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Dr. Rajesh Kannan Megalingam (Director, Humanitarian Technology (HuT) Labs and Assistant Professor, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri Campus) received the prestigious IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award 2020 on October 23, 2020, from the IEEE President 2020, Dr. Toshio Fukuda in a grand event at the flagship conference of IEEE Education Society, Frontiers in Education (FIE 2020), in Sweden, held online from October 21-24, 2020. He also delivered a keynote address on “Undergraduate Mentoring and Research at HuT Labs, A Case Study” on the occasion.
The IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award was established by the Board of Directors in 1990 to honor teachers of electrical and electronics engineering and the related disciplines. The award consists of a bronze medal, certificate and honorarium. In the evaluation process, the following criteria were considered: excellence in teaching undergraduate students; creative development of the undergraduate curriculum; authorship of course materials for undergraduate students; involvement with undergraduate students through activities such as advising, project supervision, faculty counseling or advising for student organizations; attracting students to engineering and scientific profession; and the quality of the nomination.
2020 IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award citation reads thus: “for his exemplary role in encouraging undergraduate engineering students to take up research for developing innovative solutions for the society”. Out of 27 awards given since 1992, only two faculties from outside the USA have won this award.
Committed to research and development, with a special focus on humanitarian needs, Rajesh Kannan motivates his undergraduate students to take on research activities and projects that help improve the world. Student research at the undergraduate level in India is rare, but he established an engineering program that provides opportunities to publish papers and attend conferences around the world. As the leader of the Humanitarian Technologies (HuT) Labs, he also provides his students with invaluable experience in developing technologies that are making a difference. Humanitarian-geared projects created under his guidance include a hand-gesture-based wheelchair to aid the physically challenged, a search-and-rescue robot for natural disaster areas, and an unmanned robotic coconut tree climber and harvester. All these projects were completed with the help of only undergraduate students.
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