Dr. Jennifer Zirnheld - Director
Office: 213 Davis Hall
Telephone: (716) 645-1033
Fax: (716) 645-3656

Jennifer L. Zirnheld is the Maxwell Technologies Inc. Professor and an Associate Professor on the faculty of the Electrical Engineering Department in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo and director of the Energy Systems Integration Lab (ESI). A Western New York native growing up in Tonawanda NY, she received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University at Buffalo in 1993, 1997, and 2004, respectively. 

As a faculty member she has been the author of and co-investigator on many grants, contracts, and fellowships from both industry and government, including a study to investigate using room temperature plasma to treat cancer cells.  She actively mentors undergraduates and graduates in addition to her own undergraduate and graduate students through several outreach programs including the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded programs such as the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), the Bridges to the Doctorate Program (BD Program), and the McNair Program, hosting them for academic year and summer research experiences.

She and her students have co-authored publications for journals and for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest technical professional society, for conferences in insulation and dielectrics, pulsed power and other related areas. In addition, Zirnheld has coauthored two book chapters for Academic Press in the area of low- and high-dielectric materials and their applications.  Locally, Jennifer has served as the chair of the IEEE Buffalo Section and the editor of the section newsletter and is now a member of the IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference Executive Committee. 

In addition to her research activities, she has been the recipient of numerous teaching and mentoring awards including the IEEE Region 1 “IEEE Outstanding Teaching Award - For Outstanding Contributions in Educational and Professional Leadership,” selected from over 35,000 members in IEEE’s Region 1; the University at Buffalo’s Student Association Milton Plesur Excellence in Teaching Award (two – time winner); UB’s Career Services “Positive Influence on Students” (two- time recognition); the New York Nu chapter of Tau Beta Pi, UB’s branch of the Engineering Honor Society “Professor of the Year;” and most recently selected as a “University at Buffalo Mentor of Excellence,” in the inaugural class of five recipients of the President Emeritus and Mrs. Martin Meyerson Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring.

Dr. Zirnheld extends her research, teaching, and mentoring to the community where she is a strong supporter of the Buffalo Area Engineering Awareness for Minorities and Women Program (BEAM) including having hosted summer high school interns in her lab for a research experience, and being one of the organizers for the annual BEAM day long “active hands on learning hunt” through the School of Engineering to encourage local high school students to consider engineering as a career.  She has also been involved in the Tech Savvy Program which introduces girls to engineering and science.  Other outreach activities included Engineer Your Life, Girl Scouts, and the Buffalo Museum of Sciences’ - Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day. 

Dr. Zirnheld has also volunteered in the Town of Tonawanda Blessed Sacrament youth basketball program and coached baseball for 25 years, helping youth to stay active and be healthy.

Jennifer has also been recently recognized as one of the Top 100 Inspiring Women in STEM in the nation, by INSIGHT into Diversity, one of higher education’s premier publications.







Kevin Burke - Deputy Director
Office: 230N Davis Hall
Telephone: (716) 645-1038
Fax: (716) 645-3656

Kevin Burke was born in Brooklyn, NY. He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1997, M.S.E.E. degree in 2004, and his Ph.D. in 2010 from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has received numerous fellowships and awards and has co-authored over 20 publications in the areas of pulsed power, dielectrics, partial discharges and surface flashover. He is currently a Teaching Assistant Professor and the Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies.


In loving memory

Walter Sarjeant






Walter Sarjeant - Former Director Emeritus