Panetta recognized for distinguished service

Dean of Graduate Education Karen Panetta receives the 2022 IEEE-HKN Distinguished Service Award.
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IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), the honor society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), promotes excellence in the profession of electrical engineering. In November 2022, the society presented Tufts School of Engineering Dean of Graduate Education Karen Panetta with its 2022 Distinguished Service Award for her “outstanding contributions to the advancement of IEEE-HKN educational and professional programs.”

The IEEE-HKN Distinguished Service Award is awarded annually to a member who has devoted years of service to the society, significantly benefiting all of its members. Panetta, an IEEE Fellow and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts, served as IEEE-HKN President in 2019. Her contributions to the society propelled IEEE-HKN to new levels of giving and sponsorship and she helped establish the first endowed HKN Award, the Asad Madni Technical Achievement Award. She worked with IEEE-HKN graduate students to establish the Grad Lab webinar series, which helps prepare and support students pursuing graduate education.

In addition to advancing professional associations like IEEE, teaching and mentoring Tufts students, leading graduate education programs at Tufts School of Engineering, and conducting pioneering research in artificial intelligence, machine learning, automated systems, simulation, and visual sensing systems, Panetta has spent her career advocating for women and girls in STEM fields. She founded the Nerd Girls program in 2000 with the goal of empowering female engineering students and challenging stereotypes and myths about women in engineering professions. Panetta also founded and is editor-in-chief of the award-winning IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine.

In addition to being an IEEE Fellow, Panetta is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Asia-Pacific Intelligence Association (AAIA) and was recently inducted into the National Academy of Inventors. In 2011, President Barack Obama presented Panetta with a U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math, and Engineering Mentoring.  

IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the good of humankind. IEEE-HKN promotes service to others, professional accomplishment, and the development of leadership skills for professionals and students in the electrical engineering and computer engineering fields. The IEEE-HKN Distinguished Service Award has been awarded to one outstanding member per year since 1971, with the aim of recognizing members who have provided outstanding leadership and service to the organization.