Graduate student awarded prestigious engineering fellowship

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Wayne A Shiroma, (808) 956-7218
Professor, Electrical Engineering
Posted: May 7, 2010

Reece Iwami
Reece Iwami

Reece T. Iwami, a UH Mānoa electrical engineering graduate student, will receive a prestigious Graduate Fellowship from the Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He will receive the award at the IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium in Anaheim, California later this month.

The IEEE MTT-S Graduate Fellowship is an internationally competitive award whose recipients are selected on the basis of a research proposal and academic potential, and consists of a $6,000 fellowship and travel funding to the awards presentation. Since its inception over 20 years ago, the only other UH Mānoa recipient that won this award was Grant S. Shiroma in 2004, who eventually earned his PhD. This year, eight awards were given, among 27 applications received. Iwami is one of only two awardees from the U.S.

“This is great news not only for Reece, but also for all UH Mānoa engineering students as it shows that we have very talented students who can compete at the international level,” said Ryan Miyamoto, senior engineer at Oceanit and chair of the IEEE MTT-S Hawaiʻi Chapter. Miyamoto supported Iwami’s application by attesting to the strength of UH Mānoa’s microwave engineering program.

Iwami’s research involves the development of autonomous, self-steering antenna arrays for emerging satellite technologies for reconnaissance and crisis management applications. He currently directs a team of 12 students on a $400,000 extramurally funded project adapting these antennas for nanosatellites. Within the first month of becoming a graduate student, Iwami led a team of three other graduate students on a $30,000 extramurally funded project that investigated the use of self-steering antennas for search-and-rescue applications. Iwami will be presenting a paper on his research at this month’s IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium, the largest and most prestigious conference in the microwave field.

“These are very impressive achievements for someone who hasn’t even completed his first year of graduate studies,” said Wayne Shiroma, UH Mānoa professor of electrical engineering who serves as Iwami’s research advisor. “This is just a continuing trend of what Reece has already demonstrated.”

As a UH Mānoa undergraduate, Iwami was the recipient of both the UH Regents Scholarship and National Consortium for Measurement and Signature Intelligence Research Fellowship programs. He also co-wrote a proposal that helped UH Mānoa win a competitive $110,000 extramurally funded award from the University Nanosat Program.  Iwami’s undergraduate work in nanosatellites resulted in three publications, plus a forthcoming chapter in a book published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Iwami also served as president of the UH Mānoa Chapter of the Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Honor Society, which recently won an outstanding chapter award for activities carried out during his presidency. In view of his accomplishments, the Hawaiʻi Council of Engineering Societies recognized Iwami as its 2009 Student Engineer of the Year, having selected him from the pool of all 2008-09 graduating seniors in all engineering disciplines in Hawaiʻi. Iwami was also selected as the Spring 2009 Outstanding Graduating Senior in Electrical Engineering.