Outstanding Graduate Students Recognized with 2019 Harris Awards

March 11, 2019

Afshin Ahmadi, Chunlei Zhang, and Parani Arunagirinathan

Afshin Ahmadi, Chunlei Zhang, and Parani Arunagirinathan.

CLEMSON – Outstanding graduate students were recognized at this spring’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Student Achievement Award Ceremony. Graduate students Afshin Ahmadi, Chunlei Zhang, and Parani Arunagirinathan received Harris Awards, department-wide awards which have been given each year for the past 34 years in recognition of outstanding accomplishment in the preceding year by a current Clemson graduate student in the areas of laboratory teaching, research, and service.

Afshin Ahmadi received the Harris Award for the Outstanding Graduate Laboratory Teaching Assistant in 2018 based on evaluations by undergraduates enrolled in ECE laboratory courses and assessment by the faculty supervisors of the laboratories. Afshin joined Clemson in 2014, and is currently pursuing the Ph.D degree in computer engineering with an emphasis in power under the direction of Prof. Randy Collins.

Afshin consistently receives positive reviews from his students. Students’ evaluations have said that he is an enthusiastic and effective instructor. Students note that they can tell he truly enjoys teaching and is invested in helping the students in his lab successfully complete their projects and master the material.

Chunlei Zhang received the Harris Award for the Outstanding Graduate Researcher in 2018 based on the recommendation of a faculty member and evaluation by a committee of ECE faculty, which found her record of research productivity and scholarship outstanding.

Chunlei is a PhD student in EE focusing Decentralized Optimization Algorithms. She was nominated by her advisor, Prof. Yongqiang Wang.  Chunlei has been a research assistant since enrolling at Clemson in 2015.

While a graduate student at Clemson she has published 4 journal papers and has a fifth paper under review.  She has also co-authored a conference paper.  Prior to joining Clemson she had already co-authored a conference paper.

Her articles have appeared in publications including the IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems, the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, and the IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security.

Her first research contribution is related to distributed computing of a nonlinear optimization problem with applications to sensor-network based event localization.  She is also working on a privacy-preserving perspectives for distributed optimization.

Parani Arunagirinathan received the Harris Award for Outstanding Graduate Service for 2018, an award determined based on service to the department and the university as a member of the Graduate Student community.

Parani is a PhD student in EE focusing on power systems.  He is working with Prof. Kumar Venayagamoorthy.  Parani has been at Clemson since 2014.

The awards committee recognizes his tremendous volunteer service in supporting the IEEE Clemson University Power Systems Conferences in multiple years: 2015, 2016 and 2018.   Last fall the conference was held in Charleston and took advantage of Clemson’s Zucker Family Graduate Education Center.  Prior conferences were held at the Madren Conference Center.  Parani provided outstanding service in supporting the conferences.  The conference is an excellent opportunity to showcase Clemson, the ECE department, and the research in the power area.

Since their inception, the Harris Awards have been accompanied by a monetary stipend, which is provided by the generosity of Harris Corp. The Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering appreciates the support and encouragement that Harris and its employees provide to our department and our students.

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