Electrical engineering alumni receive Best Student Paper Award


By Sarah Small

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A paper co-authored by two recent Penn State electrical engineering alumni received the Best Student Paper Award at the American Society for Engineering Education’s MidAtlantic Spring 2021 conference. Yixin Xiong, a 2021 graduate, and Stephen Porter, a 2020 graduate, wrote the paper, “A Reconfigurable and Modular Hardware for Remote Learning of Analog Circuit Design,” under the supervision of Swaroop Ghosh, Joseph and Janice M. Monkowski Career Development Associate Professor.

The paper, which Xiong and Porter co-authored with Ghosh while they were undergraduates at Penn State, details their research project of developing a remote learning tool that can be accessed through a host PC.

“In this tool, several circuits with corresponding experiments from the electrical engineering curriculum are embedded on a board,” Xiong said. “The host PC can remotely control the circuits. The resulting waveform will be extracted and read from the host computer. This project aims to build a practical lab environment that can be accessed anywhere, without the limitation of location and equipment.”

According to Xiong, who plans to attend graduate school for electrical engineering, he became interested in the project, which was started by Porter, because it would allow him to use what he learned in classes while also getting to work with other electronics with which he was less familiar.

Porter, now an electrical engineer at Key Technologies in Baltimore, said he started the project because he was interested in applying what he learned in EE 311: Electronic Circuit Design-II to real-life circuits.

“I’m a very visual, hands-on learner, so building the circuits we studied in class helped to reinforce the concepts,” he said. “My portion of the project served as an honors option for Schreyer Honors College.”

Ghosh, who taught Xiong and Porter in EE 311, noted that this work proved especially significant during a time when remote learning became very common globally.

“Stephen and Yixin successfully converted the knowledge learned from the course to create an analog hardware board that will enable hands-on activities by remote students,” Ghosh said. “Our work is very important for the engineering education community, especially under existing pandemic situation by allowing remote and personalized education at low cost. We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for supporting this project.”


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