Manisa Pipattanasomporn of Alexandria, Va., a post doctoral fellow at Virginia Tech's Alexandria Research Institute (ARI), has been awarded the 2005 Doctoral First Prize from the District of Columbia Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies (DCCEAS). She was recognized for "Model for the Least-Cost Telecommunication Infrastructure in a Remote Area," a paper related to her Ph.D. dissertation she wrote at ARI. She will receive a certificate and an $800 prize during an awards banquet later this month.

Pippattanasomporn completed her Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech in December 2004. Her fields of interest are renewable energy systems, critical infrastructure and distributed generation.

Pipattanasomporn's award winning research paper presents a methodology and necessary analytical tools for policy makers to evaluate possible telecom alternatives. Utilizing a telecom-and-Internet access map of a geographically defined region (Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts -- Bangladesh), she illustrated the combination of technologies and locations that can provide wide-area Internet access to cover a majority of the population at the least cost. By selecting a remote area of a developing country as a case study, she was able to explore the possibility of extending the reach of the Internet and to conceptualize pilot projects as building blocks for a nationwide infrastructure.

Pipattanasomporn earned her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand in 1999. She received a master's degree from the Energy Program, School of Environmental Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, in 2001.