The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association
June 2021
The Fall semester will be upon us in the blink of an eye. We are faced with the task of making tricky decisions relating to the task of returning our departments to full operations on campus from the COVID-19 related lockdowns and partial in-person operations. These decisions are fraught with multiple uncertainties, many of which are frankly unnecessary from a scientific standpoint. So, how can we keep ourselves, our faculty and staff members, and our students safe?

In this packed issue of the Source, we highlight some of the major changes to the federal R&D budget, reflect on the best way to jump start the Fall semester, and reflect on the contributions of Dr. Kishan Baheti, the lessons learned from running a multi-site REU/RET program during the pandemic, and the vital role of societal benefits in shaping women’s engineering career choices. Finally, in case you missed the ECEDHA Summit Series June 15 – 16, the recordings are now available on-demand.

In Memoriam: Dr. Radhakisan "Kishan" Baheti
Dr. Baheti, or Kishan as he was known, passed away on March 9, a big shock and huge loss for our community of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the ECEDHA family, and many of his friends and colleagues across the country. It is with both great gratitude and deep sorrow that we honor his life, celebrate his accomplishments, and cherish the memories of our interactions and friendship.

Radhakisan S. Baheti was born in Mangrulpir, Maharashtra, India on Feb. 18, 1945. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering in India from VRCE Nagpur, and from BITS Pilani, respectively. In 1970, he came to the United States to seek higher education, earning an M.S. in Information and Computer Science from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oregon State University. After his PhD, Dr. Baheti joined the Control Engineering Laboratory of GE Corporate Research and Development Center in Schenectady, NY and worked there for 15 years. In 1989, he became a Program Director in the Division of Electrical and Communications Systems at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Through his work at NSF, Kishan had positive influence on the careers of thousands of people, including many researchers and students in the areas of control systems, robotics, cyber-physical systems, nanotechnology, and autonomous systems. For over 30 years, Kishan was a major figure in the field of Electrical and Computer Engineering. For his contributions and leadership, Kishan was the recipient of 2012 Robert M. Janowiak Outstanding Leadership and Service Award from ECEDHA. In addition, he received the Distinguished Member Award from the IEEE Control Systems Society and was elected a Fellow of IEEE in 1997.

Kishan is survived by his wife Padma; two daughters, Sheela and Aparna; and one son Rajiv. You can find his obituary here.

Below are remembrances from the ECEDHA community.

(Video Above) Magnus Egerstedt (Georgia Institute of Technology) & George Pappas (University of Pennsylvania) pay tribute to Kishan during the ECEDHA Emerging Technologies Summit, June 15-16, 2021.

Khalil Najafi (University of Michigan and Past President of ECEDHA): I will remember Kishan by his great smile which was always the first thing that you saw when meeting him. This truly showed his genuine love for our students and educators. He was always energetic and enthusiastic and a great supporter of the ECEDHA community. Although he will be missed, his impact will be with us for a long time to come.

Zhihua Qu (University of Central Florida and Past President of ECEDHA): The unexpected passing of Kishan is a huge loss to our community and to ECEDHA. In his distinguished career, he expanded the vision, influence and impact of our community through supporting ECE faculty in addressing engineering grand challenges, advocating cross-disciplinary research in such areas as robotics, autonomous systems, energy systems, etc., and partnering with industry and other governmental agencies. He is remembered as a key figure in our community and a great personal friend who worked tirelessly with ECEDHA and its members to advance the research and educational activities in the fields of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

John Janowiak & Barry Sullivan (ECEDHA Executive Director and Development Director): Kishan has been a good friend to ECEDHA for the past twenty years. He was instrumental in guiding us as we applied for our first grants from NSF and became an enthusiastic advocate for the organization. He will be greatly missed by the entire ECEDHA community.
Featured Articles
Lessons Learned in Adopting a Multi-Site Combined REU/RET Program for Exclusive Remote Participation Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Kofi Nyarko, Associate Professor, Morgan State University

The Smart City Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experience for Teachers (RET) (SCR2) Mega-Site program, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (#1849454), was formed in 2018 to address the low participation and graduation rates of post-secondary students belonging to underrepresented minority groups in the engineering field. The participating schools in the program are all minority serving and members of a consortium consisting of 14 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 1 Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), where Morgan State University (MSU) serves as the lead institution. The program targets lower division underperforming REU students who are less likely to have the opportunity to participate in research as undergraduates. Participation in this type of experience has been demonstrated to be transformative and to have the potential to increase retention and graduation rates at these institutions.

Perspectives on the Vital Role of Societal Benefits in Women’s Engineering Career Choices
By: Sylmarie Dávila-Montero, Ph.D. Candidate, Michigan State University

For two of my colleagues and me, our motivation to study electrical engineering focused on our desire to use technology to positively impact everyday lives. However, during our undergraduate studies, the societal benefits of some specialization areas of electrical engineering were not always evident.

“Most of the classes were focused on the theoretical side of concepts while spending too little or no time bringing those concepts back to real-world applications,” said Maribel Torres-Velázquez, one of my colleagues, who is currently a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Association Announcements
Mingyan Liu
Professor and Peter & Evelyn Fuss Chair, ECE,
University of Michigan
2021-2022 ECEDHA Election Results

We are pleased to share the results of the 2021-2022 ECEDHA Election for Secretary.

ECEDHA welcomes Mingyan Liu to the ECEDHA Board of Directors.

Mingyan is the Chair of ECE at the University of Michigan, a position she has held since 2018. She joined Michigan in 2000 after graduating with a PhD in EE from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests are in sequential decision and learning theory, game theory and incentive mechanisms, with applications to large-scale networked systems. She is a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of the ACM.

Congratulations, Mingyan! We look forward to a continued strong leadership for the association.
A Conversation with Our Board Member
We sat down with Jean-Francois to tap into his mindset on career paths, the future of ECE, and life in general. Here is what he shared...
Jean-Francois Boland
Professor & Department Chair,
École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), Montréal
ECEDHA Board of Directors
Q. Was there a defining moment in your life that made you choose ECE as a profession?

A. I was at first enrolled in the police technical program and my father suggested me to change for electrical engineering as he observed that I enjoyed playing with lego and building complex cities. It is important to listen to our parents advice!

Q. Greatest piece of advice I can offer a student:

A. Be persistent, work hard but make sure to take the time to relax, breathe and live the university experience at its full potential by being involved in the student community.

ECEDHA Member and Partner News
ECE at Iowa State Receives the $16 Million NSF PAWR Platform Award
ARA Wireless Living Lab for Smart and Connect Communities

The ARA wireless living lab project, led by ECE faculty members at Iowa State University and others, has been selected by the National Science Foundation and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to serve as the rural broadband research, education, and innovation platform for the country. ARA is a $16M, first-of-its-kind investment towards bridging the broadband and digital divide between rural and urban regions while leveraging the emerging mega trends in telecom for rural economic and community development. Iowa State is selected as the single national site for this rural broadband project. A short video summarizing the ARA vision can be found here, and more details can be found at
Rising Stars in EECS: A Virtual Event
October 14-15, 2021

This intensive workshop at MIT brings together top graduate and postdoc women in EECS for scientific interactions and discussions about navigating the early stages of careers in academia.

The program includes invited presentations on targeting the academic search process, giving effective job talks, and developing and refining research and teaching statements. Panel discussions will focus on the first years of an academic career. There will be time for participants to get to know each other and form lasting connections.

Deadline: June 16, 2021

IEEE.TV: Ethics Lecture for Engineering Students

The IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee (EMCC) advises the IEEE Board of Directors on ethics policy and concerns, fosters awareness on ethical issues and promotes ethical behavior among individuals and organizations working within the IEEE fields of interest.

You're invited to join Will Griffin, expert in the field of ethics, for a 45 minute lecture on ethics in the practice of engineering. This presentation will help ECE students gain insight and prepare for ethical conduct in their future careers.

A Little Engineering Humor
My father was an electrical engineer. I'm not one, but I like to work with electronics.

It's in the wiring.