Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award

The Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award is awarded to a member of the alumni community who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the College of Engineering and Bucknell University, exemplary professional achievement, or noteworthy contributions to society.

2019 Recipient

Keren Bergman ’88

Keren Bergman '88 graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in electrical engineering. In 1991 she completed an M.S. in electrical engineering and in 1994 a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, both at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Bergman started her career in academe as a faculty member in electrical engineering at Princeton University. Through various collaborations and in her role as technical consultant for Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, she became intrigued by the growing applications of optical networking in commercial systems. Bergman left academe to join a startup company — Tellium Inc. — where she worked on large-scale optical switching for wide-area networks. After several years at Tellium, Bergman returned to academe in 2001 to join Columbia University, where she is now the Charles Batchelor Professor of Electrical Engineering. She was a visiting research fellow at IBM T.J. Watson Research Labs during the 2007-2008 academic year. From 2011 to 2017 she served as chair for the Department of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University.

Bergman also serves as the faculty director of the Columbia Nano Initiative, which she founded in 2014. Bergman leads the Lightwave Research Laboratory, which encompasses multiple cross-disciplinary programs at the intersection of computing and photonics. Her work exploits optical data movement for creating energy-efficient extreme performance data centers, optical packet-switched routers, and nanophotonic networks-on-chip multiprocessors. She is currently developing a new class of nanoscale photonic interconnect technologies that seamlessly move data from on-chip networks across memory and large computing systems with extreme energy efficiency. These future platforms, driven by nanophotonic-enabled interconnectivity, and the enormous bandwidth advantage of dense wavelength division multiplexing will fundamentally transform computation-communications architecture to create systems able to meet explosive information demands at all scales.

In 1996 Bergman received the Wentz Award for Teaching and Scholarship from Princeton University and in 1997 she received the CalTech President's Award for research in optical networking. In 2003 Bergman was elected a fellow of the Optical Society of America. In 2008 she received an IBM Faculty Award and in 2009 she was elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 2011 Bergman became the Charles Batchelor Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia, and in 2016 she received the Herman Haus Distinguished Lecture Award from MIT and the IEEE Photonics Engineering Award.

Bergman currently serves on the Department of Energy Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee, the Editorial Advisory Board of APL Photonics, the IEEE Photonics Award Committee, the Irish Photonics Integration Center Scientific Advisory Committee and the Brookhaven National Laboratory Computational Science Initiative Scientific Advisory Board. Bergman has recently joined the Bucknell University College of Engineering Dean's Advisory Council.

Bergman's accomplishments, service and dedication to the profession and to society and more than 25 years of mentoring hundreds of students studying the latest developments in photonics and computing drives have earned her the respect and gratitude of Bucknell University’s engineering alumni.

Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award

College of Engineering


235 Dana Engineering Building


8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.