The overall governance of IEEE-HKN is the responsibility of the Board of Governors, a volunteer organization of IEEE-HKN members that have prominent positions in academia and industry. The Board consists of a president, president-elect, past president, and treasurer, each of whom serves a one-year term. Regional Governors serve the IEEE-HKN’s geographic regions (now aligned with the IEEE Regions), and four at-large members each serve one three-year term. There is a pair of student governors who serve one-year terms.
2019 IEEE-HKN Board of Governors
Dr. Karen Panetta is a Fellow of the IEEE. Dr. Panetta received the B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University. She is currently the Dean for Graduate Education and a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Adjunct Professor in Computer Science at Tufts University. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the award winning IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine and Editor of the IEEE Boston “Reflector” Newspaper. She served as the 2011 Chair of the IEEE Boston Section, which resulted in the Boston Section receiving the 2011 IEEE Large Section Award. During 2009-2007. Karen served as the Chair for the IEEE Women in Engineering, overseeing the world’s largest professional organization supporting women in engineering and science. Karen also served as the Chair of the Boston IEEE Education Society chapter for ten years and is currently the Boston Chapter Chair for the IEEE Signal Processing Society. She served as the 2013-2014 IEEE-USA Vice-President of Communications and Public Relations. She has served as the IEEE Tufts Student Chapter adviser for 24 years and is the Society of Women Engineers Tufts Student Chapter Adviser. Karen is currently on the HKN Board of Governors and a Member-at-Large on the Systems, Man and Cybernetics Board.
Karen has traveled around the globe to inspire youth to pursue engineering through her internationally acclaimed “Nerd Girls” Program, a program that shows how engineers and scientists are creating innovations for the benefit humanity.
Before joining the faculty at Tufts University, Karen was a Principal Engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation.
Karen’s research has spanned many disciplines including developing simulator algorithms for large digital computing systems to her current research in image and signal processing algorithms for security and biomedical applications.
She is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2011, U.S. President Obama presented Karen with the NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. In 2013, she was awarded the E-Week New England Leadership award and the IEEE Award for Ethical Practices. She is also the recipient of the ASEE Harriet Rigas Award, and Anita Borg institute, Women of Vision Award.
Edward A Rezek
Edward A. Rezek received a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and an AB degree in Physics from Washington University in St. Louis, MO in 1976; he received MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL in 1977 and 1980. He retired from Northrop Grumman Space Technology (formerly TRW Space & Electronics Group), an entity specializing in electronics development for US Government and commercial applications after 35 years. His work experience has ranged from basic R&D to manufacturing and has covered the spectrum from advanced technology development for US Government space applications to manufacturing low cost components for commercial applications. He has received 19 patents and has >50 publications in refereed journals. He is a recipient of the TRW Chairman’s Award for Innovation and a Northrop Grumman Distinguished Innovator Award. He is an IEEE Fellow for qualification of GaAs microelectronics for space applications.
Steve E. Watkins
2018 President, 2017 President-Elect,
2013-2017 Editor-in-Chief The Bridge, 2004-2007 Board Member
Gamma Theta Chapter
Steve E. Watkins is a faculty member (1989-Present) at Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla or UMR) and is currently a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His technical interests include smart sensor systems, fiber optics, imaging, and engineering education. He received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989 and M.S.E.E. and B.S.E.E. degrees from UMR in 1985 and 1983, respectively.
He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the US Air Force Academy, a 2004 IEEE-USA Congressional Fellow, the Faculty-Member-in-Residence for the 2005 Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) Program, a visiting physicist for the U.S.A.F. Phillips Laboratory at the Kirtland Air Force Base, and a visiting scholar for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in Japan. At Missouri S&T, he has been the Associate Chair for Electrical Engineering Undergraduate Studies and faculty advisor to the Gamma Theta Chapter (1992-Present) and Tau Beta Pi (2014-Present). His accomplishments include project coordinator for the campus Smart Composite Bridge project and as a contributor in the creation of the IEEE Student Ethics Competition.
In addition to Eta Kappa Nu, Dr. Watkins is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Xi and he is active in IEEE (S’80-M’90-SM-98), SPIE-The Society for Optical Engineering (Fellow), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). His awards include IEEE-USA 2016 Jim Watson Student Professional Achievement Award, IEEE 2005 Region 5 Outstanding Member, IEEE RAB Achievement Award, IEEE 1999 Region 5 Outstanding Educator, HKN 1993 Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer Finalist, and HKN 1983 Alton B. Zerby Outstanding EE Student.
Last revised: 2018
Michael Benson is a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan’s Radiation Laboratory and has served on the HKN Board of Governors as the student governor for both 2017 and 2018. A 2009 recipient of NASA’s Earth and Space Sciences Fellowship, Michael studies multi-modal remote sensing of the environment with a focus on radar. During his tenure at Michigan, Michael has been actively engaged in his community having chaired his Department’s inaugural graduate research poster symposium in 2009 as well as serving three elected terms as the President of the University of Michigan’s graduate student body. During his tenure as student body president, Michael spearheaded numerous policy initiatives resulting in real and meaningful changes for current and future graduate students. A 2015 recipient of the University’s Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors, Michael has been recognized for his commitment to learning and student success and has taught the introductory programming course for students entering the College of Engineering for 2.5 years; the last year as the course’s head GSI. Michael graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University in Boston, MA in Electrical Engineering and hails from Weston, MA. Since initiating into Eta Kappa Nu, Michael has held a variety of leadership positions within the Beta-Epsilon chapter including serving as a mentor for potential new members (electees), serving in numerous committee chair positions, and serving as an officer of the chapter as an advisor for the past three years. In addition to his work within his chapter, Michael also served as the general co-chair of the IEEE-HKN 2016 Student Leadership Conference in Ann Arbor, MI. During his tenure on the Board, Michael has aggressively represented the interests of the society’s student members. He has initiated and lead monthly gatherings for chapter leaders to share best practices and discuss pressing issue. These meetings have enabled Michael to remain in close contact with our chapters and has enhanced his ability to lead the IEEE-HKN Ritual Committee which focuses on enhancing the experience of our members. Michael is also an active participate on the society’s new strategic planning committee and has helped to chart a path forward for the Board and our chapters.
In 1981 he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Electromechanical Engineering from the University of Panama and in 1983 a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington, TX. During his career he has participated in numerous conferences, technical activities, seminars and courses. Mr. Tejera is an engineer with extensive experience in the design of power systems, operation and maintenance, including generation, transmission and distribution. Electromechanical engineer with a proven track record of success in the management of large-scale electromechanical engineering projects, power systems planning, behavior analysis of electrical power systems, project management, budgets, contracts and preparation and review of technical specifications and consulting. He has worked in the Panama Canal since 1991, occupying various technical positions as electrical desing engineer, electrical engineer in charge of the protective relying and project management of systems in the Energy Division. He is currently the Manager of the High Voltage Section of the Energy Division, responsible for directing all maintenance activities of high voltage equipment in the power system facilities of the Panama Canal. Prior to the Panama Canal, he worked for 12 years at the local electric utility company in Panama, where he was the Manager of the Transmission and Distribution Planning Section responsible for the preparation of expansion plans for the transmission and distribution systems of the Republic of Panama. He has provided consulting and design services for transmission, distribution and generation projects, industrial, residential and commercial facilities, and has also worked as a part-time professor at the Technological University of Panama. He has presented papers at technical conferences in Latin America and the USA which have been published in technical journals and conference proceedings. Currently, he works as a reviewer of technical documents for conferences, prizes and international publications and as a Distinguished Lecturer of the Power & Energy Society and the Society of Industrial Applications of the IEEE. He has been a member of the IEEE since 1979 and an honorary member of Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) since 2015. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and has held volunteer positions at the local, regional and global level including the period 2010-2011 where he served as Director of the Division. VII on the IEEE Global Board of Directors representing the Power & Energy Society and currently also as a representative on the Board of Governors of the IEEE-HKN Region 7 (Canada), Region 8 (Europe and Africa), Region 9 (Latin America) and 10 (Asia and Oceania).
Dr. Preeti Bajaj is an Electronics Engineer Graduated in 1991, Post graduate in 1998 and doctorate in Electronics Engineering in 2004. Having 27 year of experience, currently she is Director of G.H. Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur with 5500 students. She is known for her strategic planning, project management, innovations and out of box thinking. Her research interest includes Intelligent Transportation System, Soft Computing, Hybrid Intelligent Systems & Applications of Fuzzy logic in ITS. Her professional society affiliation includes Fellow- Institute of Engineers, Fellow IETE, Senior Member- IEEE. She is presently Secretary-IEEE India Council. She was also on Standing Committee of Global accreditation of IEEE Education Board. Six Doctoral students have been awarded PhD, 3 have submitted and 4 are pursuing & 30 have done Masters under her.
Her major contribution is in design and development of driver assistance systems like drivers fatigue detection system, driver’s action and emotion detection system, driver’s behavior modeling and applying hybrid fuzzy /genetic/PSO to various Intelligent Transportation Systems. She has also been instrumental to design and development of ITS systems in public and private sector on various areas of specialization like toll collection/toll audit system/highway traffic management system and advanced traveler Information systems.
She is founder General Chair of ICETET series of Seven IEEE Conferences. Dr. Bajaj holds awards like Best Teacher award, “Bhaskar Woman’s Award” for year 2010 and “Faculty of Month”. She is resource person for creating awareness of Outcome Based Education and also is Ex-member of General Council of NBA. Her current efforts include thrust on Innovations, internships, and entrepreneurships. Strong belief in innovations, she is putting all efforts to create an ecosystem for innovations and entrepreneurship. Her efforts have turned 208 projects into patents leading to transform a private Engineering institution into India’s premier, Engineering and Research Institute in last 5 years.
She is very Active IEEE Volunteer for last 18 plus, Worked regional, council, section level, subsection, branch level, above all counselor for regional and students group for IEEE activities and taking them to wonderful world of innovations through IEEE. Her passion is to connect bringing industry institutions and community at one place and brining need-based innovations through technology for students by students.
James M. Conrad
James Conrad has spent an equal amount of time working in industry and academia. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Illinois, Urbana, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in computer engineering from North Carolina State University. He is currently a professor at the UNC Charlotte and Associate Department Chair. He has served as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas and as an instructor at North Carolina State University. He has worked for IBM, Ericsson/Sony Ericsson, and two start-up companies. He teaches and conducts research in the areas of embedded systems, robotics, parallel processing, artificial intelligence, and engineering education. He has published eight books in the field of embedded systems and robotics. Dr. Conrad also serves IEEE as an ABET Program Evaluator, and serves the community on the Board of Directors for FIRST North Carolina, the state organization supporting the FIRST Robotics program.
I was inducted into HKN shortly before graduation and didn’t have much involvement in the chapter. But, there was something about being selected for induction that stuck with me. Many years later I was asked if I could help HKN by becoming Treasurer and I couldn’t say no, I wanted to give back to this organization. We have had the opportunity to make progress financially in supporting the mission of HKN. I’ve now had the opportunity to attend 3 Student Leadership Conferences and I’ve been very impressed with the students who have attended and the program that they developed. Absolutely makes me want to continue working and supporting HKN.
My name is Katelyn Brinker. I am currently pursuing a graduate degree in electrical engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) with the support of a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship, having graduated in May of 2017 with bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from the same university. In my time as a student I have been heavily involved on my campus and in IEEE, and I have also been the recipient of the DiscoverE New Faces of Engineering 2017 IEEE-USA award and the HKN 2017 Outstanding Student Award. As an undergraduate student, I was a member of the Missouri S&T world champion Mars Rover Design Team where I held the positions of PR and Outreach Chair, Chief Technology Officer, Science Team Lead, and R&D Team Lead during my 4 years on the team. These roles provided me with experience in event organization, publicity, project management, and leadership, which allowed me to effectively serve as the Missouri S&T IEEE Student Branch President for the 2016-2017 school year and the HKN Gamma Theta Chapter President in Spring of 2017. I have also served as the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society Undergraduate Representative, on the IEEE STL Section Editorial Board, and on the HKN Conference Committee. Through these experiences I’ve gotten to meet and make connections with HKN and IEEE members from all over the world and in the process I’ve gained a lot of perspective on the different challenges faced by various IEEE organizational units, including HKN chapters, and how culture also affects how initiatives are received. I’ve also learned a lot about creating student programs for a global audience. I believe that I can bring this experience, perspective, and passion for service into a position on the IEEE-HKN Board of Governors to help grow our organization and our member engagement.
My name is Panagis D. Samolis. I was born in Ogden Utah, raised in Greece and nearly five years ago came to Boston to pursue my undergraduate degree from the College of Engineering at Boston University. I graduated “Magna Cum Laude” in May 2017, majoring in Electrical Engineering. Currently I am pursuing my PhD degree at the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering also at BU.
During my studies I always sought opportunities to be engaged in activities beyond coursework, including, research, working as a teaching assistant in various courses and involvement in student organizations. I spent the summer of my sophomore year at the Wide Band Gap Semiconductor Lab at BU volunteering as a researcher under the mentorship of Professor Theodore Moustakas. The summer of my junior year I joined the Ultrafast Optic Lab at BU and worked as a STARS (Summer Term Alumni Research Scholar) under the mentorship of Professor Michelle Sander. The following year I completed my Bachelor Thesis in the same lab on the design and characterization of novel ultrafast fiber laser systems, which led to a poster presentation at the Boston Photonics centennial conference (2017), and co-writing a conference proceeding (CLEO 2017) and journal publication (IEEE JSTQE). During my PhD, I got involved into more interdisciplinary research related on to the use of ultrafast sources for super-resolution photothermal imaging of biomedical samples and characterization of nanomaterials. Up until this point, my work has led to two poster presentations (Boston Centennial 2018, MRS), an invited conference talk (SPIE Optics and Photonics 2018) and an SPIE proceeding. I’ve also been awarded the BU Nano Cross-disciplinary fellowship award for the upcoming academic year (2018-2019).
Apart from research, I draw a lot of enthusiasm from interacting with my colleagues and fellow students. This has motivated me to be an active member in student organizations, with the highlight being my involvement at the board of the BU IEEE Student Chapter/IEEE-HKN Student Chapter for the last two years. I was honored to serve as vice-president and president of the board and I am very excited to continue serving the society as president for the upcoming year as well. My tasks included organizing the activities, distributing roles among the board members, working closely with our faculty adviser Professor Min-Chang Lee, seeking funding sources and marketing methods to advertise our events within the BU community. My goal was to host an abundance of social and academic related activities (invited talks, journal club meetings, workshops, social gatherings etc.) and make the IEEE-HKN chapter a unique platform for our members to use for networking and outreach opportunities.
In addition I have also been involved in activities outside the community of Electrical Engineers and BU, including volunteering work and teaching in the Cambridge Greek-American community. As a result of this extracurricular involvement I was honored to receive a scholarship award by the Panhellenic Scholarship Foundation. Other hobbies/passions include, travelling, reading, photography and swimming.