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Lafayette College senior Ian Rippke, an electrical and computer engineering major from East Petersburg, Pa., has been awarded a prestigious three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowship.

“NSF graduate fellows are promising young mathematicians, scientists, and engineers who are expected to pursue lifelong careers marked by significant contributions to research, teaching, and industrial applications in science, mathematics, and engineering,” says Susan Duby, director of NSF’s graduate education division. “Award recipients go on to become our top researchers and educators. They are a major force in maintaining the vitality and excellence of American science, mathematics and engineering.”

Rippke plans to pursue a doctorate in electrical engineering at Cornell University. A Marquis Scholar at Lafayette, he was recently invited to join The Phi Beta Kappa society, the oldest and most respected undergraduate honors organization in the United States. He is also a member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society.

The NSF fellowships provide a stipend of $16,200 per year for full-time graduate study. NSF also provides an annual cost-of-education allowance of $10,500. NSF graduate fellows may attend any appropriate non-profit U.S. or foreign institution of higher education. The three years of support may be used within a five-year window, during which time students may suspend receipt of their fellowship stipend in order to incorporate teaching or work experience into their graduate education.

Rippke has done extensive research on microwave power amplifiers, including a year-long senior honors thesis, under the direction of William E. Jemison, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Jemison explains, “The microwave power amplifier is one of the most important components in a modern digital communications system. This is particularly true for portable applications such as cellular and personal communications systems where designers must carefully consider performance tradeoffs such as gain vs. power added efficiency in order to meet conflicting system requirements such as battery life vs. maximum system coverage.”

Rippke says, “I’d like to address the continuing needs for high-powered devices that are faster and cheaper. My work with Professor Jemison has endless applications in digital television and cellular phones and the concept of a wireless house where you could control your toaster or your television from a panel in the kitchen. Wireless is a huge field and I guess you could say that I want to get in on the wireless revolution.”

Rippke and fellow electrical and computer engineering major Feiyu Wang, a junior from Roseville, Minn., were honored for presentations on their research at the 2000 IEEE Sarnoff Symposium on Communications Technology for the New Millennium March 22 at The College of New Jersey. They tied for second place in a session that highlighted research currently being performed at the region’s colleges and universities.

The students coauthored the papers they presented with Jemison and others who are doing research on microwave power amplifiers funded by a three-year, $175,290 grant from the National Science Foundation.

“The Sarnoff Symposium is a highly respected regional conference whose purpose is the dissemination of the latest advances in various microwave communications technologies. Ian and Feiyu did an outstanding job presenting our work in a highly competent and professional manner that exceeded my highest expectations,” Jemison says.

“The conference was attended by approximately 400 microwave communications professionals from both industry and academia,” Jemison says. “My colleagues who saw the presentations remarked to me that they were extremely impressed with the quality of research being performed by our undergraduates.”

Categorized in: Academic News