What It Means to Be an IEEE Fellow

Several members from the 2007 class of Fellows discuss share what the recognition has meant to them

7 January 2008

Now that the 295 Fellows in the class of 2008 have been named, some are probably wondering what this highest grade of IEEE membership means to those who have achieved it. The Institute asked several members from the 2007 class what the recognition has meant to them.

“I was very touched by the recognition because it means that what I have done has had some noticeable impact on the scientific community,” says Per Stenstrom, recognized in the research engineer/scientist category for his contributions to the design of high-performance memory systems. Stenstrom is a professor of computer architecture at Chalmers University of Technology, in Göteborg, Sweden.

Jose Carols Pedro, a professor of wireless communication at Universidad de Aveiro, in Portugal, notes that because there are only four IEEE Fellows in his country, and he is the first Fellow at his university, the recognition represented quite an achievement. He was elevated in the research engineer/scientist category for his work with nonlinear distortion analysis of microwave devices and circuits. His recognition was publicized in several of Portugal’s media outlets. “To be elevated an IEEE Fellow in Portugal is understood by most academics as the culminating achievement of a scientific career,” says Pedro.

SURPRISED CHOICE John Estey had no idea he was even being nominated, so he was quite surprised when he learned he had been named an IEEE Fellow. He was elevated in the technical leader category and cited for his work in developing power system distribution equipment. Estey is president of S&C Electric Co., in Chicago, which specializes in electric power switching and protection equipment. “I have long admired the IEEE Fellows I know and never considered myself in their league,” he says. “Being named a Fellow is definitely one of the high points of my career.”

“The path of IEEE Fellow isn’t easy, but then nothing of value ever is,” notes Robert Colwell, the owner of R&E Colwell & Associates, an engineering consulting company in Portland, Ore. He was elevated in the application engineering/practitioner category for his technical leadership in turning novel computer architecture concepts into commercial processors. “When your boss recognizes your contributions, it’s a great feeling, but nothing beats the feeling of being recognized by your peers,” he says. “‘IEEE Fellow’ is as good as it gets.”

Typically, the Netherlands is not a country that honors people for what they have done, says Boudewijn Haverkort, recognized in the research engineer/scientist category for contributions to evaluating the performance and dependability of computer and communication systems. He is a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Twente, in Enschede. “The culture is rather ‘do your job silently,’ so the recognition meant a great deal to me,” he says. “It is the highest honor in my professional life so far, and I feel privileged.” He noted that IEEE membership in the United States is more widespread than in Europe, leading to more IEEE Fellows there. “In my institution, there are very few IEEE Fellows, so receiving such an honor makes a difference,” he says.

Do you know of any IEEE senior members you might want to nominate for IEEE Fellow? Nominations are now being accepted for the class of 2009, with the deadline of 1 March 2008. Senior members can be nominated in one of four categories: educator, research engineer/scientist, technical leader or the recently added category of application engineer/practitioner. For more information or to see the names of the class of 2008 Fellows, visit the IEEE Fellows website

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