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Electrical engineering student wins national award

Jill Desmond, who earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Delaware in 2009, has won honorable mention for the 2009 Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Electrical and Computer Student Award.The designation is equivalent to being tied for second place in the national competition, which recognizes “outstanding scholastic excellence and high moral character, coupled with demonstrated exemplary service to classmates, university, community, and country.”

Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) is a 105-year-old honor society for electrical and computer engineering students and professionals. The society has more than 250,000 members and 175 active university chapters.

Desmond is now a doctoral student at Duke University, where she is concentrating on the application of signal processing to cochlear implants for individuals with hearing impairments.

“Jill is dedicated, driven and highly motivated,” says Len Cimini, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UD and adviser to the University's HKN chapter, Epsilon Omicron.

Desmond served as chapter vice president during her senior year. She also served as a mentor for new students, an ambassador for prospective students, and a member of UD's equestrian team. In addition, she conducted undergraduate research on signal processing with Gonzalo Arce, Charles Black Evans Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“I was thrilled to receive honorable mention,” says Desmond. “It's nice to be recognized for my hard work, and I'm glad Delaware can be recognized for providing me with the appropriate resources to succeed.”

Desmond is the second UD student to be recognized in the Eta Kappa Nu competition. In 2006, Ming-Jay Shiao, who was also selected as a Truman Scholar, received honorable mention. And that same year, Epsilon Omicron received the society's Outstanding Chapter Award, which is given on the basis of service activities.

“We're extremely proud of our Eta Kappa Nu Chapter and our students,” says department chair Kenneth Barner. “These awards demonstrate that they are not only excelling academically but also using their engineering skills to make the world a better place for others.”

Article by Diane Kukich

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