The genius of generosity.

Real stories of how donors made a difference.

Be part of the genius at ECE ILLINOIS.

Omar Joya

Engineering Visionary Scholarship

When choosing a college, cost was the largest factor in Omar Joya’s decision. Thankfully, an Engineering Visionary Scholarship, combined with other support, allowed him to choose ECE ILLINOIS over competing offers.

“Many competitive programs do not carry the collaborative and supportive environment Engineering at Illinois continually tries to foster. For this reason, I could not be happier to attend this institution.” During his freshman year, the caliber and rigor of the coursework was intimidating, but support from faculty, staff, and his peers helped him persevere.

This supportive and collaborative environment is what makes Illinois unique. Omar has been involved with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers during all four years at Illinois. Through this organization, he has met countless mentors and peers who have helped him pave the way for the rest of his career. One of his favorite undergraduate memories traveling to Beijing and Shanghai over the summer with the Hoeft Technology and Management Program.

Omar is also a member of the Marching Illini. Along with his saxophone, he has traveled with the group Dublin, Ireland, for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Omar is grateful for the incredible support of our alumni and donors. “My entire story as an engineering student would not have been possible without the support of donors. A gift goes a long way; it does not just go to a scholarship – it goes to an infinite set of experiences that otherwise would not have been possible.” For this, he is proud to carry the University’s name with him as he strives to make a difference in the world. “I hope that further down the line, I can support future students achieve their goals and dreams, just like someone supported me.”

Following graduation this spring, he heads to Microsoft for an internship in the hardware engineering division. He plans to return to campus in the fall to pursue a graduate degree in electrical engineering.


Lisa Hackett

Linda Su-Nan Chang Sah Doctoral Fellowship

Lisa Hackett believes that optical biosensors are the key to more accurate cancer detection and diagnosis. As a PhD candidate, she is developing nanoplasmonic devices that detect cancer biomarkers with a higher level of sensitivity than traditional tools.

Thanks to the Linda Su-Nan Chang Sah Doctoral Fellowship, Lisa can explore new areas of research, focusing on physics instead of funding.

“It’s been a huge gift for me. When you have a fellowship, there is definitely a sense of relief and a sense of freedom,” she said. “It has allowed me to pursue projects that have a higher risk and higher reward.”

Lisa's success comes from hard work, creativity, and the support of the community of women engineers at Illinois. “They have helped me grow into the researcher I want to be.”


Siddhanth Munukutla

John Bardeen Undergraduate Award and Graduate Fellowship

When Siddhanth Munukutla came to ECE ILLINOIS from Singapore as an undergraduate, he knew the importance of finding his niche. He found it in student organizations, holding leadership positions with PURE (Promoting Undergraduate Research in Engineering) and Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Alpha Chapter. As a graduate student, he is still dedicated to building a strong ECE ILLINOIS community. As the Graduate Vice-Chair of the ECE Student Advancement Committee, he is an ambassador for the department. He plans and organizes events throughout the year that benefit graduate students.

He is equally passionate about his research. Under the mentorship of Professor Joseph Lyding, Siddhanth explores the use of carbon nanotubes and graphene nanoribbons in semiconducting devices. “As we reach the performance limits with existing materials, we are going to have to replace it with potential new materials,” he said. His research focuses on these new materials, searching for the future backbone of electronic devices.

Unsurprisingly, Siddhanth is keenly aware of the legacy of two-time Nobel Prize winner Professor John Bardeen. Winning both the John Bardeen Undergraduate Award and Graduate Fellowship allowed Siddhanth to pursue his research interests. He is thankful for the awards and the opportunity to work with the most “intelligent, passionate, and hardworking researchers in the field.”

Donors fund ECE Building

Thank you to the donors who made the ECE Building a reality. Watch ECE students, faculty, and staff describe how the building has changed their lives. Learn more about THE BUILDING CAMPAIGN FOR ECE ILLINOIS or make a donation in support of the project.

Contact Us

Heather Vazquez

Senior Director of Advancement
1060 ECE Building
(217) 333-2517

Craig Jackson Jr.

Director of Advancement
1062 ECE Building
(217) 300-9161