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ECE Juniors receive 2014 John F. Pertsch Prize for outstanding scholarship

Friday, May 16, 2014

While the beautiful campus may have been the first thing that drew them to Cornell, the engineering facilities and interdisciplinary field led both Isaac Kruger and Ian Vermeulen to the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Currently juniors, Isaac and Ian excel in ECE, receiving 2014 John G. Pertsch Prizes, presented annually to outstanding ECE student scholars who, in their third year of study, have achieved the distinction of ranking first and second in their class.

"The motto of the department is 'ECEs Can Do Everything,'" said First Prize-winner Isaac. "While it might sound a little corny, it’s also what drew me to the major. Arriving at Cornell without a clear path in mind, it was refreshing to find a field that opened up so many possible avenues while closing off so few."

Second Prize-winner Ian knew that he wanted to study engineering in college, but wasn’t quite sure whether to choose between electrical and computer engineering or computer science.

"I began by aiming for an electrical and computer engineering major because it sounded like the work would be more hands-on than in computer science," he said. "After exploring classes in each department, I am now pursuing an ECE major with a CS minor."

While still undergraduates, both Isaac and Ian are tackling electrical and computer engineering in the real world. As part of the Engineering Co-op program, Ian spent last fall in the Bay Area working for Workday, returning for another three months this summer. After finals, Isaac will be working at Varian Medical Systems, advancing x-ray simulation techniques.

After receiving his degree next year, Isaac is hoping to work in audio processing, combining an interest in signal processing with a love of music. Ian is contemplating continuing his ECE education by pursuing a Masters of Engineering (M.Eng) degree at Cornell.

"I still have one more year at Cornell," said Isaac. "But I already feel as though I have been exposed to a more varied and interesting assortment of concepts, projects, and people than I had ever thought possible."

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