By Peter Murphy
Published January 5, 2024
Huamin Li, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region 1 for his role as a mentor with the 2023 IEEE Region 1 Young Professionals Award. According to IEEE, Li received this award for his “outstanding contribution to connect, mentor and inspire young professionals at the Buffalo Section.”
Li developed multiple channels and new organizations to help young professional electrical engineers. He serves as a mentor with multiple organizations within and outside of IEEE.
Since joining the University at Buffalo in 2017, Li has served as a mentor in multiple capacities and has leveraged his expertise and passion to support emerging young professionals. He co-founded the IEEE Electron Devices Society and Nanotechnology chapter in the institute’s Buffalo section with UB electrical engineering professor Vasili Perebeinos. Li has also developed annual events that connect young professionals with one another and Western New York’s larger electrical engineering industry.
“These initiatives serve as vital conduits, connecting a greater number of Buffalo’s young professionals to the expansive network of IEEE,” Li says. “With strong backing from the electrical engineering department, I initiated annual events, such as the UB-IEEE Electron Device Society Webinar Series and the UB-IEEE Nano-Symposium.”
Li led the effort at UB to host the 2022 UB-IEEE Nano-Symposium, which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the transistor. To mark the occasion, Li invited speakers from universities throughout the country to discuss their research and major achievements in transistor technology. The nano-symposium and webinar series proved valuable to young professionals, according to Li.
“These events garnered substantial participation from young professionals, both as presenters and attendees, earning acclaim and support from IEEE,” Li says. “The 2022 UB-IEEE Nano-Symposium earned featured recognition from IEEE’s Electron Devices Society, Nanotechnology Council (NTC) and Region 1.”
“Huamin is a passionate educator who is dedicated to bringing the latest innovations in his field of cutting-edge electronics research to our students,” says Jonathan Bird, chair and professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. “The relationship that he has built with the IEEE is a vital one, which provides invaluable professional development opportunities to students at all levels through seminars from distinguished speakers, targeted workshops, field trip opportunities, and professional networking. These opportunities substantially enhance the impact of our educational programs while also building our external reputation.”
Li’s research focuses on exploring two-dimensional materials to enhance the performance of microelectronic devices. Materials like graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides can make microelectronic devices smaller and more energy efficient. Li shares his expertise in 2D materials with the IEEE community through his work as a young professional role model. In 2022, he participated as one of two participants with a nanoelectronics background, and as the only mentor from the United States, in the IEEE NTC mentoring program. Several students under Li’s mentorship made significant accomplishments.
“Within my group, three graduate students secured the UB Presidential Fellowship and Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship, and two undergraduate students received the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) Internship and the NASA/New York Space Grant Consortium Fellowship. One student also had the opportunity to meet Vice President Kamala Harris,” Li says.
IEEE Region 1 encompasses 22 IEEE sections across multiple states, including New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The Young Professionals Award acknowledges substantial projects or achievements of a relatively brief duration that have made a lasting impact on the landscape of young professional operations.