Letter from the Editor
Dear IEC Community,

As I had mentioned in my letter from the preceding and last short issue, the IEC newsletter will strive to become an indispensable vehicle for keeping our growing community informed, engaged, and possibly even inspired and entertained between workshops and meetings.

In this first full issue, a spotlight on UTEP’s ECE Department presents its programs, capabilities and initiatives; conversations with corporate members provide useful insights on career paths, the future of ECE and more; and an inspiring article on how the PSG’s Academic Program Team tackles COVID-related educational challenges using a new remote lab framework is certainly informative to our group of ECE educators in these challenging and exciting times of virtual/remote teaching.  

I wanted to take the opportunity to reiterate that the success and relevance of our newsletter hinges heavily on our collective participation and engagement by sharing information, activities and exciting news from our respective departments or/and contributing materials for feature articles. As Mark Sanborn, the professional speaker and entrepreneur said, “In teamwork, silence is not golden, it is deadly”. The IEC is certainly a team and a winning one at that. As such, I look forward to reaching out to each one of you for inputs, insights, and ideas for future quarterly issues of the IEC Exchange.

Let us continue to stay safe.

Mandoye Ndoye
Associate Professor 
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
Tuskegee University
Calendar of Events
Oct. 30, 2020 at 12:00 pm ET
ECE @ HSI Workshop Session 1: Course and Laboratory Curriculum Interventions

Nov. 5, 2020 at 3:00 pm ET
IEC Online Mini-Workshop
Team Science
Contact Claire Seifert for details cseifert@ecedha.org

Nov. 6, 2020 at 12:00 pm ET
ECE @ HSI Workshop Session 2

Nov. 13, 2020 at 12:00 pm ET
ECE @ HSI Workshop Session 3

Nov. 19, 2020 at 1:00 pm ET
Data Center Curriculum Workshop Session 2

Dec. 1-2, 2020
ECEDHA Lab Pros Network Summit
Contact Claire Seifert for details cseifert@ecedha.org
Featured Articles
Miguel Velez-Reyes
Chair and George W. Edwards, Jr./El Paso Electric Distinguished Professor in Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
The University of Texas at El Paso

ECE@HSI: Coalition for Innovation, Education and Research in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Hispanic Serving Institutions

The NASA Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) awarded 14 planning grants to encourage the development of coalitions aimed at broadening participation in engineering, in alignment with the goals of the NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) initiative. The NASA MUREP INCLUDES effort is a collaborative effort between NASA and NSF. One of these planning grants went to a collaborative effort of Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments at Hispanic Serving Institutions led by The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in partnership with Universidad Ana G. Mendez – Gurabo Campus (UAGM), and University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. UTEP and UPRM are among the top four producers of degrees awarded to Hispanics in Engineering. UTEP and UAGM are IEC Member institutions. The three institutions have a strong history of collaboration with the NASA enterprise.

Dr. Kenneth A. Connor
Engineering Education Consultant, Madison, Wisconsin
Professor Emeritus, Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
IEC Online Mini-Workshop Series:
Team Science Workshops
Our next teaming workshop is planned for 3PM EST on November 5th. Whether or not you were able to participate in the first workshop on Friday the 23rd of October, you are encouraged to join us and work with one of the working group teams addressing one of the topics below.

For information on how to participate in this next session, please email Claire Seifert (cseifert@ecedha.org) for more details and pre-workshop assignments.

Be sure you are registered in advance of the next session taking place on November 5, 2020 at 3pm ET.

For an on-demand viewing of the first session of the Team Science Workshop, please click below:
Institutional Spotlights
The University of Texas at El Paso
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) offers a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and in Computer Engineering, and a Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) began graduating students with the BSEE in 1949. The program is accredited by ABET since 1965. The Master of Science programs in Electrical Engineering and in Computer Engineering were first offered in 1966 and 1980 respectively. The Ph.D. program started in 1990 and is the second oldest doctoral program at UTEP. 

The Mission of the UTEP ECE Department is to:
  • Dedicate itself to providing its students with the skills, knowledge and attitudes that will allow its graduates to succeed as engineers and leaders.
  • Maintain a vital, state-of-the art research enterprise, which provides its students and faculty with opportunities to create, interpret, apply and disseminate knowledge.
  • Prepare its graduates for life-long learning to meet intellectual, ethical and career challenges.
  • Recognize and act upon the special mandate to make high quality engineering education available to the residents of El Paso and the surrounding region.

Corporate Features
PSG’s Academic Program Team creates new remote lab framework
Draws praise from major universities
Dr. John Kelly of NCA&T, the largest historically black university in the US, with a pyramid of 85 MAX 10 DE10-Lite FPGA boards.
“I love that our response to a COVID-19-generated challenge was to innovate. We didn’t just replicate the existing learning environment, we made it better (with the new remote education framework). I know you each made ‘magic’ happen to get 85 MAX 10 DE10-Lite FPGA boards to us so quickly.” - Dr. John Kelly, associate professor at NCA&T
COVID-19 has disrupted education in ways we could’ve never imagined. The pandemic has challenged the most basic methods of teaching and learning around the world. Many universities are struggling to meet the teaching needs for remote instruction—technical labs with traditional on campus environments, sharing lab equipment, and hands-on practice are specially affected. How can Intel help?
PSG provides alternatives with remote FPGAs
PSG’s Academic Program Team felt the urgency to create a new remote lab framework to combat COVID-19’s impact. Using PSG’s existing FPGA “Devcloud” Cloud service and innovating a new remote FPGA Dev Kit experience, the team is now able to provide alternatives in maintaining quality student interactions with remote FPGA hardware.

Example shown is a remotely hosted Dev Kit image on a student’s computer screen. The image is interactive with the ability to toggle switches and click buttons onscreen and see responses, which is connected to a real time dev kit hosted in a remote server location.
Conversations with Our Corporate Members
We caught up with José Alvarez and Heather Mattisson to tap into their mindset on career paths, the future of ECE, and life in general. Here is what they shared...
José Roberto Alvarez
Senior Director, CTO & Strategy
Intel Corporation
Q. What are your future plans to assist in virtual learning, knowing it will be around for the foreseeable future?

A. Continue to improve real-time and live access to cloud services. Increase our virtual training classes, seminars. We are also continuing to fund many University Grants to partner with them in development of labs that can be used on our FPGA cloud facilitating remote learning.

Q. Was there a defining moment in your life that made you choose ECE as a profession?

A. Yes. When I was seven years old, I saw a science fiction movie that depicted a scientist/engineer that built a tele transporting device and whose passion for proving his technology led him to an accident that changed his life forever. I wanted to be that person and build a better machine that could be better tested.

Heather Mattisson
Strategy & University Partnerships
Intel Corporation
Q. Now that you are working more closely with the academic community, what have you learned that you did not know previously?

A. Co-creating programs with the academic community helps to build more successful partnerships than other traditional modes of engagement. We are a major multinational company and sometimes there is an assumption that a powerful company, or organization, will take the lead in decision-making. To create a successful partnership, it must be equitable and be a win-win, and that happens best through co-creation with other academic partners.

Q. Who/what inspires you?

A. Kenya Barris, the creator of the popular show Blackish. Why? He brought issues of race and class for a well-to-do Black family to a major TV network, and he does so with humor and wisdom. It is critical that African-Americans be able to see themselves represented in media, and see themselves as heroes. Barris hits hard conversations head on in his shows, and doesn’t shrink from discussions that help us understand ourselves in the context of race and class. For that, he’s a hero.

IEC Corporate Members
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