Stephen Wu: A ‘passionate’ teacher’ whose classes are relevant, challenging, and engaging

April 27, 2022

“This had to be one of the best Covid-acclimated classes that I have taken in the last two semesters. The pre-recorded lectures broken up into sizeable times, in-class examples, the lab videos, altering assignments and exams to fit the current academic environment while still being challenging... I learned so much this semester and extremely appreciate the attention to the small details. Thank you, Professor Wu!” (ECE 221; Fall 2020)

Stephen Wu's portraitWith student feedback like this, it is small wonder that Stephen Wu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is a 2022 recipient of the University’s G. Graydon Curtis ’58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Nontenured Faculty Teaching Excellence.

“Stephen is a passionate teacher who strives to ensure that his teaching material is relevant, challenging, and engaging,” says department chair Marvin Doyley. 

During the pandemic, Wu mastered the “flipped” teaching model, in which he makes short, high-quality recordings that students can view in their own time. He then uses the allotted classroom time to solve questions. Wu’s instructional methods have been proven to be a resource for his students and a model for fellow faculty. 

In addition to teaching a course on electronic devices and circuits for undergraduates, Wu developed a graduate course in nanoelectronic devices. He also teaches a course on quantum electronic devices and materials to graduate students.

In 2020, Wu received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award to support his research and education efforts involving two-dimensional materials as thin as a single layer of atoms. When stretched and pulled, these materials can transform from being superconducting one moment to nonconducting the next. Wu is exploring these changes when they occur in transistor-scale device platforms, which could transform electronics, optics, computing, and a host of other technologies. Learn more.

 Several undergraduate students have worked in Wu’s laboratory, typically undertaking self-contained projects related to nanoelectronics or quantum materials. His students give presentations and coauthor publications, with many having gone on to prestigious graduate programs or industrial positions. 

Wu earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and computer science, as well as a bachelor of arts in physics, before completing his master’s and doctoral degrees in physics—all at the University of California–Berkeley. He served as postdoctoral researcher at Argonne National Laboratory before joining the University of Rochester in 2017.