Alumni notes


Chun Ming Chin (M.Eng.’12 EECS), creator of WayGo, an app that provides instant translation of Asian-language text into English on mobile phones (see Berkeley Engineer fall 2012), has had his startup, Translate Abroad, named one of “10 Standout Companies” by TechCrunch.

Amy Moll

Amy Moll (M.S.’92, Ph.D.’94 MSE) was named dean of Boise State University’s College of Engineering. With an undergraduate degree in ceramic engineering, Moll spent a year at IBM before graduate study at Berkeley. She later became an engineer and production manager at Hewlett Packard, making light-emitting diodes. Moll then joined the faculty at Boise State, where she co-founded the materials science and engineering program and served as its first chair. As one of about 40 female deans throughout all the engineering schools in the U.S. and Canada, Moll aims to recruit more women to the field.

(Photo courtesy of Boise State University)

Christophe Cochet (M.S.’11 ME) received the 2012 graduate paper award from the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers for his paper “Hydrodynamic Performance of a Compound Cylinder Extracting Ocean-Wave Energy.” The award was presented at the society’s annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. Cochet is a member of the energy staff at Centre d’Ingénierie Hydraulique Électricité de France.

Nathan Collinridge (M.Eng.’12 EECS) works at Jawbone as a software engineer for UP, a wristband that continually monitors and records vital statistics, including meals, exercise and rest. Collinridge’s contribution were the search and meal-logging systems for the UP app. In addition, he and his wife are expecting their fourth child. He says, “Life continues to move fast, and though we plan on slowing down some day, we are currently enjoying the ride!”

Kathryn Moore (B.S.’12 ME), now a fifth-year master’s student in mechanical engineering, was among a team of three Berkeley students who made it to the finals of a national Disney-sponsored design competition. Called ImagiNations, the competition asked students to design a Disney experience for the residents of any city in the world. Drawing on Berkeley’s green reputation, the three students created SAMM-E, or Sustainable Automated Meal Mobile-Earth. SAMM-E, a robot-turned-food-truck sent from the world of Disney’s WALL-E character to help humans restore a deteriorating planet, is an interactive experience that allows guests to design their own fully organic meals. They presented their project at the Walt Disney Imagineering headquarters in Glendale, California in January.

Pamela Tiet (B.S.’12 BioE) won first place in biomedical engineering at the Emerging Researchers national conference in Atlanta for her poster presentation on technology and engineering.

An-Chi Tsou (Ph.D.’12 BioE) was appointed to the California Science and Technology Policy Fellowship in June to serve as an adviser to the California State Legislature. The fellowship, which is modeled on a similar congressional program, selects scientists and engineers for one-year appointments to foster collaboration between public policy and science. Tsou is currently working in the office of Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) as a health and science adviser.

Lei Xu (B.S.’11 IEOR) joined Google in Mountain View last fall, where he analyzes customer data in the global sales operations division. Over the summer, Xu hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with a group of Berkeley grads that included Sam Lee (B.S.’11 EECS).


Jonathan Buckalew (B.S.’09, M.Eng.’11 CEE), a senior engineer at the structural engineering firm Nabih Youssef Associates, was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC) to explore retrofit options for “soft-story” buildings. According to SEAONC, Buckalew’s project, entitled “Comparison of Soft, Weak, Open Front Retrofit Guidelines,” was “extremely timely and relevant, given that the City of San Francisco is seeking direction and input in addressing these types of buildings in their long-term hazard reduction plans.”

Anu Sridharan

Anu Sridharan (B.S.’09, M.S.’10 CEE) was named to the Forbes “30 under 30” list of social entrepreneurs of 2012. Sridharan co-founded NextDrop (, a company dedicated to improving access to clean water in urban India by informing residents about piped water availability and providing feedback to utilities for data-driven decision-making to improve water management (see Forefront spring 2011).

(Photo courtesy of Anu Sridharan)

Ameer Ellaboudy (B.S.’09, M.Eng.’12 EECS) interned at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field and now works at Apple as part of the hardware team for Apple Touch. A resident of Cupertino, Ellaboudy often travels to Asia on business.

Christine Ho (B.S.’05, M.S.’07, Ph.D.’10 MSE) co-founded Imprint Energy in 2010 (see Forefront spring 2011) to develop flexible zinc alternatives to the standard lithium ion battery, and according to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, business is good: “For the wearables industry, Imprint Energy’s zinc poly batteries could enable an entirely new type of device that’s more hidden, streamlined, even more functional. Given that wearable electronics is an emerging sector—and one that could become a lot more mainstream over the next few years—disruptive design could ultimately completely change the wearable industry.”

Andrew Laffoon (B.S.’05 IEOR) was named by Forbes as one of America’s Most Promising CEOs under 35. Laffoon founded Mixbook, a website where users can create and share photobooks, cards and calendars for free.

Vincent Lee (B.S.’09, M.Eng.’12 EECS) now works at Oracle. Lee, a resident of Belmont, California, reports that “everything I learned at Berkeley has come in handy.”

Prapti Mittal (M.S.’07 CEE) earned an MBA at Harvard and began her career as an environmental engineer at URS Corporation, an environmental consulting firm. She then worked at the World Bank to optimize drinking water and sanitation delivery models affecting millions of people in rural India. Last fall, Mittal was named a principal of Terawatt Ventures, an investment firm focused on energy technology.

Anupam Pathak (B.S.’04 ME) is the founder and CEO of Lift Labs, a company that uses engineering technologies to improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities or degenerative diseases. Among their first projects is Liftware, spoons designed for people with Parkinson’s disease. The utensil stays steady with innovative technology designed to mitigate shaking. Similar products include LiftStride and LiftPulse. Michael Allen (B.S.’11 ME) is a mechanical engineer for the company.

Adam Wright (B.S.’05 ME) has been named president of Hawkes Ocean Technologies, a company best known for their pioneering DeepFlight winged submersibles. Sub-sea flying has attracted the interest of such explorers as Steve Fossett and Richard Branson. As president, Wright plans to expand expeditions on manned submersibles for the luxury and tourism markets and will continue to develop cutting-edge technologies for deep ocean research and exploration, including a revolutionary new type of remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to be released soon. Wright joined the Point Richmond-based company in 2000 and has been principal mechanical engineer since 2010, a position he will retain.


Oren Jacob (B.S.’92, M.S.’95 EECS)  found his calling at the movies, where he was entranced by Luxo Jr., the now-iconic short film about a pint-sized desk lamp. As an undergraduate, Jacob landed a dream internship at Pixar, which led to more than 20 years with the animation studio—most recently as CTO and director of the studio tools group. Jacob lent his talents to Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo. In 2011, he co-founded ToyTalk, a family entertainment company “powered by characters and conversation.” They are currently working on an A.I.-powered talking teddy bear that communicates through an iPad. But according to the company bio, Jacob’s says he will “drop all of this in a heartbeat to become a pro snowboarder the minute that first sponsor shows up.”

Frieder Seible

Frieder Seible (Ph.D.’82 CE) has accepted the position of academic vice president and dean of engineering and information technology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. In April, he completed his second five-year term as dean at the University of California, San Diego, where he helped guide the Jacobs School of Engineering to tremendous growth over the past decade. Internationally recognized for his design of long-span bridges and improving seismic safety, Seible is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a member of the Caltrans Seismic Advisory Board. (He is pictured above on the new east span of the Bay Bridge.)

(Photo courtesy UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering)


MIT professors Shafrira Goldwasser (M.S.’81, Ph.D.’84 CS) and Silvio Micali (Ph.D.’83 CS) have won the Association for Computing Machinery’s A.M. Turing Award for their pioneering work in the fields of cryptography and complexity theory. The pair began their collaboration as Berkeley graduate students in 1980, and they went on to make significant contributions to the science of cryptography. Their mechanisms for encrypting and securing information are in wide use today in many Internet transactions. The Turing Award is regarded as the “Nobel Prize in computing” and comes with a $250,000 prize.

Bruce E. Logan (Ph.D.’86 CE), professor of environmental engineering at Pennsylvania State University, and Richard M. Murray (M.S.’88, Ph.D.’91 EECS), professor of control and dynamical systems and bioengineering at Caltech, were elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Logan was named for his contributions to microbial electrochemical technologies for wastewater treatment and sustainable energy generation. Murray was named for contributions to control theory and networked control systems with applications to aerospace engineering, robotics and autonomy.

Kerry Newman (B.S.’84 EECS) spent 17 years working mostly in aerospace, including jobs with Boeing and NASA. For the last 12 years, he has built up three Subway franchises in League City, Texas. “With my technical skills, I do all my own repair work on the equipment,” says Newman.

Peter Norvig (Ph.D.’86 EECS) and colleague Sebastian Thrun ushered in a revolution in online education with their first-ever MOOC (massively open online course) in 2011. When they first put their “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course online for free, they drew 58,000 students; after front-page coverage in the New York Times, enrollment shot up to 160,000. Norvig remains director of research at Google, and Thrun is now CEO of the online education portal Udacity.

Paul Slakey (B.S.’84, M.S.’87 ME) started his career as an engineer at IBM, where he received a scholarship to attend graduate school in engineering. He went on to earn an MBA at Dartmouth College and, after stints at Google, several software companies and venture capital firms, is now the director of global solutions and services at LinkedIn.

Giovanni Dubois Gonzalez

Giovanni Dubois Gonzalez (B.S.’02, M.S.’05 ME) founded the LAM Network, the Bay Area’s No. 1 social network for Latino professionals. With nearly 5,000 members, the organization offers educational, social and philanthropic activities and plans to expand nationwide, starting with Los Angeles and New York in 2013. The South by Southwest Interactive Festival nominated him for its El Innovator Revolución Award, which recognizes Latinos using social media as a platform for change. Dubois, who was born in Guatemala and moved here at age 14, met his wife, Sara Bakhtary (B.A.’04 molecular and cell biology), at Berkeley’s International House.

(Photo courtesy of Giovanni Dubois)


Alice M. Agogino (M.S.’78 ME), Berkeley’s Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical
Engineering, has been honored by AAAS for her efforts to significantly increase the number of women and underrepresented minority students pursuing doctorates in mechanical engineering. During her career, she has mentored 23 doctoral students (17 from minority backgrounds), 82 master’s students (36 minority students) and an estimated 800 undergraduate researchers.

Sung Mo (Steve) Kang (Ph.D.’75 EE) has been named the new president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea’s top technology school. Kang began his four-year term in February. School officials hope Kang will lead the school to become one of the world’s best technology schools. Kang served as chancellor of the University of California, Merced from 2007-11.

Glen Langstaff (B.S.’77 ME, NE) joined RAM Mechanical as vice president and chief operating officer. Previously, Langstaff was at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory overseeing design and construction in the facilities division.

Ross N. Mills (M.S.’73, Ph.D.’78 Eng. Sci.) is president of Vexajet Corporation, an ink jet company based in Boulder, Colorado. He was recently named a fellow of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology. Mills previously worked at IBM, Lexmark and iTi Corporation.


Jesse Ante (B.S.’68, M.S.’70 ME) was honored in March by the California Alumni Association (CAA) with a service award for his contributions to the alumni community, starting with his participation in the student-alumni mentor program and expanding to leadership roles with the CAA board of directors, Pilipino American alumni chapter, the Chinese chapter and the Engineering Alumni Society. He is currently president of the California Japanese American Alumni Association. Ante has also established a number of scholarships: the Salvador and Prudencia Ante Leadership Award in honor of his parents, his own Jesse Ante Achievement Award and scholarships funded by the class of 1968 and by PG&E, from which he retired in 1999. He currently works for the California Public Utilities Commission.

Charles Dieter Bohle (B.S.’61 ME) went on to graduate studies in finance and spent 30 years in industry as a chief financial officer. Bohle then became a management consultant and is now working in the aerospace and defense sector for the Monitor Group. He and his wife, Marilyn, have two children and four grandchildren.

Robin Coger

Robin N. Coger (M.S.’90, Ph.D.’93 ME) was named dean of engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. Prior to joining A&T, Coger was a professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Coger’s career at UNC Charlotte spanned 15 years, during which she worked as a teacher, researcher and administrator. She founded UNC’s Center for Biomedical Engineering Systems and researched tissue-engineered organs, including liver replacement devices. She is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

(Photo by Charles Watkins/NC A&T)

Robert M. Chapman (B.S.’64 CE) wrapped up a 50-year career with the State of California Division of Highways and Caltrans in June 2009. His most visible accomplishment was the redesign of Los Angeles’ I-105/I-110 freeway interchange, so iconic it often appears in television commercials. Since retiring, Chapman has traveled to Europe, Turkey, Argentina and Chile.

Fred G. Danielson (B.S.’67 CE) joined the Peace Corps after graduation and served as a project engineer in Nepal. Subsequently, he worked for various engineering and construction companies for 25 years before moving over to the UC Davis Medical Center, where he spent the last 15 years of his career. Since his retirement in 2007, Danielson has worked part-time at the Lodi Home and Visitors Center.

Rolf Hermanrud (B.S.’63, M.S.’65 CE) worked for Bechtel Corporation in the early days of computers on the application of computers in civil engineering and structural design. He then worked for IBM in Oslo, Norway. He is now enjoying retirement with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren—studying French, traveling, playing golf, reading, following a Berkeley anthropology course through iTunes and “reflecting on this life.”

Stuart A. Hoenig (Ph.D.’61 ME) is a professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, Tucson in electrical and computer engineering.

Steve Marzolf (B.S.’62 EECS) retired in 2004 after 42 years in aerospace, including work on the Apollo program at North American Aviation (now Boeing) and on the Agena space vehicle and other space programs at Lockheed. He reports that he’s “still working part time in aerospace, for the fun of it.”

Maurice Lim Miller (B.S.’68 ME) went on to earn a master’s degree in environmental design at Berkeley in 1979. In 2000, he founded the Family Independence Initiative (FII) to improve financial education for low-income families. FII sponsors peer support groups that meet monthly to come up with their own economic solutions, while reinforcing community and rewarding initiative. On average, participants report a 23 percent increase in earnings and an astounding 240 percent increase in savings. “Once you get to know the families, you find amazing talent, resilience and resourcefulness,” says Miller. He attributes his inspiration to his mother, who, with only a third grade education, was determined to have her son attend a top college, and says he founded the organization with her tenacity in mind.

CEE Distinguished Alumni

This past November, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering inducted 26 alumni into the newly established CEE Academy of Distinguished Alumni. The inaugural ceremony was held in the University Club atop the recently renovated California Memorial Stadium. Greatly missed from the occasion was inductee Awtar Singh (Ph.D.’66 CE), who passed away en route to the ceremony. His nephew accepted the citation in Singh’s name.

The inaugural class of CEE’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni with former chair, Lisa Alvarez-Cohen: Starting at bottom row, from left to right: (row 1) Carl Monismith, Richard Luthy, Karl Pister, Richard Karn, Leslie Robertson, Loring Wyllie, Jr., Lisa Alvarez-Cohen; (row 2) James van Hoften, David Jenkins, James Mitchell, R. Rhodes Trussell, Rudolph Bonaparte, Paul Gilbert; (row 3) Franklin Agardy, Michael Kavanaugh, Richard Goodman, Mihran Agbabian, Peter Yanev, Robert Wadell; (row 4) David Friedman, Victor Zayas, Adib Kanafani, Robert Taylor, Robert Wiegel, Edward Wilson. Not pictured: James Kleinfelder and Awtar Singh. (Photo by Michele Hofherr)


John W. Duckett (B.S.’56), founder of Barrier Systems Inc., received the Sperry Award at a meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers in April. He was awarded for the development of the quick-change moveable barrier system, which is used to increase safety in construction zones and increase the efficiency of highways by reconfiguring roadways to use additional lanes in the congested direction. Duckett and his wife, Jean, live in Carson City, Nevada.

Paul Gilbert (B.S.’59, M.S.’60 CEE) is chairman of the North American Oversight Committee on construction
of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array telescope, which is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early universe as well as detailed imaging of local star and planet formation. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Washington State Academy of Sciences, Gilbert has received the college’s distinguished engineering alumni award and has served as a member of the department of civil and environmental engineering’s advisory council.

Bernie Keating (M.S.’56 IEOR) had a 30-year career as corporate manager of quality assurance for Owens Illinois, followed by 15 years as consultant to their international operations in the packing industry. Now living in Sonora, California, Keating recently published his eighth book, A Romp Thru Science: Plato and Einstein to Steve Jobs, which explores the pursuit of scientific discovery throughout history, ranging from the work of Marie Curie to Neil Armstrong.

Ernst S. Valfer (B.S.’50, M.S.’52, Ph.D.’65 IEOR) is licensed as both an industrial engineer and as a psychologist, and he believes that “engineers can do everything!” In 1952, he started his professional career as an industrial engineer, and has worked in the boundary areas between engineering and psychology for 33 years as a researcher, teacher and consultant at universities, the National Research Council and the federal government. He retired for the first time in 1990 and soon embarked on another career as the founding director of two community mental health centers in the East Bay. He retired again in 2010 but still works part-time consulting for the clinics. His message to engineers is “not to feel restricted by your initial engineering degree, but to think of it as an excellent foundation.”

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