Electrical engineering alumnus receives AISES Technical Excellence Award

Winds of Change, American Indian Education and Opportunity

Autumn 2007

Technical Excellence Award
Dr. Stanley Atcitty

Stanley Atcitty, Diné, is an electrical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The combination of his incredible technical accomplishments, his personal leadership qualities, and contributions to the nation’s energy security challenges has earned him the 2007 AISES Technical Excellence Award. Atcitty is an internationally recognized expert in the area of power conversion systems, research and development, and understanding of the system-level performance of electrochemical capacitors and is often called upon to give technical advice, presentations and consultations. In 1003, Atcitty received the prestigious R&D 100 Award from Research and Development magazine for the Emitter turn-off thyristor (ETO). The ETO was one of the 100 most innovative products of the year.

Atcitty’s work is well documented in peer-reviewed journals, patents, patent applications and presentations to academia, government and industry audiences. He has written articles for 30 publications and has more in progress. As a role model, Atcitty has made presentations that focue on his experience as a successful Native American professional to college-bound high school students and freshmen college students. He has inspired many Native American students to pursue technical degrees and to strive for success in their own lives. Atcitty received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University, and his Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Atcitty is married to Lisa Atcitty and has four children.

I was exicted when I first heard about this award. I feel very honored to receive the award and it fuels my desire to do more in my field.

My current manager, John Boyes, has guided me many times in my professional career. Other mentors at work include Nancy Clark, Garth Corey, Paul Butler and Rick Hartzell. Each of these people contributed in various ways.

In the field of electrical engineering, I see interest growing in the advanced materials such as silicon carbide for semiconductor switches, especially for high-voltage applications, such as for electrical utility systems. They offer higher voltage breakdown, junction temperatures, and switching frequencies which translate to a more robust and high-density system. Other areas of growth include power electronic packaging. As systems become more integrated and smaller, advanced packaging techniques will become very important.

I would tell young people to take as many math and science courses as they can get in high school, along with presentation and reading and writing classes. I think the latter part (presentation, reading and writing) is very important, coupled with a technical background. A good balance would only be beneficial.

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