On Campus 2023

New Center for Quantum Information, Engineering, Science and Technology

In June, Penn announced the formation of a new Center for Quantum Information, Engineering, Science and Technology, or Penn QUIEST, that seeks to realize practical quantum technologies like quantum computers, quantum networks and quantum sensors. QUIEST is a transdisciplinary field that draws from physics, materials science and information science, and the new center brings together faculty from Penn Engineering and Penn Arts & Sciences to work toward its goals. Penn QUIEST will be led by Director Lee C. Bassett, Associate Professor in Electrical and Systems Engineering.

Honoring Cora Ingrum and Donna Hampton

On May 13, Cora Ingrum and Donna Hampton, former long-term staff in Penn Engineering’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, were honored with painted portraits in the Towne Building. The first women of color and first staff members to receive this honor, the two women share a combined 90-plus years of guiding generations of underrepresented groups at Penn. The portrait of Ingrum, who served as the office’s inaugural Director, was painted by Patricia Watwood, and Hampton’s is by Ashon Crawley, whom Hampton mentored.

Mark Allen Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Mark Allen, Alfred Fitler Moore Professor in Electrical and Systems Engineering, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for “contributions to the technology and commercialization of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) for health care.” Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

Nader Engheta Receives Benjamin Franklin Medal

Nader Engheta, H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor in Electrical and Systems Engineering, was selected to receive a 2023 Benjamin Franklin Medal, one of the world’s oldest science and technology awards. Engheta, who was honored for “his transformative innovations in engineering novel materials that interact with electromagnetic waves in unprecedented ways, with broad applications in ultrafast computing and communication technologies” joins a prestigious list of prior winners of the Franklin Medal, including Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell and Max Planck, who are honored for their achievements in extraordinary scientific, engineering and business leadership.

Dani Smith Bassett Receives Heilmeier Award

Dani Smith Bassett, J. Peter Skirkanich Professor in Bioengineering, was the recipient of the 2022–23 George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research for “groundbreaking contributions to modeling and control of brain networks in the contexts of learning, disease and aging.” The Heilmeier Award, named for the late George H. Heilmeier, a Penn Engineering alumnus and member of the School’s Board of Advisors, honors a Penn Engineering faculty member whose work is scientifically meritorious.

Two New PIK Professors

Penn Engineering welcomed two new Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) professors, Gregory Bowman and René Vidal. Bowman, an expert in biophysics and data science, is the Louis Heyman University Professor, with joint appointments in Bioengineering in Penn Engineering and in Biochemistry and Biophysics in Penn Medicine. Vidal, a global pioneer of data science, is the Rachleff University Professor, with joint appointments in Electrical and Systems Engineering in Penn Engineering and in Radiology in Penn Medicine.

Demystifying Grad School To Enhance Diversity in STEM

Nearly 70 students from around the country came to Penn in October for DEEPenn STEM, short for Diversity Equity Engagement at Penn in STEM, an initiative designed to prepare students from backgrounds underrepresented and marginalized in STEM fields to pursue graduate studies. During the event, Penn Engineering hosted sessions that highlighted graduate opportunities in engineering and technology in the School.

GRASP Lab Collaborates in $5M Effort To Accelerate Robotics Research

Penn Engineering’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab is partnering in a $5 million National Science Foundation effort to accelerate human-robotic-interface research by designing a new standardized humanoid robot to distribute to the scientific community. The project involves Quori robots, a low-cost humanoid robot for human-robot-interaction research, with GRASP designing a new version of the robot, Quori Version 2.

Topping off the Future of…

Energy Science at Penn: Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology

On February 3, 2023, a ceremony was held during the placement of the final steel beam on the Vagelos Laboratory for Energy Science and Technology (VLEST), a collaboration between Penn Engineering and Penn Arts & Sciences. This event celebrated a milestone in the construction of a building that will serve as an advanced energy research laboratory and home to both the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology and the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) undergraduate dual-degree program. The 110,000-square-foot facility, located at 32nd and Walnut Streets, will house spaces and technologies that are essential to Penn Engineers as they pursue advances in sustainable energy research and education.

Data Science at Penn: Amy Gutmann Hall

Photo of topping off Amy Gutmann Hall

On July 26, 2023, two years after the project ceremonially broke ground at 34th and Chestnut streets, members of the Penn community gathered for the signing and placement of the final wood panel of Amy Gutmann Hall, signaling the completion of the new Penn Engineering building’s frame. The 116,000-square-foot, six-story building will be a hub for data science on campus and will support research that advances graphics and perception, privacy and security, computational social science, data-driven medical diagnostics, scientific computing, and machine learning. It will also allow for the development of safe, explainable, and trustworthy artificial intelligence technologies.