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Student Event | Alumni

EECS Juneteenth Celebration: Celebrating Excellence in People-First Engineering and Computing

Shawn BlantonJoseph F. and Nancy Keithley Professor of Electrical and Computer EngineeringCarnegie Mellon UniversityJames MickensGordon McKay Professor of Computer ScienceHarvard School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
The Gallery (1019 Duderstadt Center)Map

The Michigan Engineering community is invited to attend the fifth annual EECS Juneteenth Celebration on Wednesday, June 19, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The theme of this year’s event is Celebrating Excellence in People-First Engineering and Computing.

As a university, recognizing Juneteenth involves acknowledging the significance of this date in American history. Juneteenth, which is celebrated on June 19th, marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, announced the end of the Civil War, and freed 250,000 slaves in Texas. This was two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed slaves in the Confederate states. Juneteenth, which is now a national holiday, commemorates this day, and is considered by many as the country’s second independence day. It is a day for education and reflection on the history of slavery and the ongoing struggle for racial justice.

The program will include:

  • Live performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by Amber Rogers (U-M School of Music), first prize winner of the 2024 George Shirley Vocal Competition, with piano accompaniment by Herbert Winful, Joseph E. and Anne P. Rowe Professor of Electrical Engineering
  • Abridged reading of the Emancipation Proclamation  
  • Presentation by returning alum Shawn Blanton, Joseph F. and Nancy Keithley Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Presentation by returning alum James Mickens, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
  • Remarks by EECS department leaders 
  • Artwork by Elizabeth Youngblood

At the conclusion of the program, lunch will be available outside in the Gerstacker Grove. The EECS department has partnered with two Black-owned businesses, Good Eats and Motor City Sweet Treats, to offer food truck lunches.

Lunch time will also feature a performance by Prof. Tiffany Ng, University Carillonist, of music by African-American composers, including the Midwest premiere of InVisibility by Emmy-award-winning composer Jasmine Arielle Barnes.

About our speakers, performers, and visual artist: 

Speaker: Shawn Blanton (PhD CSE 1995) is the Joseph F. and Nancy Keithley Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also serves as the department’s Associate Head of Research. His research interests include the design, test, diagnosis and security of integrated systems.

Prof. Blanton has received the NSF CAREER Award for the development of MEMS testing methodology, as well as awards from companies such as IBM, Qualcomm, Google, Teradyne, and CISCO. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, and senior member of the ACM. Prof. Blanton served as the Acting Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion for Carnegie Mellon’s College of Engineering from 2019-2020, and as Interim Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the University from 2020-2021.

Prof. Blanton is the recipient of the 2006 Emerald Award for outstanding leadership in recruiting and mentoring minorities for advanced degrees in science and technology; the 2021 College of Engineering Mentoring Award in recognition of excellence in mentoring of graduates students and junior faculty; the 2022 National Society of Black Engineers Lifetime Achievement in Academia Award; and the 2024 Carnegie Mellon Barbara Lazarus award for junior faculty and graduate student mentoring.

Speaker: James Mickens (PhD CSE 2008) is the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University. His research focuses on the performance and security of large-scale online services.

Prior to becoming a professor at Harvard, Prof. Mickens spent seven years at Microsoft Research, working in the Distributed Systems group; in 2014, he was also a visiting professor at MIT’s computer science department.

At Harvard, Prof. Mickens serves on the Board of Directors for the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; he is also a Director for Harvard’s Institute for Rebooting Social Media. He serves as a faculty co-chair for Harvard’s Embedded EthiCS program, which strives to incorporate ethical considerations into the computer science curricula.

Prof. Mickens is a co-author of a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences entitled “The Ethics and Governance of Computing Research and Its Applications.” In recognition of his outstanding teaching, Harvard named him as a Harvard College Professor in 2022. He also engages with regulators and governments on issues at the intersection of technology and society; for example, he was an expert witness on computer security in the landmark 2023 antitrust trial Epic Games v. Google.

Vocalist: Amber Rogers earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2023 and is currently a graduate student in Voice Performance at the UM School of Music Theater and Dance. She has sung in the chamber opera Gianni Schicchi and also performed as a soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. She has won several awards, including the Spiritual Prize as well as the First Prize in the Collegiate Division of the 2024 George Shirley Vocal Competition.

Carillonist: Tiffany Ng is University Carillonist, associate professor of carillon, and Chair of the Organ Department at the UM School of Music Theater and Dance. She earned her BA in English and music from Yale, Master of Music degree in organ from the Eastman School of Music and her PhD in musicology from the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a licentiate diploma magna cum laude from the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn”. Her many awards include the Henry Russel Award, the Shirley Verrett Award, and the E. Power Biggs Fellowship of the Organ Historical Society. An energetic advocate of diversity in contemporary music, she has premiered or revived over sixty pieces by emerging and established composers and, through her composer collaborations, significantly increased the American repertoire for carillon and electronics.

Artist: Elizabeth Youngblood is an artist, educator, designer and maker of interesting things. She has always maintained a dual interest in making by hand and in design for production. Youngblood’s art-making practice includes working in the mediums of drawing, ceramics, weaving, bookbinding and more. She’s been a faculty member at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and SUNY Purchase, NY, managed branding with Unisys and designed at the New York Times. After a stint on the east coast, Youngblood has returned to Detroit, her hometown, where she maintains a studio practice and continues to investigate the intersection of her range of interests. She currently leads workshops and special studios in experimental ceramic techniques.

Master of Ceremonies: Herbert Winful is a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the Joseph E. and Anne P. Rowe Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Professor of Physics and Applied Physics. He earned a BS degree in electrical engineering from MIT in 1975 and a PhD from the University of Southern California in 1981. After six years as a Principal Member of Technical Staff at GTE Laboratories in Waltham, Massachusetts, he joined the University of Michigan in 1987 as an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and was promoted to full professor four years later. His many contributions to photonics and quantum electronics include pioneering work on nonlinear optical periodic structures, the nonlinear dynamics of coherently-coupled laser arrays, the physics of quantum tunneling time, polarization instabilities, and distributed-feedback fiber Raman lasers. Professor Winful is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society, the National Society of Black Physicists, and the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. His many awards include the State of Michigan Teaching Excellence Award, the Harold R. Johnson Outreach and Diversity Award, and the 2020 IEEE Photonics Society Quantum Electronics Award.

Sponsored by

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Graduate Society of Black Engineers and ScientistsMichigan Engineering


Ann Stals


Taj Williams

Faculty Host

Herbert Winful Joseph E and Anne P Rowe Professor of Electrical EngineeringEECS-ECE