Silicon Happy Valley: Back by popular demand

3/15/2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – After the success of last year’s Silicon Happy Valley conference, the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Alumni Society is hosting their second annual event from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, April 18, at the Nittany Lion Inn.

The EECS committee is bringing together Penn State alumni, faculty, staff and students to discuss this year’s theme, “The Culture of Engineering.” They hope this year’s event will encourage networking and sharing experiences in the diverse and evolving practices in electrical and computer engineering and computer science professions.

“Last year we handed out a survey to participants following the conference and we received a 4.5 out of 5 in the overall program,” said Catherine Schultz, program and events coordinator for the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “Because last year’s track was heavily academic we decided to focus on the culture this year.”

According to Matt Graham, (’00 CMPEN), co-chair of the committee, the theme was chosen because it’s underrepresented in the technical curriculum but is so critical to the work engineers do as professionals.

“Projects or companies sometimes fail for technical reasons but I would say it's more common that they fail because of human problems: People can't work together, or the team gets too large, or is too spread out geographically or doesn't communicate well,” said Graham. “These are often the hardest problems we deal with so we thought it would be a great topic for this year's conference.”

The day is packed with speakers covering a broad range of topics, including a keynote address by Corey Cochrane, a NASA Fellow at the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and recipient of electrical engineering’s 2015 Early Career Award. Cochrane, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering in 2004 and 2007, respectively, and his doctorate degree in engineering science in 2012, will discuss “The Evolution of Spaced-Based Magnetometers: Scientific Discovery-Driven Engineering at its Best.”

“I will present a brief history of space-based magnetometers that have been developed at the Jet Propulsion Lab and then discuss how the scientific discovery driven culture that is present has motivated me to design a next generation space based magnetometer,” Cochrane said. “I think it will relate to the students at Penn State because it is a technology that has roots to the work I performed there as a graduate student.”

Cochrane said that coming back to Happy Valley gives himself and the other speakers the opportunity to share research with current students and former faculty-mentors at Penn State. It also gives alumni who don’t get back to Happy Valley as often as they would like, the chance to catch up with faculty and friends.

“Penn State has provided me a great foundation to pursue the interesting work and innovative industry I’m currently a part of,” said Cochrane. “I’m a very proud alum, and feel a responsibility to give back to the school that allowed me so many of my current opportunities.”

Because last year’s conference in the IST Building was well-attended, this year’s conference has been moved to the Nittany Lion Inn. Sponsorship for this year’s event comes from People’s Natural Gas, Netronome, Parsons, General Motors, CSRA and Beth and Richard D. Prewitt. Beth Prewitt is a 1982 College of Science graduate and Richard Prewitt is a 1984 computer science alumnus. More information about the conference, including the entire program, can be found at www.siliconhappyvalley.org

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Rebekka Coakley

rac29@psu.edu

Corey Cochrane

Corey Cochrane

“Penn State has provided me a great foundation to pursue the interesting work and innovative industry I’m currently a part of,” said Cochrane. “I’m a very proud alum, and feel a responsibility to give back to the school that allowed me so many of my current opportunities.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Silicon Happy Valley

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, April 18

Nittany Lion Inn

 
 

About

The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research in fields.

We offer B.S. degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and data science and graduate degrees (master's degrees and Ph.D.'s) in electrical engineering and computer science and engineering. EECS focuses on the convergence of technologies and disciplines to meet today’s industrial demands.

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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