduate students gather for the celebration
ECE Administrative Staff
Academic staff celebrate the end of another successful academic year
Eric Hoffmann
Teaching Faculty Eric Hoffman’s circuit board shirt added to the festivities