Awards 2008

                                               Donald L. Cripps  : Outstanding Advisor

Dr. Don Cripps does not feel that students are an imposition – they are why he is here. Students comment the he treats them as peers, is accessible, and it’s easy to find him in his office. He gets to know the students and offers help with schoolwork and with careers. One students commented, “He’s easy to talk to and gives great and helpful advice.”

Another said, “He really helped me gain an appreciation of the schooling I have gone through. He has an outstanding ability to connect with students and contributes to their success in any way he can.” Don Cripps cares about his students and their future. He does all he can so that each one can succeed.

                                                             Donald L. Cripps : Outstanding Teacher

Dr. Don Cripps selection as ECE’s Outstanding Teacher is best explained by quoting student comments: “His first priority is that each student understands the material.” “He’s not an easy professor, but presents the material in a way that makes you interested in his class.” “He makes you feel comfortable even if the subject is hard to understand.” “He cares more about learning than covering materials, and yet he still manages to cover it all.” Dr. Cripps cares about his students and their futures and does all he can so that each one succeeds. Students sometimes call him “coach” which is appropriate as he acts as a coach and a mentor pushing students to achieve their best.

     Wei Ren : Research Excellence Award

Since Dr. Wei Ren’s arrival in 2006, he has made significant contributions to our department in many ways, including research. Most recently he was awarded a prestigious and competitive NSF Career Award, providing four-year support for his research program. His work has been recognized as one of the most-cited recent papers in engineering.Four of his papers have been recognizedin the best paper category technical conferences, including twice the Best Paper of Session at the American Control Conference. He is the lead author on a research monograph in the prestigious Communications and Control Engineering Series published by Springer-Verlag in 2008. He is the author of 20 accepted or published journal articles in highly regarded technical journals (with another four in review). He has 37 refereed conference papers. He has developed effective collaborative research programs with the Utah Water Research Laboratory for his UAV work related to soil moisture measurement. In addition to his research contributions, he is also an outstanding teacher in the department, and is an active member of his professional society, demonstrating the well-rounded development that is the hallmark of a successful academic colleague.

      William W. Staunton : Distinguished Alumnus

In 2001, Mr. Staunton became chief executive officer of Ramtron International corporation, a leading developer and supplier of specialty semiconductor products. Previously, he was chief operating officer of Space Electronics, Inc., a fabless semi conductor company and supplier of microelectronics for space and high-reliability applications. He was executive vice president of Valor Electronics, managing the company’s business units, design and manufacturing engineering and quality-reliability functions, as well as worldwide manufacturing operations. Prior to Valor Electronics, Staunton served as vice president of quality and reliability for Applied Microcircuits Corporation. He has also held a variety of operations-management positions in Motorola and Burr-Brown Research Corporation. Mr. Staunton holds a BSEE (1973) degree from Utah State University.

   Dennis R. Briscoe : Distinguished Service

Dennis Briscoe has served many years as a member of the ECE Department’s Industry Advisory Panel. Over the years, he has provided support for IEEE SPAV and the SPAC activities, and been a regular reviewer of our senior projects. Beyond his service to the department, Dennis provides a very valuable service to the university through the program he heads to help international students find a home here at USU. Dennis is the president of Community University Friends of International students and Scholars (CUFISS), a community organization that holds activities for international students and helps them more fully integrate themselves into the community. Through CUFISS, international students become acquainted with local residents providing a cosmopolitan experience for residents, while helping students discover USU.

Joshua R. Templin : Outstanding Senior

Joshua Templin enjoys playing racquetball, paintball, and Frisbee golf. He loves to hike and participate in geocaching. He is interested in singing, playing the string bass, and bass guitar.
He is an officer in Tau Beta Pi, and has volunteered on Turoid. He helps his friends and other students by tutoring them for free in math, science, and engineering. He is a three-year member of IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society. Joshua is currently employed ten hours a week as a research assistant for Dr. Dasu performing research and analysis of C-to-FPGA tools and methods. With his love of math and computers, Josh plans to get a PhD and do research. He would also enjoy teaching at a university but research is his first love. He is married to Julia Squires and his GPA is 3.97.

          Trace A. Griffiths : Outstanding Pre-Professional Student

Trace Griffiths is the happiest when he is outdoors or building something. He is part of a small construction crew that builds houses, decks, and basement remodels. This past year he
started working for Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds houses for those in need here in Cache Valley. This is a great place for him to serve and gives him the chance to use his leadership skills. Trace enjoys backpacking, snowboarding, telemark skiing, playing the acoustic guitar and being with friends. He currently works developing algorithms for extracting data from multispectral documents and airborne images.

            John A. Sally : Outstanding Junior

John Sallay is interested in learning Spanish and has been working on this for the past six months. He has been involved this year in IEEE as the vice chair, where he helped to organize and run all IEEE activities. He was a member of the Microgravity Research Team in 2006/07. He spends 20 hours a week as a research assistant for Dr. Budge working with Texel cameras. He prides himself on having a positive attitude and believes you cannot learn something really well  unless you enjoy learning it. Last year John was the Outstanding Pre-professional student in ECE. He loves spending time with his wife Valeria.


Shelley Rounds : Outstanding Graduate RA

Shelley Rounds is a Master of Science Plan-A graduate student at CSOIS. Her research focuses on using the MAS-net (mobile actuator and sensor networks) platform to investigate the swarming behavior of a group of mobile robots as moving sensors. She presented her paper titled “A Swarm Engineering Approach to Mobile Sensor Network Design Towards Collaborative Phototaxis With A Slowly Moving Light Source” at the 3rd ASME/IEEE International Conference on Mechatronic and Embedded Systems and Applications (MESA07), part of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences, in Sept. 2007 in Las Vegas and she has won the Best Student Paper Award. She started her research from Summer 2006 when she participated the REU (research experience for undergraduates) program sponsored by National Science Foundation. She is a student member of IEEE and SWE.

                                                      Roger West  : Outstanding Graduate TA

”I think it is great that our department recognizes one TA each year with the prestigious  ‘Outstanding TA’ award. However, in the case of Roger West, I believe that the ECE Department now needs to create a new award called the “TA of the Century, Departmental Fellow for Life, Outstanding TA Award”, said Dr. Gunther. Though such an award does not currently exist, Roger certainly deserves such recognition. Roger has been Dr. Gunther’s TA for two classes, and he has done an outstanding job (squared). A few examples will illustrate. As any good TA will do, Roger grades and promptly returns to students homework and lab assignments. When I am short on time and have not had a chance to provide worked out solutions for an assignment, no matter, Roger is brilliant and works out his own solutions to the problems to use as a key in grading. Midterm exams? You bet. Roger digs in and helps me in the grueling process of grading exams and doling as much partial credit as possible. Furthermore, he is a lot tougher on students that I am. This makes me look like the good guy when I give points back. For all these reasons and more it is fitting that Roger receive this award. Many thanks to the selection committee for recognizing Roger’s contributions.