This article was originally published by Reema Amin, ECE ILLINOIS.

Pradeep Shenoy, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, was named the recipient of the 2010 Illinois International Graduate Achievement Award for his efforts in collaborative global research and international service.

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Pradeep ShenoyThe award is awarded annually to one Illinois graduate student for innovative international research and service abroad that has had the greatest impact on the university or larger community. Shenoy, whose focus is power electronics, researched electrical energy conservation in Beijing, China in 2008. He also conducted research on campus with a researcher from India in 2009.

Shenoy’s colleague Gloria Jea nominated him for the award in 2009, and she resubmitted the nomination for the 2010 award set. Shenoy said he was delighted when he received the news.

“It was great. It was both humbling and rewarding,” Shenoy said.

During his time in Beijing, Shenoy performed his research at Tsinghua University, one of China’s leading institutions. The trip was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Shenoy said he learned how to use hardware effectively and was introduced to new research approaches in the field.

Shenoy returned to China in 2009 under a Foreign Language and Area Study (FLAS) fellowship with different goals in mind: to delve in to China’s language and culture. But he was not traveling with a blank slate; Shenoy studied Mandarin for three years before the trip.

While this trip did not involve research, Shenoy said he stayed in contact with his colleagues at Tsinghua and helped them with some research-related tasks.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, Shenoy continued his interest in energy systems research by collaborating with a postdoc from India. The two developed a project that significantly improves the performance of dc to dc converters.

 “We’ve made [voltage conversion] faster than previously established time optimal methods,” Shenoy said.

Shenoy can trace his interest in power electronics back to his undergraduate days at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (IIT). He took place in a formula hybrid competition, where he worked on a hybrid electric race car.

As a result of his diverse international background, Shenoy shares an equal interest in global relations. He said he spent several years growing up in India and Portugal, which adds to his appreciation of other cultures.

“Winning this award not only comes from a professional side but also a personal side,” he said.

Shenoy currently researches with ECE professor Philip T. Krein, who said Shenoy was “highly recommended” to the University by IIT.

“He had a lot of interest in potential international collaboration. It’s a valuable thing to get started on these international collaborations,” Krein said.

Krein and Shenoy are working together to make a more efficient microprocessor power supply. If the two are successful, the product can make computers more efficient and can pave the path for a new company, as well as Shenoy’s future.

Shenoy looks to finish his PhD in the next year and perhaps work in the power electronics industry. But he has bigger dreams than that.

“I want to get to the point where I can actively be a leader in global energy. It is an important concern and will be more so in the future. It’s about meeting the world’s energy needs, but doing it in a responsible way,” Shenoy said.