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University of Hawaii

Electrical Engineering

Willy Chang awarded 2021 HCES Student Engineer of the Year

Reprinted from:  "2021 Student Engineer of the Year," Wiliki o Hawaiʻi: Engineer of Hawaiʻi, February 2021, Vol. 56, No. 12, p. 1-4.


 Student Willy Chang photoThis year’s HCES SEOY is Mr. Willy Chang! With a cumulative GPA of 3.99 and a major GPA of 4.00, Willy is expected to graduate with a BS in Computer Engineering and a minor in Business Administration this Spring 2021. He will be continuing into the UH College of Engineering Electrical Engineering Master’s program as a BAM (Bachelors and Masters) student. He is currently the Treasurer for the University of Hawai’i Mānoa chapter of IEEE-HKN and also a member of the Hawai’i Kai Jaycees and the PMA (Pre-Medical Association).

Entering the UHM as a Regent’s Scholar, Willy wished to continue his academic career not only as an individual seeking awards and a Bachelor’s degree, but one who satisfies his thirst for knowledge and practical applications. Even though enrolled in the College of Engineering as a Computer Engineer, he desired to be involved in the medical arena; thus, he got involved in a few related organizations such as the Pre-Medical Association and the Pre-Health Career Corps, and volunteered in JABSOM’s Bioinformatics team under Drs. You Ping Deng and Masaki Nasu. In the summer of 2019, he interned at the UH Cancer Center under Dr. Muller Fabbri to analyze the interaction of certain miRNAs in the tumor microenvironment. He and his team then published the “Automated computer analysis of human blastocyst expansion from embryoscope time-lapse image files,” in the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2019.

During this period where he dedicated himself to absorbing information within the medical field, Willy pursued opportunities to enhance himself as an engineer under the VIP Micro-Robotics Embryo Image Analysis sub-team. Here, he contributed in training a neural network and developing a standalone desktop application using MATLAB to segment and analyze embryo videos.

Following the summer of his sophomore year, Willy participated in the Hawaii Annual Coding Challenge with a few of his fellow engineering students. In the competition, they built a mobile application, “Data for the Future,” to visualize the local community’s involvement and their contribution to Hawaii’s sustainable goals. Falling short of placing, he would compete in the same competition in his senior year. This time, they created a web application, “GameTheSystem,” which proposed a procedure that would enhance the security of the IT building on campus, a project secured a second-place finish! 

Willy started off as a volunteer at the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory, where he helped develop and design dashboards to visualize incoming telemetry data from satellites, a position where he would work through the summer of 2020 and into his senior year. As a senior, he started off interning at University Health Partners working on a project to refactor a machine learning classification algorithm and started to work with the Cybersecurity team under Dr. Yao Zheng on a harmonic radar using GNURadio.

Understanding the importance of passing on knowledge to the next generation, Willy has been a math and science tutor at the Online Learning Academy since he started his tenure at UHM. He has worked as a teaching assistant in one core Computer Engineering course and a grader. He is currently a teaching assistant in EE 367, Data Structures & Algorithms.

This humble, dedicated, and disciplined student, and soon to be a computer engineer, is the type of graduate necessary to promote and inspire engineering to the youth of Hawaii!!!