Building a STEM Foundation for ECE to Thrive 

Monday, March 20
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Breakout Session Panel: Building a STEM foundation to thrive in ECE


  • Zhihua Qu, ECE Professor and Chair, University of Central Florida


  • Peter Balyta, President Education Technology, Texas Instruments
  • Tom Dick, Professor, Mathematics and Coordinator of Collegiate Mathematics Education, Oregon State University

  • Stephanie B. Ogden, Dean of R&D and Math Department Chair, L&N STEM Academy
  • Michel Maharbiz, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California at Berkeley
Sponsored by:
Texas Instruments


This panel will focus specifically around mathematics as the fundamental tool needed to solve a common problem faced by ECE departments: how to grow and retain ECE students who are ready to hit the ground running their freshman year of university. The panelists will discuss a number of issues for the audience to consider toward the future of ECE: why math is important; teaching tools and resources that work within existing educational infrastructures; what is expected of an entering university engineering freshman; and how industry and academia should work together to nurture a STEM environment for students so that they may choose ECE and flourish as future engineers.



Zhihua Qu
Professor and Chair
Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Central Florida

Dr. Qu’s research interests include systems and control, in particular, robust control of nonlinear uncertain systems and cooperative control of networked heterogeneous systems, as well as their applications to autonomous vehicles, smart grid, and medical robotics. He directs a few laboratories, including UCF's Medical Robotics Laboratory. He is the PI and Director of FEEDER Center, one of the four national-network centers funded by U.S. Department of Energy under its GEARED Program. As a Co-PI for Electric Vehicle Transportation Center (a tier-1 university transportation center funded by U.S. Department of Transportation), Dr. Qu leads the effort of developing smart interfaces between electrical vehicles and electrical grid as well as autonomous vehicle technologies.



  Peter Balyta, Ph.D.
Texas Instruments Incorporated
Vice President, Academic Engagement and Corporate Citizenship
President, Education Technology

Peter Balyta, Ph.D., is vice president of academic engagement and corporate citizenship for Texas Instruments, and president of its Education Technology business. He is responsible for leading teams that focus on the mission of teaching, learning and being inspired by STEM subjects and the impact TI makes in the communities in which it operates. This includes several groups and programs that span TI, all of which aim to help students develop a strong educational foundation, setting them up for future success in a workforce that increasingly demands STEM skills:

  • Education Technology, a global business that delivers market-leading science and math learning products, teacher professional development and classroom resources for the K12 market.
  • The university program, which works with university engineering faculty and students to facilitate the inclusion of TI technology in the learning experience.
  • Collaboration with university engineering research faculty to work on life-improving research projects.
  • Corporate citizenship, which is accountable for the company’s social, environmental and economic impact around the world through community and employee engagement and philanthropy. This includes investments that improve access to education and STEM subjects.

Before starting his career at TI in 2000, Balyta was a mathematics educator, math and science district supervisor and a TI Teachers Teaching with Technology™ (T³™) instructor. In his roles at TI, he has brought his enthusiasm and experience from the classroom to support and drive TI’s education vision of equipping and inspiring future generations of leaders and engineers. 

Balyta holds a Ph.D. in mathematics and technology education from McGill University; a master of science in mathematics from Concordia University; and a master of business administration from the University of Texas at Dallas. He remains an educator at heart and is passionate about engaging today’s students in STEM subjects to build the problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed for tomorrow’s workforce


Michel Maharbiz

Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences 
University of California at Berkeley  

Michel M. Maharbiz is a Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the extreme miniaturization of technology focused on building synthetic interfaces to cells and organisms. He is known as one of the co-inventors of "neural dust", an ultrasonic interface for vanishingly small implants in the body. His group is also known for developing the world’s first remotely radio-controlled cyborg beetles. This was named one of the top ten emerging technologies of 2009 by MIT’s Technology Review (TR10) and was in Time Magazine’s Top 50 Inventions of 2009. Prof. Maharbiz received his B.S. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley under nanotechnologist Professor Roger T. Howe (EECS) and synthetic biologist Professor Jay D. Keasling (ChemE); his thesis work led to the foundation of Microreactor Technologies, Inc. which was acquired in 2009 by Pall Corporation. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE (Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society) and a member of the Society for Neuroscience. Prof. Maharbiz is a Chan-Zuckerberg (CZ) Biohub Investigator (2017), a Bakar Fellow (2014), recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2009), a GE Scholar and an Intel IMAP Fellow. Michel’s long term goal is understanding developmental mechanisms as a way to engineer and fabricate machines.


          Thomas Dick
Professor, Mathematics and Coordinator of Collegiate Mathematics Education
Oregon State University

Thomas Dick is a professor and former chair of Oregon State University’s department of mathematics.  He also serves as the Oregon State University’s Coordinator of Collegiate Mathematics Education, Faculty Director of the OSU Math Learning Center and the OSU Math Excel (Treisman Emerging Scholars) program.   His main interests in mathematics education research are in the use of technology to enhance mathematics teaching and learning.  .   He is a former chair of the editorial panel for Journal for Research in Mathematics Education and a former chair of the Advanced Placement Calculus Test Development Committee.



Stephanie B. Ogden

Dean of R&D and Math Department Chair,
L&N STEM Academy 

As Dean and Lead Teacher, Dr. Stephanie Ogden led in the design and implementation of the L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville, TN, a public secondary magnet school offering a choice for students expressing an interest in our trans-disciplinary STEM curriculum, experiential instructional strategies, and school culture built on a foundation of relational trust and sustained by our STEM habits: Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Design, Innovation, Inquiry, and Professionalism.

The Chair of the Math Department at her school, Stephanie is a leader in AP Calculus and a member of the Course Development Committee for AP Engineering. The Dean of R&D, she has served as PI on grant applications and facilitated innovative curriculum initiatives between and among university personnel, partners in STEM businesses, and faculty members at the school.

A national leader in STEM teaching and learning, Stephanie speaks widely on creating and sustaining schools as communities of leaders. As a member of the International School Leadership Development Network, Stephanie contributes to global research in educational leadership for social justice. Increasingly concerned about the long-term impact of educational policies and practices on schools and society, Stephanie aims to influence school and district leaders to think and act in ways that develop and support excellent teachers and the profession of teaching. 


 Conference Sponsors    
 Corporate Partner
 Signature Sponsors
 National Instruments
 Platinum Sponsors

 Texas Instruments
 Diamond Sponsors
Analog Devices
 Gold Sponsors
 ECExpo Floor Sponsor
National Instruments 
 Innovation Awards Program Sponsor
 Spotlight Program Sponsor
 Latin America Delegation Sponsor
 National Instruments
 Education Sponsors
Analog Devices
Texas Instruments 
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