Graduate scholarship launched to honour engineering professor

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Alumni have established a scholarship in Xuemin (Sherman) Shen's name to show their gratitude for the electrical and computer engineering professor's dedication to his graduate students over the years.

Along with his colleagues in telecommunications, graduates of the University’s Broadband Communications Research (BBCR) Lab led by Shen have donated $100,000 to fund the Xuemin Shen Graduate Scholarship in Communications for electrical and computer engineering graduate students.

Alumnus Xiaodong Lin says the scholarship recognizes his former professor's “extraordinary achievements in telecommunication research and in inspirational graduate student mentoring, research guidance, and classroom teaching.”

“The scholarship also reflects Professor Shen's goodwill toward future students, inspiring them to work hard, excel in future studies and careers, take pride as UW students, and become leaders of tomorrow,” says Lin, a computer science professor at the University of Guelph. 

Sherman Shen, electrical and computer engineering professor, and students

A scholarship has been launched to honour Waterloo Engineering professor Xuemin (Sherman) Shen, pictured centre in front row, for his dedication to graduate students over the years.

Approximately 50 thesis-based master’s and 60 PhD students have graduated under Shen’s supervision. Among the alumni with doctoral degrees, about half are now faculty members at universities throughout Canada, the U.S., Asia, Europe, South America, and Australia. The rest are working in top research labs and the IT industry for companies such as Google, Oracle, Bell Mobility, Qualcomm, Huawei, Intel, BlackBerry, Verizon Wireless and Microsoft.

Lin Cai, a University of Victoria electrical and computer engineering professor, was supervised by Shen for both her master’s and doctoral degrees.

“Although I graduated more than a decade ago, I, as well as many other alumni supervised by Professor Shen, feel that we are always part of a big family supported and inspired by him,” says Cai.

Overwhelming response by alumni

For many years, a number of Shen’s former students, including Lin and Cai, discussed establishing a scholarship to honour Shen and give back to the University.

When the idea for the scholarship was announced to BBCR alumni last year, the response was overwhelming. Within a few days, more than 100 people had made a donation.

Shen, awarded the prestigious "University Professor" designation by the University in 2017, specializes in wireless communications and networks.

He is a fellow of many prestigious institutes, including the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Academy of Engineering, Engineering Institute of Canada, and IEEE. He received the Education Award from the IEEE Communications Society in 2017 and the Award of Excellence for Graduate Supervision from the University of Waterloo in 2006.

Shen, who is thankful to his colleagues and former students for establishing the scholarship, says he’s grateful to the University for providing him with a wonderful working environment that attracts high-calibre graduate students.

“Their hard work, dedication and successes help to bring a high reputation and visibility to our University,” he says. “I enjoy working with them and rejoice in their career successes.”

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