Amritesh Rai completed his schooling at the The Doon School, Dehradun, India, in 2007 (top 5% of class), received his B.S. (summa cum laude) in Electrical and Computer Engineering(ECE) from The Ohio State University(OSU) in 2012 and his M.S. in ECE from The University of Texas at Austin(UT) in 2016. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in ECE, working as a Graduate Research Assistant at UT’s Microelectronics Research Center. His specialization track is Solid State Electronics(SSE) and his research focuses on studying the electronic transport properties as well as digital/RF device applications of atomically thin two-dimensional semiconducting materials such as the transition metal dichalcogenides. He serves as a reviewer for several high impact factor scientific journals including American Chemical Society(ACS) Nano, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces(AMI), 2D Materials, IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices(TED), IEEE Electron Device Letters(EDL), Applied Physics Letters(APL), and Nanoscale. As a graduate student, Amritesh has also worked as a Graduate Research Intern at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, IL as well as a Technology Development Intern at Micron Technology, Inc. in Boise, ID. Amritesh has received several accolades and recognitions for his excellent academic/ research performance. While at OSU, he received the ‘Academic Excellence Award’ from the IEEE Columbus Section, the ‘Undergraduate Enrichment Award’ from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and was inducted into IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu(IEEE-HKN) – the honor society of IEEE. At UT, he was selected by the UT ECE Department as its top-ranked nominee for the 2016 IBM Ph.D. Fellowship, and by Qualcomm as one of the U.S. Finalists for its highly competitive Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship in 2017. He has received the ‘Professional Development Award’ twice as well as the ‘Academic Enrichment Award’ from the UT Graduate School. Besides academia and research, Amritesh has served in various mentorship, outreach and leadership roles. He has mentored several undergraduates, high school students and teachers as part of various STEM outreach and mentorship programs at UT, and is a two-time recipient of the ‘Best Mentor Award’ administered by UT’s Summer Research Program. He served as President of the Student Leadership Council(SLC) of the NSF NASCENT Engineering Research Center(ERC) at UT. He is also the Founder and Chair of the IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society – Graduate Student Chapter in the Central Texas Section and serves as the Young Professionals Chair for IEEE Region 5. He is a member of IEEE Electron Devices Society(EDS) as well as the American Physical Society (APS) too.
👨💼 Who is your role model and why?
I’ve come across quite a few people in my life so far who have inspired me. If I were to choose one, that would certainly be my maternal grandfather. He was a trailblazer and I learnt several important lessons from him while I was growing up such as selfless service to others, leadership, and rational thinking, even though he’s no more, his ideas continue to inspire me.
🌠 What is your most significant accomplishment so far?
Ever since I started my grad studies at The University of Texas at Austin, I have been an active STEM mentor. Over the past few years at UT Austin, I have mentored several high school students, undergraduates as well as high school teachers through various STEM outreach and mentoring programs. I consider myself fortunate that my mentees have always made it a point to reach out to me saying that something that I told them or taught them has had a positive impact in their lives. To be able to motivate and inspire others, according to me, has been my most significant accomplishment so far – something I definitely will continue doing!
👨🎓 Where do you see yourself in a year?
I am on track to finish my Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at UT Austin by mid-2019, following which I will start working at Micron Technology, Inc. in Boise. I will be working as a Process Integration Engineer in their advanced 3D NAND memory group. So, yes, I will be in a really exciting and challenging role where I will be contributing my efforts towards innovating new memory/ data storage technologies in about a year from now. Also, I will, of course, continue being actively involved with IEEE and will be working closely as a YP volunteer with the IEEE Boise Section.
🦸♂️ What has being an IEEE Young Professional(YP) volunteer done for your life/ career?
It has been a real pleasure being a YP volunteer and the rewards have been aplenty professionally as well as personally. The biggest reward has been meeting so many amazing YP volunteers out there who are doing great things, many of whom I’m good friends with now. Meeting such inspiring people and having discussions with them on various topics has definitely broadened my thinking. As a YP volunteer, I’ve also had the chance to expand my network and make professional contacts in diverse industries. Moreover, being actively involved in various volunteering activities has certainly helped polish my soft skills which are extremely important for a successful career ahead.
💻 Can you name a time you used a YP resource?
I’m a frequent visitor to the YP website and it certainly has a lot of useful resources to offer. From all types of manuals and event guides to various templates and graphics to a portal for ordering event kit and materials, the YP website has everything one might need to aid in the planning and execution of successful YP events. For instance, I made use of the IEEE presentation template available on the YP website before giving an invited talk at the IEEE devDay event organized by the Houston YPs earlier this year.
👉 Best advice for YPs to get involved?
Be self-motivated and find at least a couple of hours a week to volunteer. The easiest and the best way to get involved is to connect with your local IEEE section as well as your local YP affinity group and help out with their ongoing activities. Remember that you are where you are because there were people who helped and mentored you. Likewise, you must go out there and utilize your experience to help chaperone the next crop of engineers. Just go out there and volunteer – you will be glad you did!
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