Cressler Honored with 2020 Outstanding Educator Award by IEEE Atlanta Section


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.

McDonald Receives Service Award from North American Society for the Sociology of Sport



By Michael Pearson

Mary G. McDonald has received the Service Excellence Award from the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS). McDonald is the Homer C. Rice Chair in the Sports and Society in the School of History and Sociology, and leads the Sports, Society, and Technology program in the Georgia Institute of Technology Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

The award recognizes McDonald for service throughout her career to the association, as well the field of the sociology of sport. It was presented in November, during the association’s annual conference in Vancouver.

“It is humbling that some of the people I most admire in the field were those who nominated me,” McDonald said of the honor.

In nominating McDonald for the award, colleagues from numerous universities noted that she is a leading scholar in her field, with numerous articles “widely recognized as leading texts in sports studies,” including her work on Michael Jordan, Michelle Obama, the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team, and the WNBA.

The nominators also cited her work in improving diversity, organizational efficiency, and the intellectual climate within the association, as well as her international stature in the field, and commitment to serving as a mentor to undergraduates, graduate, and post-doctoral students.

“I continue to learn from her in various ways:  through her scholarship which always expands my understanding of sports studies, through her mentorship — she is always there when I need help or professional advice, and through her leadership — she was an invaluable resource during my term as president of NASSS,” wrote Cheryl Cooky, associate professor at Purdue University.

In addition to receiving the Service Excellence Award, McDonald also was invited to deliver the Alan Ingham Memorial Lecture at the NASSS conference. This prominent annual keynote address typically focuses on expanding theoretical ideas within the sociology of sport. 

McDonald's address, Once More, With Feeling: Sport, National Anthems and the Collective Power of Affect, traced the history of national anthems at sporting events and the implications of those displays citing two recent examples.

The first involved the singing of a multi-lingual version of the Canadian national anthem before a hockey game staged to close Truth and Reconciliation Commission events in 2014. The second involved NFL player Colin Kapernick's decision to kneel during the U.S. national anthem before a football game.

“Given the repetitive power of national images and patriotic rituals such as the playing of the national anthem at sporting events, both cases engender strong collective emotions,” McDonald wrote in a summary of the speech. “Both cases further reveal how emotions are not simply individual expressions but socially produced and powerfully tied to both sport and music.”

McDonald is a former president of the NASSS. She is an executive board member of the International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA), where she currently serves as vice president for communications.

She decided to study the sociology of sport following her years as a basketball player at the University of Dayton and nine years as a college women’s basketball coach.

Her research focuses on American culture and sport including issues of inequality as related to gender, race, class and sexuality.

McDonald said that her position as the Homer C. Rice Chair has provided resources to support interesting programing and workshops. Those have led to anthologies featuring international scholars that are helping shape the field of sociology of sport, including issues such as concussions and the social study of science and technology in sports.

“This is a really great position to have an influence on the some of the intellectual trends in the field,” she said of her Georgia Tech post.


Atlanta, GA



Michael Pearson

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