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Zahn to direct VI-A

Professor Markus Zahn has been appointed director of the historic VI-A Internship Program of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

The program, which is marking its 77th year, admitted its first students in 1917, to the GE factory in Lynn.

Today, said EECS department head Paul Penfield Jr., who announced Professor Zahn's appointment, there are 28 companies involved at 38 separate locations. They serve approximately 80 new students per year.

"Our VI-A program is more academically oriented than most other cooperative programs," Professor Penfield said in announcing the appointment. "A faculty member serves as liaison to each VI-A company to insure that the student assignments are challenging and that the educational experience provided is suitable."

Over the years, nearly 3,000 students have been in the program and more than a dozen VI-A graduates are on the MIT faculty, seven in EECS. One of those is Professor Zahn, who was a VI-A student at Raytheon in the 1960s.

Professor Zahn received his doctorate in 1970, taught at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and returned to MIT in 1980. He has won several teaching awards at Florida and at MIT and is also known for pioneering research in the measurement of electric fields. He will continue teaching and research at a reduced level while serving as VI-A director, Professor Penfield said.

"The VI-A Internship Program is facing a new set of conditions, brought on partly because of changes in what is needed of engineering graduates, and partly because of our new Master of Engineering Program," Professor Penfield said. "Leadership of the sort that Mark can provide will guide VI-A into its next 75 years."

A version of this article appeared in the February 2, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 21).

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