Two ECE professors named IEEE Fellow

Narayanan WeicholdTwo professors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University were named Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Dr. Krishna Narayanan (left), professor, and Dr. Mark Weichold (right), Regents Professor and dean and CEO of Texas A&M University at Qatar, were named IEEE Fellows for their research and educational contributions.

IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement. The IEEE grade of Fellow is conferred by the IEEE board of directors upon a person with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year cannot exceed one-tenth of one percent of the total voting membership.

Narayanan is being recognized “for contributions to coding for wireless communications and data storage” and Weichold is being recognized “for contributions to international development of engineering education.”

Narayanan is a professor and until recently, served as the department’s director of graduate studies. His research interests are in information theory, coding theory and signal processing with applications to wireless networks and data storage. He has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed papers. He says he is passionate about teaching and is particularly interested in using technology to personalize the educational experience of students.

Narayanan has been recognized with a variety of awards for both his teaching and research, including the 2014 Professional Progress in Engineering Award from the College of Engineering at Iowa State University, the 2012 Texas A&M Association of Former Students college level teaching award, the 2009 Halliburton professorship, the 2006 Best Paper Award from the data storage technical committee within the IEEE communications society, the 2002 Outstanding Professor Award from the electrical and computer engineering department at Texas A&M, the 2001 Outstanding Young Faculty Award from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M and the 2001 National Science Foundation CAREER award.

An electrical engineer, Weichold has worked for General Dynamics’ Fort Worth Division, Motorola in Austin, Texas and the U.S. Army Electronic Technology and Devices Laboratory in Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey. His research interests include electron device fabrication process development, device design and characterization. He has been author of more than 80 journal articles, conference papers and scientific reports, and holds three U.S. patents.

Weichold joined the electrical engineering faculty at Texas A&M in 1982, and has served as associate provost for undergraduate programs and academic services, dean of undergraduate programs and associate provost for academic services. In 2009, he was named a Regents Professor for his outstanding work and exemplary contribution to Texas A&M and The Texas A&M University System and in January 2007, he became dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar.

During his tenure as dean and CEO, enrollment has grown to more than 550 students, including 40 graduate students enrolled in two master’s degree programs. The faculty has increased to 81 and the research enterprise has grown to include 140 active projects. In 2009, Texas A&M Qatar's four undergraduate engineering programs were accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

The branch campus has produced more than 500 graduates, many of whom have enrolled in top graduate schools around the world, including Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech, UC Berkeley, Imperial College, Cambridge, Illinois, Carnegie Melon, Michigan, and Waterloo, in addition to Texas A&M's main campus in College Station, Texas. The undergraduate student population is 53 percent Qatari nationals and includes 38 percent female enrollees.

Texas A&M at Qatar has attracted an outstanding faculty with annual research funding of approximately $20 million and produces more than 250 archival publications each year. In addition, the research projects have produced more than two dozen patents and disclosures.

In partnership with local industries Weichold has seen the establishment of the Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO) Chair in Polymer Science and Engineering, currently held by Dr. Robert Grubbs, 2005 Nobel laureate in chemistry, and the Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO) Chair in Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, currently held by the “Father of Green Chemistry” Dr. Paul Anastas.

Under Weichold’s leadership, the branch campus has also established itself as a presence in the community through its many engagement activities. Texas A&M at Qatar has put in place a Distinguished Lecture Series in which leading scholars, many of whom have been members of the national academies and even Nobel laureates, come to Qatar and contribute to the scholarly discourse within Education City. The branch campus has been instrumental in contributing to numerous conferences and symposia, including the Natural Gas Conversion Symposium, held for the first time in the Middle East in 2013. That same year, Texas A&M at Qatar also organized and hosted the first World Congress on Engineering Education which brought together international experts who focused on innovations needed to energize engineering educators and create a robust future for engineering education. Recognizing the important role teachers play in preparing the next generation of engineers and scientists, Texas A&M at Qatar in partnership with Maersk Oil Qatar, awarded the country’s first STEM Educator of the Year Award in 2014.

The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. Through its 400,000 members in 160 countries, the IEEE is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Dedicated to the advancement of technology, the IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed more than 900 active industry standards. The association also sponsors or co-sponsors nearly 400 international technical conferences each year. To learn more about IEEE or the IEEE fellow program, visit www.ieee.org.