IEEE Honors Leaders in Education, Unveils New Award

Volunteers are recognized for their efforts in accreditation programs, preuniversity education workshops, and more

8 January 2009

The IEEE Education Activities Board honored one section, gave out a new award, and recognized five people who made outstanding contributions in the field of education at a ceremony in November at the Hyatt Regency, in New Brunswick, N.J.

The IEEE Peru Section received the Section Professional Development Award, which recognizes sections that have established outstanding continuing education and professional development programs. The section was honored for helping to found the Institute for Quality Accreditation of Engineering Careers and Technology, a Peruvian accrediting group known by its initials in Spanish as ICACIT, and for organizing the International Conference of Electrical Engineering, Electronics, and Systems, an annual conference where grad students present their research to industry representatives.

The section was also cited for holding more than a dozen IEEE Teacher In-Service Program workshops throughout Region 9 that attracted hundreds of preuniversity teachers. The workshops train these teachers to incorporate engineering and technology in their classroom curricula. The efforts of the Peru Section also saw IEEE volunteers train more than 2000 student members to direct TISP workshops at high schools in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The new Meritorious Achievement Award in Informal Education recognizes members who volunteer in education settings such as workshops for preuniversity students and teachers. The award went to Corali Ferrer, an IEEE associate member, for “significant contributions to the establishment and proliferation of IEEE preuniversity engineering education programs in Central and South America.”

Ferrer, who is the general manager of ICACIT, was instrumental in helping Region 9 organize those TISP workshops and was one of the members who helped train the students to run some of them.

Ferrer has also been active in other areas of IEEE. In 2001 she founded the IEEE student branch at the University of San Martin de Porres, in Lima, Peru, as well as the school’s IEEE Women in Engineering affinity group in 2004.

“I grew up with IEEE as a student member, and it taught me many things I didn’t learn in the classroom,” Ferrer said in her acceptance speech. “I’m very proud that [our section] has shown that student branches can run successful TISP workshops.” One such workshop in Peru drew more than 100 teachers.

IEEE Senior Member Rebecca Richards-Kortum was the recipient of the Vice President’s Recognition Award. She was selected by 2008 EAB Vice President Evangelia (Litsa) Micheli Tzanakou. Richards-Kortum was cited for “fundamental contributions to education and scientific literacy in biomedical engineering and health care, and the development of creative educational programs, such as Beyond Traditional Borders, that encourage student critical thinking.”

A biomedical engineering professor at Rice University, in Houston, Richards-Kortum founded the Beyond Traditional Borders program at Rice, in which students create engineering projects that solve health care challenges in developing countries.

“Ten million children die every year from illnesses that could have been treated if people in developing countries had access to health-care technology,” Richards-Kortum said in accepting her award. “I challenge everyone to use the technology and education we are blessed with having to help people around the world.”

Senior Member Jerry C. Brand and Member Joseph A. Tamashasky were corecipients of the Meritorious Achievement Award in Accreditation Activities. Brand was cited for “sustained, exemplary, and creative leadership in engineering accreditation activities and the recruitment, mentoring, and training of program evaluators.” He is a senior systems engineer at Harris Corp., a satellite and network communications company in Melbourne, Fla. He has been a program evaluator and trainer for ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) for more than two decades and sits on the IEEE Committee on Engineering Accreditation Activities as well as the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission. His work for ABET includes improving the reporting process for accreditation activities and developing mentoring and training programs for evaluators.

Tamashasky, an inventor who worked as a design engineer at Lucent Technologies, until he retired in 2000, has been a program evaluator and chair of several ABET committees for the past 20 years. He was cited for “consistently demonstrating exceptional leadership in the development, management, and evaluation of accreditation processes for continued improvement of engineering technology education programs.” His contributions include helping IEEE establish the criteria for accrediting electromechanical engineering technology programs.

The Meritorious Achievement Award in Continuing Education went to Life Fellow Kurt R. Richter for his contributions as a teacher and organizer of continuing education programs in Region 8. Richter is a professor emeritus of the department of electrical engineering at the Vienna University of Technology, in Graz, Austria. In 2001 he launched the Leadership and Management Workshop Program for the region’s members. He also established and now teaches the Development of Leadership Skills workshop, also for members. In addition, Richter launched a series of “train the trainer” workshops that teach IEEE volunteers how to train members in such subjects as intellectual property rights and the ins and outs of patent law.

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