Outstanding Graduate Students Recognized with 2024 ECE Departmental Awards

May 2, 2024

CLEMSON – Please join us in recognizing this year’s winners of the 2024 department-wide graduate student awards in Electrical and Computer Engineering. These awards have been presented annually for 39 years and are given to graduate students who have shown exceptional performance in laboratory teaching, research, and service in the previous year.

(L-R) Steven Platt, Rackley Wren, Mr. Joe Guy, Julia Boone, and Laxman Timilsina

Holcombe Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Graduate Researcher – Laxman Timilsina

The recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Researcher award is determined based on the recommendation of a faculty member and evaluation by a committee of ECE faculty.

Laxman Timilsina is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering. His dissertation research is focusing on real-time devices for control and optimization of applications in Automotive and Electrical Engineering, including distributed control and optimization for distributed energy management, degradation forecasting, and advanced control for electrical systems including distribution grids and powertrains for electric vehicles. Other projects include real-time digital simulators that include hardware-in-the-loop. And simulation and modeling of electric vehicles with real-time controller-hardware-in-the-loop.
He was nominated by his advisor, Prof. Chris Edrington. Laxman has been a research assistant since enrolling at Clemson in August 2021. Prior to that, he obtained his M.S. EE and B.S. EE degrees from Tribhuvan University in Nepal.

While a graduate student at Clemson, he has submitted a total of 25 papers, including 9 journal publications and 16 conference papers. Out of these papers, 5 journal papers are published, and 4 journal papers are under review. Similarly, 5 conference papers were published, and 11 papers have been successfully submitted and will be presented in 2024. Besides these papers, Mr. Timilsina is working on an additional 5 Journal papers that will be submitted in 2024.

His publications appear in top journals such as the IEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification, International Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems, IEEE Access and numerous others.

Holcombe Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Graduate Laboratory Teaching Assistant – Steven Platt

The Graduate Student Award for the Outstanding Graduate Laboratory Teaching Assistant in 2024. The recipient of the award is determined based on evaluations by undergraduates enrolled in ECE laboratory courses and assessment by the faculty supervisors of the laboratories.

Steven Platt is a Master’s student in Computer Engineering with and emphasis in Intelligent Systems and Embedded Systems under the direction of Dr. Jon Calhoun. Prior to joining Clemson, he received his bachelor’s degree in Engineering with a Computer Concentration from Bob Jones University. Steven is being recognized for his commitment to teaching and student engagement. He has served as a Teaching Assistant for both the introductory Electrical Engineering Laboratory for ECE students, as well as the Basic Electrical Engineering laboratory required for non-ECE majors. He has also provided instructional support for C and Unix Programming, Embedded Computing, and Digital Computer Design for the department. Student evaluations consistently comment on his friendliness, engagement, and his ability to understand where students are struggling. He greatly values his work as a teaching assistant, and it reflects in his discussions with fellow students in the laboratory.

Holcombe Graduate Student Awards for Outstanding Graduate Service – Julia Boone and Rackley Wren

The recipient of the Holcombe Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Graduate Service is determined based on service to the department and the university as a member of the Graduate Student community. In particular, nominees are recognized for volunteer service activities that enhance the educational, professional, and collegial experiences of ECE students, aid the Department in effective fulfilment of its educational mission, or aid the Department in outreach to prospective engineering students.

Julia Boone is currently pursuing her PhD in Computer Engineering, working with Prof. Fatemeh Afghah. Julia completed her undergraduate Computer Engineering degree from Clemson in May 2022.
Julia has provided exemplary service to our department in multiple ways for the past few years. In particular, she is the graduate student representative to HKN and has led the organization of graduate student recruiting meetings for the ECE department each semester. She is also actively involved with the IEEE student branch as a graduate student representative. She has organized open house events designed to showcase our research labs to junior and senior undergraduates, which is a tremendous service in encouraging student be become involved in research and see the opportunities for graduate school. The department has counted on her to support numerous other recruiting activities for our graduate program because she connects so well with prospective students. She has an effective way of telling interesting stories or experiences about her journey into graduate school, and this helps prospective graduate students see how they too can get involved.

Rackley Wren is a Master’s student in Electrical Engineering whose research focused on cutting edge semiconductor materials and devices for use in high temperature sensors. His advisor is Dr. Goutam Koley. Prior to joining Clemson, he received his bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering from Syracuse University.
Rackley is being recognized for his dedication to teaching and service to the department. He has served as a Teaching Assistant for both the introductory Electrical Circuits Laboratory for ECE students and the Basic Electrical Engineering laboratory required for non-ECE majors. He has served as at Teaching Assistant for the department’s Senior Design labs. He has greatly enhanced the motivation of students and excited them towards ECE applications. Besides the technical aspects of the laboratory, he would bring in an inspiring “fact of the day” and write it on board to help prompt discussions and engage with students. Many students noted in their lab evaluations that they looked forward to what new facts the TA would have that week. Additionally, he voluntarily arranged help sessions for students to ensure student success.

Since their inception, the awards have been accompanied by a monetary stipend. Starting this year (and for the foreseeable future) the award is provided by the Edward D. Guy, Jr. Endowed Memorial Scholarship. This endowment was originally established in 1997 by his son and daughter-in-law, Joseph Guy, Class of 1977, and Johanna Guy, Class of 1978. In 2009 the Guy family updated the endowment to both support scholarships and scholarly activities of our graduate students.

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