William Sussman ’21 Receives IEEE Award


William Sussman ’21 has been named the northeastern US recipient of the Larry K. Wilson Regional Student Activities Award by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology. 

The award recognizes the IEEE student member most responsible for an extraordinary accomplishment associated with student activities. 

Sussman, an electrical engineering and computer science major, is the Founder and Co-Chair of Y-IEEE, the Yale Student Branch of IEEE. Y-IEEE actively promotes electrical engineering at the intersection of liberal arts and technology via exciting projects and inspiring events. The group’s goal is to facilitate a vibrant, spontaneous, and ambitious culture of engineering at Yale. 

Y-IEEE was originally founded in 1911 as a branch of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers – one of IEEE's parent organizations – by Yale professor Charles F. Scott, a former president of AIEE. After about a century, the branch dissolved.

When Sussman arrived at Yale in the fall of 2017, he discovered a description of the disbanded group on the School of Engineering & Applied Science website and asked Prof. Mark Reed, the director of undergraduate studies for electrical engineering, how to join. Reed informed Sussman that the branch no longer existed, but that he could revive it. Sussman did just that, and has led – and continues to lead – Y-IEEE’s rapid growth.

Last year Y-IEEE built a working replica of the Apple I computer, a scratch ham radio, and an extensible LED jumbotron, and the group has big plans for the future. Its annual events include an "Electromagnetic" Induction Ceremony for members, as well as an audio speaker-making CEID workshop and a series of talks by electrical engineering faculty for the Yale community.