Alumni Distinguished Leadership Award

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Acceptance Speech

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Prof. Rebecca Willett is a prolific contributor to the field of electrical and computer engineering through teaching, cutting-edge research and publishing as an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. Her teaching and research interests are focused on signal and image processing techniques and how these can be applied to help advance a variety of other fields, including medical imaging, astronomy, networks, and bioinformatics. As a testimony to the broad implications of her research, Prof. Willett is assisting the Department of Defense through her work on the Computer Science Study Panel, run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Institute for Defense Analyses. Prof. Willett has received numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a prestigious recognition for young faculty. She has also held visiting researcher positions at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA), and the Applied Science Research and Development Laboratory at GE Healthcare. Prof. Willett remains active in her community by encouraging young children to explore their potential in math and science. She is a volunteer instructor for FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science), an organization that provides outreach programs related to math, science and engineering for young girls from Durham public schools. She also serves as an exhibitor for the Sally Ride Science Festivals and has been an IMSA Intersession instructor. She received the B.S.E. (summa cum laude) in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Duke University in 2000, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rice University in 2002 and 2005, respectively.

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