Santosh Kurinec and Maureen Valentine named ‘Engineers of Distinction’

Both RIT colleagues among inaugural group recognized for excellence in engineering

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Santosh Kurinec and Maureen Valentine

The Rochester Engineering Society recognized Santosh Kurinec and Maureen Valentine as 2012 Rochester Engineers of Distinction at the Rochester Engineering Society’s Annual Gala, held on April 20. It was the society’s 111th presentation of this event.

Kurinec is a professor of electrical and microelectronic engineering and microsystems engineering, and Valentine is an associate dean in Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Applied Science and Technology and a professor of civil engineering technology.

The colleagues were among the first group of Rochester Engineers of Distinction, honorees whose professional achievements in academia, research and industry have distinguished them in the field of engineering today. They exemplify much of what is “good” about engineering as a chosen profession through their technical expertise, business leadership and ability to inspire and mentor future engineering professionals, says Lee Loomis ’75 (MBA), president of the Rochester Engineering Society.

“Maureen Valentine and Santosh Kurinec have done some amazing things, and they did their much of their work here in Rochester,” says Loomis. “They are ours, and this above all else is what we want to celebrate. They are Rochester engineers of distinction.”

Both Kurinec and Valentine have been recognized with numerous awards and honors in their careers. This past year, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and its Education Society acknowledged Kurinec for her contributions integrating research into undergraduate engineering education and her focus on developing the next generation of microelectronic engineers. She received the international engineering society’s 2012 Technical Field Award for Undergraduate Teaching.

As a member of the electrical and microelectronic engineering department in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering for 22 years, Kurinec is one of the leading researchers in the area of photovoltaics, non-volatile memory and advanced integrated circuit materials and processes. The Pittsford, N.Y., resident was also named an IEEE Fellow by the institute in 2010, and she is an IEEE Electron Devices Society Distinguished Lecturer.

Valentine, the associate dean in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, is responsible for faculty affairs and coordinates its faculty search processes. She began in 1992 as a faculty member in the college’s civil engineering technology department and later served as its department chairperson.

This April, she was awarded the 2013 New York State Society of Professional Engineers Contribution to Education Award for her work supporting the college’s students as well as its faculty, and earlier, in the fall, she was presented RIT’s 2012 Changing Hearts and Minds Award. It is given annually to recognize efforts made toward furthering RIT’s overall commitment to diversity and enhancing diversity among the faculty ranks within their respective college, a distinction she earned for the personal and professional connections she makes to encourage diverse faculty to consider RIT as a rewarding place to work.

She is one of the leaders of the Women in Technology program, an advocacy and academic support program for student-engineers in the College of Applied Science and Technology. The resident of Pittsford, N.Y., is an advocate for current RIT faculty as well as its newest, participating as a researcher on a cross-college team leading a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant to identify barriers for women faculty at RIT in regards to rank, tenure, career advancement, leadership role progression and resource allocation.

Note: The Rochester Engineering Society highlighted local engineering professionals, including 2012 Engineer of the Year Sergio Esteban, chief executive officer and chairman of La Bella Assoc.; 2012 Kate Gleason Young Engineer of the Year Clement Chung, project manager for MRB Group, Engineering Architecture and Surveying; and the 2012 Rochester Engineers of Distinction, Santosh Kurinec, Maureen Valentine, Claire Fisher, Edward Parrone and Steven Sasson.