Alumni notes

November 1, 2012
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Fall 2012


Christopher Ategeka (B.S.’11 ME) was awarded Berkeley’s graduate student award for civic engagement this year. He is the founder and director of CA Bikes Uganda, an organization that builds bicycles and wheelchairs for orphans, people with HIV and others in Uganda.

Richard Fisher (B.S.’10 CEE) and Ryan Whipple (B.S.’10 CEE) won the Delta Alliance Young Professionals Award for a pilot project to transform the San Joaquin Delta. The pair was one of three winning teams out of 53 from 29 countries. Their project originated as a capstone project for a systems course under the direction of civil engineering professor Robert Bea. Fisher and Whipple presented their project at the Rio+20 United Nations Summit for Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

David Litwak (B.S.’10 EECS) is the founder of Mozio, a comprehensive travel-planning search tool. When trying to find the best way to visit his brother in New York last fall, Litwak discovered how difficult it was to book a trip from start to finish, and he decided to combine his passions for travel and technology to help fellow travelers. Mozio, he hopes, will soon assist travelers in booking trips from doorstep to destination with ease.

Belle W. Y. Wei

Belle W. Y. Wei (Ph.D.’87 EECS), formerly dean of engineering at San Jose State University, is the new provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Chico. She is also chair of the diversity committee of the American Society for Engineering Education and a member of the executive board of ASEE’s engineering deans council. Earlier in 2012, Wei was invited to the White House for the 10,000 Engineers Initiative.

(Photo Courtesy San Jose State University)


Audrey Fischer (B.S.’08 IEOR) took a year off from a job at Goldman Sachs to travel around South America and Europe in 2010. Upon her return, Fischer felt out of touch with friends and family, and was inspired to create a website that made it easy to send high-quality, handcrafted cards. This site evolved into Gramberry, a company that enables customers to order environmentally friendly cards to be sent out with personalized messages composed on vintage typewriters.

Aryk Grosz (B.S.’06 IEOR) and Andrew Laffoon (B.S.’05 IEOR) are co-founders of Mixbook, an online photo-sharing site that allows users to collaborate on photo projects. After many rejections from venture capitalists, the two persuaded the co-founders of to invest. Earlier, the pair had created a Facebook app named Photobooks.

Mahil Keval (B.S.’09 ME), in collaboration with fellow alumnus Jacob Howard (B.A.’08 Mathematics), launched Knockout Design, a company dedicated to building mobile applications for the construction industry. After the development of the iPad, Keval saw a huge opportunity for improvement in managing “punch lists” (construction tasks to be completed before a project is turned over to its owner), which led to the development of their first app, Speed Punch. Keval is now focused solely on the expansion of Knockout Designs and SpeedPunch.

Nikit Kumar (B.S.’09 BioE) began graduate studies in a Ph.D. program in biological and biomedical science at Yale University this fall, after several years spent researching at the UCSF Medical Center.

Eul-Bum Lee (Ph.D.’00 CEE), an associate researcher and co-principal investigator in the Institute of Transportation Studies at Berkeley, has focused on researching and implementing innovative methods for transportation infrastructure rehabilitation. Along with a team of three others, Lee has developed a systematic cost-estimation modeling process for transportation management plans that automatically estimates costs for highway projects.

Brian S. Loo (B.S.’09 IEOR), a member of the creative team at Walt Disney Imagineering, creates interactive experiences and supports logistical planning for the design and construction of Disney venues around the world. He is working on the expansion of the Magic Kingdom for Walt Disney World in Florida, the expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland and on Disney’s newest park in Shanghai. “I always dreamed about designing rides for Disney, and I can’t believe I’m doing it now,” says Loo.

Seongchan Moon (B.S.’07 EECS) is enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Michigan.

Ryan Panchadsaram (B.S.’07 IEOR) was named a Presidential Innovation Fellow for the Blue Button Program, a new White House initiative. He also won first place in the inter-national visualization challenge co-sponsored by Google and The Guardian. Now a resident of San Francisco, Panchadsaram has worked with Microsoft, and the MIT Media Lab spin-off,

Priyanka Reddy (B.S.’09, M.S.’10 EECS) and fellow Berkeley alumna Jennifer Toney (B.A.’95 Economics,
MBA ’08) directed their shared passion for applying technology to solve social problems to a new venture, WeMakeItSafer. The company helps thousands of companies and consumers each day avoid product-related injuries and deaths by alerting consumers to recalled products.

Keith Suda-Cederquist (B.S.’02 ME/MSE) is the founder of a start-up company called Collaborate i/o. Its mission is to leverage communications technology to make the lives of fellow engineers easier. Their first product, TelePresence for Engineers, is a videoconferencing system designed for troubleshooting technical problems at remote locations, such as manufacturing floors and customer sites.

Kevin Wang (B.S.’02 EECS) went from Berkeley to Harvard to study education. When he began work as a high school teacher in Seattle, Wang was appalled at the state of computer science education, and discovered that the problem was not a lack of curriculum but a shortage of teachers. In 2009, Wang founded Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS), a Seattle-based grassroots organization that recruits high-tech professionals passionate about digital literacy to teach computer science in high schools across the metropolitan region.


Ashar Aziz (M.S.’85 CS) is the CEO of FireEye, a company he founded in 2005 that detects and prevents attacks from cyber-criminals. A UC Regents Fellow, Aziz spent 12 years at Sun Microsystems working in networking, security and operating systems before starting Terraspring, a datacenter automation and virtualization company.

Stephen Keehn (M.S.’82 CEE) is a coastal engineer in Florida.

Barbara Simons (Ph.D.’81 CS), the first woman to receive the college’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in 2005, has co-authored a book entitled Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count? In it, Simons argues against using computer-based voting systems exclusively, claiming that a paper trail is necessary for secure voting. Simons was recently interviewed about electronic voting on the Charlie Rose show.

Ilesanmi “Ade” AdesidaIlesanmi “Ade” Adesida (M.S.’75, Ph.D.’79 EECS) has been chosen as provost of the University of Illinois. Born in Nigeria, Adesida has made UI his home for the last 25 years, most recently as dean of the college of engineering. Since 2001, Adesida has been a director of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology. Adesida is also the chair of the National Science Foundation’s engineering advisory committee. (Photo by L. Brian Stauffer/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


Charles H. Ballard (M.S.’74 EECS) has retired from the nuclear industry after 40 years. His book, A Leadership Vacuum, which addresses trends in American business that favor managerial techniques and practices over leadership, was published in 2009. Ballard was also recently elected president of his local school board.

Steven A. Frank (B.S.’73 CEE) reports that he went back home to California’s central coast on the day he graduated and got a job with the county as a construction engineer. Over the course of a 33-year career, he built bridges, highways and water and sewage treatment plants, and then retired with a six-digit pension. “Life is good,” says Frank.

Masuo Okada (Ph.D.’78 MSE) retired last March from Tohoku University in Japan as a faculty member and is now the president of Hachinohe National College of Technology, also in Japan.


George Iwanaga (B.S.’62 ME) earned a master’s degree at USC and began working for the Aerospace Corporation. In the early 1990s, he began investigating the viability of an Antarctic ground research site, which over the decades grew into a crusade. On December 5, 2011, the McMurdo Station research center on Ross Island, Antarctica was officially dedicated and named “GIGS” for the George Iwanaga Ground Station, which receives and transmits global environmental, terrestrial and space weather data to users around the world.

Katta G. Murty (M.S.’66, Ph.D.’68 IEOR) is emeritus professor of industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan. Murty was recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education with the Meriam-Wiley distinguished author award for his latest book, Optimization for Decision Making: Linear and Quadratic Models (Springer 2012) and for seven other textbooks he has authored.

Antonie Stroeve (B.S.’64 ME) reports that he was supposed to graduate with the rest of the Class of ’64, but was six credits short, so was still at Berkeley for the fall of 1964. “The Free Speech Movement, etc., etc., very interesting,” recalls Stroeve. He retired from Motorola Satcom in Chandler, Arizona after a 35-year career in aerospace—including the launching of 95 satellites from the U.S., Russia and China for the Iridium Project.


Elihu I. Druckman (B.S.’50 ME), after working in the military products business, started a machine-tool company with a fellow engineer and spent 35 years building advanced metal working machines. Druckman obtained several patents and then sold the company upon his retirement in 1986. He is now 88 years old, and all five of his children received degrees from the University of California.

Sterling Higgins (B.S.’50 CEE) served on a submarine in the Pacific Ocean in WWII. He also worked with the Atomic Energy Commission in the Pacific Islands investigating the impact of atomic blasts. Then he became an Internal Revenue Service agent, and retired in 1986. Higgins has traveled to all seven continents, visiting more than 60 different countries.

Anthony Johnson (B.S.’59 IEOR) retired with the rank of colonel from his post as director of logistics at Fort Ord on the Monterey Peninsula. His responsibilities included maintaining a wide variety of aviation equipment. Johnson has taught leadership and business at Chapman University and Hanwell Community College near Monterey, CA. This year, Johnson received a community service award from the city of Monterey.

C.D. “Dan” Mote, Jr. (B.S.’59, M.S.’60, Ph.D.’63 ME), past president of the University of Maryland, was recommended by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) 2013 nominating committee to stand as the sole candidate for the NAE presidency. Mote served on the Berkeley faculty for 31 years and served as vice chancellor for university relations.

Balraj Sehgal (M.S.’57, Ph.D.’61 NE) is the author of Nuclear Safety in Light Water Reactors: Severe Accident Phenomenology (2012), a textbook designed for graduate students. The book addresses such disasters as the Fukushima nuclear plant accident in Japan in 2011.

Sven Thoolen (B.S.’51 IEOR), a retired vice president of industrial engineering at Matson Navigation Company, has moved to a retirement home in Pleasanton, CA near his daughter, Karla.


Louis E. Scott (B.S.’44 ME) spent three years in the South Pacific during WWII, five years as a petroleum engineer and more than 35 years in international marketing. An avid sailor, Scott has sailed around the world and has played the world’s top 100 golf courses. He has been married for 70 years and has seven great-grandchildren.

Sam H. Zutler (B.S.’49 ME) retired 28 years ago after 35 years at Dow Chemical. After retirement, he taught at Fresno State for three years before embarking on two trips with Global Volunteers. In Poland, Zutler taught English to teenagers; in China, he served as a consultant in human relations. He reports: “I’m fine for an 89-year-old.”

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Topics: Alumni