• ISA Insights
    June 2013

    ISA Young Innovator: Anton Natchaev

    anton-natchaev1My name is Anton Natchaev and this is my story about how ISA has led me along a path to become a young innovator.

    I came to America from Russia in the early 2000s with my family. When entering college in 2003, I had a fairly good idea of what I wanted from my education. After taking classes at Louisiana State University (LSU) and the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), I graduated with a bachelor's degree in computer engineering technology from USM. I applied to several graduate programs but picked USM because I was offered a graduate assistant position, which allowed me to be close to my family. In graduate school, I started becoming engaged in research-which was (and still remains) very interesting to me. I work for a very active research lab and have the chance to work on many exciting projects. These projects include computational image processing in areas of image analysis using visual clues, texture in Markov random fields, and edge detection; and instrumentation projects, which include robotics design with obstacle avoidance algorithms, detection of hydrogen in helium flow, level detection in cryogenic tank, and continuous analysis of photocatalytic activity in thin-films. After completing my master's degree in engineering technology, I began my studies for my doctorate degree in computational science with an emphasis in computer science. Since starting this study over two years ago, my experiences with ISA and in education have allowed me to see a project through from hardware development and software design to system implementation.

    ISA has benefited my career in a number of ways.  As a young student, I was recruited to present instrumentation topics at ISA's International Instrumentation Symposium (IIS). My first paper and presentation with ISA was in my senior year as an undergrad at the 2009 54th IIS in Pensacola, Florida, USA. Since that time, I have presented at least one paper per year at an ISA venue, which has improved my presentation skills and has allowed me to network with professionals in my field from all around the world. I have been able to hone in on my technical skills by writing and reviewing technical papers. This has given me an unexpected level of recognition in the industry as a young innovator in instrumentation.

    I would like to provide some examples of how my experiences with ISA have assisted in my development as a young innovator. At USM, I am the lead graduate student on many research projects on various topics that include rocket engine testing instrumentation, in-situ micron measurement of coatings, nanocaged trimetallic micron particle development, photocatalytic process characterization, and image analysis. ISA has provided a gateway to present my work and meet colleagues in the field. The networking opportunities at the symposia and technical conferences have provided me with numerous and valuable contacts in the industry. These opportunities are often overlooked by many students, and should be encouraged to all future professionals in automation.

    Volunteerism at ISA is very important to my career growth. I try to volunteer at every symposium. I help organize, provide program content, or present technical topics relative to my area of expertise. This is a great way to meet new people and learn from many of the interesting sessions. As a volunteer, I have moderated sessions as well as assisted with operations, logistics, and other tasks. This year, I presented at the ISA Analysis Division Symposium in Galveston, Texas, USA in April. In recent years, I have presented at the IIS Symposia, ISA Expo, and ISA Automation Week. While attending these technical events, I present papers on selected research projects from our research group. The presentation process has drastically improved my skills in technical speaking, and I have received invaluable feedback from many mentors in instrumentation and automation. Participating in ISA events also allows me to network with industry contacts that face many of the same problems as I do in the industry. This approach has yielded solutions or steered me in the right direction on many occasions.

    My ISA path is a testament to how getting involved with ISA can help you craft you own path to being a young innovator. I would recommend that any young professional in the field of instrumentation join ISA, attend one of the many symposia, purchase ISA publications, and take advantage of ISA education and training. These professional opportunities not only help you in networking within the industry, but also provide insights into what cutting-edge technologies are right at your fingertips. I have seen many new advances in instrumentation provided by ISA, which in turn have helped me become more knowledgeable and innovative. Now, I too provide inspiration to other young instrumentation professionals and help them solve difficult problems.

    I am proud to be an ISA young innovator.
    Anton Natchaev