'Meet the Faculty' with Prof. Jelena Vuckovic [video]
MTF welcomes Jelena Vuckovic who shares her journey from Niš (Serbia), to almost majoring in architecture, to Caltech, her adventures in academia, and her recent times as EE department chair.
Jelena Vuckovic is a Jensen Huang Professor in Global Leadership in the School of Engineering, a Professor of EE and by courtesy of Applied Physics at Stanford, where she leads the Nanoscale and Quantum Photonics Lab. She is also the Fortinet Founders Chair of the EE Department at Stanford. She was the inaugural director of Q-FARM, the Stanford-SLAC Quantum Science and Engineering Initiative. Upon receiving her PhD from Caltech in 2002, she worked as a postdoc at Stanford, and in 2003, she joined the Stanford EE Faculty.
Jelena has received many awards and honors, including recently the Mildred Dresselhaus Lectureship from MIT (2021), the James Gordon Memorial Speakership from the Optica (2020), the IET A. F. Harvey Engineering Research Prize (2019), and Distinguished Scholar of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (2019). She is a Fellow of the APS, IEEE, and OSA. So far, 23 PhD students and 13 postdoctoral scholars have graduated from Jelena's group, with about one third being women. 16 of them work in academia, and 8 are already tenured faculty members.
Fun facts: Jelena was born and grew up in Niš, one of the largest cities in Serbia (former Yugoslavia). As a kid, she was interested in math and physics, but also as much in arts, alternative music, and French language. She went to a math- and physics-focused high school, and was leaning towards studying architecture, but ended up choosing less artsy electrical engineering, influenced by her older brother who was an EE major. Apart from Serbia and California, she also lived in Australia, and spent time in Berlin and Munich as a visiting scientist. She is the proud mother of two daughters, a kindergartner and an 8th grader. These days, she is also an avid swimmer.