Georgia Tech’s impact reaches every industry, every part of the globe, and every aspect of people’s lives through the work of our esteemed alumni. Each year, the Georgia Tech Alumni Association announces 40 distinguished honorees who have innovated industries and positively impacted communities across the globe. Those nominated must have completed at least one semester at Georgia Tech, be under the age of 40 as of June 30, 2021, and have made an impact in their profession or community, spanning all industries and sectors. A committee of 21 faculty, staff, and volunteer leaders, who collectively represented all Georgia Tech colleges, scored each nominee using a 25-point rubric.
For 2021, five alumni from the School of ECE have been chosen: Arindam Basu, MS Math 09, PhD ECE 10; Sam Elia, EE 13, MS ECE 14; Garrett Langley, EE 09; Precious Urenna Onyewuchi, MS ECE 08, PhD ECE 12; and Miheer Walavalkar, MS ECE 07.
Arindam Basu, MS Math 09, PhD ECE 10
Professor | City U
Basu’s work in implantable machine learning for brain-machine interfaces (BMI) offers hope to the nearly 5.4 million persons living with paralysis. While the technology is still nascent, Basu’s research group at City University of Hong Kong and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore works on different aspects of neuromorphic circuits and systems that can be applied to brain-machine interfaces and Internet of Things (IoT). He helped pioneer the concept of integrating machine learning to BMI implants to reduce wireless data transmission rates, and thus, reduce the risk of infection that can be caused by needing to implant wires. Recently, his team has developed sensors that can mimic human pain receptors that can learn from harmful stimuli when to trigger a pain withdrawal reflex even when the sensor is damaged.
Advice for new Yellow Jackets: “Do not be afraid to explore new grounds—Tech is a melting pot of talented faculty and students, so you should try to maximize your learning experience in all possible ways. Most importantly, do not stick to the boundaries of your discipline—the most amazing discoveries and inventions await you the moment you can make connections between concepts across disciplines.” – Basu
Fun fact: Basu—always the curious researcher—wanted to figure out how humans learn to smile when we are happy. He tried an experiment on his baby by correlating happy moments with a frown instead…but had to stop after his wife said she’d ban him from being with his daughter!
Sam Elia, EE 13, MS ECE 14
Assistant Vice President, Software and Systems | StreamLabs Water
Sam began his career while a student at Georgia Tech as the first employee of a startup in Tech Square’s ATDC incubator. With the growing cost and scarcity of water in the U.S., there was a need in apartment and condominium complexes for a low-cost and easy to install device that could measure water flow inside a pipe. As a result, Sam helped develop the StreamLabs SmartHome Water Monitor, the world’s first Wi-Fi enabled, ultrasonic water monitor that anyone can use in their homes without any knowledge of plumbing. StreamLabs was acquired in 2016 by Reliance Worldwide Corporation, where Sam helped grow the company’s IoT software group from the ground up. The team developed a second product, the StreamLabs Control, which includes an automatic shut-off valve and is now available at many home improvement stores across the country. With refined leak detection algorithms, home-specific machine learning, and integrations with other major smart home devices, these devices have helped people reduce water usage by up to 25% and have detected thousands of leaks, saving homeowners from serious water damage.
Advice for new Yellow Jackets: “Whether interning or co-oping, I would recommend trying to diversify your experience as much as you can. My Georgia Tech education was much more than my degree; it was the network, the opportunities, and the culture.”
Fun fact: Sam focuses on a new hobby twice a year. His most recent interests include snowboarding and videography, but they have been as obscure as urban hydroponic gardening and kite surfing.
Garrett Langley, EE 09
CEO & Founder | Flock Safety
Langley is a technology entrepreneur with a vision to eliminate crime while respecting privacy. Since founding Flock Safety in 2017, he’s seen up to 65% reduction in crime in communities across the country that adopted Flock Safety’s unique combination of technology (to capture evidence) and business model (to foster stronger police and community engagement.) Flock Safety has raised over $230M in venture capital and employees more than 300 people. Before Flock Safety, Langley launched Clutch, a monthly car subscription service, and Experience, a mobile technology company focused on helping fans have fun at live events. Experience was acquired by Cox Enterprises. Langley is also dedicated to giving back to his alma mater, serving on the Georgia Tech Alumni Association's Board of Trustees, the Athletic Association’s Board of Trustees, and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Board.
“At 18, I joined my first startup, as an inexperienced but motivated teenager. Why did I get the job? Georgia Tech. The company was led by a team of GT grads and they happily took a chance on a fellow Yellow Jacket. Ever since then, I take the same approach and work with as many Yellow Jackets as possible. It’s our secret weapon, hiring incredibly smart, hardworking engineers from Georgia Tech,” says Langley.
Fun fact: Langley’s favorite form of stress release is baking.
Precious Urenna Onyewuchi, MS ECE 08, PhD ECE 12
Consultant | Anneru Solutions Incorporated
Onyewuchi’s influence in the U.S. and across the African continent shows the global impact of Georgia Tech alumni. She served as the chair of the IEEE Power Africa Steering Committee for multiple years, establishing a technical conference aimed at solving Africa’s electricity access issues and reducing poverty. The conference brings together a strong network of engineers to contribute solutions to Africa’s electricity problems. Under her leadership, Onyewuchi helped bring the conference to multiple African nations, and she established the Women in Power session as a key part of the conference. The session empowers hundreds of middle and high school girls to join STEM, power, and energy fields.
Advice for new Yellow Jackets: “Take time to find out who you are and never forget it. Write it on a tablet in your home and your heart. Even if you venture away, it will bring you back home.”
Fun fact: In many ways, I prefer rural life to city life. I always have. As a child, my favorite time of the year was Christmas when my siblings and I got to travel to the village to spend time with immediate and extended family, especially our grandparents. Now living in Texas, where I was born, I feel so at home driving through regions with horses in fields. I find that the simple life gives me a lot of joy and peace.
Miheer Walavalkar, MS ECE 07
CEO and Cofounder | LiveLike
Walavalkar started his entrepreneurial journey in 2012 when he started an education technology company in India before moving to Paris to take over a French sports technology startup. Now, he is co-founder and CEO of LiveLike, a premier online engagement platform. Started with a focus on live sports, LiveLike has since expanded into music, education, and news, partnering with the world’s top sports and media companies to transform passive audiences into engaged communities.
LiveLike has been used to engage fans in the biggest live events, including NCAA March Madness, the NBA Playoffs, El Clásico, the Daytona 500, and the U.S. Presidential debates many others. Most recently, the Company was selected as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.
Previously, Walavalkar led YouFoot Sports, a U.K.-based tech startup that worked with soccer federations and teams around the world. In 2018, he was named to the 40 Under 40 class in the Sports Business Journal, and in 2019, he was included in the Leaders in Sports’ Under 40 class.
“My work has taken me to all corners of the globe, and the exposure to the international student community at Georgia Tech has been a key reason I feel comfortable working among different nationalities and cultures,” Walavalkar says.
Fun fact: Walavalkar was a gold medalist in table tennis in India from ages 10 to 15. At Georgia Tech, he teamed up with three other international students to found the Georgia Tech Table Tennis Club. They went undefeated in the state during their first year.
Last revised July 18, 2021