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K-State Today

October 7, 2013



Munson to present K-State physics department distinguished alumni lecture

By Kim Coy

Michelle Munson

Michelle Munson, CEO of Aspera Inc. and co-inventor of Aspera's fasp transport technology, will present the 2013 Ernest Fox Nichols Distinguished Alumni Lecture in Physics at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, in the Hemisphere Room at Hale Library.

The lecture is open to the public and is free of charge. Students, faculty and community members are encouraged to attend to hear about Munson’s education and work. Refreshments will be served prior to the lecture at 4 p.m. in the Hemisphere Room's foyer.

The lecture, "I Was You," is the story of how a K-State physics and engineering graduate came to create a technology and start a company that has transformed the world of data transfer. This lecture will not be of a technical level and is geared toward the general public. 

In her talk, Munson, a 1996 K-State graduate in physics and electrical engineering, will detail the story of how she created a new technology and her company.

Aspera's technology provides breakthrough high performance data transfer and synchronization regardless of Internet distance, data size and network conditions. Thanks to industry adoption, the technology has been awarded a 2014 Engineering Emmy for transforming the digital media industry and is used today by more than 2,000 companies to transfer large data sets, making Aspera one of the most recognized software startups with more than 100 times growth since its inception. 

Munson will explain how her Kansas State University experience, her lifetime education in science, engineering and mathematics starting in the Chapman school district, and her life experiences and relationships have all woven together to make this journey possible as well as the lessons learned in course.

Munson was born and raised in Junction City and graduated from Chapman High School. She has dual bachelor's degrees in physics and electrical engineering from Kansas State University, where she was a Goldwater Scholar and later a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University where she received a postgraduate diploma in computer science.

Munson has led Aspera in collaboration with co-founder Serban Simu since its inception in 2004. Prior to founding Aspera, she was a software engineer in research and startup companies, including the IBM Almaden Research Center. She was the 2006 K-State College of Engineering Alumni Fellow — the youngest recipient ever, carries multiple patents in high performance transport and bandwidth control, and was named a recipient of a 2014 Engineering Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the Aspera technology.

Munson also is a frequent speaker on technologies and trends around big data transport, high performance computing in support of science, Cloud infrastructure and mobile data and has spoken at many conferences in various parts of the world.

She lives in Berkeley, Calif., with her family, including nearly 3-year-old son Aidan, and is an active athlete in CrossFit, running and other activities in the Bay Area. She also maintains a home in Junction City for visits to her family's farm.

This lecture series honors distinguished physics alumni from Kansas State University.a