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ECE faculty, staff, students honored at annual banquet

Five men and one woman stand posed in a group photo.

College of Engineering Dean Jim Thompson stands with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department’s outstanding students of 2013 and Professor Scott Kovaleski, interim department chairman. Pictured, from left to right, are Thompson, outstanding junior Alex Spiva, outstanding senior Michael Butler, outstanding master’s Xiaoxiao Du, outstanding doctoral student Brady Gall and Kovaleski.

Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty staff and students were among those honored at the college’s annual Missouri Honor Awards banquet in March.

Curt Davis, Marjorie Skubic and Michela Becchi received faculty awards.

A woman shakes hands with a man who is handing her an award.

Professor Majorie Skubic receives her award for senior faculty excellence in teaching from College of Engineering Dean Jim Thompson at the 2013 Missouri Honor Awards banquet.

Two men shake hands while one hands the other an award.

Naka Endowed Professor Curt Davis receives his senior faculty research award from College of Engineering Dean Jim Thompson at the 2013 Missouri Honor Awards banquet.

A woman shakes hands with a man who is handing her an award.

Assistant Professor Michela Becchi receives her junior faculty excellence in teaching award from College of Engineering Dean Jim Thompson at the 2013 Missouri Honor Awards banquet.

A woman shakes hands with a man while he hands her an award.

ECE undergraduate adviser Tami Beatty receives her outstanding staff member award from College of Engineering Dean Jim Thompson at the 2013 Missouri Honor Awards banquet.

Naka Endowed Professor Davis received the senior faculty research award. He is the founding and current director of MU’s Center for Geospatial Intelligence, which focuses on geospatial intelligence needs for national security, homeland defense and military combat support and has backing from both federal and civilian entities. In 2007, Davis was named an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers fellow.

Professor Skubic received the senior faculty excellence in teaching award. She is the director of Mizzou’s Center for Eldercare and Rehabilitation Technology, which investigators sensory and pattern recognition to help senior citizens remain independent lifestyles. She has also been active in developing or redesigning courses, such as a lab course that allows students to create and program robots or a revamped freshman course that teaches students how to use Matlab and assemble a Theremin from a kit.

Assistant Professor Becchi received the junior faculty excellence in teaching award. In her three years since joining the MU faculty, Becchi has led efforts to implement curriculum change, resulting in new and revamped courses. Her work on graphic processing units has garnered her back-to-back paper awards at the International ACM Symposium on High-Performance Parallel and Distributed Computing in 2011 and 2012. She also has been awarded three, separate NVIDIA grants and was recently awarded $500,000 from the National Science Foundation for research on data-intensive uses for GPU clusters.

ECE’s undergraduate adviser Tami Beatty was also honored with one of three college-wide staff awards. Beatty, who has been with the ECE department for more than 20 years, plays a vital role in the recruitment, development and interests of undergraduate ECE students. In addition to fielding many inquiries into the department, she’s also key in developing and organizing the department’s summer welcome program.

Alex Spiva, Michael Butler, Xiaoxiao Du and Brady Gall received the outstanding student awards.

Outstanding ECE junior Alex Spiva is now a senior in the department. He is originally from Springfield, Mo.

Michael Butler, from Saint Peters, Mo., received the outstanding senior award.

Xiaoxiao Du, from Hangzhou, China, and is the outstanding master’s student.

Outstanding doctoral student Brady Gall, of Kansas City, Mo., is conducting graduate research in Professor Scott Kovaleski’s lab, specifically on a project to design, build, and test a compact high voltage source for X-ray and neutron radiation [link to mag story]. He is a member of the 3D Printing Club, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management. His advice to younger ECE students would be to understand fundamental scientific principles.

“Being a good engineer means being able to adapt to new problems, and that requires that you have a working knowledge of a vast range of topics,” he said.