Electrical engineering graduate student wins national outstanding student award

Published: Nov 6, 2017 9:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Chris Anthony, chris.anthony@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447

An Auburn University engineering student has been named co-winner of a national engineering honor society’s outstanding student award.

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James Smith

James Smith, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, will be presented with the Alton B. Zerby and Carl T. Koerner Outstanding Student Award from IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu at an awards ceremony in March 2018. He is sharing the award with Katelyn Brinker from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

The Alton B. Zerby and Carl T. Koerner Outstanding Student Award recognizes academic excellence and high moral character, coupled with demonstrated exemplary service to classmates, university, community and country.

 “I am honored and humbled to be selected for such a prestigious national award,” Smith said. “My undergraduate and graduate studies at Auburn have been challenging, yet very rewarding, and I believe that academic rigor has helped me grow as a person and as an engineer. This award is the perfect way to cap off my undergraduate education as I embark on my graduate studies with the goal of one day becoming a professor.”

Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Auburn earlier this year and is now enrolled in Auburn’s doctoral program in the same field.

As an undergraduate, Smith was an honors scholar and earned a dual minor in computer science and political science. He completed several internships and served as an undergraduate research fellow, conducting research in antenna optimization by genetic algorithms. Smith also held leadership positions in several organizations, including Eta Kappa Nu, the Spring Up leadership programs and Auburn for Water, a philanthropic organization he co-founded with friends. He was also a member of the Auburn Triathletes and competed in several marathon and ultramarathon distance races.

As a senior, Smith received the President’s Award for the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and was the Electrical Engineering Student of the Year. His doctoral research is being conducted under the direction of Bogdan Wilamowski, professor of electrical and computer engineering, in the field of machine learning with a focus in artificial neural networks.

“James is a remarkable young scholar, and we are very proud of his accomplishments,” said Mark Nelms, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We strongly believe that Auburn Engineering’s student-centered educational experience helps propel bright young engineers to new heights. James is an excellent example of that.”

With origins dating back to 1904, IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu is an academic honor society for those studying IEEE fields of interest, including electrical and computer engineering. The society annually inducts more than 3,000 students, faculty and professionals and has more than 200,000 alumni. Among its notable alumni are Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, Google co-founder Larry Page and Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore.