Monday, May 23, 2016

President Obama Honors Top U.S. Scientists & Innovators

Image: Courtesy of the White House

Dr. Shirley A. Jackson and Dr. Cato Laurencin  (MIT Alumni) were among the 17 honorees to receive the prestigious National Medal of Science & National Medal of Technology and Innovation awards (respectively) at the White House in Washington, DC on May 19th.  These awards are the nation's highest honor for achievement bestowed by the President of the United States.

Aru Pande
Voice of America (VOA)
May 19, 2016 8:42 PM

For Pakistani-American Mark Humayun, his grandmother who went blind from diabetes inspired him to develop a computer chip that goes into the eye to restore sight - otherwise known as the "bionic eye."

"I am happy to report that that is an approved product in the U.S. and Europe in helping many people worldwide," the ophthalmologic surgeon told reporters at the White House Thursday.

For scientist Jonathan Rothberg, it was his newborn son who was rushed to the hospital with breathing problems nearly two decades ago that led him to become a pioneer in genetic sequencing technology.

"I am gratified today because not only did the president say my family was beautiful, but my (now) 16-year-old son had a smile on his face," Rothberg said.

Seventeen recipients of National Medals of Science & National Medals of Technology & Innovation speak to reporters at White House. (A. Pande/VOA)

The two are among 17 recipients of this year’s National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation, awarded annually for outstanding contributions to science and engineering.

"The amount of brain power in this room right now is astonishing," President Barack Obama said Thursday as he presented each of the men and women with their medals in the East Room of the White House.

Obama said bestowing the honor is particularly significant in inspiring the next generations to enter science and technology.

"We want those who have invented the products and lifesaving medicines and are engineering our future to be celebrated," Obama noted. "Immersing young people in science math engineering - that’s what’s going to carry the American spirit of innovation through the 21st century and beyond."

The president noted that many of the recipients came from humble or ordinary beginnings, but were inspired by something or someone along their life’s journey.

"Because they lived in an America that fosters curiosity and invests in education and values science as important to our progress, they were able to find their calling and do extraordinary things," Obama said.

Young Science Advisors

During the ceremony, the president announced the launch of a kids science advisers campaign aimed at soliciting ideas from young people on shaping the future of science and technology in the United States.

The cause is an important one for National Medal of Science recipient Shirley Ann Jackson.

The Washington D.C. native is the first African American to earn a doctorate in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the second woman to do so in the United States.

Standing alongside her fellow honorees after the ceremony, Jackson outlined the reasons young people should go into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), including the ability to make a positive impact on humanity.

"It is important to inspire and encourage and invite young people early. Because the people here who are being recognized have worked over decades, and they started early, but, with that, the sky’s the limit."

National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipient Chenming Hu, a pioneer in semiconductor technology for developing the first three-dimensional transistors, offered this encouragement to kids who might be discouraged by math.

As shared from VOA

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Internationally Recognized Scholar, Leading Edge Researcher, Innovative Dean of Engineering

Dr. Darryll Pines

Quote: Scientists study the world that is. Engineers design the world that will be.

Dr. Pines has served as Dean and Nariman Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Clark School since January 2009. He first arrived at the Clark School in 1995 as an assistant professor and then served as Chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering from 2006 to 2009.

A Major Force in Engineering

Because of the quality and scope of our work, and our location, we are a major force in the nation's technological advancement, working hand-in-hand with corporate, government and academic colleagues. Our research expenditures—more than $110 million for the most recent fiscal year—indicate our leading role in aerospace, networking technologies, bioengineering, defense and consumer electronics, intelligent transportation, advanced materials, nanotechnology, energy and public safety, to name only a few. If you want to help our country take on difficult challenges—how to explore space, communicate more securely and effectively, develop new treatments for diseases, travel with greater safety, create new energy resources and unlock the potential of the "nano-world"—come to the Clark School.

If you want to build sustainable solutions for specific engineering problems in countries around the globe, work with our award-winning Engineers Without Borders program. If you want to help advance innovative ventures to drive the region's economy, facilitate technology transfer, and promote technology entrepreneurship, work with our Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute. At the Clark School, we're fully engaged—in the region, the nation and the world.

As Dean, Pines has led the development of the Clark School's current strategic plan and achieved notable successes in key areas, such as improving teaching in fundamental undergraduate courses and raising student retention; achieving success in national and international student competitions; placing new emphasis on sustainability engineering and service learning; promoting STEM education among high school students; increasing the impact of research programs; and expanding philanthropic contributions to the school.

Today, the school's one-year undergraduate retention rate and four-year graduation rate is 90 percent and 60 percent respectively.  The university's Solar Decathlon team placed first worldwide in the most recent competition against other leading universities, the Engineers Without Borders chapter is considered one of the nation's best, and the Engineering Sustainability Workshop launched by Pines has become a key campus event. Pines has testified before Congress on STEM education and created the Top 25 Source Schools program for Maryland high schools. At a national level he has led an effort as part of the American Society for Engineering Education-ASEE Deans Council’s K-12 STEM Committee to develop a potential College Board AP Exam in Engineering. He is the current Secretary on the Executive Committee of the National GEM Consortium (GEM), a national non-profit providing programming and full fellowships to support increasing untapped domestic human capital at the graduate level in STEM fields.

The Clark School's research expenditures are $119 million, and the school is ranked 34th worldwide by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, which focuses on research citations. The Clark School led the university in achieving and surpassing its $185 million Great Expectations campaign goal, going on to reach $240 million as of the most recent accounting.

During Pines' leadership of aerospace engineering, the department was ranked 8th overall among U.S. universities and 5th among public schools in the U.S. News and World Report graduate school rankings. Pines has been director of the Sloan Scholars Program since 1996, and served as chair of the Engineering Council, director of the NASA CUIP Program, and director of the SAMPEX flight experiment. He currently serves on the Executive and Advisory Board for Engineers Without Borders-EWB National and major corporations.

During a leave of absence from the University (2003-2006), Pines served as Program Manager for the Tactical Technology Office and Defense Sciences Office of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). While at DARPA, Pines initiated five new programs primarily related to the development of aerospace technologies, for which he received a Distinguished Service Medal. He also held positions at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Chevron Corporation, and Space Tethers Inc. At LLNL, Pines worked on the Clementine Spacecraft program, which discovered water near the south pole of the moon. A replica of the spacecraft now sits in the National Air and Space Museum.

Pines' current research focuses on structural dynamics, including structural health monitoring and prognosis, smart sensors, and adaptive, morphing and biologically-inspired structures, as well as the guidance, navigation, and control of uninhabited aerospace vehicles.  He is a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award.

He is also the co-author of over 60 journal articles, three book chapters, and 140 conference papers. Additionally, Dr. Pines also is the holder of five co-authored Patents with his students and collaborators including:

1. Biomimetic mechanism for micro aircraft, Patent number: 6938853, Filed: March 14, 2003, Issued: September 6, 2005, Assignee: University of Maryland, College Park, Inventors: Darryll J. Pines, Felipe A. Bohorquez, Jayant Sirohi

2. Navigational System and Method Utilizing Sources of Pulsed Celestial Radiation, Suneel I. Sheikh, Darryll J. Pines, Kent S. Wood, Paul S. Ray, and Michael N. Lovellette, U.S. Patent No. 7,197,381 (27 March 2007). (FIRST PATENT ON XNAV SYSTEM)

3. Controllable miniature mono-wing aircraft, Patent number: 8366055, Filed: June 18, 2010, Issued: February 5, 2013, Assignee: University of Maryland, Inventors: Evan R. Ulrich, Darryll J. Pines, Joseph Park, Steven Gerardi.

4. Method and System for Determining the Relative Displacement and Heading for Navigation Application number: 20130040656, Filed: November 8, 2010, Issued: February 14, 2013, Assignee: University of Maryland, Inventors: Suneel Ismail Sheikh, Darryll J. Pines, Joseph Kim Conroy, Timofey N. Spiridonov.

5. A Fiber Optic Sensor Band for Monitoring Machinery Vibrations, nondisclosure submitted to University of Maryland Technology and Licensing Office filed July 1, 2007. Patent Pending, Inventors: Darryll J. Pines, J. Kiddy, J. Coker and P. Samuel.“

Academic Credentials

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD, Mechanical Engineering, 1991

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
SM, Mechanical Engineering, 1988

University of California, Berkeley
BS, Mechanical Engineering, 1986

As shared from A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland
Photo Credit: UMD

Monday, May 9, 2016

World Class Corporate Leadership Expert

Keith Bevans
Partner, Chicago

Keith Bevans is a partner in Bain & Company's Chicago office. He is a leader in Bain's G&A Optimization and Business Process Redesign sectors within the firm's Americas Performance Improvement practice.

Bain & Company is one of the world's leading management consulting firms. We work with top executives to help them make better decisions, convert those decisions to actions and deliver the sustainable success they desire. For 40 years, we've been passionate about achieving better results for our clients—results that go beyond financial and are uniquely tailored, pragmatic, holistic and enduring.

Bain advises global leaders on their most critical issues and opportunities: strategy, marketing, organization, operations, technology, digital, advanced analytics, transformations, sustainability and mergers & acquisitions, across all industries and geographies. Our unique approach to traditional change management, called Results Delivery®, helps clients measure and manage risk and overcome the odds to realize results.

Keith has nearly 20 years of management consulting experience and delivers strategies that work for business leaders. He has worked with a diverse set of global clients, including healthcare providers, manufacturers, retailers and airlines. He holds expertise across a range of strategic issues.

Within the healthcare sector, his experience spans smaller community hospitals, hospital networks and major clinical networks. He has helped clients to address growth strategy, Lean Six Sigma, mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, service line strategy and procurement. In addition, he has worked at the intersection of performance improvement and healthcare for several medical technology companies.

In addition to his work with clients, Keith leads Bain's global consultant recruiting efforts in over 50+ offices. This involves managing the team that identifies and attracts talent to Bain's offices and ensures that the next generation of leaders continue to make Bain "The best firm to work for."

Academic Credentials

MBA '02 – with distinction

SM '96, Electrical Engineering
SB '95, Electrical Engineering

As shared from Bain & Company including People and Values
Photo Credit: Bain & Company

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pioneering Founder and Trailblazer in Electrical Engineering

Dr. Carol Espy-Williams

University of Maryland (UMD) - Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
Institute for Systems Research (ISR), Faculty Member
CEO & Founder - OmniSpeech

Academic Research

Communications and Signal Processing Laboratory (CSPL)

Professor Espy-Wilson's research interests include the integration of engineering, linguistics and speech acoustics to study speech communication. She is developing an approach to speech recognition based on phonetic features, articulatory parameters and landmarks to better address variability in the speech signal. She also conducts research in the areas of speech production, speech enhancement, speaker recognition, single-channel speaker separation and language and genre detection in audio content analysis and forensics. A major focus of her research is to gain a better understanding of the relationship between articulation, acoustics and perception and to use this knowledge to develop effective speech technologies. Prof. Espy-Wilson heads the Speech Communication Lab where postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students perform research. Her research has been largely supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Professor Espy-Wilson teaches the undergraduate courses Numerical Techniques in Engineering (ENEE 241), Signals and Systems (ENEE 322), Digital Signal Processing (ENEE 425), and the advanced graduate level course, Speech and Audio Processing, ENEE 632.


Carol Espy-Wilson received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1979. She received her SM and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from MITin 1984 and 1987, respectively. She was on faculty at Boston University from 1990 to 2001 and is Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Maryland, College Park. She directs the Speech Communication Lab at UMD.

She is the recipient of the NSF Minority Initiation Award (1990-1992), the Clare Booth Luce Professorship (1990-1995) the NIH Independent Scientist Award (1998-2003), the Honda Initiation Award (2004-2005), and a Radcliffe Fellowship (2008).

Dr. Espy-Wilson is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE).  She served as Chair of the Speech Technical Committee of the ASA from 2007 to 2010, as an associate editor of the ASA's magazine, AcousticsToday, and as an appointed member of the Language and Communication Study Section at NIH, 2001-2004. Currently, she is an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, an elected member of the Speech and Language Technical Committee of IEEE and a member of the National Advisory Board for Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH.

MIT Journey

Carol Espy-Wilson, the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in electrical engineering at MIT, is both an academic and an entrepreneur. A professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Maryland and a member of its Institute for Systems Research, she does research that integrates engineering, linguistics, and speech science. She’s also founder and CEO of OmniSpeech, which improves voice clarity on cell phones and other communication devices in noisy ­environments.

Espy-Wilson grew up in Atlanta, earned her undergraduate degree at Stanford, and interned at Bell Labs. After MIT, she taught at Boston University and then, in 2001, made the move to UMD College Park. UMD’s Venture Accelerator program urged her into entrepreneurship in 2009. “I was not thinking about starting a company,” she says.

OmniSpeech targets emerging markets that rely on inexpensive phones with poor sound filtering. “We use the unique characteristics of speech to extract it from the noisy signal, even if the noise is dynamic—like music, or people talking in the background,” Espy-Wilson explains. “I’m really excited about the potential to improve all kinds of communication devices, including wearables, push-to-talk radios, and hearing aids.”  MIT’s Speech Communication Group shaped Espy-Wilson’s approach. “It was such a unique group—engineers, linguists, phoneticians, and psycholinguists. We even had a dentist who conducted research into speech motor control,” she says. “I attribute the speech enhancement algorithm we developed at OmniSpeech to that holistic background.”

Espy-Wilson’s husband, John Silvanus Wilson, worked in development at MIT for 16 years, and the two were housemasters at MacGregor House. He is now president of Morehouse College in Atlanta. “We have a commuting marriage,” she says. “We both want each other to realize our dreams, so that makes it a lot easier to do this.” They have 26-year-old twin daughters and a 20-year-old son.
A Radcliffe fellowship brought Espy-Wilson back to Cambridge in 2008, when she also served as a Residential Scholar at Simmons Hall. And this past April, she delivered the keynote address at the Black Alumni of MIT graduation celebration: “I talked to them about finding their passion and purpose, trusting that, as the Bible says, ‘If God be for us, who can be against us,’ so that they will be courageous and take risks—and the need for them to lift as they climb.”

Honors and Awards

• Institute of Systems Research Fellow Award (2015 - 2017)
• University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher (2012 - 2013)
• Maryland Daily Record Innovator of the Year Award (2010)
• Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2008-2009)
• University of Maryland Invention of the Year Award (2009)
• Acoustical Society of America Fellow (2005)
• Honda Initiation Award (2003-2004)
• NIH Independent Scientist Award (1998-2003)
• Clare Booth Luce Professorship (1990-1995)
• NSF Minority Initiation Award (1990-1992)

Academic Degrees

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD, Electrical Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
SM, Electrical Engineering

Stanford University
BS, Electrical Engineering

Photo Credit: UMD

Thursday, May 5, 2016

MIT Origins of a Premier Power Couple

Leslye & Darryl Fraser


Honorable Leslye M. Fraser
Environmental Appeals Judge
Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Appeal's Board

Judge Leslye M. Fraser was appointed an Environmental Appeals Judge in 2012. Prior to her appointment, Judge Fraser served as the Associate General Counsel for Pesticides and Toxic Substances in EPA’s Office of General Counsel (OGC). She first joined EPA OGC in 1995 as an attorney-advisor in the Air and Radiation Law Office before becoming the first Assistant General Counsel for Regulatory Issues in the Cross-Cutting Issues Law Office from 1997-2001. In 2001, Judge Fraser joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the Associate Director for Regulations in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), a position within the Senior Executive Service (SES). In this role, in the wake of 9/11 she successfully led an interagency team from FDA and the Department of Homeland Security in developing in an expedited timeframe nine high-profile regulations affecting more than 440,000 domestic and foreign entities to implement the food safety and security provisions of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-188). Judge Fraser was promoted in 2004 to Director of CFSAN’s Office of Regulations, Policy, and Social Sciences, where she led a multi-disciplinary staff of attorneys, social scientists, and administrative professionals in the development of food and cosmetic regulations. She served in this position until she rejoined EPA in 2010.

Judge Fraser received her bachelor and master of science degrees in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Juris Doctor degree, Order of the Coif, from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. Prior to joining EPA, Judge Fraser was a research engineer and manager at TRW Space and Technology Group for nine years, then practiced environmental and labor law at a leading international law firm, Gibson Dunn. She has received numerous awards, including a U.S. patent for a material she co-invented for spacecraft hydraulic systems; the 2006 Meritorious Presidential Rank Award, which the President awards each year to a small group of federal career senior executives who “consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service;” several EPA Gold Medal Awards; the EPA Vivian Malone Jones Legacy Award; the 2004 Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service; five FDA Commissioner Special Citation Awards (2003-2004); and the 2011 African-American Federal Executives Association’s (AAFEA) Distinguished SES Award.

Academic Credentials:  JD, UCLA; SM '80, ChemE, MIT; SB '78, ChemE, MIT

Darryl M. Fraser
Corporate Vice President (Retired), Communications

Fraser was responsible for the company’s worldwide communications strategy and execution, including media relations, employee communications, advertising, executive communications and branding/corporate image. He also served on the company’s corporate policy council. Fraser also served as the vice president of business development for the company’s Mission Systems sector. He oversaw all business development activities and led key strategic initiatives for the sector’s defense and intelligence businesses, which included command and control systems network communications; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and missiles and missile defense.

Fraser joined Northrop Grumman through its TRW acquisition in 2002. He served as director of communications for TRW’s Space and Technology group, and held the position of vice president of communications for TRW’s Aerospace and Information Systems business. Before moving to Mission Systems in 2007, he served as vice president of Washington operations for the company’s Mission Systems and Space Technology sectors.

Fraser earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was also a Brookings Congressional Fellow (1995). Fraser is the past chair of the Communications Council of the Aerospace Industries Association and past chair of the finance committee of ServiceSource, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides employment opportunities for people with disabilities. He also serves as a member of the MIT Educational Council.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.

Academic Credentials:  MBA, UCLA; SB '80, ChemE, MIT

As shared from Northrop Grumman

Image Credits: Leslye & Darryl Fraser