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Michael Benson

October 2019 Faculty Advisors Meeting

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Please report your attendance on the call by completing this form:

Presenters’ Contact Information

  • Sean Bentley, Governor, Regions 1 & 2, Chair of the Faculty Advisor Ad-hoc Committee: bentley@adelphi.edu
  • Michael Benson, Governor, Regions 3 & 4, Chair of the Membership & Accountability Committee: mbenson@ieee.org
  • Ron Jensen, Treasurer, IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu, Chair of the Journey Mapping Ad-Hoc: r.jensen@ieee.org
  • Nancy Ostin, Director, IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu: n.ostin@ieee.org
  • Steve Watkins, Past-President (2018), IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu, Chair of the Nominations & Appointments Committee: watkins@mst.edu

IEEE Technology Time Machine 2018 – Ignite with a Twist

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Ignite with a Twist 

Call for Participants

Are you an IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN) student currently working on a leading-edge future technology that will change business, society, or everyday life? Share your experiences and vision with peers and leading technologists at the IEEE Technology Time Machine 2018 (TTM 2018) conference.

The IEEE Technology Time Machine 2018 (TTM 2018) conference will offer attendees from research and industry innovative insights from top executives and pioneers regarding the impact of future technologies on business and industry, society and everyday life, ethics, and policy. Through interactive participation and stimulating panels, TTM 2018 will provide critical information on technological advances to help guide current and future decisions on use and implementation of these technologies Beyond Tomorrow. Speakers and attendees will network and learn from each other through synergies across technologies in industry, academia, and government, including in the areas of augmented and virtual reality, agriculture, neuroscience, robotics, technology entrepreneurism, and more.

To promote awareness of leading-edge research currently being performed in universities, IEEE-HKN is sponsoring Ignite with a Twist talks at TTM 2018.



Participation is open to conference attendees only. To participate, please send an email to ttminfo@ieee.org.



Typically, Ignite presenters use 20 slides that advance every 15 seconds to lay the foundation for a 5-minute talk. The Ignite with a Twist talks will be 5 minutes, but instead of slides, some sort of small prop(s) can be used to support the talk. One simple example, if you are working on robotics, you can show an R2-D2 figure while describing past robotic limitations then launch into the future of robotics as shown through your work. This is a chance to be creative and have fun while showcasing your great discoveries!


Typical Ignite presentations have the following ‘format’:

  • Hook
  • Background information
  • Evidence
  • Call to action / Future research or plan


The goal of the Ignite with a Twist talk is to articulate a topic in a quick, insightful, and clear manner. These concise and efficient talks are intended to grab the attention of the audience, convey the salient information, and spark interest in future activities.



You are expected to provide a short abstract (250 – 400 words) on your topic. Presenters will be selected based on the following criteria in their abstract:

  • Topic of interest to TTM 2018 (see keywords below)
  • Significance of future impact
  • Clarity and relevance
  • Uniqueness of topic in the future of technology


Send your abstract to ttminfo@ieee.org with the subject “IEEE TTM 2018 Ignite with a Twist.”




  • Monday 1 October 2018 – Final submission of abstracts
  • Wednesday 17 October 2018 – Notification of acceptance
  • Wednesday 31 October 2018 6:30 pm – Ignite with a Twist talks



Agricultural Food Systems, Artificial Intelligence & Ethics, Autonomous Vehicles & Systems, Biological Neuroprosthetics, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Green Communications, Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality, Programmable Genomics, Quantum Computing, Social Implications of Technology

IEEE Technology Time Machine 2018

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IEEE Technology Time Machine 2018

The IEEE Technology Time Machine 2018 (TTM 2018) conference will offer attendees from research and industry innovative insights from top executives and pioneers regarding the impact of future technologies on business and industry, society and everyday life, ethics, and policy. Through interactive participation and stimulating panels, TTM 2018 will provide critical information on technological advances to help guide current and future decisions on use and implementation of these technologies Beyond Tomorrow. Speakers and attendees will network and learn from each other through synergies across technologies in industry, academia, and government, including in the areas of augmented and virtual reality, agriculture, neuroscience, robotics, technology entrepreneurism, and more. Get ready to be inspired and innovate your future at TTM 2018.

 Learn about future trends in technologies during the next 30 years focusing on:


  • Agricultural Food Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence & Ethics
  • Autonomous Vehicles & Systems
  • Biological Neuroprosthetics
  • Blockchain
  • Cybersecurity
  • Green Communications
  • Mixed Reality
  • Programmable Genomics
  • Quantum Computing
  • Social Implications of Technology
  • Women in Engineering


The panels will feature dynamic speakers from industry, academia, and government, including: Dolby Laboratories, AT&T, Paradromics, University of Southern California, University of Leeds, Washington & Lee University, HardTech Labs, g.tec, AgShift, Xerox, Xmark Labs, GHPi, IBM, Oracle, Tracy, Meta, Johnson & Johnson, Michigan State University, and College of Charleston.

 Network with attendees from academia, government, and industry.

Be inspired by the Distinguished Experts Panel comprising experts in communications and networks, green ICT, engineering ethics and more. Other speakers at TTM 2018 are renowned in the areas of neuroscience, autonomous vehicles, engineering ethics, the agricultural industry, and more.

Spark your passion listening to innovative women role models during the Women Making the Future Panel.

Discover invaluable insight from young entrepreneurs during the Young Entrepreneurs and N3XT Panel.

Cultivate relationships with other HKN members through the Ignite with a Twist talks


Enjoy two conference days at a discount!
HKN Student Members – $75:  Use code HKNSTUDENT

Take the first step towards your future career – register for IEEE Technology Time Machine 2018 today!

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Professional Member Induction Ceremony


IEEE-HKN wants to congratulate our new professional members on their induction into the Eta Chapter of the IEEE-HKN Board of Governors.

On June 23, we held a Professional Member Induction Ceremony at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick to welcome three new professional members.

Steve E. Watkins, 2018 IEEE-HKN President, gave the induction ceremony. In the ceremony, inductees took the IEEE-HKN pledge, signed the member induction book for the IEEE-HKN Eta Chapter, and received their certificate and pin.

Professional membership aims to recognize professional accomplishments and outstanding contributions to engineering.

Professional members are not students. They are practicing engineers with 10 years of experience in the technical fields of interest of the IEEE, or they are faculty members of an active IEEE-HKN Chapter. They have demonstrated significant leadership and service through volunteer activities throughout their professional career.

To become a professional member, candidates must be nominated by a member of IEEE and IEEE-HKN. They must also be endorsed by two current members of IEEE-HKN. A review committee then evaluates the candidate, who decides if they are qualified to be a professional member.

We are extremely proud of our professional members and are thankful for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the field. We would also like to thank all of our IEEE-HKN members who came to celebrate at the induction ceremony. To any alumni who have lost touch with HKN, we encourage you to reconnect. If you were ever inducted into HKN, you are always a part of HKN.

Leadership: Business Meetings

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By Steve E. Watkins, IEEE-HKN President 

Running meetings and participating in deliberative decision-making are important aspects of leadership. As student leaders in IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu, you gain practice in such leadership skills through the normal operation of the student chapter and you see these skills in practice at other IEEE business meetings as well. Formal business meetings operate according to defined rules and informal deliberative meetings or discussions generally follow the pattern of the formal rules. For professional organizations such as IEEE and many of the other organizations, formal rules are set forth in governing documents by referencing Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised or Robert’s Rules of Order (latest revision) and are known as parliamentary procedure. Our governing documents specify this source for the conduct of business “at meetings of the IEEE Board of Directors, Major Boards, Standing Committees, and other organizational units …” And, the principles behind the rules can provide effective guidance for less formal meetings.

Rules of parliamentary procedure may be intimidating to some due to unfamiliarity and specialized terminology. However, some basic knowledge of how the rules are setup can assist in learning the details, contributing during discussions, and handling leadership roles. The intent of parliamentary procedure is to provide a balance of efficiency, fairness, and deliberation for transacting business (making decisions) and governing a group. The rules must be specified in advance or meetings can easily degenerate into arguments of “how” to conduct business rather than conducting the business itself. As Henry Martyn Robert, the author of the first edition (1876) of Robert’s Rules of Order, said, “Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty.”

Three basic principles guide parliamentary practice as defined by Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. These principles address efficiency, fairness, and deliberation and they may be expressed as follows.
• Debate, decision-making, etc. are transacted in an orderly and open manner;
• Final decisions are based on majority rules with few exceptions; and
• All participants have the right to be heard and to participate equally.
These principles are the basis of the rules for formal practice and are the basis of group expectations in informal settings. For instance, a group decision to limit debate on a proposed motion requires a supermajority vote of at least two-thirds. Minority participant’s rights to be heard are being balanced with the need to eventually reach a decision if the majority agrees. However, the adoption of the proposed motion would only require a majority vote. Again, the intent is a balance of efficiency, fairness, and deliberation.

The original version of these rules was written by Henry Martyn Robert (1837-1923). This West Point graduate served as a distinguished military engineer and retired as a brigadier general. As he traveled to different assignments, he was frequently involved in church and other civic organizations and he observed difficulties from an ad hoc approach to meeting rules. His rules system was a comprehensive, pragmatic response that was tailored for community organizations. More on his engineering background and his civic contributions are given at the Engineering and Technology History Wiki: http://ethw.org/Henry_Martyn_Robert.

The systemic approach of Robert achieved widespread success and adoption. Through a family trust and the Robert’s Rules Association, the system has been updated and a copyright maintained on a current, official version titled Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. It is currently in its eleventh edition. The website for this version is www.robertsrules.com. A common practice is to have governing documents of a civic organization include a statement such as,
“The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the convention in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the bylaws of the Society and these standing rules.”
The organization can then keep its documents focused on issues tailored to its purposes and desires while having generic procedures specified by a well-defined and readily available source.

As you conduct your student chapter business and participate in other business settings, gain familiarity with this form of parliamentary procedure. Your education as a leader should include knowledge of these principles and rules.


Dr. Steve E. Watkins is an IEEE-HKN President for 2018. 

© Copyright 2018 Steve E. Watkins.

Technology Rules!

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By Karen Panetta, IEEE-HKN President Elect

Remember when cell phones first came out? Of course, you don’t. You probably were not even born yet. So, let me give you a history lesson. Phones were quite large and got so hot that you could fry a steak on them but had displays that you could actually see and keypads that were sized for human fingers. We would only use them sparingly, for emergencies for our loved ones because making calls was expensive. Cell phone numbers were protected like social security numbers and if someone gave you their phone number, you felt like you were in their inner circle of VIPs.
Ions ago, I handed down my first cell phone to my father and he immediately fell in love with it. However, whenever I would call him, the phone was either off or he would not answer. He never mastered voice mail so leaving a message was out of the question. I would ask him why he didn’t answer, and he would say, “I can’t carry the phone with me, I’d get a hernia.” He was right. The phone was so heavy and bulky that he would keep it in his trunk with his ever-present buckets of sand, that he claimed he needed for ballast in the wintertime.

When the phone finally died after 13 years, and no one would service it for him, he was forced to go search for a new phone. While we were in the phone store, other older customers noticed the dinosaur of a phone that my father held. One after another, they approached the salesman and pointed at my father, saying “I want to see that same phone with the large keys, like the one that man is holding.” The poor bewildered salesman was at a loss and begged me to put the phone away. I would have obliged, but the phone was so large that it wouldn’t fit my pocketbook.
We purchased a new phone, one with the biggest buttons we could find along with the loudest volume controls. To my dismay, my father still didn’t answer the cell phone when I called, or it would be turned off. When I questioned him about this, he came clean and gave me my first lesson in technology rules. He stated, “The phone is for me to make calls when I need too, not so people can bother me at their convenience. I rule the technology, it doesn’t rule me.”

My poor father made this statement in front of my mother who instantly chastised him for hurting my feelings. She also reminded him that I paid his cell phone bill. Needless to say, my father still complains about the microscopic keypad on his new phone and still uses it sparingly and only for emergencies, like when he needs me to pick up a sandwich and donuts for him.
Cell phone technology now makes us accessible 24 hours a day, but cell phone etiquette has not evolved as quickly. A few years ago, you wouldn’t dream of calling someone on their cell phone unless there was something critical at hand. Furthermore, you certainly wouldn’t call someone during dinner hours or on a weekend.
I went through a drive-thru and saw a sign, “No Cell Phones.” I had to ask what the sign meant. I thought maybe there was a construction project going on and they were using explosives and blasting in the area. I was wrong.

Apparently, people cause delays at drive-thru lines by keeping the servers on hold while they talk on their cell phones. I was amazed that there are few boundaries to where and when cell phones are used.

I was shocked the first time I heard people making and taking calls while in a public restroom. Imagine, taking a business call while conducting the most private of business!
A male colleague of mine told me he found it embarrassing that the fellow standing beside him was not only broadcasting bathroom sound effects to a stranger on the phone but considered this guy an invasion of his own privacy. Cell phone cameras can be activated and capture images of an innocent bystander’s “private moments.” He told me that women were lucky because at least there were stall partitions in the women’s restrooms to protect their identity, but no such privacy protection existed for men. We also both noticed that regardless of gender, these cell phone abusers were too busy talking to wash their hands before leaving the restroom. Gross and a great way to get sick.

Now, I know why all those signs reminding people to wash their hands are really posted on all the restroom doors. They really should say, “Get off the cell phone and wash your hands!”
Inevitably, the cell phone rings as soon as I sit down for dinner. I contemplate not answering, but deferring the call means that there is more work for me to follow up on later. Not answering and not having the time to respond immediately also has implications. People assume that having a cell phone as part of your anatomy means that you have no excuse for not being instantaneously available. Now that the restroom is no longer a “safe place” anymore, the only excuses we may have left to escape phone calls are in elevators, underground garages, tunnels and on airplanes. Unfortunately, since we are so technology savvy, now we are losing even these cell-phone free sanctuaries.

After years of suffering at the hands of intrusive cell phone calls, that have provided nothing more than indigestion, ruined good a mood and left a cloud over our free time with our loved ones, I have developed some simple technology rules that have helped.

1) Calls from family members should be answered. This may be painful to hear, but the infinite guilt of not answering is far worse than taking the call. If you are in a class, then leave or quickly text your family to say that you are in the middle of a class. My parents don’t have a phone that has texting capabilities, so I do the next best thing, I text my husband and make him call them back for me.
2) Do not answer cell phones during meals or during meetings/interviews. I almost fell on the floor when a visitor who wanted my advice, and help finding a job, kept interrupting our meeting to take phone calls. News Flash, doing this during an interview is a death sentence to receiving an offer!
3) Do not answer the cell phone if you are involved with a family, social outing or trying to sleep.
4) No cell phone calls in public restrooms. What you do in your own home is your own business, but remember, the person on the other side of your call would most likely be grossed out if they knew where you were and what you were doing.
5) Watch where you are walking! Too many people get hurt thinking drivers are looking at them while we are busy walking with our face in a phone. Wrong! The drivers are not looking because they are on the phone too! Furthermore, too many phone addicts are their way to earning a hunchback due to looking down at the phone. Humps and hunchbacks are not a good look on anyone.
Technology was meant to make our lives better, not to endanger us, stress us or negatively interfere with our health. Take a stand and do not allow technology to rule your life anymore!
Get off the phone and start looking at people in the face as you walk by and smile. You will be surprised how much you’ve been missing.



Confessions of a Digital Hoarder

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By Karen Panetta, IEEE-HKN President Elect

I was cleaning out my office recently and came across the media storage that contained my Ph.D. thesis simulations. I remember how proud I was that I had successfully simulated over 2 million simulations for a digital system containing over 1 million transistors on a conventional single CPU computer. I tried my best to make the simulator portable and thought it would be an interesting project to see how it performed on a modern multi-core computer.
Alas, the simulator was stored on something called a TK50 tape made for Digital Equipment Corporation MicroVAX computers. I am sure most of you have never heard of the existence of this company, which used to be a computer giant, or the uses of “tape” as digital storage. I was told I could go to the computer museum and have it ported to a more recent form of media. I decided that the two patents and Ph.D. degree the work earned me were mementos enough, and tossed the tape into the trash, along with old ZIP disks and hundreds of 3-inch floppy disks. Again, more things you probably never heard of, which just makes me feel really old.
I also found a larger floppy disk with holes punched in it from push pins. Why on earth would I keep such a thing? This memento also had significance in my career. It came from my first internship at the Gillette Company.
I worked in the Management Information Systems department as a systems analyst. One of my responsibilities was designing custom database solutions for those individuals not skilled in using computers.
The users loved my software and thought I walked on water. That was until one day when two managers came storming into my office complaining that they had lost their data and the floppy disks I gave them no longer worked. I looked at one of the disks and noticed that it was full of holes made from a thumb tack.
I asked him, “Why are there holes in the disk?” The manager replied, “I had it pinned up on my cork board to make sure I didn’t misplace the disk.”
I tried not to laugh but recorded a mental note that I needed to update the user manual I created for my non-computer savvy users to tell them that punching holes into the disk was a no-no.
The second manager’s floppy disk looked in tact, so I asked him how and where he stored his disk. With a smile and look of confidence he replied, “I use a magnet to hold it up on the metal wall of my cubicle and I don’t use any push pins!”
I thought I would choke trying not to laugh and waited for them to tell me this was all just a joke to evoke a reaction out of the poor naïve intern.
I then gave a short tutorial on the manufacturing and operation of floppy disks and explained why magnets and poking holes in the media storage meant certain death for their data. I was returned to saint hood in their eyes when they discovered I kept a backup of everything.
As powerful as the digital age is, the loss of data through the transition to new forms of media storage makes me wonder how much valuable history and other defining characteristics of our civilization will be lost over time. We wonder how the pyramids were built and know that there had to be some incredible engineers during those ancient times. What we know comes from the few surviving parchments and records etched in stone. Data carved in stone seems to be the most fault tolerant form of media storage and can survive for thousands of years. What about our digital media? What would happen if power was lost and the knowledge of computers vanished forever? What would someone in the far-off future discovering an ancient USB thumb drive, hard drive or CD-ROM do with these ancient relics?
They might do like my mother did and make a collage picture of a giant shiny fish using the discarded CD-ROMs as the fish scales.
You may be asking what brought on this morbid train of thought on. I’ll tell you. I was trying to find a picture I took with a digital camera. I have hundreds of images with randomly assigned names provided by the camera. In the old days, I would print out my pictures and stuff them in an album.
Now, everything is on the computer or worse, the cloud. I literally kill my computers within 2 years of purchase, such that I have gone through more hard drives in my lifetime than I have new pairs of shoes.
I even bought a NAS to use as a backup system just to store my pictures so I wouldn’t lose them. It doesn’t matter. I always seem to lose something during the transition from one computer to another or to some newer current state-of-the art media storage.
I have an arsenal of USB thumb drives. I should make a necklace out of them by hanging them off a rope like shark teeth, since I can’t remember what’s stored on the drives anyway. There isn’t a search engine on the planet that can keep up with my huge quantities of disorganized media and data.
I finally gave up on retrieving the picture I was looking for. Like an ancient civilization, it was lost forever. Then, when I gave up all hope, my mother called me. I told her how I spent hours searching the computer for a specific picture, when she described with great detail the exact picture I was looking for. I asked her how she knew and she said, “Because I’m looking at the eyeball of the fish collage I made out of those shiny circles you always throw out and one of them is labeled with that exact description. I also remembered that you told me that if I glued them, I would destroy the information on them, so I tacked them to the board using push pins in the hole in the middle to secure it in case you ever wanted them back.”
I borrowed her fish’s eyeball from her collage and successfully retrieved my picture. At this time, I really don’t need to etch my data in stone to have it survive. It appears that having it stored on a fish was sufficient.
I am hoping that someday one of our young professional HKN members will lead the way for developing intelligent methods for curating all the data I hoard and that I will be able to search and retrieve things I need effortlessly. I can dream.


IEEE Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN)