UCLA Engineering Receives $1 Million to Establish Graduate Fellowships

Aug 27, 2009

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

By Wileen Wong Kromhout

The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has received $1 million to establish two fellowships that will support graduate students in electrical engineering.

UCLA Engineering alumnus Fang Lu and his wife, Jui-Chuan Yeh, have established the Living Spring Fellowship in Electrical Engineering with a commitment of $500,000. The fellowship will support graduate students with electrical engineering degrees from National Taiwan University, National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) or National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan).

The Guru Krupa Foundation Fellowship in Electrical Engineering was also established by a UCLA Engineering alumnus, Mukund Padmanabhan. This fellowship, with a commitment of $500,000, will support students who, like Padmanabhan and UCLA Engineering dean Vijay K. Dhir, received their undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering from top Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT).

“Increasing the level of endowed funding for graduate students is a major component of our Enhancing Engineering Excellence initiative,” Dhir said. “Outstanding graduate students enrich the academic environment, inspire, teach and challenge our undergraduate students. Gifts like these will help fulfill the school’s mission on many levels.”

The school’s goal is to raise $25 million in endowed fellowship funds, enough to provide financial assistance to all first-year doctoral students.

Both fellowships are also a part of UCLA’s Bruin Scholars Initiative, aimed at generating $500 million for graduate student fellowships and undergraduate scholarships by 2013. The Bruin Scholars fund drive builds on the success of the Ensuring Academic Excellence initiative, launched in June 2004 by then-Chancellor Albert Carnesale to raise $250 million over five years to help recruit and retain the very best students and faculty.

“The financial support I received from UCLA during my graduate studies enabled me to thrive. I felt I should pay my success forward to future students to enable them to benefit from the UCLA experience as I did,” Padmanabhan said of his motivation to make the gift.

Padmanabhan received a bachelor of technology degree in electronics and communication engineering from IIT Kharagpur and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from UCLA. At UCLA, he worked in the areas of signal processing and analog integrated circuits and, subsequently, in the area of statistical speech recognition at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

Currently, Padmanabhan’s primary area of research is in statistical financial modeling for Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund management company. He is also president of the Guru Krupa Foundation, a nonprofit private organization that supports several educational, social and religious causes.

The Guru Krupa Foundation Fellowship will support research that, like much of the work Padmanabhan undertook as a student in the Integrated Circuits and Systems Lab at UCLA Engineering, focuses on the areas of circuits and embedded systems, or signals and systems.

Fang Lu and Jui-Chuan Yeh’s Living Spring Fellowship will support students who, like Lu, come from Taiwanese universities and are studying in the areas of circuits and embedded systems, or signals and systems. Lu received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from National Taiwan University in 1984 and his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from UCLA.

“We wanted to give back to UCLA because it had such a deep impact on my success in life,” Lu said of his and Yeh’s decision to establish the fellowship.

Lu is a fellow and technical director at Broadcom Corp., where he has contributed more than 25 issued or pending U.S. patents, primarily in the areas of the algorithm and architecture of digital signal processing and high-speed analog and digital integrated circuit designs.

Yeh earned her master’s degree in public health from UCLA.

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