Alumni notes


Christopher Au (B.S.’14 IEOR) is a data engineer at Autodesk and a pro bono consultant for Foodies Without Borders, a nonprofit organization empowering underprivileged communities in Kenya by teaching sustainable farming and sanitation techniques.

Amanda Brief (M.Eng.’15 IEOR) is the co-founder and CEO of my.Flow, a company that aims to reduce the stigma around menstrual health and prevent toxic shock syndrome by developing a Bluetooth beacon that alerts tampon wearers to risky conditions.

Bryan Catanzaro (Ph.D.’11 EECS) has joined the Santa Clara-based graphics processor company NVIDIA as vice president of applied deep learning research. He first worked there as an intern and research scientist, then moved to Baidu before returning to NVIDIA.

Chun Ming Chin (M.Eng.’12 EECS), a technical program manager at Microsoft’s Bing, leads a team of engineers on artificial intelligence projects and has authored a patent related to big data searches and advertising.

Lorenzo Einaudi (M.Eng.’12 IEOR) is managing the construction of a manufacturing facility for Houston-based Techint Engineering. Earlier, he spent three years in South America on the Pascua Lama Project, constructing one of the world’s largest gold, silver and copper mines. He is also an avid runner, completing the New York Marathon last year.

Vidya Ganapathi (M.S.’12, Ph.D.’15), won the inaugural CITRIS Athena Early Career Award for her research accomplishments, including applications in solar cells for energy-efficient electronics and advanced imaging for surgical robotics. She completed predoctoral research at MIT and now works for Verily Life Sciences. She teaches and mentors girls and young women through programs such as Girls Who Code, Science Club for Girls and the college’s Girls in Engineering summer camp.

Animesh Garg (Ph.D.’16 IEOR) is a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford, studying how to make robots smarter through deep reinforcement learning. He interned in India at JK Tyre Manufacturing and at India’s National Thermal Power Corporation before moving to Stanford.

Han Jin (M.Eng.’12 IEOR) is co-founder and CEO of Lucid VR, a startup developing the first 3-D, 180-degree camera. Lucid VR hopes to make 3-D content creation more widely available, as well as to reduce costs for equipment and post-production. Lucid VR has raised $2.1 million and is partnering with Taiwanese camera manufacturer Wistron.

Caroline Le Floch (M.S.’14 CEE) was named a 2017 Women in Transportation Scholar for her contributions to the field of electrified transportation. She is currently a Ph.D. student at Berkeley.

Sean Roberts (B.S.’15, M.S.’16 EECS) joined the cloud service company Egnyte as a software engineer last fall. Egnyte has partnered with Microsoft to serve as the cloud storage provider for Microsoft customers.

Mansi Shah (B.S.’11 BioE) is a community and family medicine resident at Duke University. She recently described how the experience of working in Uganda has greatly influenced her perspective on medicine and life in a guest blog post on  the Duke Family Medicine Division website, “Moving toward a radical medicine: on bringing international experiences home.”

Justin Whiteley (B.S.’10 ME & NE), an electrochemist specializing in lithium-ion batteries and super capacitors, is the co-founder and CTO at Emergy, dedicated to carbon material synthesis through biofabrication. He holds several patents and has written more than 10 peer-reviewed articles.


Eric Cheng (B.S.’07 EECS & Bus. Admin.), who studied law at USC, has been promoted to partner in the Palo Alto and San Francisco offices of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He focuses on intellectual property disputes with an emphasis on patent and copyright infringement and trade-secret misappropriation involving a wide range of technologies.

Eugene T. Chou (M.S.’03 IEOR) teaches in Dublin High School’s Engineering and Design Academy in Dublin, California. The academy launched in 2010 to provide high school students with basic engineering knowledge and career opportunities.

Roland DeGuzman (M.S.’02 CEE) was awarded the Goethals Medal by the Society of American Military Engineers for his contributions in engineering, design and construction. A United States Navy commander, he has been stationed in Djibouti, Washington, D.C., New Hampshire and Virginia, where he has led several projects for the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

Timothy Hsieh (B.S.’04 EECS) went on to earn a J.D. from UC Hastings and became a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Roy S. Payne of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. He was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine in 2016 and is now pursuing a Masters of Law degree at Berkeley Law, specializing in law and technology.

Colleen Lewis (B.S.’05, M.S.’09 EECS) received her Ph.D. in science and math education at Berkeley and is now an assistant professor of computer science at Harvey Mudd College. She was awarded the 2016 Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award by the Anita Borg Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of women in computing, for her efforts “to understand and remove both structural and cultural barriers to people pursuing computer science.”

James Moon (Ph.D.’02 BioE), assistant professor at the University of Michigan, has received several awards for his research, including the NSF Career Award, the DoD Career Development Award and three NIH research project grants. He works on new drug delivery systems to improve the delivery of antigens and adjuvants to lymphoid organs to combat cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity. He launched the biotech company EVOQ Therapeutics and published a paper in Nature Materials about personalized cancer immunotherapy.

David Wagner (M.S.’99, Ph.D.’00 CS), a computer science professor at Berkeley, won the Outstanding Innovation Award from the ACM Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control. He is also a principal investigator for SCRUB, the Intel Science and Technology Center for Secure Computing at Berkeley, and principal investigator on the Defending Against Hostile Operating Systems project.

Nicholas Weaver (B.A.’95 CS & Astrophysics, Ph.D.’03 EECS) a security expert at the International Computer Science Institute at Berkeley, was interviewed by Leandra Bernstein of ABC affiliate 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama about Russian responsibility for passing stolen DNC emails to WikiLeaks. “All the evidence, both public and still secret, points towards the Russians having stolen the emails, while there is effectively no evidence for any competing hypothesis,” he said.

Jason Wu (B.S.’08 EECS) was featured in a Webby Awards article, “How a Small Troop of Techies Led the U.S. Syrian Refugee Surge,” that tells the story of the humanitarian efforts of the United States Digital Service (USDS) to successfully vet and bring in some 85,000 Syrian refugees. After working as a product manager at Facebook, he joined the USDS to do something more meaningful, asking himself, “If I were one more person at Uber, how much of an impact would I make?”


Chris Bregler (M.S.’95 CS) won a 2016 Sci-Tech Academy Award last February. He and his business partner, Ronald Mallet, were recognized for design and engineering work on Industrial Light & Magic’s Geometry Tracker, which blends digital and live-action elements in a scene. The tracker was most notably used in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to create the character Maz Kanata, a part played by Lupita Nyong’o.

Paul Debevec (Ph.D.’96 CS), adjunct research professor at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, is now a senior staff engineer in the Google VR Daydream team. A Cartoon Brew profile examines how his research into virtual cinematography, image-based lighting and the crafting of photoreal virtual humans has inspired several films, including The Matrix, Spider-Man 2 and Avatar, along with games and real-time rendered content. 

Oscar Dubón (M.S.’92, Ph.D.’96 MSE), engineering professor and associate dean for equity and inclusion at the college, received the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence and Equity for his accomplishments in promoting diversity and inclusion throughout the university. He established the Center for Access to Engineering Excellence, which supports students from underrepresented backgrounds and promotes success and leadership in engineering. Dubón plans to use proceeds from the award to launch an engaged scholars program that will help high school students prepare for college success.

Andrea Goldsmith (B.S.’86 Eng. Math & Statistics, M.S.’91, Ph.D.’94 EECS), electrical engineering professor at Stanford, was elected to the National
Academy of Engineering in February for her contributions to adaptive and multiantenna wireless communications. In 2005, she co-founded a company around her research; Quantenna went public last October, with company executives and early employees ringing the closing Nasdaq bell. She now chairs the company’s technical advisory board.

Valerie Taylor (M.S.’86, Ph.D.’91 EE), computer science professor and senior associate dean of academic affairs in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been appointed the next director of the mathematics and computer science division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, effective July 1. She also serves as the executive director of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT, and her work was recently featured in Black Enterprise. She was named a 2016 Fellow by the Association for Computing Machinery for her “leadership in broadening participation in computing.”

Cynthia Tran Tillo (B.S.’97 IEOR), principal product manager at Adobe, optimizes customer experiences on their marketing cloud. Earlier, she worked at Hewlett-Packard. She credits Berkeley’s diversity and intellectual freedom as factors in her professional success: “Thinking back, having the freedom and bandwidth to think, challenge and learn is truly amazing.”

Claire Tomlin (Ph.D.’98 EECS), professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, will receive an honorary doctorate from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, one of Europe’s most prestigious technical universities. She has contributed to KTH’s activities through collaborations in hybrid regulation systems, cyber-physical systems and neighboring areas of information and communications technology and software engineering.


Asad Abidi (M.S.’78, Ph.D.’81 EE) is the inaugural holder of the Abdus Salam Chair in the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering at Pakistan’s Lahore University of Management Sciences, named in honor of theoretical physicist Abdus Salam, the first Pakistani and first Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize in science. As a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA, Abidi became known for groundbreaking research in single-chip radios. In 2008, he won the IEEE Pederson Award in Solid-State Circuits, named in honor of Berkeley EECS professor Donald O. Pederson.

Paul Jacobs (B.S.’84, M.S.’86, Ph.D.’89 EECS) was named the 2017 Alumnus of the Year by the California Alumni Association. Jacobs, executive chairman of San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc., was recognized as a forward-thinking business leader. Recipients receive their awards at the annual Berkeley Charter Gala in May.

Silvio Micali (Ph.D.’82 CS), the Ford Professor of Engineering at MIT and recipient of such prestigious prizes as the Turing Award, the Goedel Prize and the RSA prize in cryptology, has published a paper laying out a groundbreaking solution to the Byzantine Generals Problem, a computer science gauntlet dating back to 1982.

Peter Norvig (Ph.D.’86 CS), director of research at Google, was named an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer by Forbes in a profile that outlined his thoughts on human-machine partnerships and the disparate goals of neuroscience and artificial intelligence research. He returned to campus this spring for a CITRIS talk on software engineering with machine learning.

Mauricio G. C. Resende (Ph.D.’87 IEOR), a research scientist for Amazon, was named a 2016 Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences fellow for his contributions to the development and application of metaheuristics for optimization problems.


James Dietrich (M.S.’66 CE) is retiring after 50 years of working in the oil industry. As a consulting reservoir engineer, he worked for 17 companies in 15 different countries. He reports that his choice to stay technical was a good one; he was able to “ride the wave of numerical reservoir simulation” from the field’s infancy to its now exalted place in the petroleum industry.

Stephen W. Director (M.S.’67, Ph.D.’68 EE), provost emeritus at Northeastern University, has been elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. A pioneer in the field of electronic design automation, he has patented methods for maximizing yield when manufacturing integrated circuits.

William W. Goldsmith (B.S.’63 CEE) is professor emeritus of city and regional planning at Cornell University. His book, Separate Societies: Poverty and Inequality in U.S. Cities, won the Paul Davidoff Award in 1993. In his 2016 book, Saving Our Cities, he argues that American cities should be recognized as places of opportunity and consequently given more public funding to improve infrastructure.


Ernst Valfer (B.S.’50, M.S.’52, Ph.D.’65 IEOR) has led a long and varied career at an aircraft factory, at the National Research Council, as a Berkeley lecturer, as a USDA-FS director of management sciences and as a research fellow at UCLA. He concluded his career as a founding member of the Community Mental Health Centers in Berkeley and Oakland.


Frank Kreith (B.S.’45 ME), professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, has been awarded the 2017 John Fritz Medal for his contributions to sustainable energy. Over his seven-decade career, he has researched and taught about renewable energy. His 2014 memoir, Sunrise Delayed: A Personal History of Solar Energy, describes his escape from Nazi-controlled Austria when he was 15 years old and spans the totality of his career.

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