Strategic Advisory Board

The Strategic Advisory Board plays a major role in setting directions for ECE research and education as well as providing a source of new partnerships with industry. We recruit members from corporations and academia that are well connected with the industry and can provide the insights necessary to keep the ECE department current and vital.

Winser Alexander

Professor Emeritus | North Carolina State University

Winser Alexander's research spans the areas of digital signal processing, genomic signal processing, parallel algorithms, and parallel computer architecture. His current interests include the development of parallel algorithms, parallel computational structures and computer architectures for digital signal processing with applications to communications, multimedia and image processing and genomic signal processing.

His teaching interest involves digital signal processing, application specific and special purpose computer system architecture and digital system design. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in signal analysis, digital signal processing and computer system design. He has developed graduate courses in Multidimensional Digital Signal Processing and Digital Signal Processing Architecture.

Winser served as Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University from July 2011 to August 2013 while on Leave of Absence from North Carolina State University.

Winser served as Interim Dean of the College of Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University from July 2009 to June 2011 while on Leave of Absence from North Carolina State University.

Winser served as the Director of Graduate Programs for the ECE Department at North Carolina State University from August 1988 to May 1997 and from June 2001 to August 2002.


Dannette Allen

Senior Technologist for Intelligent Flight Systems | NASA

Dr. Danette Allen is NASA's Senior Technologist (ST) for Intelligent Flight Systems. She was accepted into the first class of Computer Engineers in ECE and graduated from NC State with dual degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. After a year abroad in the UK where she earned a master’s degree from Manchester Business School. Dr. Allen began her career at NASA, writing embedded real-time software for the Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE) instrument, the primary payload on STS-64. For LITE, she sat in the Payload Operations Control Center at JSC and uplinked commands to the space shuttle Discovery. LITE was followed by multiple atmospheric science instruments including “MAPS on Mir” for which she spent considerable time in Russia to deliver the MAPS instrument to the Russian Space Agency for launch on a Soyuz spacecraft to Mir. More recently, she created and led the Autonomy Incubator at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, Virginia. While at NASA, Dr. Allen earned her M.E. in Computer Engineering from Old Dominion University, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Allen is the recipient of multiple NASA awards including the astronauts’ “Silver Snoopy” award for achievements related to human flight safety and mission success, the "Systems Engineering Excellence Award" medal, and the “Outstanding Leadership” medal. She is an ACM member and an AIAA Associate Fellow.


April Brown

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering | Duke University

April S. Brown received her B.S.E.E. in 1981 from North Carolina State University, and her M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1984 and 1985. Her career of just over thirty years has included positions in industry, university, and the government. She started her career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in 1985 and joined the Hughes Research Laboratories in 1986 as a Member of the Technical Staff. When she left HRL in 1994 she held the position of Sr. Scientist after holding the positions of Section Head and Project Manager. In addition, she was a Program Manager in the Physics Division at the Army Research Office (ARO) in 1988-1989. She joined Georgia Tech as an Associate Professor in 1994 and held the position of the Pettit Professor in Microelectronics when she left in 2002 to join Duke University. She also served as Associate Dean in the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech from 1999-2001, and Executive Assistant to the President from 2001-2002.

She is currently the John Cocke Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University and holds a secondary appointment in Biomedical Engineering. She served as Department Chair in ECE at Duke from 2002-2006 and Sr. Associate Dean for Research from 2007-2011. She recently held the position of Senior Scientist in the Engineering Sciences Directorate at ARO for 2 years.

Her research focus is on the synthesis and design of electronic materials for devices and the properties of hybrid semiconductor-based nanostructures. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


Paul Colestock

Director of RF & mmWave Design Driven Development | Globalfoundries

Paul Colestock is the founding director and currently head of the Exploratory Design Group at GLOBALFOUNDRIES focused on pathfinding approaches to digital, analog, RF and millimeter wave IC design in their respective leading edge technologies. Previously he served as the head of Segment Marketing and applications at GLOBALFOUNDRIES, most recently as its Senior Director for Strategic Product Planning. The responsibility of Mr. Colestock is to effectively strategize, plan, develop and monetize vertical market centric products, design techniques, IP and technologies. He has extensive semiconductor related experience with over 25 years of semiconductor product design, verification, manufacturing, management and marketing. He has held leadership positions across the semiconductor ecosystem including GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Agilent Technologies, Cadence Design Systems, Jazz Semiconductor, Silvaco International and semiconductor startups Hesson Labs and Napali Technologies. Mr. Colestock also served six years in the U.S. Navy. Mr. Colestock also serves as an advisor for Silicon Catalyst, an early stage hardware incubator in Silicon Valley. Mr. Colestock received a BS/MSEE in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida and was a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas Austin.

 de Luis Balaguer

Angels de Luis Balaguer

Data Scientist | Microsoft

Angels de Luis Balaguer is a Data Scientist at Elo Life Systems, where she is in charge of developing knowledge management and data analysis tools. In her role, she leads collaborations with external and internal groups to develop automatic computational pipelines, improve process automation through bioinformatics, and leverage machine learning to accelerate data analyses.

Dr. de Luis received her B.S. in Telecommunications Engineering from Valencia Polytechnical University, Spain, in 2008. She then pursued a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics at NC State, where she acquired an interest in applying computational and mathematical methods to address scientific questions. This drove her to join a systems biology project and focus her thesis on developing computational biology tools. Upon her Ph.D. graduation in 2013, she conducted a postdoctoral training as a bioinformatician/computational biologist in the Plant and Microbial Biology Department at NC State. Her research focused on bringing machine learning, algorithm development, statistics, and image analysis techniques into plant biology to address key agricultural biotechnology challenges. During her postdoc, she presented her research work in multiple national and international universities and trained scientists from international research institutions to apply bioinformatics tools to their own projects and datasets.

With an engineering and mathematics background and years of experience on applying computational tools to science and agriculture, she has built a multidisciplinary profile and is excited about training others in the intersection of these disciplines. Dr. de Luis now serves as an Early Career Member in the ECE Strategic Advisory Board.


Amanda Dixon

Senior Business Growth Manager for Smart Cities | SELC Powered by Itron

Amanda England Dixon is a skilled leader with a track record of successfully launching products in the smart grid outdoor roadway lighting market for the past 18 years. Her expertise has secured her the largest deals in smart street lighting in North America, making her a valuable asset in the industry. As the chair of the ANSI C136 Outdoor and Area Lighting Committee within NEMA, she maintains strong relationships with utility and municipal standards lighting engineers, and has extensive knowledge of the latest trends in the lighting and smart cities market.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the development and support of standards for Area and Roadway Lighting, Amanda was awarded the Next Generation Award from the ANSI Board of Directors in 2009 for her leadership and vision.

While a student at NC State, Amanda led a team of undergraduate and graduate students to win a national championship in 1998 for a competition held by NASA for a lunar rover. She has also worked as a research engineer and project manager at Lord Corporation in Cary. Amanda holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.


Clay Gloster

Vice Provost of Graduate Research and Dean of the Graduate College | North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Clay Gloster, Jr. currently serves as the Interim Vice Provost for Research, Graduate Programs, Extended Learning, and Dean of the Graduate College at N.C. A&T. He also serves as the Chair of the Engineering Technology Division of the American Society for Engineering Education.

While a student at NC State he received several awards; African-American Leadership Award, Provost’s African-American Professional Development Award, and Chancellor’s African-American Leadership Award. After graduating, he held a faculty position at NC State’s ECE department for 7 years.

After NC State he then served as a tenured member of the faculty at Howard University. After Howard, he became the Chair of the NC A&T Department of Computer Systems Technology and later Associate Dean of the College of Science and Technology. Aside from high ed, he has also worked for IBM, the Department of Defense, and the Microelectronics Center of NC.

Dr. Gloster led the effort to establish two new Bachelor of Science degree programs: Computer Engineering at Howard University and Information Technology at N.C. A&T. Under his leadership, the Master of Science in Information Technology degree program ranked 16th in the country by US News and World Report. His dedication to scholarship has led to having published numerous articles in peer-reviewed conferences and journals and presentations of his work throughout the US, Europe, Africa, and China. He also holds two US patents.


Eric Grant

Senior Vice President | Duke Energy

In his role at Duke Energy, he leads the organization responsible for over $6.0B in spend per year related to fuel procurement for Duke Energy’s regulated generation fleet including the purchase and delivery of coal, natural gas, fuel oil and reagents used in emission control. In addition, he is responsible for power trading (i.e. the buying and selling of power) and system optimization related to power, fuels and emissions. He oversees the teams responsible for contract administration and energy supply analytics which, among other functions, provides mid-term generation forecasting in support of fuel procurement planning. Lastly, he is responsible for transforming Duke Energy’s planning processes to embrace a distributive energy future.

Grant was named Vice President of Fuels & System Optimization in April 2017 after serving as the Managing Director of System Optimization since the merger (highlighted by standing up the Joint Dispatch Process between Duke Energy Progress (DEP) and Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC)). Prior to the merger, he served as the General Manager for the Florida Suncoast Generation Fleet. In that role, he was responsible for the operation of the Duke Energy Florida (DEF) combined cycle and combustion turbine assets. Grant interned with Duke Power’s distribution operations in the late 80s prior to joining Progress Energy (formerly Carolina Power & Light) in 1990. As a Progress employee, he held roles in nuclear engineering and later managed the Energy Control Centers in both DEP and DEF. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and is a licensed professional engineer in North Carolina.


Spencer J. Johnson

Technical Staff | MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Dr. Spencer Johnson is a Technical Staff Member for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory where he has worked towards the development of advanced technologies for national security since 2014. In this role, his work has ranged from the development of electronic warfare systems, improvement and modernization of operational radar systems, and the implementation of remotely deployed radar systems as part of the National Defense network. His research interests include radar design, electronic warfare techniques and applications, and RF system design.

Dr. Johnson attended NC State University as a Park Scholar for his undergraduate degree, receiving a B.S. in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Business Administration in 2009. He continued his education at NC State University as a research assistant for the Electronics Research Laboratory as part of a multidisciplinary university research initiative grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research. He conducted research focusing on the interaction of acoustic and electromagnetic fields for remote sensing applications, earning his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2011 and completing his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2014.

In addition to being an Early Career Member for the ECE Strategic Advisory Board, Dr. Johnson has also been an NC State University Park Scholarships Advisory Committee Member since 2018. In this capacity, he has been able to provide feedback and counsel to the Park Scholarships program to assist in the enrichment of the academic activities of the scholars. He has also served as the Chair of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Employees African American Network from 2016 – 2018 and served in an advisory role capacity for the organization briefly afterwards, where he has continued to work avidly in the hope of advancing the importance of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of academia, industry, and society.


Patti Key

Retired, Senior Vice President Sales | Keysight Technologies

Patti Key joined Keysight Technologies via acquisition in 2017 and lead global sales for the Ixia Solutions Group, before retiring as Senior Vice President of Sales in 2020.

Prior to Keysight, Patti joined Ixia in 2008 as a VP and led sales in the East Region and then the Americas. She was promoted in 2016 to Senior VP for Global Sales. She was instrumental in positioning the company for the 1.6B acquisition and then leading the sales organization through the integration.

Prior to transitioning into sales leadership, she held a variety of engineering and technical leadership roles in telecommunications and networking at Agilent Technologies, Hewlett Packard and BellSouth. During that time, she became a licensed professional engineer and was awarded 2 patents.

She currently serves as a Technical Advisory Board member for Uplevel Systems, a Strategic Advisory Board member for NC State ECE Department and an Advisory Board member for NC State Entrepreneurship Program.

She is Co-Founder of CC’s Heart Fund, a non-profit that helps provide financial assistance to families for pets that need life-extending cardiac care.

Patti holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University. She attended leadership programs at Darden School of Business and Kellogg School of Management.


Steve Lovell

Carolinas District Operations Manager | Eaton

Steve Lovell is a 1995 Graduate from NC State University in Electrical Engineering. He has worked for Eaton Corporation for over 26 years in increasing areas of responsibility.

Steve is currently the Carolinas District Operations Manager for Eaton’s Service Group, and prior to that spent time as a Busway Product Line Manager (Greenwood, SC), Product Manager for Low Voltage Assemblies (Asheville, NC), and Major Project Construction Manager (Baltimore, MD).

In his spare time, Steve enjoys playing guitar, traveling to the beach with his wife Marcia and two boys (Jonah & Jacob), and smoking barbeque and brisket.


Sonali Luniya Board Chair

Vice President Corporate Development | Holmusk

Dr. Sonali Luniya is one of the co-founders of Patagonia Health, a bootstrapped healthcare-IT company based in North Carolina, USA. At Patagonia Health she was the Vice President of Customer Experience. She is responsible for the complete customer experience of the Patagonia Health Electronic Health Record and Billing System. She engages their customers in product design during the pre-sales process and oversees the implementation, training and support to provide the users an excellent experience with Patagonia Health.

A native of Pune, India Dr. Luniya was interested in customer engagement since a young age. While in high school and undergraduate college in India she worked summer jobs as a field sales person for a national newspaper and travel company.

She used these experiences at Patagonia Health to build the Customer Experience team from the ground up which now serves few thousand healthcare professionals across 20+ states in the United States. The Customer Experience team has received the Stevie Awards for customer service multiple times.

Dr. Luniya received her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Science from Pune Institute of Computer Technology, India. After coming to the United States as a student in the Computer Science department at North Carolina State University she soon realized her software programming skills could be used in other domains. So she transferred to the Electrical and Computer Engineering department where she applied her computer science skills to develop electronic circuit simulator software to build wireless communication devices. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2006.

After working for sometime in the corporate world she turned into an entrepreneur in 2008 when the US economy collapsed and stepped into the Healthcare-IT market to co-found Patagonia Health. At Patagonia Health she used her life experiences as a field salesperson and cross domain computer science skills to design , develop, implement, train and support their product for healthcare professionals.

Dr. Luniya is a mentor of the All-India Road Show on Women’s Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship (AIRSWEEE Project), a program funded by the US Mission in India, U.S. Department of State to unleash value creation amongst aspiring young women in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India.

Dr. Luniya also served on the Board of Directors of Hum Sub Inc for 10 years as a one term President and two term Treasurer. Hum Sub is a non-profit organization dedicated to share Indian culture in the Research Triangle Area in North Carolina. Hum Sub’s flagship event Cary Diwali is recognized as a state iconic event in North Carolina and is the largest free minority event in the Southeast.


Sam Mathan

Retired | Matisse Networks


Jim O’Dell

Managing Director | KPMG

Jim O'Dell is a managing director in KPMG’s Customer Solutions Practice. Jim has over 25 years of consulting and industry experience leading programs that drive transformational change centered around growth, costs, and risk management. He has focused on helping financial services institutions improve their profitability, through cost reduction and revenue enhancement initiatives, by delivering consulting services involving business process and technology-enabled transformation, product innovation, and strategic change programs. His specialty areas include strategic planning, operational improvement, business process re-engineering and simplification, and large-scale program transformation.

Currently, at KPMG, Jim helps clients with digital front-office transformation including the implementation of innovative marketing, sales and service capabilities. In addition, he is also one of the firms leaders helping clients enable overall performance improvement, process simplification and cost management.

Prior to joining KPMG, Jim spent 11 years at Bank of America as a strategic program management executive. While there, he led a number of enterprise-wide initiatives focused on cost management and process re-engineering. In addition, he also led work in the risk and regulatory space including the implementation of new requirements.

Jim’s career started in consulting at Accenture where he spent time in technology, business process outsourcing, and customer service consulting.

He is a graduate of North Carolina State University where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering.

Jim lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife and three wonderful daughters.


Ioannis Papapanagiotou

Investor | InvestInData

Ioannis has been working for more than a decade on data platforms, cloud computing, and Artificial Intelligence. He has built systems and technologies at a large scale (Exabytes of data, 100s of thousands of nodes to store data, 10B data operations per day). In the past, Ioannis was a senior manager at Snowflake, at Netflix's Data Platform, and a Director of Engineering at Gemini Trust Company. He has served in the faculty ranks of Purdue University (tenure-track) and NC State University, and was an engineer at IBM. He has been awarded the NetApp faculty fellowship and established an Nvidia CUDA Research Center at Purdue University. Ioannis has also received the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship, Academy of Athens Ph.D. Fellowship for his Ph.D. research, and best paper awards in several IEEE conferences for his academic contributions. Ioannis has authored a number of research articles and is an inventor of several patents. Ioannis is a senior member of ACM and IEEE. He holds a dual Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering and Operations Research from NC State University.


Ketan Patel

Senior Director, Design Engineering | Microsoft

An innovative VLSI professional with over 20 years of experience and a proven track record. A dedicated team player and leader with strong technical, communications, project management and inter-personal skills. Energetic and highly motivated technical professional with expertise in building and leading collaborative teams across multiple geographical locations. Successfully implemented business objectives from concept to production. Extensive experience in diverse aspects of Processor (CPU) and SoC (ASIC) design and development including strategic planning, design, budgeting, program management and its execution.


Ryan Pratt

Founder & CEO | Guerrilla RF

Ryan has two decades of RF semiconductor experience. His experience includes Director of Engineering at Skyworks, Greensboro design center (which he founded), Engineering Manager of RFMD's Network Components Product Line Wi-Fi front end group, and RFIC design engineering positions in RFMD's Digital Cellular Product Line, Infrastructure Product Line, and Network Components Product Line Wi-Fi group. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.


Sarah Rajala

Professor Emeritus | NC State University

Sarah Rajala served as the 12th dean of the College of Engineering at Iowa State University from 2013 – 2019. She led the largest college on campus and was responsible for more than 9,500 students, 500 faculty and staff, 12 academic majors, multiple research centers and programs, and 11 buildings that comprise the engineering complex. Her previous leadership positions were at Mississippi State University as dean of engineering from 2008-13, and chair of the electrical and computer engineering department prior to being named dean. Rajala also served at North Carolina State University as associate dean for research and graduate programs and associate dean for academic affairs in the college of engineering. She had a distinguished career as a professor and center director prior to moving into administrative positions.

Rajala is an internationally known leader who has served on many academic and association boards. She has consistently broken new ground for women in engineering, served as a role model for young women, and is passionate about diversity of thought and culture. Rajala is a past president of the American Society for Engineering Education; past chair of the Global Engineering Deans Council; and Chair of the ABET Engineering Commission. In 2017 she received the IEEE Award for Meritorious Achievement in Accreditation Activities; the national engineer of the year award by the American Association of Engineering Societies in 2016; and received the IEEE Harriett B. Rigas Award in 2015. She is a fellow of the AAAS, ABET, ASEE and IEEE. Rajala earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Michigan Technological University and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Rice University.


Deepak Rajpal

Head Translational Sciences | Sanofi R&D

Deepak has recently been appointed Head of Translational Sciences US in Sanofi’s Research Platform. Prior to joining Sanofi in 2019 as Head of Bioinformatics for Translational Sciences US, Deepak was a Senior Scientific Director at GSK heading a US Computational Biology team that had a multi-therapy area engagement role for supporting and progressing the pipeline. During his 16-year career at GSK, he was responsible for leading strategic computational partnerships in multiple therapy areas, internal, and also external to GSK, across the globe. As a senior member of the global computational biology team, he had responsibilities of creating vision, and setting the strategic direction for the team in a scientifically innovative and fiscally responsible manner. In addition to his experience in Computational Biology, he also co-led drug discovery programs and has broad experience in developing indication-expansion and biomarker strategies. He has co-authored over 45 publications, with several in high-impact journals. He has represented his organization at many consortia and has given numerous presentations across the globe. In addition to serving on several scientific advisory boards, including an NIH panel, he also served as a Bioinformatics scientific advisory board member of PhRMA foundation, that granted many fellowships to graduate, post-graduate, and tenure track scientists. In addition, Dr. Rajpal has been a member of many outreach activities to serve the communities that he has been part of.


Nita Sharma

Senior Director, Data Center and AI Group | Intel

Nita Sharma is a technologist and engineering leader with extensive and varied technical and business experience in defining and building products in diverse domains: consumer, enterprise software, financial solutions, cloud software optimizations, analytics and machine learning. She has managed and led startups into high growth organizations with successful exit. She is currently an Engineering Leader at Intel in the Data Center and AI Group. Nita is also passionate about mentoring – having led a “Pay-it-forward” circle for technical women at Intel, mentored at the Innovation challenge at the Denmark Center of Innovation in California and at the Alchemist Accelerator and the UC Riverside Entrepreneur Center. Nita graduated with her PhD in Computer Engineering from NC State University.

In her spare time, she is an avid gardener and loves hiking, walking her dogs and reading non-fiction books.