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VIP Outstanding Mentor Award Goes to Zandehshahvar

Atlanta, GA

ECE Ph.D student Mohammadreza (Reza) Zandehshahvar has been named the recipient of the 2022 VIP Outstanding Mentor Award. Georgia Tech’s Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program is a transformative approach to enhancing higher education by engaging undergraduate and graduate students in ambitious, long-term, large-scale, multidisciplinary project teams that are led by faculty. The program has been rigorously evaluated and refined over more than two decades. The long-term nature of VIP creates an environment of mentorship, with faculty and graduate students mentoring teams, experienced students mentoring new members, and students moving into leadership roles as others graduate.

“In the VIP program you work with motivated students who want to do research and implement what they have learned in the classroom for a real-world problem,” said Zandehshahvar. “My long-term plan is to become a professor, and I believe that this program has been one of the most effective experiences that I have ever had toward this goal.”

Reza is the lead mentor on the AI-based Discovery and Innovation VIP team which formed in the Fall 2019 semester under the supervision of his Ph.D. advisor, Ali Adibi, Joseph M. Pettit Professor in Electronics in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. With an average of 40-50 students per semester, the team is one of the largest in the VIP program. The team’s main research activities are on utilizing machine learning algorithms to solve real-world problems in different disciplines including medical image and signal processing, optimization and inverse design, financial data analysis, etc. The team includes students from different backgrounds and departments like ECE, CS, Math, ISYE, BME, etc.

In addition to establishing and leading the AI-based Discovery and Innovation VIP, Reza has created a well-received hierarchal mentoring approach within the team that strategically prepares and empowers new members to one day become project leaders and mentors. This helps the students to gain leadership experience and empower their teamwork abilities. Under Reza’s leadership, multiple undergrad student members of the team have been published in journals and conference papers, and two student members have received president's undergrad research award (PURA) for a project on ML-assisted medical image analysis.

Last revised April 6, 2022