Dr. Alex Hills Engineering & Civic Engagement Award

This award encourages UAA undergraduates in Engineering to disseminate engineering knowledge and practice for the benefit of society.  For this $2,500 award, undergraduates will initiate a service project that solves engineering and technology-based problems in partnership with local organizationsand under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
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Dr. Hills with 2013 recipients Ryan Bergerson & Alma Abaza with faculty advisor Dr. Osama Abaza.

Why Apply?

  • Have a meaningful experience working with faculty
  • Gain valuable community awareness, particularly in communication with clients
  • Broaden your learning of engineering design within a social context

2018-19 Application


Learn More & Apply


Contact for project or award questions:

Dr. Judy Owens-Manley, Director
uaa.ccel@alaska.edu  | 786-4087

 Congratulations to the 2017-18 Dr. Alex Hills Engineering &
Civic Engagement Award Recipients

 Award Recipients: Canyon Lewis, Civil Engineering and Claire Lubke, Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor: Todd Petersen, Associate Professo,  Electrical Engineering

Project: Autonomous Aeroponic Garden

The focus of this project is the design of an autonomous aeroponic garden system that could potentially be integrated into Alaskan communities to promote local subsistence and decrease dependence upon food that is shipped into Alaska. The prototype will track the nutrients, ph and ppm levels, as well as the root chamber’s humidity, temperature, and oxygen levels, using sensors and a microcontroller. This information will be used to optimize the system’s efficiency relative to nutrient absorption and water consumption during the growth stages of plants.

canyon and claire


About Dr. Alex Hills

As described in his book Finding Alaska’s Villages: And Connecting Them, Alex Hills spent years living and working in rural Alaska, where he dedicated himself to providing modern telecommunication services to people living in the villages. He lived in Kotzebue, Nome and Bethel but worked in more than a hundred small Alaskan villages.
Later Alex went to graduate school and became a university professor. He is now Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and Affiliate Distinguished Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He has also been a distinguished visiting professor in Singapore, New Zealand, and Chile.
Dr. Hills is well known in the fields of wireless, telecommunication, and networking technology, having lectured widely and published many papers and technical reports. He holds 18 patents, issued and pending. His easy-to-understand articles in Scientific American and IEEE Spectrum have been enjoyed by readers worldwide. Alex led the team that built Carnegie Mellon’s “Wireless Andrew” system, the world’s first large Wi-Fi network. With this work, described in his book, Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys of Radio, he helped to create the vision of what Wi-Fi would later become.
Professor Hills has lived and worked in many foreign countries. He has mentored Carnegie Mellon students working in Chile, Ghana, Palau, the Philippines, Cook Islands, Rwanda, and Peru, showing them how to apply their technology skills to meet the needs of people living in developing nations. The experiences of these students are detailed in the book, Geeks on a Mission, written by Alex and his students.
Dr. Hills continues to work on projects in Alaska and lives in Palmer with his wife Meg, now a retired nurse practitioner. The couple has two adult daughters, Drs. Rebecca and Karen Hills.

Listen to the Podcast from Dr. Hills Oct. 12 UAA lecture "The Dawn of Wi-Fi" OR Watch this interview with Dr. Hills about Wireless Andrew at Carnegie Mellon University: