ECE's Eta Kappa Nu Chapter to Host National Conference on Campus


November 5, 2008

Over a hundred student members of Eta Kappa Nu from 28 universities across the U.S. are expected to attend the 2008 leadership conference on the Carnegie Mellon campus November 7-9. Hosted by our own Sigma Chapter of the ECE student honor society, the conference theme is In Pursuit of Excellence: Achieving Results through Leadership and Innovation.

"We are all proud of Sigma Chapter's growth and development over the past few years," said Susan Farrington, ECE's Director of Alumni and Student Affairs and Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) co-advisor along with ECE Professor Dave Casasent. "We are proud of the initiative that led the students to write a winning proposal and gain this opportunity."

Students have been planning the conference since 2007 when HKN Treasurer Sidharth Singh, attended one of the national conferences held that year at the Missouri University of Science and Technology and came back with the idea of Sigma chapter hosting in 2008. The weekend long event will feature a networking opportunity Friday evening, followed by a full conference schedule on Saturday and wrapping up Sunday morning with a look at the future of HKN.

Saturday will begin with a keynote addressing entrepreneurship in a technical setting by Glen Meakem, co-founder and managing director of Meakem Becker Venture Capital and co-founder and former CEO of Free Markets. Students will then be challenged with a case study presented by Raj Rajkumar, ECE professor and director of the Carnegie Mellon-General Motors Collaborative Research Laboratory, a participant in the Carnegie Mellon team that won the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. The case study will present the types of leadership and technical challenges involved with solving a problem posed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Lunch will bring an opportunity to see Boss, the Urban Challenge winning vehicle, and a keynote address by legendary Red Whittaker, University Professor and director of the Robotics Institute's Field Robotics Center and team leader for the Urban Challenge.

An afternoon panel of distinguished industrial participants will explore "Creating Cultures of Innovation" along with some career advice. Participants include:

  • Joseph Havrilla, Senior VP and CTO of MEDRAD (ECE alumnus)
  • Ron Hodge, Partner/Officer at Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Greg Lester, Vice President at Dynetics
  • Jane Rudolph, Vice President at Lockheed Martin Corporation (ECE alumnus)

Mark Kryder, university professor of ECE and retired CTO and VP of Research at Seagate Technologies will provide the dinner keynote, "Leading and Innovating in Academe and Industry."

In light of HKN's recent merger with IEEE, Sunday morning will be devoted to a discussion of the future directions of the organization with HKN president Bruce A. Eisenstein, Arthur J. Rowland Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Drexel University.

The leadership conference is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, Bloomberg, NVIDIA, Booz Allen Hamilton, Intel, Bose, Dynetics and Synopsis.

This year's officers and other Sigma Chapter members worked through the summer while on internships or doing research projects, to put together the conference. The conference team is:

  • Brad Miller, President and Sponsor Chair
  • Christina Johns, Vice President and Conference Chair
  • Sarah Hsieh, Treasurer and Speaker Chair
  • Hemant Sikaria, Sudeep Yegnashankaran, Steven Elia, Andres Rodriguez

Related People:

Susan Farrington

Related Links:

HKN Conference