Engineering professor receives Geoffrey Marshall Mentoring Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, A. Robert Noll Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Penn State, has been awarded the 2019-20 Geoffrey Marshall Mentoring Award by the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS). 

NAGS, founded in 1975, is one of four regional affiliates of the Council of Graduate Schools and draws institutional membership from the Northeast region in the U.S. and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, according to its website. It grants one award per year for mentorship based on nominations from member institutions.

Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, A. Robert Noll Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Credit: Penn State College of Engineering / Penn StateCreative Commons

The award, named in honor of a former president of the organization, is given to an individual who has demonstrated “outstanding support of a graduate student or graduate students from course completion through research and placement,” according the NAGS website.

“As a former student and current colleague, my respect for Vijay as a person, a teacher and an academic adviser remains utmost,” said Theocharis Theocharides, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Cyprus. Theocharides was a student of Narayanan’s while receiving his bachelor’s degree in 2002 and his doctorate in 2006, both from Penn State. “He has clearly demonstrated a profound and continuing impact on myself as an undergraduate and graduate student, as a current faculty and colleague, and, most importantly, as a friend!"

Another former student, Huichu Liu, senior research scientist at Facebook AR/VR Silicon Research, echoed these sentiments.

“Professor Narayanan has played a phenomenal role in encouraging and guiding me to pursue my goals during my graduate studies,” said Liu, who earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from Penn State in 2014, during which time he worked with Narayanan. “He always values the students’ interest the most and has helped many of us to have a strong impact in the research community. His mentorship has been the key to my success in my career as a research scientist in the semiconductor industry.”

Narayanan, who has been a faculty member at the University since 1998, is the recipient of numerous honors, including a National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award and several best paper awards. He is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers fellow and has been an invited lecturer for many conferences. He also has published more than 400 papers and has been cited more than 20,000 times, according to Google Scholar. 

However, he said that one of the most rewarding aspects of his career has been serving in the role of mentor. This is something he has had ample opportunity to do, as he has advised more than 40 doctoral candidates and more than 50 master’s degree students over the past 22 years.

“Being a teacher is one of the most powerful ways to influence the lives of many, while at the same time enabling a lifelong learning journey,” Narayanan said. “I have not only enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experiences with my students, but also have benefited immensely from the new discoveries of my students and the curious questions from the classroom that have inspired my research directions.”

Last Updated June 29, 2020