The Alton B. Zerby and Carl T. Koerner Outstanding Student Award recognizes outstanding scholastic excellence and high moral character, coupled with demonstrated exemplary service to classmates, university, community, and country. This program is administered by the Los Angeles Area alumni chapter.

Deadline to submit applications: 30 June

Prize: US$1,000 and plaque

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Award purpose

Among the objectives that IEEE-HKN hopes to achieve through this award program are:

  • Annually honor the most outstanding students in the IEEE-HKN designated fields of interest by publicizing and bringing attention to the excellence and achievements of these balanced people about to enter the profession
  • Instill a sense of pride in IEEE-HKN members
  • Publicize the students’ school
  • Encourage students to earn membership in IEEE-HKN
  • Recognize the nominating chapter

Award presentation

Tammy Chang with IEEE-HKN President John Orr

This award is presented during the Annual Meeting of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA), held in March each year. Reasonable travel expenses for the winner are paid for by IEEE-HKN, and a US$1,000 award honorarium and engraved plaque are presented.

Picture: 2014 Outstanding Student Award Recipient Tammy Chang with IEEE-HKN President John Orr.


The outstanding student may be described as “outstanding by virtue of scholastic excellence and high moral character, coupled with demonstrated exemplary contributions to classmates, school, and community.”

The nomination of an individual shall only be by an undergraduate IEEE-HKN chapter, and only one nomination per year by that chapter will be allowed. The nominee must be a full-time student in his or her senior year receiving his or her first undergraduate degree in that academic year (1 September through 31 August). The nominee need not be a member of IEEE-HKN or attend the chapter’s school. However, the nominee must be enrolled at a school with an accredited curriculum in electrical or computer engineering.

All applications  must be received by 30 June of each year. Material received after that date will not be considered.

Applying for the award

The nomination must be made using the OSA Nomination Form. The nominee’s resume should be included with the completed form along with a recent portrait-style photo.

The nominating Chapter’s president (or vice president if the nominee is the president) and Faculty Adviser, as well as the Department Head of the nominating Chapter’s school, must approve the nomination. The nominee’s ranking or percentile position within his or her class must also be included (as colleges grade inconsistently). If this information is not available to the Chapter’s officers, then the Faculty Adviser or Department Head should include this data in his or her private letter of recommendation to the award committee.

A current transcript is also required (uncertified is acceptable).

Two letters of recommendation (three maximum), giving reasons why the authors consider the nominee to be an outstanding student, may be submitted. Following is a list of suggested authors:

  • President or Chancellor of the university
  • Dean of the engineering school
  • Department Head
  • Faculty Adviser

These letters may be mailed directly to the OSA Award Committee by the authors or attached to the nomination package.

Mail to:
Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Student Award Chair
John DeGraw
26492 Aveinida Veronica
Mission Viejo, CA 92691 USA
+1 714 606 6722

Complete the OSA Nomination Form

Selection process

The OSA award committee will screen all of the nominations and select approximately ten candidates for consideration by a Jury of Award comprising several prominent electrical engineers representing both industry and academia.

All those submitting a Nomination Form will be notified of their nominee’s status by the committee chair immediately following the committee’s screening process.

The candidates’ nomination dossiers and letters of recommendation will then be submitted to the Jury of Award for their independent and individual consideration. The award committee tabulates the jury’s rank-order ballots. In addition to a winner, one or more honorable mentions may be selected with no relative rank indicated.

Those not selected by the Jury as the winner or an honorable mention will be declared finalists with no relative rank indicated. The winner, honorable mentions, and finalists will be named in the Awards Program. The names of those on the Jury of Award remain confidential until the selection process is completed but will also be named in the Awards Program.

Selection Committee:

  • John DeGraw, Committee Chair
  • Dick Cockrum
  • Barbara Guerrero
  • Jimmie Huff
  • Don Stoica
  • Art Sutton
  • Alan Willson

Award Recipients

Begun in 1965, this award has become a traditional means of providing recognition to deserving electrical and computer engineering students. In 1975, the name was changed to the “Alton B. Zerby Outstanding Electrical Engineering Student Award” to honor and perpetuate the memory of Alton B. Zerby, a long-time leader and executive secretary of Eta Kappa Nu. In 1993, the name was further changed to include Carl T. Koerner to honor and perpetuate the memory of Mr. Koerner, an HKN member who had a lifelong dedication to Eta Kappa Nu, including serving as its president. Mr. Koerner was the fifth recipient of the prestigious HKN Distinguished Service Award (1975) in recognition of his contributions to the field of electrical engineering and to Eta Kappa Nu.

Past Award Winners

2023: Joseph Asfouri, Theta Rho, Rice University

2022: Ashley Kuhlney, Lambda Beta, California State University Northridge

2021: Frank Yuan-Shaw Yang

2020: Alvaro Sahagun, Iota Lambda, University of Illinois, at Chicago

2019: Olivia Hsu, Mu, University of California, Berkeley

2018: Ramandeep Vilkhu, Gamma, Ohio State University

2017: Katelyn Brinker, Gamma Theta, Missouri University of Science and Technology and James Smith, Xi Chapter, Auburn University

2016: Emily Hernandez, Gamma Theta Chapter, Missouri University of Science and Technology

2015: Sara Kouroupis, Xi Chapter, Auburn University

2014: Chelsea Finn, Beta Theta Chapter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2013: Tammy Chang, Iota Gamma Chapter, University of California Los Angles

2012: Larry K. Martin, Delta Omega Chapter, University of Hawaii, Manoa

2011: Kathryn Rodhouse, Gamma Theta Chapter, Missouri University of Science
and Technology

2010: George Chen, Mu Chapter, University of California, Berkeley

2009: Matthew D. Young, University of Rhode Island

2008: Charles A. Gammal, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

2007: Priyanth Chandresekar, University of Maine

2006: Benjamin R. Moss, University of Missouri — Rolla

2005: Blaine Murakami, University of Hawaii

2004: Matthew R. Behrend, University of Southern California, and Matthew C.
Rodrigue, University of Maine

2003: Aaron T. Ohta, University of Hawaii – Manoa

2002: Shadab N. Mozaffar, University of Kansas

2001: Kendall S. Ching, University of Hawaii – Manoa, and William F. Thies, MIT

2000: Wesley J. Bolsen, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

1999: Raymond Wang, University of California – Berkeley

1998: Jeffry T. Ross, Northeastern University

1997: Louis R. Litwin, Jr., Drexel University

1996: Jovan D. Milosavljevic, State University of New York – Stony Brook

1995: Andrew L. Sears, University of Missouri – Rolla

1994: Lillian Chiamin Ho, University of Texas – Austin

1993: Brad D. Marshall, Kansas State University

1992: Paul D. Anderson, Tennessee Technological University

1991: Geoffrey W. Burr, State University of New York – Buffalo

1990: Ashok Kumar, University of Washington

1989: Patrick S. Kennedy, Milwaukee School of Engineering

1988: Emy Tan, University of Illinois – Urbana

1987: Lonnie D. Chrisman, UC – Berkeley, and Penny M. Gilbertson, MT State

1986: Charles A. Bier, Rice University, and Dick P. Welch, University of Illinois –

1985: Yvonne M. Utzig, California State Poly-Pomona

1984: Michael J. Hargraves, Ohio University

1983: Steve E. Watkins, University of Missouri – Rolla

1982: Richard L. Goodson, University of Alabama

1981: Gary L. Sonnier, University of Southwestern Louisiana

1980: Mark David Vanstrum, Auburn University

1979: Max W. Hauser, UC – Berkeley, and Louise A. Veilleaux, University of
1978: Douglas R. Kraul, Georgia Institute of Technology

1977: David D. Welter, University of New Mexico

1976: Allen D. Elster, Vanderbilt University

1975: William P. Mumford, III, Oregon State University

1974: Steven R. Brammer, University of Texas – Arlington

1973: John B. Gordon, University of Texas – Austin

1972: Noel H. Runyan, University of New Mexico

1971: Alan M. Usas, Princeton University

1970: Robert W. Alford, University of Texas – Arlington

1969: Thomas L. Niemeyer, Ohio State University

1968: Donald Alan Hanson, University of Illinois – Urbana

1967: Douglas F. Johnstone, Purdue University

1966: Thomas L. Thomas, Ohio State University

1965: Carl Anthony Cooper, University of Southern California

Award Sub-Committee

  • John DeGraw, Chair
  • Dick Cockrum
  • Barbara Guerrero
  • Jimmie Huff
  • Don Stoica
  • Art Sutton
  • Alan Willson