Network expert wins first Ackerman teaching award


The Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS) is proud to announce that Sekhar Tatikonda, associate professor of Electrical Engineering, has won the inaugural Ackerman Award for Teaching and Mentoring. This prize, made possible by a generous gift from Yale Engineering alumnus Robert W. Ackerman '60, recognizes a faculty member for having a positive impact on students and contributing to the educational mission of SEAS and Yale University.

Tatikonda's research centers on communication theory, information theory, networking and statistical machine learning. He is also affiliated with the new Yale Institute of Network Science, a multidisciplinary effort to advance the study of networks, be they communication networks, sensor networks, social networks, economic networks or biological networks.

In the classroom, Tatikonda is known for encouraging students to challenge themselves, clarify their thoughts and ask questions. Students and teaching fellows in courses like Communications, Computation and Control and Stochastic Processes praise his accessibility, patience and quick wit.

"[Tatikonda] combines his classroom commitment with a remarkable ability and willingness to guide his graduate students," wrote Electrical Engineering teaching fellow Alp Kucukelbir. "He often pushes me to 'think precisely' in formulating my own approach on problems and offers to look them over once I have done so."

SEAS graduate and undergraduate students submitted nominations for the Ackerman Award, with students also playing a key role in the review process for selecting a winner.
Robert W. Ackerman and his wife, Meg, travelled to New Haven in May to celebrate the inaugural awarding of the Ackerman Prize. Ackerman noted at the event's conclusion "It was great fun to be back on campus for this occasion. Sekhar has clearly inspired many students – he undoubtedly has a bright future ahead!"