IEEE Members Make Headlines: June 2016

One Life Fellow receives a top U.S. award, and another is interviewed about his efforts to support women and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields

23 June 2016

IEEE members frequently make news through their groundbreaking contributions to society. The past few weeks have been no exception.

Fellow C.L. Philip Chen was elected an International Academy for Systems and Cybernetics Sciences academician. There are more than three dozen IASCYS academicians worldwide. They carry out research and promote education in systems and cybernetics.

Chen is dean and professor of science and technology at the University of Macau, in Zhuhai, China. He is editor in chief of the IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems and is a member of The Institute’s editorial advisory board.

Life Fellow Arthur Gossard received a National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for technological achievement.

Gossard was recognized for “innovation, development, and application of artificially structured quantum materials critical to ultrahigh performance semiconductor device technology.”

He is professor emeritus of materials science and electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Graduate student members Mark Gottscho and Clayton Schoeny received Qualcomm Innovation Fellowships. The pair will receive a total of US $100,000 in funding to develop software-defined error-correcting codes. The codes they’ve proposed are designed to provide a better way to recover data after computers crash or encounter memory errors.

Gottscho and Schoeny are pursuing doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Member Paige Kassalen was interviewed by The Huffington Post as part of its “Millennials Paving the Way” series. She discussed being part of the 16-person ground crew of Solar Impulse 2, the first airplane to attempt to fly around the world on solar power alone. She addressed the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and suggested ways to better support women studying and working in them.

Kassalen, who works for Covestro, a supplier of high-tech polymers in Pittsburgh, is a member of IEEE Women in Engineering.

Life Fellow James West was featured in an Ars Technica article that explored his invention of a groundbreaking microphone as well as his efforts to support women and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

While working as a researcher at Bell Labs in the early 1960s, West and Gerhard Sessler invented the electret microphone, which is made with a dielectric material that becomes polarized when exposed to a strong electric field. The microphone is now found in cellphones, hearing aids, baby monitors, and other tools.

West, whose grandmother was a slave, grew up in a segregated school district in Farmville, Va. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in physics at Temple University, in Philadelphia, he cofounded the Association of Black Laboratory Employees. He later played an important role in developing Bell Labs’ Cooperative Research Fellowship Program (which provided support for graduate students seeking advanced degrees in the sciences) as well as the Summer Research Program for Minorities and Women (which brought underrepresented groups into Bell Labs and AT&T as interns).

He is now a professor of mechanical and electrical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore.

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