Electrical Engineering 2018 Alumni Panel

Electrical Engineering 2018 Alumni Panel starts from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at SAL 101


Alumni Panelists: Jessie Stone (USC Advancement), Sankar Thiagasamudram, Dr. Firouz Naderi, Dr. John Ermer, Dr. Michelle Hauer, Dr. Anita Sengupta (L-R)


Other photo: Dr. Anita Sengupta, Sankar Thiagasamudram, Dr. Timothy Pinkston (L-R)


Professor Timothy M. Pinkston completed his B.S.E.E. degree from The Ohio State University in 1985 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1986 and 1993, respectively. Prior to joining the University of Southern California (USC) in 1993, he was a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories, a Hughes Doctoral Fellow at Hughes Research Laboratory, and a visiting researcher at IBM T. J. Watson Research Laboratory. Presently, Dr. Pinkston is a Professor and Director of the Computer Engineering Division of the EE-Systems Department at the University of Southern California, and he heads the SMART Interconnects Group. His research interests include the development of deadlock-free adaptive routing techniques and on-chip network and router architectures for achieving high-performance communication in microprocessor and parallel computer systems---scalable parallel processor and cluster computing systems. Dr. Pinkston has over 100 technical publications and has received numerous awards, including the Zumberge Fellow Award, the National Science Foundation Research Initiation Award, and the National Science Foundation Career Award. Dr. Pinkston is a member of the ACM and a Fellow of the IEEE. He has also been a member of the Program Committee for several major conferences (ISCA, HPCA, ICPP, IPPS/IPDPS, ICDCS, SC, CS&I, CAC, PCRCW, OC, MPPOI, LEOS, WOCS, and WON); the General Chair of IPDPS'07; the Program Chair for HiPC'03, ICPADS'06, HPCA'09; the Program Vice-chair for EuroPar'03 and ICPADS'04; the Program Co-chair for MPPOI'97; the Tutorials Chair for ISCA'04; the Workshops Chair for ICPP'01 and ICPP'06; and the Finance Chair for Cluster 2001. He has served two 2-year terms as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems (TPDS) and has served as a Co-Guest Editor of TPDS for a Special Issue on On-Chip Networks.


Dr. Anita Sengupta (@Doctor_Astro) is Senior Vice President of Hyperloop One, a tech company revolutionizing travel with the development of an in vacuum magnetic levitation transportation system, capable of reaching speeds of up to 700 mph. Prior to this she was an aerospace engineer and rocket scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for over a decade where she led the the development of the revolutionary supersonic parachute system that was deployed during the landing of Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity, the Ion Propulsion System that powers the Dawn Spacecraft, and the Cold Atom Laboratory Mission bound for the International Space Station in 2018. She received her doctorate in aerospace engineering from the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California where she was also a research professor in spacecraft and entry system design.


Dr. Michelle C. Hauer is a senior engineering fellow at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems Company.  She is currently leading research and development (R&D) projects to advance the state of the art for Raytheon’s surveillance radar systems, which provide soldiers and civilians with a large and reliable picture of the numerous manned and unmanned aircraft flying around a given area.

Dr. Hauer is a Los Angeles native.  She grew up near Venice Beach and later moved to Santa Monica where she graduated high school.  She received a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California (USC).  During college at LMU, she worked as a co-op student at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas on the Space Shuttle program.

While in graduate school at USC, she conducted research in optics and photonics.  She published several journal articles on experiments using new fiber optics technologies to increase data speeds on the Internet.  She was also part of a large USC team of engineers, medical students, and eye doctors working on prosthetic devices to restore sight to the blind.  Her PhD thesis was on the design of a tiny video camera that could be surgically implanted inside the eye of a blind person to provide video images to a retinal prosthesis.  Her team was awarded a US Patent for their invention of an eye-implantable camera.

Dr. Hauer greatly enjoys working with K-12 and college students.  She was an electrical engineering professor for two years at LMU while also working part time at Raytheon.  She is a judge for the California Science and Engineering Fair and has volunteered at elementary and middle schools to teach classes on electrical engineering and optics.

Dr. Hauer is a member of IEEE Women in Engineering, the IEEE Photonics Society, and the Optical Society of America (OSA).


Dr. Firouz Naderi is the former Director of Solar System Exploration at NASA’s JPL where he spent more than 30 years in various technical and senior executive positions. Best known for his leadership of the Mars exploration program, he has contributed to some of the most iconic NASA robotic missions to various corners of the solar system. Dr. Naderi, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, is a “Fellow” of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has been honored multiple times including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Technology Hall Fame Medal, NASA’s outstanding leadership medal as well as NASA’s highest award – the Distinguished Service Medal. In March 2016, for his career contributions to space science and exploration asteroid “1989 EL1” was renamed asteroid “Naderi 5115”.


John Ermer PhD is a Principal Engineering Fellow at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. Since 1985, he has worked on Airborne and Space-Based Radar Systems in the areas of Navigation, Signal Processing, and Target Tracking. He has worked on Fighter Jet, Satellite, as well as Ground-Based Radar Systems. Prior jobs included Magnetic Tape Recorder Amplifier Designer, a Machinist, and an Assistant to the Los Angeles Dodgers Photographer.

A dedicated Trojan, Dr. Ermer graduated with his Masters and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in 1987 and 2001 respectively as a Hughes Aircraft Fellow. He completed his Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from California State University Northridge in 1985. Dr. Ermer has also served as an Adjunct Engineering Professor at Johns Hopkins University and California State University Los Angeles.

Active in the Science Fair community, Dr. Ermer serves as Category Chair for the California Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF, CSSF), and Engineering Co-Chair for the Intel-International Science Fair (ISEF). He has also served as a Robotics Coach for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA), and a Technical Reader for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFBD).


Sankar Thiagasamudram is a passionate entrepreneur with a solid track record delivering great products. He is the CEO of Audeze, the award winning headphone company based in California. Sankar wore multiple hats (Engineer, CFO, etc) as he grew Audeze from a bootstrapped startup, raising seed capital and establishing a manufacturing plant. Before starting Audeze, he designed video playback systems for digital cinema and broadcast systems. He also worked on the video playback systems used for various theme park rides like Kingkong360, Shrek4D, Simpsons at Universal Studios and Mission Space at Disney.

Sankar holds a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California and a Bachelors In Electrical Engineering from PSG College of Technology (India). 

Published on February 23rd, 2018

Last updated on April 29th, 2020