Electrical engineering alumna wins Engineering Emmy Award


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – This fall, millions of viewers tuned in to watch television’s biggest stars receive recognition during the 70thAnnual Primetime Emmy Awards. But it wasn’t just celebrities whose work was recognized; Diane Miller, Penn State electrical engineering alumna and senior embedded firmware engineer at Production Resource Group, received an Engineering Emmy Award for her work on the GroundControl project at Production Resource Group.

According to the Emmy Awards website, an Engineering Emmy Award “is bestowed upon an individual, company or organization for developments in engineering that are either so extensive an improvement on existing methods, or so innovative in nature, that they materially affect the transmission, recording or reception of television.” A jury of television engineers selects the award recipients each year.

Miller and her team at Production Resource Group received the Emmy for their project GroundControl, which allows a followspot operator, who usually works suspended from a truss above the stage or audience, to work from the ground and control the followspot remotely. The product includes moving stage lights or fixtures, a controller, a conversion box between the two and a switcher box that allows the controller to be connected to up to four different fixtures so the user can choose which one to control. 

“My role on this project was to design and implement all of the firmware. I worked with both the electrical team, who does the circuit board design, and the mechanical team to develop the product, then with the product manager to implement customer-driven improvements,” said Miller.

While this is Miller’s first Emmy, her professional success dates back to the beginning of her career, when she interned for the State College engineering firm Intuitive Control Systems (now All Traffic Solutions) as a Penn State senior. After receiving her degree in electrical engineering in 2006, she accepted a job at the engineering consulting firm EDGE Product Development (now Team Edge), where she worked on designing an automatic endoscope cleaner for hospital use. Later, while working for Raven Industries in South Dakota, she received her first patent for her firmware work on their direct injection sprayer system for agriculture. After moving to Texas to work for Production Resource Group, where she has been a firmware engineer for the past ten years, she went on to receive two more patents for her work on the GroundControl system.

Miller credits her Penn State education as laying the foundation for her professional success. “My time at Penn State was instrumental in teaching me how to think like an engineer, to creatively but logically solve problems. Much of my work today involves thinking around corners in a technical setting with realistic limitations, and the coursework I completed at Penn State gave me the knowledge and skills I need to excel in my field.”


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Sarah Small


Woman holds Emmy trophy

Diane Miller. Credit: Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP Images.

"The coursework I completed at Penn State gave me the knowledge and skills I need to excel in my field.”



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.

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