Santosh Kurinec Receives 2012 IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award

Recognition given for effectively integrating research into engineering education

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Santosh Kurinec

Santosh Kurinec, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, received the 2012 Technical Field Award for Undergraduate Teaching from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and its Education Society. The international engineering society acknowledged Kurinec for her contributions integrating research into undergraduate engineering education and her focus on developing the next generation of microelectronic engineers.

Recognized as one of the leading researchers in the area of photovoltaics, non-volatile memory, and advanced integrated circuit materials and processes, Kurinec has been a member of the electrical and microelectronic engineering department in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering for 22 years. Her extensive work has resulted in the development of novel materials and devices in the Integrated Circuit Fabrication facility at RIT.

From 2001 to 2009, she was department head of microelectronic engineering. Since 2008, she has served as a visiting scholar and researcher at the IBM Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

Faculty play an important role in students’ academic careers by including them in research projects as an integral part of their coursework and preparing them for the workforce, says RIT Provost Jeremy Haefner.

“Like many RIT faculty, Santosh epitomizes the teacher-scholar model that we aspire for at RIT. Research shows that when faculty are engaged in both teaching and research, their performance in both activities are symbiotically enhanced,” says Haefner. “RIT is fortunate to have faculty like Santosh.”

IEEE awards are given annually to technical professionals to recognize their accomplishments and the impact they have made in the field of engineering and engineering education. Awards are given on behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors. Kurinec will be presented with a certificate and monetary gift of $2,000 at the International Electron Devices Society Meeting this fall. She intends to donate it to RIT’s Renan Turkman Scholarship fund, in memory of the faculty colleague in her department who passed away in 2008.

Kurinec is distinguished by her devotion to infusing the excitement and potential of research into undergraduate teaching, thereby engaging students and preparing them as future microelectronic engineers, says Sherra Kerns, vice president of Olin College of Engineering, and one of her peer-nominators.

“She is clearly within the top few percent of educators in the U.S. making widespread and significant contributions to educational pedagogy in IEEE fields,” Kerns says. “Her exceptional teaching materials, based on her current research and the work of others, distill complex information into inspirational teaching, which she generously shares with others to our great benefit.”

The Pittsford, N.Y., resident was also named an IEEE Fellow by the institute in 2010, one of the highest grades of membership in the international organization. Kurinec is a member of the American Physical Society, New York State Academy of Sciences and IEEE-USA R&D Policy Committee and is associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Education, the institute’s professional publication. She is an IEEE Electron Devices Society Distinguished Lecturer.