Signals – Winter 2016

Note from the department head

Dear alumni and friends,

We in ECE express our sincere thanks to you for your interest in and support of the department’s commitment to its students and faculty. Scholarships and fellowships funded by you have made an enormous impact on the curricular, co- and extra-curricular experiences of our students, allowing them to pursue a meaningful academic experience.

Your engagement has helped the department renovate our lab-based courses: the inclusion of additional up-to-date and industry appropriate technologies is particularly important. EE 1301 (Introduction to Computing Systems) is an example. The redesigned course now introduces students to the emerging field of Internet of Things, and the class culminates in a project showcase with freshmen students demonstrating IoT devices that they have developed during the semester.

With your help, the department has been able to support student groups such as the IEEE student chapter, the Solar Vehicle Project, and Innovative Engineers, as they lead the charge in encouraging and sustaining interest in our majors starting at the grassroots level. It has also encouraged the entrepreneurial spirit in our students and has allowed us to support students pursuing dreams that go beyond the classroom. Nicholas Schleif is a case in point. As you will learn in our lead story, the department was able to support Nicholas’ travel to a conference in Germany that enhanced his learning and research experience.

This issue of the newsletter also carries updates on the work some of our faculty are doing. Thanks to you, we have been able to consistently support our faculty researchers as they make high impact breakthroughs and share their knowledge, drive, and curiosity with students in the classroom.

In our last newsletter we had solicited news and updates from you for a section titled “Where are they now?” We heard back from some of you, and a selection of responses is included in this edition of the newsletter. We would love to hear from more of you—career and professional moves, personal or life updates. Please email your contributions to or fill out our “Where are they now?” form.



Richard Moore, a 1963 B.E.E. graduate, retired from IBM after 39 years of service, and is now a professor at LeTourneau University, Texas.

Donald Eller, who graduated with his B.E.E. degree in 1976, says, “I’m retired after 33 years at Medtronic, Inc. and 5 and a half years at Sperry Univac. I moved to Spruce Creek Fly-in, near Daytona Beach Florida, and I’m living the retirement dream of heaven on earth for pilots. I enjoy being able to live with my airplane and attend as many community flying adventures as possible.”

Shari (Nelson) Durdin is a 1984 B.E.E. graduate who has not gone very far from the U. In her update, she says, “I have worked at Emerson (formerly Rosemount, Inc.) since 1984. My current role is Global Software Engineering Manager, at the Emerson facility in Eden Prairie, MN. I have employees in Eden Prairie, and Pune, India, who are responsible for embedded software development and automated software test for Emerson magnetic flow and vortex flow products. I still bleed maroon and gold! My husband Dan is also a U of M grad (mechanical engineering, 1977), our son graduated from the U of M with a BS in Kinesiology in May, 2016, and our daughter is a sophomore at the U of M, majoring in biomedical engineering. We have season tickets to Gopher football, and men’s hockey, so we still spend a lot of time on the U of M campus. Go Gophers!”

Becky L. Peterson who graduated in 2000 with an M.S.E.E. degree, is now an Assistant Professor in the EECS department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.