SPOTLIGHT ON: 2010 IEEE-USA President Evelyn Hirt

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Tell us a little about you and your family, Evelyn.

A: I was born and raised in the inner city of Detroit as the youngest of five children.  I was the only one in my family to go to college and one of only a very few females to graduate with an engineering degree from my university by the mid-70s.  Driven by the economy and the fluctuating job market; I’ve lived in a variety of locations across the U.S.  I have two grown children who work as a high school history teacher and an electrical engineer.  My three grandchildren range in age from 12 to 3.


Q: What is your greatest hope for your year as IEEE-USA President in 2010?

A:  That I will have advanced the viability and recognition of the contributions of the profession in general and specifically engineers and computer professionals.


Q: What misconceptions do you think people have about engineers?

A: That we are technical all the time and have limited to no social skills.


Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A:  Making a difference so that the world is better when I’ve left then when I arrived.



What is your greatest fear?

A: That I’ll never find the time to follow up on an idea I have for some systems engineering research.


Q: What living person do you admire most, and why?

A: One of the semi-retired engineers at work who has been a practicing engineer for over 60 years and was instrumental in enabling ultrasound technology to move from a scientific curiosity to a key tool for ensuring product quality and safety in industrial products and as an every-day medical diagnostic tool.  My admiration stems from the fact that he achieved his great success with only a bachelors degree in electrical engineering while nurturing a strong family life; raising wonderful and successful children, and staying grounded in the realities and joys of everyday life.


Q:  Tell us about your favorite hobbies or pastimes.

A: My favorite hobby is breeding and showing Basenji dogs in Canada and the U.S.  Unfortunately, this has been on hold the last few years due to my IEEE duties.


I have however been able to find time to due some genealogy research that has help me better understand the transitions my family name has experienced over the years.


Q: What is your favorite journey?

A: Learning across a diverse range of subjects.



Q: What is your most distinctive characteristic?

A: I’m frequently told that I excel at “connecting the dots”.


Q: Share your motto with us, Evelyn.

A: Living well is the best revenge.






Georgia C. Stelluto is Editor-in-Chief of IEEE-USA IN ACTION; IEEE-USA’s Publishing Manager’ the program manager for IEEE-USA E-Books; and the Staff Manager for IEEE-USA’s Communications Committee and the IEEE-USA E-Books Editorial Board.  She can be contacted at

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