Electrical and Computer Engineering Hosts IEEE Student Activities Conference

Jenna Fazio speaking at a lectern
Jenna Fazio '24 CpE, chair of Villanova's IEEE student branch, kicked off the opening ceremony.

Jenna Fazio ’24 CpE, Villanova University IEEE Student Branch Chair

Robert H. Caverly, PhD, Villanova University IEEE Student Branch Counselor

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Villanova University hosted the 2024 IEEE Joint Region 1 and Region 2 Student Activities Conference on April 6, 2024, featuring a full day of student-oriented activities for IEEE student members from the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions.

The night before the conference, a meetup at Dave & Buster’s in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., provided the visiting students, their advisors and leaders from IEEE Regions 1 and 2 with a chance to meet informally.

Conference organizers greeted the attendees on Saturday morning in the Villanova Room at the Connelly Center on campus. The opening ceremony was kicked off by Jenna Fazio ’24 CpE, chair of Villanova’s IEEE student branch and of the conference’s organization, followed by a welcome from David Jamison, PhD, the College of Engineering’s associate dean for Undergraduate Affairs, and leaders from IEEE.

Tommaso Cappello and Robert Caverly at an organization's table
Assistant Professor Tommaso Cappello and Professor Robert Caverly of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The first morning session featured parallel workshop sessions on software-defined radios, an Arduino programming introduction, an introduction to SumoBot “fighting robots” and Mangdang “robot dogs,” and résumé development. The second block included a workshop on creating a social media presence and interviewing skills for job-search success, sessions on the use of IEEE volunteer software and web tools, and a drone workshop held in the Villanova Cinema.

A Project Showcase organized by Assistant Teaching Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Liesl Klein, PhD, took place during the lunch period. In addition, there were several IEEE Society booths, including one by a conference sponsor, the IEEE Microwave Theory and Technology Society, staffed by Tommaso Cappello, PhD, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Closing banquet in Villanova Room
The conference concluded with a banquet in the Villanova Room.

The afternoon sessions were primarily devoted to competitions. These included the SumoBot preliminaries and finals; the IEEE Ethics Competition, a team case study of an ethical dilemma; the Brown Bag Electronics Competition, in which students were given a bag of random electronic components along with three circuit tasks to complete using only these components; and the MicroMouse Competition, which featured small robots negotiating a maze. Additionally, a “Signal Safari” workshop organized by Klein and Associate Teaching Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Alan Johnston, PhD, introduced students to antennas and software-defined radios to find hidden transmitters on campus and to search for satellites orbiting over Villanova at that time.

After the afternoon sessions were completed, all attendees were invited to attend the Women in Engineering panel session in the Villanova Cinema. The conference concluded with an evening banquet and the presentation of awards to the day’s competition winners. More than 150 students from 17 universities in the Mid-Atlantic and New England attended, including more than a dozen students from Villanova, as well as an additional 40 faculty members and IEEE leaders, including the Region 1 and 2 directors.


Elizabeth Slocum
Director, Communication and Marketing