Yahya Rahmat-Samii, a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, will receive an Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Rahmat-Samii, who was selected by the by the Ellis Island Honors Society, will receive the award at ceremony on May 11 at Ellis Island in New York City.
The medals are awarded annually to a group of distinguished U.S. citizens who exemplify a life dedicated to community service. These are individuals who preserve and celebrate the history, traditions and values of their ancestry while exemplifying the values of the American way of life, and are dedicated to creating a better world.
Rahmat-Samii serves as the director of the UCLA Antennas Research, Analysis and Measurement Laboratory. He and his research group have been world leaders in developing new technologies to advance wireless applications for variety of applications. He has made pioneering research contributions in diverse areas of electromagnetics, antennas, measurement and diagnostics techniques, satellite and personal communications, medical device applications, and metamaterials.
Rahmat-Samii was born in Iran. He graduated from Tehran University with highest distinction. He came to the U.S. for graduate study at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees, both in electrical engineering. After his doctorate, he joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1978. He has had a pivotal role in many of the lab’s space missions by providing innovative concepts for a variety of communications and space science tasks.
In 1985, he was appointed as senior research scientist at JPL, one of the youngest to receive that distinction. In 1989, he joined UCLA as a full professor and served as department chair 2000 to 2005. He holds the Northrop Grumman Endowed Chair in Electromagnetics.
Rahmat-Samii is an award-winning educator, having received the 2011 UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2007 IEEE Chen-To Tai Distinguished Educator Award.
Rahmat-Samii is a fellow of five technical societies. In 2001 he received an honorary doctorate in physics from, the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. That same year, he became a Foreign Member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. And in 2008, he was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering, the highest honor for an American engineer.
Since it was established in 1986, the Ellis Island Medal has been officially recognized by both Houses of Congress as one of the nation’s most prestigious awards. Past recipients have included seven U.S. presidents, Nobel Laureates, civil rights leaders, award-winning artists, successful entrepreneurs, and many, many Americans who have made outstanding contributions in their area. This year’s group of honorees include IBM CEO Ginni Rometty; composer Tan Dun, CNN medical correspondent and neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and choreographer and musician Paula Abdul.