ECE Announces 2014 Graduate Student Awards

Zagros Shahooei receives the 2014 Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding GTA presented by ECE Chair Dan Fuhrmann
Zagros Shahooei receives the 2014 Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding GTA presented by ECE Chair Dan Fuhrmann

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering announced its selection of the 2014 graduate student awards at the annual ECE Graduate Student and External Advisory Committee Banquet held on Thursday evening, October 2, in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom. Each year a nomination and selection process is conducted by the ECE faculty to identify an outstanding graduate teaching assistant (GTA) and graduate research assistant (GRA). This year’s award recipients are Zagros Shahooei, Jonathan Bara Outstanding GTA, and Xiaohui Wang, Matt Wolfe Outstanding GRA.

PhD student Zagros Shahooei was honored for his enthusiasm, and working relationship with the students as evident by his high teaching evaluations. In the Fall of 2013, he was recognized as one of the top GTAs campus-wide when the Graduate School awarded him with an Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. During this time he carried a heavy course load, completing 30 credits of coursework while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. He also prepared for and successfully passed the PhD qualifier, and initiated his PhD research.

He has been effective at teaching a broad set of topics and lab skills at course levels from 2000 to 5000, and to ECE majors and non-majors alike. In the process, he learned and taught the following software packages: PSPICE, LabView, Eagle PCB Design, MultiSim, Matlab Simulink, ASPEN, SEL AcSELerator, ATP, and Doble Power Suite.

Zagros did a particularly outstanding job in EE5224, teaching 4 sections of a graduate-level lab that requires a great deal of preparation of lab software, hardware, and prelab guidance of the students. Based on his knowledge and demonstrated capabilities, he was chosen to participate in an international education and research exchange project at NTNU, in Trondheim, Norway from February through June of this year. The project is funded by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education. Zagros shared the knowledge, best practices, and experience gained from teaching EE5224, assisted his hosts in designing and developing power system protection laboratory capabilities in support of graduate research projects, helped to advise and support two masters students in their projects, and contributed to research proposal writing. The expected outcome is to increase collaborative possibilities for research and exchange opportunities between Michigan Tech and NTNU. At the same time, he was developing his own PhD research proposal in the area of power system protection. He is now back at MTU continuing his progress toward PhD. Mr. Shahooei’s advisor is Dr. Bruce Mork.

xiaohui, wang_photo
Xiaohui Wang, PhD, 2014 Matt Wolfe Outstanding GRA

Xiaohui Wang received his degree PhD in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech in April 2014. He is honored as a truly exceptional graduate research assistant during his time at Michigan Tech.

Xiaohui began his PhD candidacy under the direction of his advisor Dr. Elena Semouchkina in Spring 2010, working on his dissertation entitled “Experimental and Computational Studies of Electromagnetic Cloaking at Microwaves”. Xiaohui’s research was featured in the Frontiers of Engineering Physics for his work on the development of novel metamaterials and invisibility cloaks. His outstanding work has demonstrated the feasibility of metamaterial cloaking devices via simulations and experiments on prototype cloaks at microwave frequencies. This cutting edge research is bringing distinction to Michigan Tech. In particular, the work on cloaking is currently featured on the NSF “Discoveries” website:

These findings were published in two 2013 Letter papers with Dr. Wang as the first author, one in the IEEE Microwave and Wireless Component Letters (MWCL) and another in the Applied Physics Letters, have been featured in two “First Bell” ASSE’s newsletters under “Higher Education”:

This work has also inspired a question on the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” asking the contestant, ”What item are scientists at Michigan Technological University trying to build by capturing rays of light and routing them around objects?”.

Overall, Dr. Wang has authored and co-authored 5 published journal papers. His 5th paper published in the American Institute of Physics Advances (AIP Advances) in December 2013 develops a 3D spherical invisibility cloak, in addition to previously developed 2D cylindrical cloaks. The 6th paper, which he co-authored and submitted in summer 2014, is currently under review in the Journal of Applied Physics. He has also authored and co-authored 8 published refereed conference proceedings and two oral presentations at the IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation.

In recognition of the high quality of his work, his conference paper “Electromagnetic Cloaking by Using Multilayer Dielectric Coating” submitted to the 2013 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation was selected as Honorable Mention at the Best Student Paper Competition. The award included a $1000 stipend to attend and present his work at the Symposium in Orlando, Florida in July 2013. He was also invited to serve as the Session Chair, which is an exceptional honor for a graduate student.

In addition to Dr. Wang’s academic and research success, he was an invaluable contributor to establishing the new “Microwave Characterization Lab” in the Electrical Energy Resources Center (EERC), home to the ECE Department, where he has assembled equipment for full characterization of materials, metamaterials, and devices at frequencies up to 20 GHz and help to renovate the adjacent anechoic chamber, replacing the old microwave absorbers.

Xiaohui is currently an intern with Delphi in Kokomo, Indiana, and will begin his full-time position with the company in January 2015.

For more information please see Jonathan Bara Award for GTA and Matt Wolfe Award for Outstanding GRA.