IEEE Fellow, Dean of Graduate Engineering Education, and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tufts University. She also holds secondary appointments in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering.

Keynote Topic: Dr. Panetta will illustrate how AI is being used across a diversity of fields and applications to benefit humanity. She will emphasize the importance of developing accessible AI for use by individuals across all disciplines. Furthermore, she will discuss the critical need for AI education for everyone to help understand its limitations and ethical uses.

In her role at Tufts University, Dr. Karen Panetta has transformed engineering education– bringing the School’s first formal Engineering industry internship program and incorporating entrepreneurship into the Graduate curriculum. Karen’s passion is utilizing her engineering knowledge for the benefit of humanity.

Panetta received a B.S. degree in computer engineering from Boston University, Boston, MA, USA, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Northeastern University, Boston. Her research interests include developing efficient algorithms for Artificial Intelligence, simulation, modeling, signal, and image processing for biomedical, security, and conservation applications. 

Karen’s research in imaging, computer visual processing, and artificial intelligence has significantly impacted several fields, including security, agriculture, biomedicine, and more. Her work with enhanced robotic vision for biomedical cases uses artificial intelligence. Karen also created edge detection algorithms–to maintain the essential features of objects while removing irrelevant data, thus aiding airport screeners in interpreting objects, radiologists in detecting cancerous tissue, and more. She has used her visual technology and developed AI-equipped drones to monitor elephants to learn the best safe environment, away from poachers and farm areas.

Awards, IEEE involvement, and STEM

Karen received the 2023 IEEE-HKN Asad M. Madni Award for Outstanding Technical Leadership and Excellence,  the 2012 IEEE Ethical Practices Award, and the Harriet B. Rigas Award for Outstanding Educator. In 2011, she was awarded the Presidential Award for Engineering and Science Education and Mentoring by U.S. President Obama for her Nerd Girls Program to empower young women in STEM.

She was the Vice President of the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society. Karen was the 2019 President of IEEE-HKN (Eta Kappa Nu) honor society and 2021-2022 IEEE Awards Board Chair. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine. She was the IEEE-USA Vice-President of communications and public affairs.

She was the STEM Advisor to Malawian President Joyce Banda and U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Linda Blanchard. She is a Fellow of NAI, IEEE, AAIA, NASA JOVE, and AAAS and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

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