Considered a modern branch of engineering, electrical engineers specialize in technology that uses electricity. As such, those in the field are essential to the smooth operation of our tech-heavy society. When you think about this type of work, names like Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Guglielmo Marconi may come to mind. However, as important as their early inventions were to our current machines, outstanding electrical engineers are faced with more extreme challenges. Many of these awesome engineers work on designs intended to reduce energy consumption, enhance computer systems, and ease human interactions with technology.
Shaundra Daily, Ph.D. — Benefiting Human Learning
In addition to her role as an associate professor at Duke University, Shaundra Daily is the co-founder and Creative Director of DEEP Designs, LLC. Her research emphasizes human-centered design and engineering, affective computing, and broadening participation in STEM. Ultimately, her work aims to develop various technologies that enhance and benefit human learning.
She earned her undergraduate degree from Florida State University. After, she went on to earn two master's degrees — one from Florida Agricultural Mechanical University and one from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She completed her Ph.D. at MIT, as well.
Daily has earned a plethora of awards such as the Extraordinary Educator Award, the Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning Early Career Research Award, and the Epsilon Award for Most Promising Technologist. Moreover, she was a Fellow at a variety of organizations. These include being a Samsung Fellow, the Stanford University LIFE Center Fellow, a Graduate Community Fellow of Women’s Initiatives at MIT, and a Delta Airlines Fellow.
Her research sponsorships include funding from the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Department of Education Small Business Innovation Research. In sum, Daily’s research is key in bridging the gap between technology and human interaction.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Shaundra Daily.
Sanjay Banerjee, Ph.D. — Developing Electronic Devices
At the University of Texas at Austin, Sanjay Banerjee is the sitting Cockrell Family Regents Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Additionally, he is Director of the Microelectronics Research Center at the university. This lab aims to better understand the development of materials and electronic devices.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology. Both his master’s degree and Ph.D. are from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on understanding metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFETs).
Banerjee has earned a plethora of awards. These include the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council Halliburton Award, the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the IEEE Millennium Medal, and the SRC Inventor Recognition Award. He is also a Fellow of IEEE, the General Chair of the IEEE Device Research Conference, and a Distinguished Lecturer for IEEE Electron Devices Society. Of note, Banerjee recently received a National Science Foundation grant to conduct research on the advancement of energy-efficient design in integrated circuits.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Sanjay Banerjee.
Jehoshua Bruck, Ph.D. — Uniting Engineering and Evolutionary Theory
At Cal Tech, Jehoshua Bruk is a Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering. Moreover, he runs the Paradise Lab at CalTech. There, he and his research group explore information theory and systems and the theory of computation in biological systems. These are also his primary research interests.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. After coming to America to further his studies, he obtained both his graduate degrees from Stanford University. Bruck is an IEEE Fellow and a Sloan Research Fellow.
Of note, Bruck co-founded and chaired both Rainfinity and XtremIO. His work has received several recognitions, including the Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching, a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, and the IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award.
Bruck is also quite the inventor. With more than 40 patents, he is truly excelling in the world of electrical engineering. Additionally, he is a renowned author of more than 350 papers. Bruck’s papers win awards like the IEE Data Storage Best Paper Award and the IEEE Communications Society Best Paper Award.
His research will have important implications in understanding the primary mechanism for evolution. It may even enable us to confirm where we came from and where we are going in the future.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Jehoshua Bruck.
Marc Baldo, Ph.D. — Engineering for Biological Materials
In addition to serving as a professor of electrical engineering at MIT, Marc Baldo is the Director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics. His research there focuses on molecular electronics, energy transfer, and heterogeneous integration of biological materials.
Baldo completed his undergraduate work at the University of Sydney. He then moved to Princeton University to obtain both his master's degree and Ph.D. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and even earned the Jack Turner Entrepreneurship Award.
In addition to his roles at MIT, he is the Director for the Center for Excitonics with the US DOE Office of Science. The Center conducts research on energy with funding from the Department of Energy. The work is primarily in optoelectronics and digital logic. Baldo's theory behind the project is that once manipulation and control of excitons are understood, implementin solar technologies will be more cost-effective.
Furthermore, Baldo was the pioneering researcher for phosphorescent organic light-emitting diode (OLEDs), which are now used as a standard for high-efficiency lighting. His research has important implications in developing low-cost solar cells that can eventually lead to improvements in the environment.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Marc Baldo.
Stephen Crago, Ph.D. — Computer-based Electrical Engineering
At USC, Stephen Crago is an Associate Director of the Information Sciences Institute. His research centers on high-performance and embedded cloud computing, heterogeneous computing, introspective systems, and parallel software. In short, his field of electrical engineering is computer-based.
He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue University. However, he moved to the University of Southern California for his Ph.D. Of note, his research has been sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, and Office of Naval Research, among others.
Moreover, Crago is a senior member of IEEE. He is also the Chair of IEEE Transactions on Big Data Steering Committee and is on the Steering Committee of the Fault Tolerant Spaceborne Computing Employing New Technologies. Additionally, he helps organize a variety of international conferences such as the IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing and the IEEE International Conference on Internet of Things.
Crago’s research will be important in the future of both space and underwater exploration. The ability to make computers even more efficient and compute larger amounts of data allows for more thorough and time-efficient exploration. His research is important in improving the efficiency of computers so they can accurately and efficiently produce and compute large quantities of data.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Stephen Crago.
Minjie Chen, Ph.D. — Developing Better Electronics
At Princeton University, Minjie Chen is an assistant professor of electrical engineering and the lead of the Power Electronics Research Lab. His PEARL Lab works to discover breakthroughs in the move toward smaller, more efficient, and smarter power electronics.
He finished his undergraduate at Tsinghua University in China. Later, he completed his graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Chen has earned several recognitions. He received the Best Paper award from the IEEE Power Electronics Society, the Dimitris N. Chorafas Award, the Siebel Energy Institute Research Grant, and an Emanuel E. Landsman Fellowship from MIT. Moreover, he published a wide variety of research papers and presented at many industry conferences.
He also has three issued patents and has had his research funded by organizations such as the DOE ARPA-E CIRCUITS Program, the American Tower Corporation, the Power Survey Company, Siebel Energy Institute, and the Princeton Andlinger Innovative Research Group.
In addition to his lab and teaching commitments, Chen is a member of various IEEE technical committees and Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics. He also organized the IEEE Capacitor Workshop and the NSF Power Electronics Workshop. Beyond that, he is a reviewer for several IEEE and IET groups.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Minjie Chen.
Kaushik Sengupta, Ph.D. — Engineering for Better Medicine
In addition to running his own lab (the Sengupta Lab), Kaushik Sengupta is an assistant professor in the electrical engineering department at Princeton University. As a whole, the lab seeks to identify new ways to extract information from electromagnetic fields and RF-optical frequencies. The efforts are an attempt to enable newly integrated and chip-scale technologies. Thus, the technology will allow for communication and imaging for medical diagnostics.
He completed a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at the Indian Institute of Technology. After, he moved to the US and completed another master's degree and his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology.
In addition to his academic achievements, Sengupta earned the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the Bell Labs Prize, and the Princeton SEAS E. Lawrence Keys Award, to name a few of his awards. He was also featured in the Princeton Celebrate Innovation Forum and earned the Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research. Of note, he was invited to the National Academy of Engineers and the Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.
Furthermore, he is on the Technical Program Committee of the IEEE ESSCIRC, the IEEE CICC, and the PIERS. Sengupta also serves as Guest Editor of the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits. His research will be important in the advancement of healthcare for better patient care.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Kaushik Sengupta.
Mahshid Amirabadi, Ph.D. — Enhancing Renewable Energy Systems
At Northeastern University, Mahshid Amirabadi is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Her research is primarily focused on design, modeling and controlling power converters, power electronics for renewable energy systems, microgrids, and variable speed drives and wireless power transfer.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Shahid Beheshti University and her Master’s from the University of Tehran. Recently, she completed her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.
Amirabadi’s research has been funded by several major entities. These include the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Moreover, she earned the Best Paper Award from the Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition.
Of note, she belongs to a variety of IEEE organizations in addition to her budding teaching career. She is part of the IEEE Industry Applications Society, the IEEE Women in Engineering, the Power and Energy Society, the Power Electronics Society, and the Society of Women Engineers.
Though Amirabadi is relatively new on the scene, she already owns several patents and published a variety of peer-reviewed research articles in notable journals. Her research plays an important role in progressing contemporary technology toward more renewable energy sources.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Mahshid Amirabadi.
Stefano Basagni, Ph.D. — Building Better Communications
As an associate professor at Northeastern University, Stefano Basagni conducts research centered on mobile networks and wireless communications systems. Basagni’s research is important in understanding and developing more effective communication both on land and under water.
He finished his undergraduate work at Universita deli Studi di Pisa in Italy. Interestingly, he also holds a Ph.D. from the Italian university as well as one from the University of Texas at Dallas.
He is well-published with a variety of research and technical papers. For his work, Basagni earned the NU COE Best Research Team Award and the NU COE Outstanding Teacher Award. He is also a Distinguished Scientist of the ACM. Moreover, he was named Editor of the Year from the Elsevier’s Ad Hoc Networks Journal and has had his research on underwater networking featured in WIRED.
Beyond his commitments to Northwestern, he is a member of several organizations. These include the Association for Computer Machinery, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Council on Undergraduate Research, and the American Society for Engineering Education. Furthermore, his research has been funded and supported by the National Science Foundation, various US Department of Defense Agencies, the Canada National Research Council, European Union Agencies, and various private Italian Institutions.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Stefano Basagni.
Robert Wood, Ph.D. — Pioneering Manufacturing Techniques
At Harvard University, Robert Wood is a Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Along with his professorship, he was a founding faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Founder of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab. He now runs the lab, which focuses on new micro- and mesa-scale manufacturing techniques.
Wood earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. His primary research interests are in robotics and control.
He is the recipient of a variety of awards such as the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the NSF Career Award, the ONR Young Investigator Award, and the Air Force Young Investigator Award. Moreover, he earned various Best Paper awards. Furthermore, Wood earned the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for his micro-robotics research. Wood is also a National Geographic “Emerging Explorer.”
His research will be important in the future of medical robotics and other robotic fields. With work on fluid mechanics of flapping wings, sensor control, active soft materials, wearable robots, and morphable soft-bodied robots, this outstanding electrical engineer is bringing us into the future.
Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Read about Robert Wood.