Cressler Honored with 2020 Outstanding Educator Award by IEEE Atlanta Section

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John Cressler will receive the 2020 Outstanding Educator Award from the IEEE Atlanta Section at a virtual banquet hosted by the group on November 10. This award is presented to a member of the Atlanta IEEE community who has exhibited continued and dedicated contributions to education through teaching in industry, government, or an institution of higher education.

Cressler has been a faculty member in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) faculty since 2002. He is currently the Schlumberger Chair Professor in Electronics and the Ken Byers Teaching Fellow in Science and Religion. 

A mainstay in the ECE microelectronics instructional program, Cressler has also introduced three new courses into three different areas of the Georgia Tech curriculum, ECE 6444: “Silicon-based Heterostructure Devices and Circuits;” CoE 3002: “Introduction to the Microelectronics and Nanotechnology Revolution;” and IAC 2002: “Science, Engineering, and Religion: An Interfaith Dialogue,” which is taught through the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.  

Cressler has written books for each of these three courses. Silicon Earth (2016), now in its second edition and also translated into Chinese. Meant for a general audience, the book serves CoE 3002, which is intended for all majors, including both business and liberal arts students. Silicon-Germanium Heterojunction Bipolar Transistors (2003, with G. Niu) is the most widely cited textbook in this field and serves his graduate course, ECE 6444. In all of his courses during his 28+ year career, Cressler ends each of his classes, including IAC 2002, with a handed-out quotation and a sharing of a personal reflection relevant to his students’ lives. For this purpose, he compiled over 600 quotations and reflections in the book, Reinventing Teenagers (2004).

Cressler's career-long teaching effectiveness average is a 4.9, and he is a fully dedicated mentor to the students in his classes. On the research side, Cressler has mentored and graduated 60 Ph.D. students during his academic career (50 at Georgia Tech), and he and his team have published over 750 archival papers. The graduates of his research group have continued onto successful and meaningful careers in industry, academia, and government labs and agencies.

Cressler has received several high-level IEEE teaching and mentoring awards and has been presented with Georgia Tech’s top honors in undergraduate teaching and graduate student mentoring. In 2013, he was recognized with Georgia Tech's highest award for faculty, the Class of 1934 Distinguished Professor Award.

Zajic Appointed as a Ken Byers Professor

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Alenka Zajic has been appointed as a Ken Byers Professor, effective October 1, 2020. Zajic is a member of the faculty at the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), where she currently holds the rank of associate professor.  

After graduating from Georgia Tech with her Ph.D. in 2008, Zajic spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory and two years as a visiting assistant professor in Tech's School of Computer Science. In 2012, she joined ECE as an assistant professor, and in 2017, she was promoted to associate professor. 

Zajic leads the Electromagnetic Measurements in Communications and Computing Laboratory, where she advises 10 Ph.D. students and two postdoctoral fellows who work in the areas of propagation, enabling communication, and improving data security in challenging environments, such as vehicle-to-vehicle wireless radio communications, underwater acoustic communications, and communications inside a processor chip. To date, Zajic has graduated nine Ph.D. students and five M.S. students. She advises undergraduate students on individual projects and through the Opportunity Research Scholars Program. Zajic and her research group have received six best paper, poster, or demonstration awards since she joined ECE as a faculty member.

Zajic’s specific research interests focus on understanding mechanisms that generate electromagnetic (EM) side-channel emanations in modern computers and on locating sources of information-carrying EM emanations in complex environments. She has received over $18 million in research funding as a PI or co-PI, mostly from NSF, DARPA, the Office of Naval Research, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Zajic has published over 140 refereed journal and conference publications. She has three awarded patents and five patent applications pending. Her work has been publicized locally and internationally through The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, NSF Science 360, Voice of America, Wired, and many other outlets. Zajic has served as an editor of the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications and Wiley Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies. She also served as the chair of the Atlanta chapter of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society/Antennas and Propagation Society from 2015-2017, and during that time, the group received the IEEE Outstanding Chapter Award in 2016. She received the IEEE Atlanta Section Outstanding Engineer Award in 2019. 

Equally devoted to teaching excellence and service, Zajic has developed or redesigned both undergraduate and graduate courses and has taught a flipped classroom version of ECE 3025–Electromagnetics. For her efforts, she has received several teaching awards, including the Richard M. Bass/Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Junior Teacher Award in 2016 and the LexisNexis Dean’s Excellence Award in 2016-2017. Zajic has also participated in the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Class of 1969 Teaching Scholars Program. She is an active member of the ECE and Georgia Tech community, currently serving as the director of the M.S. Cybersecurity degree program; a member of the ECE Statutory Advisory Committee; a member of the College of Engineering Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure committee; and a member of a working group on the professional development of graduate students, an initiative coordinated from the Provost’s Office.

Zajic Selected for IEEE Atlanta Section Outstanding Engineer Award

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Alenka Zajic has been selected for the IEEE Atlanta Section Outstanding Engineer Award. An associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Zajic will be presented with this award on April 18 at the IEEE Atlanta Section Banquet. 

Zajic was chosen for this honor for her sustained technical contributions to wireless chip-to-chip communications and electromagnetic compatibility. She joined the ECE faculty in 2012 and leads the Electromagnetic Measurements in Communications and Computing Group. 

Zajic’s research is focused on studying propagation in challenging environments such as vehicle-to-vehicle wireless radio communications, underwater acoustic communications, and inside-a-processor-chip communications. Also a highly regarded teacher, she was chosen as the Richard M. Bass/Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Junior Teacher Award, an honor determined by a majority vote of the ECE senior class. 

Zajic has served as an editor for the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications and as an executive editor for Wiley’s Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies. From 2015-2017, she served as chair of the Atlanta Chapter of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society/Microwave Theory and Techniques Society. In 2016, under her leadership, the Atlanta Chapter of IEEE AP-S/MTT-S received an Outstanding Chapter Award.

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