GEM Receives 2022 Presidential Award for Excellence in promoting STEM

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Joel L. Dawson, Ph.D.

Dr. Dawson got his start in electronics as a hobbyist, amateur radio operator, and tinkerer growing up in Northern Virginia. He went to MIT first for his formal training, earning a bachelor’s degree (1996) and a master’s degree (1997) in EE, and did his master’s thesis research at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ. He completed the Ph.D. degree in EE at Stanford University in 2003. In 2003 he co-founded Aspendos Communications, a semiconductor company, before joining the MIT EECS faculty in 2004. During his time at MIT, he published numerous papers in conferences and refereed journals. In 2011, he co-founded Eta Devices with three other partners to commercialize a new, high-efficiency radio architecture that he first developed in his research group at MIT. Based in Cambridge, MA and backed by by Stata Venture Partners and Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, the Eta Devices team grew to 20 people before being acquired by Nokia in the fall of 2016.Dr. Dawson led the team deploying the Eta Devices technology within Nokia for advanced cellular base stations, successful customer trials in 2018 and 2019. In addition, he is a founder and advisor to Eta Wireless, a spin-out from the Nokia acquisition that is focused on deploying the technology in cellular handsets, WiFi systems, and 5G wireless networks.
For his work at MIT, Dr. Dawson received the NSF Career Award in 2008. In 2009, he was selected for the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent careers. He currently resides in Boston, MA, with his wife and son.