Women at HomecomingPhoto by Noah Berger



Events and Programs

College of Engineering
312 McLaughlin Hall # 1704
Berkeley, CA 94720-1704

Please join us for an all-virtual Reunion and Parents Weekend at Homecoming (October 16-18, 2020) to celebrate the Cal community, connections and culture. The event will feature three days of alumni reunions, lectures and other exciting learning opportunities. You can visit the Homecoming website to learn more about the weekend’s activities, or read below about Berkeley Engineering’s Homecoming events:

Visit the central homecoming weekend website to register and view the campuswide schedule of events.

Friday, Oct. 16

2:30–3:30 p.m. | The Climate-COVID-Race Collision

From pandemics and racism to fires and gas prices, climate and energy have become mainstream topics. Professor Dan Kammen will look at the science and politics behind today’s global crises. Please register in advance through the California Alumni Association to receive the Zoom link.

Daniel M. Kammen is a professor of energy with appointments in the Energy and Resources Group at the College of Engineering, the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Department of Nuclear Engineering. He is also the director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory.

3–4 p.m. | A Visit and Q&A with the Jacobs Institute

As the Jacobs Institute celebrates its fifth anniversary, learn how the institute has transformed hands-on education and inspired students from all across campus. Hear from program managers, lab directors and students. A link to join the Zoom meeting will be provided closer to the event. Speakers will take questions, but attendees are welcome to submit them beforehand to jacobsinstitute@berkeley.edu.

Saturday, Oct. 17

9–10 a.m. | Engineering Homecoming Kickoff!

Engineering alumni, students, parents and friends are invited to join us for an informal conversation with our college deans, student advisers and fellow members of the Berkeley Engineering community. Please join us at https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/97688752476

10–11 a.m. | Rising to the Challenge: Berkeley Engineers Take on COVID-19

Berkeley Engineering faculty have mustered a remarkable research response to COVID-19, and work continues around-the-clock. Join Berkeley Engineering Dean Tsu-Jae King Liu and fellow engineering faculty from across the college and learn about the work being done in service to society. Please join us at https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/95157090560


Tsu-Jae King Liu, Dean and Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. Dean Liu is internationally recognized in academia and industry for her innovations in semiconductor devices and technology, and she is highly regarded for her achievements as an instructor, mentor and administrator.

Patrick Hsu, Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, and Deb Faculty Fellow. As a member of the Innovative Genomics Institute, Professor Hsu is working to apply new CRISPR tools he has discovered to provide a faster and better diagnosis of COVID-19 infections. The research also involves searching for new drug targets using CRISPR genetic screens.

Simo Mäkiharju, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering. Professor Mäkiharju is collaborating to adapt sleep apnea machines to give respiratory aid to COVID-19 patients and is studying the droplet transport of infectious diseases.

Kara Nelson, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion, College of Engineering.  Professor Nelson is leading a multidisciplinary group of UC Berkeley researchers and working with the East Bay Municipal Utility District to accurately track COVID-19, measuring levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in wastewater to determine how it circulates in communities.



1–2:30 p.m. | Blacks in STEM in the Face of Two Pandemics

The Black Engineering and Science Alumni Club (BESAC) presents a virtual moderated panel of Black engineers and scientists working in a COVID-19 and post-George Floyd world. Topics will range from engineering projects by alums and faculty to address issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to address the disparate effects of COVID-19 on the Black community, and wide-ranging initiatives to redress the impacts of systemic racism. Registration is required to receive the event details, including the Zoom link. Please register in advance for this session through the BESAC.


Grace O’Connell – Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

O’Connell holds the Don M. Cunningham Chair of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley. This summer, she pivoted from her pioneering research in the bioengineering of intervertebral soft tissues and cartilage to direct her lab to re-engineer sleep apnea machines into home-use ventilators for COVID-19 patients. O’Connell was recently awarded funding from the UC Office of the President to offer summer research opportunities for undergraduate engineering students at Howard University in 2021.

John S. Davis II Ph.D. ’00 – Senior Privacy Engineer, Google

As a senior privacy engineer at Google, Davis and his colleagues recently published their work to aid COVID-19 researchers in data mining symptom search terms in Google while simultaneously protecting user privacy. Davis joined Google in 2019 after eight years at the Rand Corporation as a senior information scientist and seven years at IBM’s Watson Research Center as a research staff member. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley in 2000.

Candia L. Brown ’91 – Senior Director, Global Market Development, Genetic Sciences Division, Thermo Fisher Scientific

As the senior director of global market development, Brown is responsible for market segmentation strategy, thought leadership, and business development within the clinical research, agriculture, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical markets. She is passionate about genomics and health disparities in communities of color. She is currently leading a project to support COVID-19 testing in historically black colleges and universities. The Just Project is a result of a $15 million donation from Thermo Fisher Scientific and is named after pioneering biologist Ernest Everett Just. Brown earned her degree from UC Berkeley in integrative human biology in 1991.

Kris Okumu ’96, M.D. – Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon; Medical Director, Spine Health Institute; Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics, Seton Medical Center

Dr. Okumu is a fellowship-trained, orthopaedic spine surgeon and the medical director of the Spine Health Institute. He is trained in pediatric and adult scoliosis surgery, complex spine surgery, and minimally invasive spine surgery. Dr. Okumu is also an entrepreneur and co-founder of two medical device and software companies, Oculapps and Orcana. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in biochemistry/molecular and cell biology in 1998 and his medical degree from UC Davis School of Medicine.

Fatima Alleyne M.S. ’06, Ph.D. ’13 – Director, Community Engagement and Inclusive Practices; Trustee, Contra Costa County Board of Education

Alleyne will act as the panel moderator for this event. She recently started her new role as director of community engagement and inclusive practices at UC Berkeley. In her current role, she develops and leads programs to engage faculty, staff, and students in the College of Engineering in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts to increase awareness of implicit bias, interrupt exclusionary behaviors, and build capacity to promote and share evidence based-practices that advance DEI. She earned her degrees from Cal in materials science and engineering.

Please contact us at bears@berkeley.edu if you have any questions. We look forward to joining you at Homecoming!