Alumni notes

November 1, 2013
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Fall 2013

Disney design competition winners

Kathryn Moore (B.S.’12 ME), pictured at right with Berkeley teammates Andrew Lin and Tiffany Yuan, made it to the finals of a national Disney-sponsored design competition and presented their joint project—a robot-turned-food-truck called SAMM-E—at Walt Disney Imagineering headquarters in January.

(© Disney • Photo by Gary Krueger)


Gregory Valiant (Ph.D.’12 CS) was recognized with an honorable mention for the 2012 Doctoral Dissertation Award presented by the Association for Computing Machinery. Entitled “Algorithmic Approaches to Statistical Questions,” his dissertation provides insight into the challenges of analyzing large sets of data by examining them from a computational perspective.


Kelly Jordan (M.S.’04, Ph.D.’06 NE) and his collaborators at Adelphi Technology Inc. received an R&D 100 Award for the development of one of the top 100 technology products of 2012. The R&D 100 Awards, also known as the “Oscars of Technology,” are given to researchers for significant innovations and technology from a wide span of industries. The team’s DD-109X “High Flux Neutron Source” beam is a microwave-driven neutron generator that can be used to identify the composition of nuclear materials and compounds in a safer, more efficient manner.

Samuel Madden (Ph.D.’03 CS), a pioneering leader in the field of big data, now heads the Intel Science and Technology Center for Big Data, a multi-university collaboration seeking to develop new tools and technologies to improve the processing and analysis of massive datasets. He is also the head of BigData@CSAIL, an industry-backed initiative uniting leaders in industry and research to examine and investigate solutions to common issues that arise when dealing with extremely large collections of data. Madden is a professor in the electrical engineering and computer science department at MIT and conducts research in its computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory. His research focuses on databases, distributed computing and networking and has produced the C-Store column-oriented database system and the CarTel mobile sensor network system. Madden’s work has been recognized with an NSF Career Award in 2004 and a Sloan Foundation Fellowship in 2007.

Sandipan Mishra (Ph.D.’08 ME) joined the faculty of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2010, and has recently been awarded an early career development award from the National Science Foundation. The award consists of a five-year, $400,000 grant that is awarded to university and college faculty members at the beginning of their careers to recognize high quality and innovative research. Mishra’s project aims to improve the precision of additive manufacturing by developing advanced sensing and control algorithms. In addition to the NSF grant, the NSF Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division funds Mishra’s research investigating the use of image sensors for high-speed adaptive optics systems.

Daniel B. Work (M.S.’07, Ph.D.’10 CEE) is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He teaches courses in transportation engineering and systems engineering; his research interests include control, estimation and optimization of cyber-physical systems, mobile sensing and inverse modeling and data assimilation.


Tim Campos (B.S.’95 EECS) is the chief information officer of Facebook. Campos joined the social networking giant in 2010, coming from a background in global applications, multimedia and distribution systems. He was the former CIO of KLA-Tencor and an engineering director at both Portera Systems and Silicon Graphics. As the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Campos encourages underrepresented students to pursue higher education and careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). He supports the 10-city program, Year Up, which seeks to empower young adults to reach their potential and pursue their talent through higher education and career opportunities.

Valerie Taylor

Valerie Taylor (Ph.D.’91 EECS) has been appointed senior associate dean for academic affairs of the College of Engineering at Texas A&M. Taylor joined the A&M faculty in 2003 as the head of the department of computer science and engineering and is now the executive director of the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT. She has been recognized for her work with many honors, including the 2005 Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for scientific scholarship, civil science and diversifying computing and the 2002 Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni award from the University of California, Berkeley. She is an IEEE Fellow.

(Photo courtesy of Texas A&M University)

Gang Chen (Ph.D.’93 ME), the Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering at MIT, now heads MIT’s department of mechanical engineering. Before joining the MIT faculty in 2001, Chen taught at Duke and UCLA. He has published over 280 articles and has more than 30 patents granted or pending.

Orla Feely (M.S.’90, Ph.D.’92 EECS) was appointed chair of the Irish Research Council. Feely is a professor in the school of electrical, electronics and communications engineering at University College Dublin, Ireland’s largest university. The Irish Research Council, which began in 2012, is part of the Irish Government’s National Development Plan and seeks to fund and support Irish-based researchers.

Wei Hong (Ph.D.’92 CS) is a senior researcher at Intel Research whose work focuses on the management of data in sensor networks. While at Intel, Hong has led the Tiny Application Sensor Kit project, which aimed to lower the learning curve for individuals trying to develop and deploy their own sensor network applications. From this project, in collaboration with fellow researcher (and fellow alum, see above) Samuel Madden, Hong developed TinyDB, an open-source, in-network sensor database system. Before joining Intel, Hong helped develop the first commercially successful, object-relational database system with Illustra Information Technologies Inc. and Cohera Corp.

Ken Johnson (B.S.’92 Eng. Phys.) is now vice president of engineering at Opto 22, a software/hardware manufacturing company based in Temecula, California. Johnson has been with the company since 1994, during which time he launched a new product called groov, which simplifies mobile interface development.

Allen L. Robinson (M.S.’93, Ph.D.’96 ME) was named the Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. His contributions to the field of mechanical engineering include research into air pollution and the global climate. He also heads CMU’s mechanical engineering department. In addition, Robinson serves on a number of professional boards, including the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee of the EPA.


David Alumbaugh (M.S.’89, Ph.D.’93 MSE) was recently appointed to the NEOS GeoSolutions Inc. management team. Alumbaugh will be the principal geoscientist and provide expertise and quality assurance to all NEOS project delivery teams. Previously, Alumbaugh taught at Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin and Stanford. He is the president of the Bay Area Geophysical Society and holds 21 patents.

Anne Robertson

Anne Robertson (M.S.’86, Ph.D.’92 ME), professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, was selected to participate in ELATE at Drexel. ELATE is a collaboration between Drexel University and the Drexel University College of Medicine and aims to equip senior female faculty for institutional leadership roles in the fields of engineering at their respective colleges and universities. Robertson has been recognized at Pitt as an effective leader at the university as well as in research. She was the first woman hired on the tenure track at Pitt’s Swanson School of Medicine and conducts research on cerebral aneurysms. Her team was recently awarded the National Institutes of Health R21 Grant in order to fund research on the connection between hemodynamics and wall structures of cerebral aneurysms.

(Photo courtesy University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering)

Nancy Amato (M.S.’88 CS), professor and interim head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been named recipient of the Hewlett-Packard/Harriett B. Rigas Award, which recognizes outstanding faculty women who have made significant contributions to electrical or computer engineering education. Amato was cited for “increasing the participation of underrepresented members in the computing research community by promoting research experiences for undergraduates.” Earlier this year, Amato received the 2013 Betty M. Unterberger Award in recognition of her commitment to honors education and undergraduate research. She has personally mentored nearly 100 undergraduates in academic and summer research in her 18 years at Texas A&M.

Cecilia R. Aragon (M.S.’87, Ph.D.’04 CS) is the founder of Latinas in Computing, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the pursuit of computing. She has been associate professor in the human-centered design department at the University of Washington since 2011. As director of UW’s Scientific Collaboration and Creativity Lab, Aragon researches visual analytics and computer-supported creativity. Her current work focuses on recognizing emotion in text communications and social media and its impact on scientific creativity. She was honored in 2008 with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest federal honor awarded to science professionals.

Andreas Cangellaris (Ph.D.’85 EECS) has been named the new dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cangellaris’s research in applied and computational electromagnetics is widely recognized for its applications to the signal integrity of integrated electronic circuits and systems. His work has produced different methods and tools used extensively in the microelectronics industry. Cangellaris joined the Illinois faculty in 1997 and became the chair of the electrical and computer engineering department in 2008.

Jeffrey Cawlfield (M.S.’84, Ph.D.’87 CE) was named vice provost for undergraduate studies at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Cawlfield has been a member of the Missouri S&T faculty since 1987 as a professor of geological engineering. Since 2006, he has directed the freshman engineering program, designed to expose new students to the many disciplines of engineering. As vice provost, Cawlfield will provide undergraduate students from all disciplines with advising, resources and services.

Connie Chang-Hasnain (M.S.’84, Ph.D.’87 EECS) was awarded an Outstanding Research Award from the Pan Wen Yuan Foundation in June. The award recognizes researchers of Chinese descent who have made considerable contributions to fields of electronics and information technology. A professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley, Chang-Hasnain was recognized for her work in vertical cavity surface emitting lasers.

James Demmel (Ph.D.’83 CS), a computer science professor at Berkeley since 1990, received the Charles Babbage Award at the 2013 IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium. The award is given to conference members who have made significant contributions to the field of computer science.

Greg Fenves (M.S.’80, Ph.D.’84 CE), former Berkeley professor and CEE department chair, has been elevated from his position as dean of the University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering to university provost. He has served as dean since 2008 and has been an active voice for the construction and establishment of the UT Engineering Education and Research Center, which aims to bring together engineers across disciplines and business leaders in an open class and laboratory space. As provost, Fenves seeks to focus on the improvement of undergraduate and graduate education and programs as well as on the construction of the Dell Medical School.

Mark Hill (M.S.’83, Ph.D.’87 CS) has been honored as the Gene M. Amdahl Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, one of eight UW faculty members granted such a professorship by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation this year.

Eric McFarland (B.S.’80 NE, M.S.’82 ME) has been named the inaugural director of the University of Queensland’s Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation, which tackles such global challenges as the need for clean energy and water. McFarland was a professor of chemical engineering at UC Santa Barbara and previously, professor of nuclear engineering at MIT. He has held leadership positions in several technology companies, many of which address the sustainability of energy and natural resources. McFarland will serve as director for a five-year post at the start of the first quarter of 2014.

Ramamoorthy Ramesh (Ph.D.’87 MSE) has been named the 12th University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair and the lab’s deputy director for science and technology. The Purnendu Chatterjee Professor in materials science and engineering at Berkeley, Ramesh is considered an authority on the physics of functional materials. He also serves as a senior faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


Robert (“Jeff”) Dunn (B.S.’75, M.S.’76, Ph.D.’83 CE) has been hired by the construction firm Arup to lead its geotechnical team in the Bay Area. Dunn will lead a global team of engineers and consultants seeking to improve the geotechnical capabilities of Bay Area infrastructure. He is currently involved with the Transbay Transit Center and the Transbay Tower project.

Chenming Hu (M.S.’70, Ph.D.’73 EECS), professor emeritus of EECS at Berkeley, is the recipient of the 2013 Design Automation Conference’s Phil Kaufman Award for Distinguished Contributions to Electronic Design Automation. The honor is given by the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Consortium and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers Council on EDA. Hu was recognized for his work with BSIM compact models widely used in the design and production of integrated circuits within logic, memory, analog and RF products. His work has made major contributions to device reliability and the development of non-volatile memory technology.

Jean Walrand (Ph.D.’79 EECS), Berkeley EECS professor, was awarded the 2013 ACM SIGMETRICS Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of networking. The honor is awarded by the ACM Special Interests Group on Measurement and Evaluation to individuals who have made “long-lasting, influential contributions to the theory or practice of computer/communications system performance evaluation.” Walrand is recognized for his work developing highly rigorous mathematical approaches to performance analysis and their impact on industry.


Peter A. Crosby (B.S.’67 IEOR) is an industrial management consultant who has helped more than 100 clients in 27 industries on 275 issues of supply-chain management.

Fred Rhyne (B.S.’66 EECS) retired in 2009 after 43 years in the aerospace and defense business. He began with Litton Design Systems in Los Angeles, then moved to the Space Coast to complete his MBA at Florida Institute of Technology in 1984 and then join the Harris Corp. Rhyne rose to the position of chief technology officer for Sypris Electronics and completed his career as managing director for ViaSat, both in Tampa.

Greg Thomopulos (M.S.’66 CE) is the new chairman of the American Council of Engineering Companies, comprising 51 state and regional councils. Thomopulos has been a long-time ACEC Fellow and has served on a number of national councils and committees. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers.


Bal Raj Sehgal (M.S.’57, Ph.D.’61 NE) was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in February. He is emeritus professor of nuclear power safety at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Sehgal is widely recognized for his contributions in the field of light water reactor design and analysis. He has received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute and the Glenn Seaborg Medal, and serves as a fellow in the American Nuclear Society.


Harold Kerber (B.S.’47 ME) was in the submarine service during World War II. After earning his degree from Berkeley, Kerber went on to earn a Ph.D. in industrial psychology from Western Reserve University. “The combination of engineering and psychology was a great opportunity to make a significant contribution to the growing interdisciplinary field of applied behavioral science and engineering,” he says.

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Topics: Alumni