EECS Celebrates: Honoring the department’s outstanding contributors

Slideshow: EECS Celebrates 2019, hosted by Professor Saman Amarasinghe, associate department head. All photos by Gretchen Ertl for EECS.

EECS Staff

Students, faculty, staff, and special guests came together recently for EECS Celebrates, the department’s annual awards ceremony and reception. The department presented faculty, students, and staff with more than 50 awards during the May 18 event.

A highlight of this year’s celebration was the presentation of the second annual Seth J. Teller Award for Excellence, Inclusion, and Diversity. Named for the late EECS professor, the award honors members of the MIT community who embody those three values through work, research, or educational innovation. Teller’s brother, David Teller ’82, spoke briefly during the ceremony.

The 2019 winners were Bruke Mesfin Kifle, an EECS senior, and Ronitt Rubinfeld, professor of computer science and engineering. Both were honored for serving as mentors and undertaking other activities to improve diversity and inclusion.

Kifle served as chair of the Committee on Community and Diversity for the MIT Undergraduate Association and was an early founder of OneWorld@MIT, the campus-wide multicultural celebration, among other contributions. Rubinfeld was recognized for “making MIT and the theoretical computer science community an inclusive and welcoming environment,” empowering women in academia, and serving as the department’s long-time Junior Faculty Mentoring Coordinator.

Following is a list of other awards from the 2019 ceremony.


EECS’s Faculty Research Innovation Fellowships (FRIFs) were established to recognize midcareer faculty members for outstanding research contributions and international leadership in their fields.

Frank Quick Faculty Research Innovation Fellowship

  • Constantinos “Costis” Daskalakis, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, received the 2018-2019 fellowship.

Thornton Family Faculty Research Innovation Fellowships

  • Luca Daniel and Jing Kong, both professors of electrical engineering and computer science, received the 2018-2019 fellowships.


Louis D. Smullin (’39) Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Ana Bell, extraordinary lecturer, was honored for contributions to 6.0001 (Introduction to Computer Science Programming in Python) and 6.0002 (Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science).

Jerome H. Saltzer Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Duane Boning, Clarence J. LeBel Professor of Electrical Engineering and professor of electrical engineering and computer science,  was recognized for contributions to 6.009 (Fundamentals of Programming).

Burgess (1952) & Elizabeth Jamieson Prizes for Excellence in Teaching

  • Thomas Heldt, W.M. Keck Career Development Professor in Biomedical Engineering and associate professor of electrical and biomedical engineering, was recognized for revamping 6.021 (Cellular Neurophysiology and Computing) and 6.022 (Quantitative and Clinical Physiology).
  • Peter Szolovits, professor of computer science and engineering, and David Sontag, Hermann L. F. von Helmholtz Career Development Professor of Medical Engineering and an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, were recognized for developing the new class 6.S897 (Machine Learning for Healthcare).

Ruth and Joel Spira Awards for Excellence in Teaching

  • Adam Chlipala, associate professor of computer science, was recognized for developing the new 6.822 class (Formal Reasoning About Algorithms), playing a role in creating 6.009 (Fundamentals of Programming), and writing the widely used book Certified Programming for Dependent Types (MIT Press, 2013).
  • Max Shulaker, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, was recognized for revising 6.012 (Nanoelectronics and Computing Systems). Specifically, he changed the class’s emphasis so that it ties device physics to microprocessor performance and introduced a lab where students can make functional devices.

EECS Outstanding Educator Award

  • Joseph Steinmeyer, extraordinary lecturer, was recognized for outstanding work with the popular 6.08 class (Introduction to EECS via Interconnected Embedded Systems).

EECS Digital Innovation Award

  • Adam Hartz, extraordinary lecturer, was recognized for creating and maintaining CAT-SOOP, a learning-management system that also serves as a tool for automatic collection and assessment of online exercises.

Kolokotrones Education Award

This new award supports faculty and instructors in undertaking curriculum-related projects, developing new courses, and improving teaching methods.

  • Zachary Abel, extraordinary lecturer, was recognized for revamping 6.042 (Mathematics for Computer Science).


IEEE/ACM Best Advisor Award

  • Joel Voldman, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and EECS associate department head, received the 2019 award.

HKN Best Instructor Award

  • Leslie Kaelbling, Panasonic Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, received the 2019 award.


Department Head Special Recognition Awards

  • David Lewis, an EECS technical instructor, was recognized for contributions to the department’s undergraduate laboratory in areas including hiring, safety, training, documentation, and operations.
  • Jessica Boles, an EECS PhD student, was recognized for her efforts to improve the graduate-student experience in EECS and beyond.

Richard J. Caloggero Award

This award recognizes members of the EECS department who have shown loyalty, dedication, and effectiveness beyond normal expectations.

  • Kathy McCoy, administrator for EECS graduate recruitment, was honored for assisting graduate students in multiple ways from initial admission until they receive their doctoral degrees.


Paul L. Penfield Student Service Award

  • Mandy Korpusik

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA) Awards

  • Alex Chen
  • Caleb Noble

Frederick C. Hennie III Teaching Awards

  • Maryam Archie
  • Paolo Gentili
  • Czarino Lao
  • Stephanie Ren

Harold Hazen Teaching Award

  • Apoorva Murarka

Carlton E. Tucker Teaching Award

  • Olivia Brode-Roger


Jeremy Gerstle Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) Awards

Nicholas Bonaker
Project: Nomon: A Single Switch Interface for Assistive Technology
Supervisor: Tamara Broderick

Luke Shimanuki
Project: Hardness of 3-D Motion Planning Under Obstacle Uncertainty
Supervisor: Tomas Lozano-Perez

Morais (1986) and Rosenblum (1986) UROP Award

Aradhana Adhikari
Project: Photo Chromeleon: Re-Programmable Multi-Color Textures Using Photochromic Dyes
Supervisor: Stefanie Mueller

Anna Pogosyants UROP Award

June (Thuy-Duong) Vuong
Project: Graph Pattern Detection: Hardness for All Induced Patterns and Faster Non-Induced Cycles
Supervisors: Vinod Vaikuntanathan; Virginia Williams

Licklider UROP Award

Endrias Kahssay
Project: Theoretically Efficient and Practical Parallel In-Place Radix Sorting
Supervisor: Julian Shun

Robert M. Fano UROP Award

Anelise P. Newman
Project: FourEyes: An Analysis of User Interfaces for Large-Scale Crowdsourcing of Visual Attention Data
Supervisors: Aude Oliva, Zoya Bylinskii

2018-2019 SuperUROP Awards

Xinyi Chen
Project: A Unified Programming Model for Optimizing Ordered Graph Algorithms
Supervisor: Saman Amarasinghe

Moin Nadeem
Project: FAKTA: An Automatic End-to-End Fact-Checking System
Supervisors: James Glass, Mitra Mohtarami

Yunyi Zhu
Project: CurveBoards in 3-D Breadboards for Prototyping Function in the Context of Physical Form
Supervisor: Professor Stefanie Mueller

George C. Newton Undergraduate Laboratory Prize (6.111)

Ashley Kim and Mark Theng
Project: Encrypted Communications Over Ethernet

Northern Telecom/BNR Project Award: Best 6.111 Project

Keshav Gupta and Fan Francis Wang
Project: Auditory Localization

David A. Chanen Writing Awards (for Writing in 6.033)

Jason Paulos
System Critique: Eraser

Morris Joseph Levin Awards for Masterworks Thesis Presentation

Logan Engstrom
Title: Robustness
Supervisor: Aleksander Madry

James Mawdsley
Title: Terahertz Frequency Synthesis in CMOS for a Chip-Scale Molecular Clock
Supervisor: Ruonan Han

David Adler Electrical Engineering MEng Thesis Awards

Weston Braun
Title: A High-Frequency Variable Load Inverter Architecture
Supervisor: David Perreault

James Mawdsley
Title: Terahertz Frequency Synthesis in CMOS for a Chip-Scale Molecular Clock
Supervisor: Ruonan Han

Charles  & Jennifer Johnson Computer Science MEng Thesis Awards

Kenneth Friedman
Title: WYSIWYFab: Integrating 3-D Modeling and Slicing
Advisor: Stefanie Mueller

Andrew Ilyas
Title: On Practical Robustness of Machine Learning
Advisor: Constantinos Daskalakis

Francis Reintjes Excellence in 6-A Industrial Partnership Award
Zachary Zumbo
Title: Genetic Optimization Applied to Via and Route Strategy
Supervisor: Jacob White
Company: Cadence

ADDITIONAL AWARDS                   

The following additional awards to EECS faculty were also acknowledged during the 2019 EECS Celebrates ceremony:

Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow (MIT award)

  • Erik Demaine, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, received the honor in March 2019 in recognition of his work in algorithms and data structures and his passionate, collaborative teaching style.

Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award (MIT award presented to junior faculty members for exceptional teaching, research, and service)

  • Vivienne Sze, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, received the award in April 2019 in recognition of her “seminal and highly regarded contributions in the critical areas of deep learning and low-power video coding, and for her educational successes and passion in championing women and under-represented minorities in her field.”

NOTE: Award winners seeking access to additional event photos for download may request access to the full private awards website by contacting

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