Burkett Receives UA Engineering’s Hackney Leadership Award

Dr. Susan L. Burkett
Dr. Susan L. Burkett

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama College of Engineering announces Dr. Susan L. Burkett, Alabama Power Foundation Endowed Professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, as the 2014 T. Morris Hackney Endowed Faculty Leadership award recipient.

The T. Morris Hackney Endowed Faculty Leadership Award honors a faculty member who exemplifies the constant guidance and leadership necessary to make the College of Engineering exceptional. Burkett received her award at a ceremony earlier this month at the North River Yacht Club.

Burkett began her academic career at The University of Alabama in 1994 as assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. After three years, she moved to Boise State University, where she was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2000.

She joined the University of Arkansas in 2002, achieving the rank of professor in 2007. From 2005-07, Burkett also worked for the National Science Foundation as program director in the Division of Undergraduate Education, responsible for managing and funding programs in engineering education. Burkett returned to UA in 2008 as the Alabama Power Foundation Endowed Professor.

Her research interests are electronic materials. In 1997, Burkett received the prestigious NSF Early Faculty CAREER award to investigate materials reliability issues for information storage devices. At UA, she is a member of the Materials for Information Technology Center.

For the past 15 years, she has worked on 3-D integration schemes funded by NSF and the Department of Defense, specifically the development of low resistance vertical interconnects to enable stacking electronic devices to improve function in a reduced amount of space. Burkett has been awarded more than $10 million in external funding, has more than 110 refereed publications and is an inventor on four U.S. patents.

She is also committed to mentoring undergraduate students in research. She has an NSF grant for a collaborative project with other institutions to enhance undergraduate research opportunities. From 2010-2012, she coordinated an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Site at UA. In 2008, she worked with the UA Department of Music on a pilot project to introduce creativity and the arts into a freshmen level ECE course that led to a NSF-funded grant.

In 2013, Burkett was elected to the six-member board of directors for the AVS: Science and Technology Society. She is also a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and past secretary of the Women in Engineering Division of the American Society of Engineering Education.

A native of Columbia, Mo., she received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1985, 1987 and 1992, respectively.

This award was created as a tribute to T. Morris Hackney and was made possible by the contributions from John H. Josey and his son, Howard Josey.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 4,500 students and more than 120 faculty. In the last eight years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Mitchell and Truman scholars.


Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444, acjones12@eng.ua.edu