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September 15, 2021
ECE Undergraduate student Sara Kathryn LaTouf, performing research with Dr. Eirini Eleni Tsiropoulou, has been awarded the IEEE Albuquerque Section 2021 Outstanding Undergraduate Engineering Student Award for outstanding academic performance in the field of Electrical Engineering.
Sara LaTouf was admitted to UNM as a non-traditional student in 2018 and completed 137 credit hours in just 36 months on campus, graduating in Spring 2021 with a 3.96 GPA.
She is an active-duty sailor in the United States Navy who worked as a naval nuclear power plant operator and instructor prior to her transfer to UNM.
LaTouf earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering through a highly competitive Navy scholarship and commissioning program called “Seaman to Admiral, 21st Century.” She trained with the UNM’s Naval ROTC unit in areas such as armed drill, physical fitness, leadership, ethics, and naval engineering.
In addition to her rigorous academic schedule and naval training, LaTouf also participated in the ECE Departmental Honors Program and acted as project manager of the UNM School of Engineering team for a competition hosted by Sandia National Laboratories. The competition required the design, fabrication, and testing of a fully integrated acceleration switch that could survive, sense, and record a range of temperatures, random vibration, and acceleration for potential national security applications.
“For me, STEM has always been a means to an end, where the ‘end’ is connecting with people,” said LaTouf. “Whether participating in a study group, providing tutoring, collaborating on research, or working on a project, I am most excited by the opportunity to learn alongside others.
“I am grateful to my classmates, my shipmates, and especially to my research advisor, Dr. Tsiropoulou, for seeing my potential and contributing to my multidimensional growth as an undergraduate student,”
LaTouf also performed research in the PROTON Lab with her advisor Prof. Eirini Eleni Tsiropoulou, conducting work in research topics related to the National Science Foundation (NSF) project: NSF CRII: NeTS: Real-life modeling for EFficient RESource management in Heterogeneous multi-user systems – REFRESH” (#1849739).
LaTouf has co-authored, prepared, and submitted two IEEE Transactions in the areas of network economics for cyber-physical social systems (CPSS) with applications in Smart Grid Systems and Social Systems.
"Sara’s disciplined character, hard work, team spirit, and kindness in every interaction make her the ideal collaborator to work with, but also a good friend. Sara is a rising star that will shine both in the Navy and as a professional Electrical Engineer. Keep making us proud of you, Sara!” said Tsiropoulou.