EECS Alums: Major Players and Thinkers

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Valencia Joyner, '98, SM'99

Valencia Joyner, '98, SM'99

Valencia Joyner

Valencia Joyner, Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Tufts University since 2005, started her career as a student of science and engineering in EECS at MIT, working in the Microsystems Technology Laboratories, MTL, under EECS Prof. Tayo Akinwande. Her introduction to cutting edge research—into organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, when device development was still in its infancy—helped to seal Joyner’s lifelong interest and excitement in this area. She describes her
experience:

“As a student just finishing an undergraduate degree, it was an honor to be involved in the early stages of a technology that would continue to have broad reaching impact for many years to come. It was at MTL where I was transformed from student to a researcher and first began to seriously consider a career as an academic professor. The collaborative community at MTL changed my perceptions of what academic life is really like and provided a window enabling me to see the many areas of life impacted by VLSI technology.”

After graduating from MIT/MTL (‘98 and SM ’99), Joyner received a Marshall Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in England. “I completed an M.Phil degree in Engineering in 2000 and the Ph.D. in 2003 both at the University of Cambridge. As a Research Assistant at Cambridge, I worked on an exciting collaborative project between four British Universities to develop new optical transceiver technology for future high-speed wireless data transmission based on optical signals.”

Now, as Principal Investigator in and Director of the Advanced Integrated Circuits and Systems Laboratory at Tufts, Joyner continues her research in silicon-based analog/mixed-signal integrated circuits with a particular focus on circuits that interface with photonic devices for highspeed communication, sensing, and biomedical imaging. She describes her motivation: “I am constantly thinking about what new technologies will transform our world in years to come and how my scientific contributions will contribute to this transformation.” Her life is filled as well by travel and work with community outreach organizations with the goal of getting young people excited about science and technology.

Valencia Joyner recollects a particularly meaningful experience at MIT. “I’ve enjoyed maintaining a friendship with my freshman advisor, Prof. Lawrence Bacow, who is now President of Tufts University. I remember his reassuring response during our first meeting with my parents during R/O week: ‘MIT is a great place. You will love it here and do very well.’ Coming from a small public high school in Washington, DC, I was empowered by his words and challenged to take advantage of the many enriching opportunities offered to MIT students, including the MIT-Japan program, UROP experiences, and the Marshall Scholarship.”

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