April Brown Named Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering

DURHAM, N.C. – April S. Brown, professor of electrical and computer engineering and executive assistant to the president at Georgia Institute of Technology, has been appointed chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering.

Pratt Dean Kristina Johnson announced the appointment Monday and said Brown "is a strategic thinker and an internationally recognized scholar whose field of expertise lies in the fabrication of electronic and optoelectronic materials and devices for high-speed communication applications."

"Her vision for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the 21st century involves developing strong connections to the physical and biological sciences, and integrating interdisciplinary advances into the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. We are very fortunate to have such an individual lead our department."

Brown's appointment, which is subject to approval by the Board of Trustees and the Provost's Advisory Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure, begins July 1. She will succeed interim chair Hisham Massoud, who also is director of graduate studies and professor of electrical and computer engineering.

"Duke has tremendous student and faculty talent, and an incredible momentum that is charged by Dean Kristina Johnson's vision and energy," Brown said. "I feel honored to have the opportunity to work with others in moving Duke Engineering forward."

Brown, 41, is a native of Hillsborough, N.C., and received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University in 1981. She earned a master's and doctorate in electrical engineering from Cornell University in 1984 and 1985.

After graduate school, she joined the University of Michigan as an assistant professor. She moved to the Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, Calif., in 1987 and worked at the Army Research Office in Durham as a program manager in 1988 and 1989 before returning to Hughes as a project manager, section head and senior scientist.

Brown joined the Georgia Tech faculty in l994 as an associate professor and became professor in 1999. She also served as associate dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech from 1999 to 2001, when she was appointed Joseph M. Pettit Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and executive assistant to the president.

Her research focuses on semiconductor materials and devices for a range of applications -- from devices for wireless communications to optoelectronics -- and she is exploring new nanoscale materials (substances on the order of a billionth of a meter in size) and the integration of a range of technologies for future electronic microsystems.

In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students at Georgia Tech, Brown has promoted engineering and science among elementary and high school students and diversity in engineering. She is the co-author of a new textbook, Theory of Modern Electronic Devices (John Wiley & Sons, 2002).

Brown is a member of the National Science Foundation Engineering Advisory Committee and has served on numerous other committees and advisory boards. She is the author or co-author of 79 research reports in peer-reviewed journals and has made numerous presentations at research conferences.

Brown is married to author Robert Metzger and they have two children.

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