Ellery B. Paine Outstanding Junior Award

Established 1983

Ellery B. Paine

Prof. Ellery B. Paine was the head of the UI Department of Electrical Engineering for 31 years and was responsible for bringing Joseph Tykociner, the inventor of sound-on-film movies, to the UI after Tykociner left Russia during the revolution of 1917. The new technique was developed in UI laboratories in 1921. At the first public demonstration of sound film, in 1922, Paine was chosen as the subject. "Not being able to think of words worthy of this recording, I decided to repeat Lincoln's Gettysburg Address," he recalled later.

Prof. Paine graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass., in 1897. He received a master's degree from the school the following year, and an electrical engineering degree in 1904. As a WPI graduate student he designed and built a transformer that produced higher voltages than had ever before been produced by a single transformer.

He came to the UI in 1907 and became Department Head six years later in 1913. He officially retired in 1944, but remained active in department affairs until his death at the age of 100 on February 28, 1976.


The Ellery B. Paine Outstanding Junior Award has been established by Norman R. Carson, of Seattle, Washington, to honor the memory of Professor Ellery B. Paine, who joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1907 and served as Head of the Department from 1913 until his retirement in 1944.


  1. You must be a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, enrolled in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  2. Must be a junior who has completed half of his or her third year in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  3. The award recipient should have a grade point average of B or better and be in the top 25% of his or her class.
  4. Must have demonstrated leadership potential in activities such as social fraternities or sororities, honor societies, publications, military units, bands, local business enterprises, athletics or other similar group activities sponsored by the University or the College of Engineering.
  5. Evidence of leadership potential demonstrated in secondary school also may be considered in selection of the award recipient.
  6. If the qualifications of several award candidates are equal, preference shall be given to students studying electric power systems.


The Paine Award is one of four awards in the Department for Juniors. Applications for the award may be submitted online beginning in January of each year. The top candidates are interviewed by a faculty committee.


The recipient(s) will be recognized during an annual Student Awards Banquet. All student recipients are featured on the second floor of the ECE Building's Student Honors Wall.

Past Recipients of the Award

Year Recipients
2022-2023 Charles Plonski, Ethan White, Jingyi Xiang
2020-2021 Jason Pan
Maohao Shen
2019-2020 Marshall Shriner
2018-2019 Penny Xu
2017-2018 Bassel Alesh
2016-2017 Qian Ma
2015-2016 Jamie Padilla
Robert "Tyler" Hansen
2014-2015 Chuma Kabaghe
2013-2014 Jerry Zhou
2012-2013 Danyang Zhuo
2011-2012 Jie Yee Chan
Zheming Zheng
2010-2011 Roshan Choxi
2009-2010 Xichen Jiang
2008-2009 Vishnu Sivaji
2007-2008 Catherine Wah
Thomas Comberiate
2006-2007 Jason Chang
2005-2006 Pankil Dharia
2004-2005 Grace Woo
2003-2004 William Snodgrass
2002-2003 Katherine Sutton
2001-2002 Ann C. Lehman
2000-2001 Ashley J. Llorens
1999-2000 Thomas F. Detwiler
1998-1999 Rajesh Shah
1997-1998 Scott A. Scheuber
1996-1997 Meghan T. Thornton
1995-1996 Sivaraja Kuppuswami
1994-1995 Robert J. Denardo
1993-1994 Deborah M. Shepard
1992-1993 Binal J. Patel
1991-1992 James R. Janninck
1990-1991 Dawn M. Smith
1989-1990 Lorelei Hunt
1988-1989 Thomas F. Nolan
1987-1988 Jennifer P. Taitt
1986-1987 Karen P. Lindholm
1985-1986 Walter F. Block