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ORS Celebrates Twentieth Anniversary and Presents Top Honors

Atlanta, GA

The Opportunity Research Scholars' (ORS) program held its annual symposium and celebrated twenty years since forming in 2002 at the History Academy of Medicine on April 27, 2022. 

The ORS program is an academic enrichment initiative in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) for students interested in an extended undergraduate research experience. Students commit to a research team for a minimum of two semesters and earn course credit or pay for their participation. At the end of the spring semester, teams participate in a research poster competition and the winners are honored at the awards banquet.

"The ORS program is a win for everybody," said Greg Durgin, ECE professor and ORS faculty director. "Students get great training that is hard to duplicate in the classroom, industry sponsors and students get to know each other much more intimately than a career fair, and faculty hosts and their Ph.D. mentors are getting published, high-quality peer-reviewed articles associated with there research groups. And with the expanded 20th anniversary event, everybody is having a good time!"

This was the first year that the research poster competition submissions were open to research teams outside of ECE. It was also the first year that students could engage in peer review thanks to the IEEE Council on RFID (radio frequency identification). The competition showcased the research projects of 36 undergraduate student teams or individuals, including three teams from Kennesaw State University, one team from Oregon State University, and one international team from China.

“We are very grateful for the partnership of IEEE Council RFID for the 20th anniversary, which provided external reviewers from all over the world as well as technical co-sponsorship," said Durgin. "They were so impressed by the event, that a half-dozen volunteers have already lined up to do something similar at their home universities next year. We will be exporting the Georgia Tech ORS model all over the world.”

This year’s milestone event also featured guests who played an important role in the founding and development of ORS, including founder Jill Auerbach (senior academic professional in ECE), who received an award for her fundamental contributions to the program. Gisele Bennett, former ECE professor and former director of the GTRI Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory, was the keynote speaker for the symposium. Bennett is a founding member of MEPSS LLC and past president (2020-2022) of IEEE Council RFID.

Also in attendance was ECE Professor Emeritus Joe L.A. Hughes who detailed the history and rational for ORS.

“The motivation for ORS goes back to the mid-1990s when ECE needed to increase retention rate,” said Hughes. “There was a lot of undergrad research going on in ECE, but it wasn’t scalable and frankly only top students could excel in what was offered. We knew all students could benefit from the hands-on and engaging learning that research provides.”

Nearly 1,000 students have participated in ORS since its founding. In the last ten years the program has averaged 50% more female participants than the school average and twice as many ORS Ph.D. mentos go into academia as the general ECE Ph.D. population, according to Durgin. Many students contribute ORS to igniting their passion for research.

“The ORS program has been the best investment [of time] that I could have made as an undergraduate ECE student,” said Amadou Diallo, a third year ORS scholar. “It has opened so many doors for me and has helped me gain the confidence needed to excel in my internships and classes.”

Congratulations to the award winners at this year’s ORS Symposium outlined below.

1st Place
Title: Experimental Fault Rate Characterization and Protection in Embedded RRAM
Faculty Member: Arijit Raychowdhury
Undergraduates: Connor Talley, Brian Crafton, Samuel Spetalnick, Muya Chang 

2nd Place
Title: Improving SRAM Performance With Different Interconnect Options at the 7nm Process Node
Faculty Member: Azad Naeemi
Ph.D. Mentor: Da Eun Shim
Undergraduates: Jacob Mack, Rudranshu Datta, Brandon Young, Zhuoqi Cai
Sponsor: Semiconductor Research Corporation

People's Choice
Title: Quantitative Comparison of the iSenSys Multivariate Sensor to Commercial Gas Sensor Arrays: An Investigation of the Bosch BME688 Sensor Array
Faculty Member: Oliver Brand
Ph.D. Mentor: Steven Schwartz
Undergraduates: Hongyu Guo, Rhea Kadakia, Indraja Chatterjee, Mehul Gupta
Sponsor: Qualcomm

Sponsors for the 2021-22 academic year of the ORS program include Texas Instruments, Semiconductor Research Corporation, Sandia National Laboratories, TTM Technologies, Space Solar Power Institute, Qualcomm, and the Kirchoff Endowment.

Additional Photos

ORS 2022 1st Place Research Award Winning Team

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ORS 2022 2nd Place Research Award Winning Team.

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ORS 2022 People's Choice Award Winning Team.

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Jill Auerbach ORS Award

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Last revised May 9, 2022