Alumni Updates and News

Alumni News

Tara John (M.S. Electrical Engineering, ‘17) has joined Comcast Corporation as a technical research and development engineer working with Jim Fahrny, a Senior Fellow, conducting cybersecurity research. John moved to the U.S. from India to pursue graduate study performing research under the guidance of Charles H. Knapp Associate Professor Marten van Dijk’s Secure Computational Lab.  In her current role, she is exploring ways of integrating embedded systems and security together to make real-time systems robust and resilient against cyber-attacks.


Scott Lowder (B.S. Mechanical Engineering, ‘98) has been appointed director of product management power of the newly merged electrical engineering and power product management groups at Middle Atlantic Products. An expert in converting market problems into powerful solutions that have been awarded multiple patents and serve the integration community, prior to joining Middle Atlantic, Lowder worked for ASSA ABLOY in the security solutions industry for more than 10 years. He earned his MBA in finance and marketing intelligence from UConn.


Elizabeth J. Podlaha-Murphy (B.S., M.S. Chemical Engineering, ’86, ‘89) has been appointed chair and professor of chemical & biomolecular engineering at Clarkson University. An experienced educator, researcher, and administrator, recent awards and honors include the Global Directory of Who’s Who edition 2013; Honored Member LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award 2006; NSF CAREER Award 2000; Clarence M. Eidt, Jr. Professional Development Professorship; and Shell Foundation’s Faculty Career Initiation Award, 1999. Podlaha-Murphy earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University.


James Purcell, P.E. (B.S. Civil Engineering, ‘86) has been elected NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying) president-elect; he will serve the organization as president-elect for the 2017–18 term and as president the following year. He has been a member of the New Jersey State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors since 2005 and is a past board chair. A licensed professional engineer since 1988, Purcell is currently a technical director of the New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Association. He is also an adjunct professor in The College of New Jersey School of Engineering.


Hemchandra Shertukde (M.S., Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, ‘85, ’89) has received the 2017 IEEE EAB/SA Standards Education Award for his exceptional achievements in standards education activities with the following citation: “For effectively integrating power systems and transformer standards into academic and professional development programs, and for his active encouragement of IEEE student membership.” Shertukde is a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture at the University of Hartford.


Mark Vergnano (B.S. Chemical Engineering, ‘80 ) has been elected to chair the board of the National Safety Council (NSC). The organization’s mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. A member of the NSC board for the past seven years, Vergnano also sits on the boards of the American Chemistry Council and Johnson Controls International. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.


David Zack (B.S. Electrical Engineering, ‘94) has been appointed to INROADS, Inc.`s National Board of Directors. INROADS is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and placing talented underserved youth in business and industry, preparing them for corporate and community leadership. A vice president of United States Government Defense Systems and Services (DSS), Zack will apply his expertise of over 23 years of engineering research, development, operations and program management experience to help further INROADS` mission. He earned his MBA at Albertus Magnus College.



Hsing-Yao “Jim” Chen (Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, ’68), 86, of Fox River Grove, Illinois, passed away on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. Chen worked at CBS Labs on a NASA project; at Zenith on flat panel displays; and at RCA, he became an expert in electron gun design and received the prestigious David Sarnoff Award. A Fellow and lifetime member of both SID (Society for Information Display) and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), after retiring at 80, he remained active with SID and worked on passion projects such as fusion and global warming.

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