In recognition of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the department is thrilled to highlight the many contributions made by its excellent women faculty, alumni, and students. Their work has impacted science, technology, the arts, activism, and anything else you can imagine. Check out this year’s updated and expanded list of bios and news from ECE’s many accomplished women.
Dr. Azadeh Ansari (MSE PhD EE ’13 ’16) is currently a postdoctoral scholar in Physics at CalTech. She will join the faculty at Georgia Tech as an Assistant Professor in September 2017. Dr. Ansari’s research interests include GaN MEMS, interface circuit design for MEMS, GaN-based micro-mechanical resonators and oscillators.
Dr. Ansari’s research has resulted in the highest reported resonance frequencies and (fxQ) values in GaN bulk-mode devices to date. Such high-performance integrated systems can be utilized in radio frequency (RF) and microwave communication as well as extreme environment applications. And she achieved this on silicon, which enables easier integration with modern high performance electronics. Her research resulted in one issued patent, and another two provisional patents.
While at Michigan, Dr. Ansari was a member of the Resonant MEMS Group, and advised by Prof. Mina Rais-Zadeh. She received the College of Engineering Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for outstanding Ph.D. research in 2015.
Angela Blanton (BSE ’93) is vice president for Finance and chief financial officer for Carnegie Mellon University.
Blanton joined Carnegie Mellon in 2015 as director of operations in the university’s Finance Division. In that and her current role, she provides strategic leadership for the university’s business and finance functions, as well as for the management of its financial and capital resources. She also oversees Audit Services, the Treasurer’s Office, the Controller’s Office, Budget and Financial Planning, Procurement, and Business Systems and Services.
Blanton started her career as an electrical engineer with Delphi Automotive and Chrysler. She then worked at PPG Industries in various financial analyst roles in the Chemicals, Glass and Coatings business units and controllership areas. Blanton moved to PNC Financial Services and served as a finance manager in the Retail Banking controllership function before transferring to the PNC Finance Project Management Office. Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon, she was the CFO for PNC Financial Services brokerage investment business.
Prof. Mariesa Crow (BSE ’85) is the Fred Finley Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Vice Provost for Research at Missouri S&T. She received her BSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign. Her research focuses on computational methods and power electronics applications to renewable energy systems and energy storage.
Among her recent research activities, Crow is leading the Mid-America Regional Microgrid Education and Training Consortium, which is part of a U.S. Department of Energy effort to support power systems research and develop coursework for the renewable energy workforce. Crow also leads Missouri S&T’s contributions to a nationwide effort to develop an “Internet for energy” to transform the way energy is delivered nationwide.
From 2007-2012, Crow served as the Director of the Missouri S&T Energy Research & Development Center. She has been PI or Co-PI on $22 million (US) in externally funded research sponsored by the National Science Foundation, DOE, DOD, DOT, DOEd, the State of Missouri and several utilities, authored over 200 technical articles and several textbooks and book chapters, and is the VP for Publications for the IEEE Power & Energy Society. Crow is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Missouri and a Fellow of the IEEE.
Dr. Sheila Hemami (BSE ’90) is the Director of Strategic Technical Opportunities at Draper, and formerly a director and chair of ECE at Cornell University and Northeastern University. Draper, a non-profit research and development organization, specializes in the design of advanced technology in national security, space exploration, health care, and energy. Hemami helps Draper by seeking opportunities to partner with organizations and individuals with in-depth understanding of global challenges.
Formerly, Hemami worked as Associate Director of ECE at Cornell University and later as chair of ECE at Northeastern University. In her time as a professor, her research focused on communication of visual information, both from a signal processing perspective (signal representation, source coding, and related issues) and from a psychophysical perspective. She studied how the human brain perceives visual information by developing better models for low-level vision as well as for higher-level vision which includes understanding and cognition. Hemami was Vice President and a Member of the Board of Directors of IEEE from 2015–2016.
Dr. Michelle Stock (BSE MSE PhD EE ’88 ’90 ’94) leads Mi-Light, the Michigan Photonics Industry Cluster. Mi-Light serves as the focal point for the photonics industry in Michigan, bringing together professionals from companies, academia and organizations, dedicated to mutually supporting, promoting and growing Michigan’s photonics industry. As the first Chairperson of this new, all-volunteer trade association, she has had the opportunity to have an impact on the region’s economic development, to work with partners like SPIE on the National Photonics Initiative, and to bring people together to promote and grow photonics within and outside of Michigan.
She is also a consultant, drawing on her background in laser product development (as an engineer and a product manager), know-how in marketing and sales, and experience doing business development for small or start-up businesses in the ultrafast or fiber laser space.
Dr. Stock co-founded Arbor Photonics in 2007, and was Director of Business Development. Arbor Photonics developed high power, fiber laser solutions for advanced materials processing and defense applications. The company was acquired by nLIGHT in 2013. She is currently Director of Business Development for Norlase.
Dr. Stock recommends that young women keep in mind that a strong foundation in STEM subjects provides the possibility for a wide range of options, both at the beginning of a career and further down the road.
Dr. Parinaz Ardabili (MS PhD EE:S ’13 ’16) is a post doctoral research fellow in EECS, and a recent U-M graduate. Her research is in the general area of computer and network security, and more specifically, combining communications with economics to assess the security level of a network and then apply that data to design cyber-insurance contracts.
Recently, she has focused on the public good problem known as interdependent security. Interdependent security deals with the fact that the security of a network is increasingly dependent upon the collective efforts of each one of its interconnected users.
Dr. Ruba Borno (MS PHD EE ’03 ’08) is Cisco’s Vice President of Growth Initiatives and Chief of Staff to the CEO. The young executive has an extensive history in both the business and tech worlds, and promises to be a powerful asset to the company’s new executive leadership team.
During her time at U-M, Dr. Borno developed energy scavenging microsystems as a graduate student researcher in the NSF Engineering Research Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems (now WIMS2). Her research was published in ten peer-reviewed papers, multiple book chapters, and was featured in Wired, Business Week, New Scientist, CNN Money, Conservation, and others.
Floy Campbell (BSE EE ’93) has worked as a platform engineering manager at Intel for over 15 years, with past work in microprocessor circuit design and system board design. She currently manages a 30+ person team of system hardware engineers to develop debug validation platforms and thermal margining solutions for Intel’s enterprise silicon products (Xeon & Itanium).
Dr. Rajeswari Chatterjee (MSE PhD EE ’49 ’53) was the first woman scientist to pioneer the field of microwave engineering in India. She was also the first woman engineer from Karnataka, a state in the southwest region of India.
She traveled to study EE at Michigan on a scholarship, traveling by sea out of Singapore for 30 days to reach the US. She underwent practical training for eight months in the Division of Radio Frequency Measurements at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington D.C. before studying with Prof. William Gould Dow for her PhD.
After graduating, she returned to India as a professor in the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science. There, she began teaching and research in the area of Microwave Engineering, a first for India. With total dedication and the limited resources available at that time, they built up a Microwave Laboratory for experimental research in the area. Eventually, she went on to chair the department.
Chatterjee was just granted a posthumous honor, named one of the ‘first women achievers of India’ by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development. Read more
Dr. Kathryn Clay (MS EE ’96 PhD Applied Physics ’04) is Vice President of Policy Strategy at the American Gas Association (AGA), and is leading the drive to keep America competitive and secure through the adoption of natural gas as a key alternative fuel for vehicles.
Kathryn helped usher three bills into law while a member of the professional staff of the House Committee on Science, and later with the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. One of these bills was the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was the first of its kind since 1992.
Charlotte Decker (BSE MSE CE ’85 ’86, MBA Business Administration ’91) is an information technology executive with over 21 years of experience across three major industries: specialty retail, automotive OEM, and tier-one automotive parts supply. She’s led large- and medium-sized technology organizations, and managed capital and expense budgets ranging from $3 million to $50 million.
Prof. Rhonda Franklin Drayton (MS PhD EE ’90 ’95) is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests focus on exploring the use of Microelectronic Mechanical Structures (MEMS) in radio frequency (RF) and microwave applications related to wireless, mobile, and satellite communications systems. She leads the Microwave Packaging and Circuit Technology Group.
Prof. Franklin uses her influence to attract a diverse student population to the STEM field, and her own field of applied electromagnetics. She believes the best research results are achieved from a diversity of backgrounds, something she learned as a graduate student at Michigan and fosters in her own research group at Minnesota.
Prof. Franklin was on campus to take part in the 2016 NextProf Workshop, which brings highly qualified participants to campus to explore and prepare for a faculty position in engineering. This year’s Workshop focused on increasing diversity in engineering, and included undergraduate and first year graduate students to give them an introduction to academia.
Lydia Gillus (BSE CE ’96; also MBA, Loyola University) develops programs to get youth interested in STEM careers. She serves as the supervisor for the Chicao Field Museum’s Green Ambassadors Program, which introduces area students to anthropological research methods through workshops and environmental stewardship activities. Additionally, Lydia is chapter advisor to the Chicagoland chapter of NSBE Jr, where she coordinates activities with local youth to give them hands-on experience with STEM fields.
Prior to this, Lydia worked for nearly 20 years as a solutions engineer at Sprint.
Hannah Goldberg (BSE MSE EE ’03 ’04) is a Senior Systems Engineer at GomSpace, a manufacturer of high-end nanosatellites. Their academic and industrial clients have put their products to work in earth observation, aircraft tracking, and software-defined radio.
Earlier, Goldberg went from working at one of the premiere labs associated with NASA, to being one of the earliest team members of Planetary Resources, a company that wants to mine asteroids.
Throughout her career in California, Hannah worked with a high school FIRST Robotics team. In fact, when the original team advisor stepped down, she was encouraged to get a teaching certificate so she could be the faculty advisor. “I ended up teaching an engineering class and a robotics class in high school, almost as a side career. The students were great,” said Hannah.
Prof. Rashaunda Henderson (MSE PhD EE ’94 ’99) is an associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas, Dallas. She is one of the establishing members of the High Frequency Circuits and Systems Laboratory, and conducts research in microwave and millimeter wave passive circuits, fabrication and process development of thin-film circuits, and enabling passives for high performance communication systems. She has spoken at the IEEE Frontiers of Engineering Education conference, where she described her experiments in splitting her lecture courses into one segment for teaching and one for interactive modules and experiments.
Prof. Henderson worked at Motorola and Freescale Semiconductor before joining UT Dallas in 2007. She is a senior member of the IEEE and a member of the Microwave Theory and Techniques Society, Women in Engineering, and Antennas and Propagation Society, Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology Society.
Dr. Angelique Johnson (MSE PhD EE ’07 ’11) is the founder of MEMStim, a company that intends to disrupt the neurostimulator market with a new automated nanofabrication manufacturing method to replace hand assembly.
MEMStim make customizable micro-fabricated stimulators. The company sells MEMS electrode leads to medical device companies for integration into their targeted nerve stimulation devices. Tthe company is committed to improving the standard of patient care in neurostimulation. MEMStim is based in Kentucky, where Dr. Johnson leverages the expertise of a wide range of consultants, and is continuing to develop the technology in the cleanroom of the University of Louisville.
Additionally, Dr. Johnson teaches entrepreneurship courses in the University of Louisville’s business school, and takes on informal mentoring of students interested in grad school, research, or entrepreneurship.
Dr. Johnson won first prize in the 2011 Michigan Business Challenge, kickstarting her company’s early growth. She studied under Prof. Ken Wise, and conducted research as a member of the Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems (WIMS).
Isabel Martin (BSE EE, CE, Engineering Physics, Physics, Mathematical Sciences ’04) is a Master’s student at Cambridge University, studying the readout system for arrays of Kinetic Inductance Detectors at the Quantum Sensors Laboratory.
She has a variety of experience with space technology, including time as a trainee at the European Space Agency, working on such projects as the CESAR Robotic Telescope.
During her time at the University, Isabel was a longtime member of the Michigan Mars Rover team, founded the Robotic Exploration of Space Team in response to the NASA Robotic Mining Challenge, and formed the M-tanglement team for the Freescale Cup competition that involved designing, building, and testing a line-following autonomous vehicle.
Prof. Olgica Milenkovic (MS Mathematics ’01 PhD EE:Sys ’02) is a full professor of ECE at the University of Illinois. Her group is concerned with developing new approaches for studying problems in bioinformatics and bioengineering using coding, information theory and machine learning. Some of her project highlights include developing the first prototype of compressive sensing DNA microarrays and the first random access DNA-based storage system. Her work has earned multiple honors, including a DARPA Young Faculty Award (2007) and NSF CAREER Award (2007).
Lori Mirek (BSE EE ’85) helped change the world of online finance with her 1999 startup company, Currenex. Currenex was the industry’s first online multi-bank foreign currency and money markets exchange. She led the company as CEO and President until 2004. Lori is now thoroughly involved in her community, serving for many years on the boards of local operas, schools, and the World Affairs Council of North California.
Willie Hobbs Moore (1934–1994) made history as the first African American woman at Michigan to earn a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering (’58 and ’61). She then followed up on this record as the first African American woman in the country to earn a PhD in physics. She went on to work as a research scientist at U-M until 1977, reserching spectroscopic work on proteins. In 1977, she became an assembly engineer at Ford, where she expanded Ford’s use of Japanese engineering and manufacturing methods. She was name one of the 100 “most promising black women in corporate American” by Ebony magazine in 1991.
The University of Michigan established the Willie Hobbs Moore: Aspire, Advance, Achieve Award to recognize individuals who have served as formal or informal mentors to students in fields related to Science, Technology, and Engineering. It is sponsored by the Center for Engineering Diversity & Outreach and Women in Science & Engineering.
Darlene Phillips (BSE EE ’93, MBA Business Administration ’98) is the Director of Strategic Policy Communications at PJM Interconnection, where she supports their regulatory, legislative, and stakeholder outreach efforts, as well as their strategic direction through strategic communication efforts on key industry matters. She has worked for over 20 years in communication strategy and policy in the energy industry in companies such as Consumers Energy, Arthur Andersen Business Consulting, and Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). At MISO, she was Senior Director of Policy and Strategic Issues Management, Communications, and External Training.
Dr. Meera Sampath (PhD EE:S ’95) is the Vice President of Innovation and Business Transformation at Xerox, and previously helped the company organize its largest research lab in India. Called the Xerox India Innovation Hub, it is unique among Xerox’s five research facilities – and that’s because Meera and her team had something exceptional in mind for this facility.
“While open innovation is not new to Xerox, we wanted this new research lab to be a model for open innovation and collaboration,” she says. The hub brings together researchers from all five of Xerox’s global labs as well as other researchers and entrepreneurs from the best academic institutions and research labs in India.
Katherine Scott (BSE CE EE ’05) is the co-founder and software lead at Tempo Automation. Her company produces pick and place robots that automate surface mount assembly, an expensive and slow step in the electronics prototyping process. Their goal is to make iterating on hardware designs as rapid and effective as designing software.
Farah Shariff (BSEE MSE EE ’08 ’09) is the Senior Program Manager for Microsoft’s Microsoft Health and Microsoft Band projects. Microsoft Health is a cloud-based service that encourages healthier living by providing insights based on data gathered from the fitness devices and apps. Microsoft Band is an accompanying wearable device that records heart rate, steps, calorie burn, and sleep quality.
Farah was the original mastermind behind the product line, successfully pitching the idea to managers after making health and fitness a priority in her own life.
Prof. Anna Stefanopoulou (MSE Naval Arch & Marine Eng ’92, MSE PhD EE:Sys ’94 ’96) is a Professor in Mechanical Engineering at U-M, and Director of the Automotive Research Center, a multi-university U.S. Army Center of Excellence in Modeling and Simulation of Ground Vehicles. She was an assistant professor (1998-2000) at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a technical specialist (1996-1997) at Ford Motor Company.
She is an ASME and an IEEE Fellow, the founding chair of the ASME DSCD Energy Systems Technical Committee and a member of a U.S. National Academies committee on US. Vehicle Fuel Economy Standards. She has co-authored a book on Control of Fuel Cell Power Systems, 14 US patents, 5 best paper awards and 250 publications on estimation and control of internal combustion engines and electrochemical processes such as fuel cells and batteries.
Prof. Adrienne Stiff-Roberts (BSE EE PhD Applied Phyics ’01 ’04) is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. While studying at Michigan, she investigated high-temperature quantum dot infrared photodetectors. Dr. Stiff-Roberts now continues her examination of quantum dots at Duke with her research group. Her research efforts include synthesizing and characterizing materials using her own novel technique, as well as fabricating optoelectronic and energy devices.
Prof. Stiff-Roberts’ many honors include an IEEE Early Career Award in Nanotechnology for “contributions to the development of nanoscale quantum dots for infrared detection,” an Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, an ONR Young Investigator Award, and an NSF CAREER AWARD.
Stephanie Takai (BSE EE ’88) is the CEO of two companies, Takai and Company and Innovative Devices. The former is her startup consulting firm that assists companies with marketing, web presence, and branding.
Innovative Devices made a splash in early 2013 when it raised about $355,000 via Kickstarter for its premiere device, the Mycestro mouse. This special mouse is a wearable human-computer interaction device capable of gesture control and 3D motion. The company is headquartered in the greater Cleveland area of Northeast Ohio.
Previously, Stephanie worked for many years with Goodyear in a variety of roles, including CIO, Vice President of IT, and Vice President of eCommerce.
Erin Teague (BSE CE ’04) is responsible for the new user experience product development and management for Yahoo!’s products worldwide. Prior to Yahoo!, Erin worked as a Product Manager at Path and Twitter where she focused on user growth, product strategy, and analytics. Erin began her career at Morgan Stanley, where she designed algorithms embedded in electronic trading applications as a Software Engineer and Product Manager in the firm’s Algorithmic Trading Technology group. In 2014, she was named one of Business Insider’s “Silicon Valley 100.” She was also recognized as one of “19 Extraordinary Women in Silicon Valley Tech” and one of the “52 Hottest New Stars In Silicon Valley.” Erin is honored to serve on the board of several Silicon Valley startups as well as the Wells Fargo Advisory Board and Code 2040, a non-profit organization.
Dr. Yi-Chin Wu (MSE PhD EE:Sys ’11 ’14) brings Discrete Event Control Theory to the analysis and design of secure systems. Specifically, her dissertation focused on an information-flow property called “opacity” that captures whether a given secret of the system can be inferred by intruders who observe the behavior of the system.
“Computer devices are becoming more integrated into our lives,” said Dr. Wu. “Meanwhile, new ways to attack computer systems are constantly developed. We can no longer solve security and privacy threats by only examining the implementation of each specific system. To proactively design general secure systems, we need to address security in a theoretical approach.”
Irma Wyman (BSE EngMath ’49) was a pioneer in the field of computers, beginning with her work on some of the earliest programmable machines ever made. As the first female vice president at Honeywell, she knew success – but she also knew firsthand how rare she was to succeed in a field where women were scarce. Now, at 86 years of age, she remains a strong advocate for equal opportunity for women.
Her experiences led her to establish the Irma M. Wyman Scholarship at the University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women. The scholarship supports women in engineering, computer science, and related fields. Irma remains deeply invested in the scholarship program, and enjoys a continuing relationship with the recipients.
Prof. Laura Balzano is an assistant professor in EECS, with a main research interest in mathematical modeling and analysis of massive data sets with missing or corrupted observations – one of the hottest areas in signal processing, statistics, and applied mathematics. Her work has applications such as computer network monitoring, environmental sensing, urban sensing, electronic medical records analysis, biological networks, social network mining, and collaborative filtering, in which data are often incomplete, corrupted, and an indirect indicator of the phenomenon of interest.
Prof. Lynn Conway is a woman of many remarkable stories. A pioneer of early VLSI technology, she helped make the once mystifying practice of fabricating circuits possible for a broad audience of engineers. Opening up chip design to the general engineering community, including engineering students, helped the industry explode and ultimately led to today’s Silicon Valley.
Her early work in the industry went unacknowledged, however, until much later in her career. Find out why!
Read more about Prof. Conway’s work and accomplishments:
“Life, Engineered: How Lynn Conway reinvented her world and ours” – College of Engineering
Prof. Cindy Finelli is the Founding Director of the Center for Research and Learning in Engineering at Michigan, which supports college-wide initiatives in engineering teaching and learning. She currently serves as its Faculty Director for Engineering Education Research.
Prof. Finelli’s research is in engineering education, and she currently studies student resistance to active learning, faculty adoption of evidence-based teaching practices, and institutional change. In addition to her research, she assists engineering faculty in accomplishing their educational research endeavors and promotes institutional change through faculty professional development. She is also leading efforts to hire engineering education research faculty and develop an engineering education research PhD program.
Prof. Somin Eunice Lee directs the Bioplasmonics Group, a groundbreaking field of research with a promising future. Her work in this area has already led to astounding results – she was among the first to demonstrate optical gene silencing, and she showed that gene circuits in living cells can be precisely controlled using plasmonic nanoantennas.
As she furthers this research, Prof. Lee will develop improved methods for gene therapy by delivering corrected genes directly to the cell nucleus of damaged genes more efficiently and with greater control than is currently possible. This research will also provide a better understanding of tissue formation, and may one day lead to new strategies to engineer functional replacement tissues, such as lungs, organs, and glands.
Prof. Mingyan Liu focuses on performance analysis and building energy-efficient and high-performance networking mechanisms for wireless sensor networks, mobile wireless ad hoc networks, and broadband satellite networks. Prof. Liu and her team recently developed special sensors to help make large-scale remote soil moisture sensing more useful. It also offers new opportunities for smaller, local sensing applications.
Prof. Liu is beloved by undergraduate and graduate students alike for her enthusiasm, dedication, clarity, and inspirational teaching style. She was recently awarded the College of Engineering’s Education Excellence Award for her contributions to ECE’s course offerings.
Prof. Johanna Mathieu is an assistant professor in EECS, whose research focuses on ways to reduce the environmental impact, cost, and inefficiency of electric power systems with new operational and control strategies. She is particularly interested in developing new methods to actively engage distributed flexible resources such as energy storage, electric loads, and distributed renewable resources in power system operation.
She is currently working on the problem of how best to integrate wind and solar power into the nation’s established electrical grid system. Prof. Mathieu received a CyberSEES grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue this work.
Prof. Necmiye Ozay is an expert in cyber-physical systems. This exciting field examines how computers interact with the real world, and how it can be improved.
“All of these different pieces are interacting,” she explains. “Your computer software is interacting with the physical world, with humans, and communication protocols. We have expertise in different parts of the puzzle, but when people try to put these things together the integration is a problem because no one was thinking about the whole picture.”
Prof. Ozay recently earned a DARPA Young Faculty Award for her work in dynamics-based information extraction. Her research will impact the safety and security of cyber and physical systems.
Prof. Becky Peterson is an assistant professor of EECS, who specializes in flexible electronics, thin-film electronics, semiconductor physics, and device fabrication.
Prof. Peterson recently earned a DARPA Young Faculty Award for her work on thin-film transistors for switched-mode power supplies. Such power supplies could potentially be used in a wide variety of wireless sensing and actuation systems, including those that deal with security and monitoring of the environment and medical conditions.
Prof. Mina Rais-Zadeh leads the Resonant MEMS Group. Her work is in the area of adaptable nano- and Micro-electromechanical systems (N/MEMS) for smart radio applications and high-frequency telecommunication. Some of her ongoing projects include improvements to the functionality of radios that would diminish costs associated with wireless communication, and an infrared sensor network designed for military human detection.
Lauren Bilbo is commited to involvement. From volunteer work, to leadership in student organizations, to undergraduate research, she’s kept herself as busy as she could throughout her studies. She joined the Michigan Research Community as a freshman and contributed to a project on laser-plasma interactions. She continued membership as a peer mentor, planning service events for the community and leading a weekly Spanish study group.
Lauren also takes part in the Engineering Global Leadership Honors Program, and was recently elected industry chair. Through this program, she’s volunteered abroad in India, assisted in organizing a cultural event with over 100 participants, and will complete a collaborative summer internship with Ross School Business students.
Stephanie Crocker, a PhD student, works with Prof. Johanna Mathieu to provide continuous energy balancing on the grid by automatically controlling loads. This must be done without disrupting customers and without compromising the grid’s physical integrity. Stephanie’s goal is to develop control systems that both provide energy balancing to the grid via loads while managing the physical constraints of the grid’s distribution network.
Elizabeth Dreyer is a grad student in the optics lab. Her research is to understand how a new interaction between light and matter can generate electricity. Additionally, she is pursuing a certificate in Science Technology and Public Policy from the Ford School, making her a figure to watch as a possible future ambassador for the popularization of science and science education.
Elizabeth is also an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and has presented talks about her research at their national conference. In 2015, she helped lead local efforts to celebrate the field of optics as part of the International Year of Light. Her organization, the Michigan Light Project, set up outreach activities for youth in the area, and had a stand at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.
Alyssa Kody, a PhD student, powers wireless embedded systems. The small-scale embedded wireless systems Alyssa works with are used for sensing and actuation in a variety of applications spanning many fields, including structural, industrial, environmental, biomedical, aerospace, and ocean engineering. These applications can include anything from biomedical devices implanted in the human body to structural monitoring systems in buildings.
Her methodology maximizes energy generation while considering mechanical losses, electrical losses, and the static power required to activate control intelligence and facilitate power-electronic conversion.
Avish Kosari conducts research on ultra-low power and batteryless devices, including circuits, radios, and transceivers. She is a member of Prof. David Wentzloff’s group, designing devices that will help enable the Internet of Things and a connected world.Avish recently finished her first project as a PhD student, a low-power circuit for an energy-harvesting electrocardiogram (ECG). These sensors are able to measure a patient’s heartrate and diagnose atrial fibrillation, all without the need for big batteries. Her device provides notable results in both its low power and its low signal input noise.
Mai Le is conducting research that could make MRI technology faster and cheaper. She is also working on new techniques to determine the character of a tumor in breast tissue. Using statistical signal processing techniques, she seeks to create crisper images with only 20% of the amount of data required by traditional MRI scans. The result is less patient time in the scanner and images generated much faster, making MRIs a more cost-effective option for patients and doctors alike.
Mai is also a graduate student instructor (GSI), and recently earned a CoE Towner Prize for Outstanding GSIs for her work with the course EECS 451: Digital Signal Processing and Analysis.
Cameron Polack is a founding member of the BLUElab India team, a student team that focuses on bringing engineering solutions to communities in need in India. Cameron has long sought ways to engage in service work, and this team has been a very effective outlet.
“Alternative Spring Break got me more interested in doing something with my skills to better the world,” she said, “instead of just studying all the time.” She saw BLUElab as a way to apply the skills she’s developed in her studies to this same spirit of service.
Alexandria Strother is a woman of many talents. Recent winner of Miss Washtenaw County, she studies both Electrical Engineering and Vocal Performance, with a background in dance, opera, and musical theater. She won the pageant on a women in STEM platform, advocating for more exposure for young women to science, technology, engineering, and math.
She now invests much of her time traveling to local schools and encouraging students to pursue these fields. From giving talks to judging science fairs, she shares her passion for engineering with the youth any way she can.