First-Hand:IEEE Award Recipient Series:Moeness G. Amin
Moeness G. Amin
What Award did you receive from IEEE?
IEEE Dennis J. Picard Medal in Radar Technologies and Applications
Place of Birth
Where did you grow up
Family Background: Parents and their education level & Siblings and their education/profession
Father held a Law Degree and was a legal consultant to oil companies; mother is a housewife; elder brother holds a Master's Degree in Law from University of Southampton; sister holds a Master's Degree in Pharmacology from Ohio State University; Second brother holds a PhD in Mass Media and Communications from Ohio State University
What did you want to do when you grew up?
Be a Professor
What was your upbringing like? Did you have a large family?
Yes, 4 uncles and 5 aunts from my mother side, 3 aunts from my father side, and many cousins from both sides of my parents
Did you have any hobbies (eg. Some people talk about learning trade skills from a family member.)
Fishing in the Nile and Mediterranean Sea
Did you partake in after school activities? Did you play sports?
Yes, soccer over the weekends. I played Center Back
Did you have a part-time job (after school, summer)? What was your most surprising job assignment?
No. I never worked part-time when I was a student or after. During College years at Cairo University, I had a full-time job two summers as a trainee.
Did you take vacations and/or go on day trips? Favorite holiday/family gathering?
I always took 3-months off in the summer from June to August. I often went to the shore with my family and cousins. Alexandria, Egypt was my favorite city to vacation in.
EDUCATION: Favorite subject in school (K-12, university). Why?
Math. I was always good in Math!
Did you have a least favorite subject in school (K-12, university. Why?
Chemistry. Could not memorize well scientific names!
Why did you select the university (universities) you attended? What was your major and why did you select it?
My major was Electrical Engineering for all my university degrees. I liked the technical area of Signal Processing because it deals with applied math. My BSc was from Cairo University which was and still is the top university in Egypt and the campus was only 30-minute walk from my home. For my master’s I went to King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia because my father was working In Dhahran and lived there at that time and because the university had and still has a strong engineering graduate program that resembles those at US institutions. I selected University of Colorado, Boulder for my PhD because it was one of the best schools in US in Signal Processing -- an area I wanted very much to specialize in. Also, Boulder is a beautiful city. I had full scholarships throughout my higher education.
Employment and career: First job - Current position - Favorite job
First job was a faculty member at the University of Colorado, Denver which was immediately after I finished my PhD. Currently, I am a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Villanova University. I am also the Director of the College of Engineering's Center for Advanced Communications. My favorite Job is the one I currently have since it gives me the opportunity to mentor both faculty and students.
Has your career turned out as you expected?
Exactly. But I did not expect to be that fortunate to have had very talented graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working for me. Their work was the impetus of all contributions we have made in advancing the state of art.
Has IEEE played a role in your career? How? What does IEEE mean to you?
IEEE has been the technical home for me. It is the place I gain knowledge about the fundamentals, state of the art, emerging applications, and key technologies. In essence, through its publications, it has allowed me to get to know who has done what, when, where, and how. The IEEE has provided me the opportunity to meet and make acquaintance of outstanding people of great minds and characters, whom otherwise I would have never had met them outside the IEEE.
You have been awarded one of IEEE's highest-level awards. What does this award mean to you?
The IEEE Picard Medal in Radar Technologies and Applications is the crowning achievement in my career. It is the ultimate recognition, from most respected organization, of more than 35 years in algorithm developments covering signal analysis, processing, detection, estimation, localization, prediction, classifications, and tracking with applications to radar. This medal has given the honor to be in the same column with great achievers in the field. The Medal citation underscores and bring attention to the important utilities of radar in security and healthcare.
What other associations have helped you in your career?
My association with IET, EURASIP and SPIE Societies.
Career Advice: What advice would you give to young professionals entering your field today?
Be patient, study the problem carefully, and fully understand as well as appreciate previous solutions and attempts by others. Also, devise new algorithms for existing and growing applications and find new applications for existing and powerful algorithms. Charter your own technical approach as long as you believe in it, even if it is not viewed to be in the mainstream. If effective, it will sooner or later be adopted as the next mainstream. As much as possible, use real data to validate your algorithms. So, build good labs early on and acquire the necessary and relevant equipment which would allow you generate the data.
Reflection: What would you have done differently or tell your younger self now?
Do more volunteering services to various communities locally, nationally, and internationally. Also, take weekends off!
Was there a project that you were so passionate about that you continued to pursue it even though there may have been doubts about its success?
My belief in the success of the projects I worked on always propelled me to work harder and go the extra mile to show useful outcomes. These projects have had different levels of success, but I am equally proud of all of them.
What career achievement are you most proud of?
Using radar to improve urban security and to support health monitoring, especially for elderly and people with disabilities. I am also proud of being awarded the IEEE Picard Medal, the IET Achievement Medal, the Humboldt Prize, and the Fulbright Distinguished Chair.
Personal Life: What do you do for fun? Hobbies?
Walk and travel nationally and abroad.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
Raising my kids to be thankful, and to value what they have. Teaching them not to be judgemental and respect the others. Also showing them by example the benefits to see the cup half-full and to never quit and get discouraged because of few blocks along the road.
Do you have a favorite food? Or a family recipe that may have been passed down?
Lamb with rice.
Do you have a favorite genre of music? or a favorite song? Or do you play an instrument?
Many of the arabic music and songs I grew up listening to still are my favorite and I listen to them while driving.
Do you have a prize possession? If so, please explain.
What are three things people may not know about you?
Very sentimental, spending lots of money on clothing and buying things I like, great sense of humor.
Who was your mentor? (eg. family member or professor)
My father implanted in me the drive to succeed and my mother taught me the gooid manners. Academicallly, all my teachers throughout my schooling were my mentors.
What is one thing you cannot live without in your work space?
My computer of course. Physically, windows in my office.
Anything else you would like to share about yourself?