Two electrical engineering students win SPIE scholarships for their research


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Joe Chen and Aaron Long, doctoral students in electrical engineering in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, have been named recipients of 2016 SPIE scholarships.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, awarded $351,000 in scholarships to 133 students involved in optics, photonics or a related field. SPIE has awarded over $5 million dollars in individual scholarships since it began in 1959.

Chen is exploring non-linear optical phenomena, which involves using light to control light in liquid crystals, and is developing optical devices based on the phenomena. He explains that liquid crystal is highly sensitive to external electric fields in displays of light in televisions, computers, smartphones and electronic watches. Yet, the potential applications of liquid crystal are beyond that: non-linear optics is one big branch, such as self-activated eye/sensor-protection and all-optical image processing devices.

Working with his adviser, Iam-Choon Khoo, William E. Leonhard Professor of electrical engineering, Chen is currently focusing on exploring the non-linear optical effects of cholesteric blue-phase liquid crystals and developing materials and devices for further applications in all-optical image processing and ultrafast pulse modulation. The scholarship will help offset the costs of tools needed for the lab and allow him to attend conferences in his area of research.

Long’s work focuses on computer vision, where a computer will interpret a video or picture, using a small, embedded system that works in real time. Long explains that his research can be used not only for military purposes but also for a number of consumer applications, including traffic and car cameras. The scholarship will help him purchase computer parts and supplies needed for research.

He is advised by Ram Narayanan, professor of electrical engineering.

Both Long and Chen learned about the scholarship opportunities through the student chapter of SPIE.


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Rebekka Coakley

Aaron Long

Aaron Long



The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the spring of 2015 to allow greater access to courses offered by both departments for undergraduate and graduate students in exciting collaborative research in fields.

We offer B.S. degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering and data science and graduate degrees (master's degrees and Ph.D.'s) in electrical engineering and computer science and engineering. EECS focuses on the convergence of technologies and disciplines to meet today’s industrial demands.

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

The Pennsylvania State University

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University Park, PA 16802


Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Department of Electrical Engineering