Alumni notes

November 1, 2014
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Fall 2014


Eleni Christofa (M.S.’08, Ph.D.’12 CEE) and Eric Gonzales (M.S.’07, Ph.D.’11 CEE) were married on June 22, 2014 in Christofa’s hometown of Mytilini, Greece. Both are assistant professors of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Christofa researches intelligent transportation systems, while Gonzales focuses on the operation, management and design of urban transportation systems.

Amy Kim (M.S.’02, Ph.D.’11 CEE) was an associate transportation engineer at Dowling Associates, Inc. and a traffic engineer at Declan Corporation before joining the faculty of the University of Alberta as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in 2011.

Grace KangGrace Kang (B.S.’81, M.Eng.’87 CEE), started her new position as director of communications at the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER), just in time. Two weeks later, the Bay Area was hit with its largest earthquake since Loma Prieta, and a deluge of media inquiries, press releases and site observations descended on the center. A registered structural engineer, Kang worked in engineering consulting for over 25 years. She is a director on the board of the Structural Engineers Association of California, was president of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California and served on the steering committee for “Loma Prieta 25: Still on Shaky Ground,” a public policy symposium marking the 25th anniversary of the 1989 quake.

Adam Mendelsohn (Ph.D.’11 BioE), Kayte Fischer (Ph.D.’10 BioE) and Lily Peng (Ph.D.’10 BioE) competed in the Berkeley Business Plan Competition; several competitions later, the classmates co-founded Nano Precision Medical, a start-up company developing implantable drug-delivery systems. The company has raised $3 million in financing and has eight employees.

Volker Sorger (Ph.D.’11 ME), assistant professor at George Washington University in Washington D.C., won a young investigator research program grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to conduct research on nanophotonics devices with capabilities beyond classical photonics limits.

Daniel Tischler (M.S.’11 CEE), a transportation planner at San Francisco’s county transportation authority, has been awarded an Air-Sage-funded PASS scholarship, one of only three in the country.

Yoon Yoonjin (Ph.D.’10 CEE) joined the faculty of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology as an assistant professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering in 2011. Previously, Yoonjin was a researcher at the National Center for Excellence for Aviation Operations Research.

Bo Zou (Ph.D.’12 IEOR) joined the faculty at the University of Illinois, Chicago as an assistant professor in the department of civil and materials engineering in 2012. 


Soyoung (Sue) Ahn (M.S.’01, Ph.D.’05 CEE) is an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with research interests in traffic flow theory and operations, intelligent transportation systems applications and traffic operation impacts on environment and safety.

Mikhail Chester (M.S.’05, Ph.D.’08 CEE) received the 2013 departmental teaching award from Arizona State University, where he has served as an assistant professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering since 2011.

Christian Claudel (M.S.’09, Ph.D.’10 EECS) has been an assistant professor of electrical and mechanical engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia since 2010.

Nikolaos Geroliminis (M.S.’04, Ph.D.’09 CEE) joined the faculty of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in 2009. Previously, Geroliminis was an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota.

Anne Goodchild (M.S.’02, Ph.D.’05 CEE) joined the University of Washington
faculty as an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering in 2005. She directs UW’s Freight Mobility Lab and is associate director of the freight operations research program.

Arjun Gupta (B.S.’08 CEE) was named one of 37 Young Leaders of 2014 by The Economic Times, one of India’s largest newspapers and the host of the competition, from a field of more than 20,000 applicants.

Yanfeng Ouyang (M.S.’05 IEOR, Ph.D.’05 CEE) has been on the civil and environmental engineering faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign since 2005. In 2010, Ouyang received the Xerox award for faculty research. Ouyang develops strategic, tactical and operational models and solutions for problems that arise in multidisciplinary areas of transportation systems, network optimization and logistics systems planning.

Megan Ryerson (M.S.’06, Ph.D.’10 CEE) joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant professor of city and regional planning and electrical systems in 2013. Previously, she was an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She researches fuel consumption and the impact of high fuel prices on the transportation system.

Athulan Vijayaraghavan (M.S.’05, Ph.D.’09 ME) is chief technology officer at Berkeley-based System Insights, a global supplier of manufacturing software.

Daniel B. Work (M.S.’07, Ph.D.’10 CEE) joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an assistant professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering in 2010.


Orla Feely (M.S.’90, Ph.D.’92 EECS) has been appointed vice president for research, innovation and impact at University College, Dublin. Feely joined the UCD faculty in 1992 and now heads up electronic engineering.

Tami BondEnvironmental engineer Tami Bond (M.S.’95 ME), professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. She was recognized for research that measures the global impacts of black carbon emission and atmospheric pollution on human and environmental health.

Bond’s goal is to refine the integration of black carbon into climate models to create a more comprehensive global framework for how black carbon inventories and impacts are quantified and classified. The first step is to develop standardization for black carbon emission observations.

The annual “genius” grant is given to professionals across a variety of disciplines as recognition for original thinking. “My first reaction was not to have a reaction,” Bond told the Daily Cal. “I was so surprised. You don’t have any skills for a moment like that. The very first reaction was blank shock.”

J.D. Margulici (M.S.’99 CEE) established his consultancy, Novavia Solutions, in 2010 and recently embarked on a new venture by co-founding Vehicle Data Science, where he serves as chief technology officer. He reports that “life at home isn’t particularly quiet either,” with sons Anthony and Mateo, both under five years of age.

Jason Mikami (B.A.’92 East Asian Languages, B.S.’98 EECS) is the owner of Mikami Vineyards, a small family operation in Lodi that was recognized in the July 2014 Wine Enthusiast as a “trail-blazing” artisan winery.

Jorge Prozzi (M.S.’98, Ph.D.’01 CEE) is an assistant professor in the department of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he chairs the international activities committee of the transportation research board. Prozzi joined the faculty in 2002, after working as a technical specialist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for more than a decade.

Karen Smilowitz (M.S.’98, Ph.D.’01 CEE) is an associate professor of industrial engineering and management sciences at Northwestern University. In 2012, she was a visiting professor at the University of Newcastle, Australia in the school of mathematical and physical sciences.


Scott Jordan (B.S.’84, M.S.’87, Ph.D.’90 EECS) was named the chief technology officer of the Federal Communications Commission. As a computer science professor at UC Irvine, Jordan was well-known for his research on net neutrality and Internet pricing. He has previously served as a congressional fellow on Internet and telecommunications policy in the U.S. Senate and also on the FCC Open Internet Advisory Committee.


Howard Pines (M.S.’77 ME) worked for more than 30 years in research and technology, earning five patents in wireless voice technology before becoming a novelist. The Whale Song Translation is a scientific thriller “about an engineer, by an engineer and for engineers,” says Pines. The story follows an engineering professor as he contacts another earthly species of intelligence. In the 1960s, Pines was captivated by the race to the moon, spurring his career in alternative energy technology at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Mark Schanfein (M.S.’74 MSE) is principal advisor of nonproliferation, arms control and international safeguards at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He provides technical leadership in development operations and implementation across multiple governmental agencies, including the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.

George Tyris (B.S.’78 ME) has published Tau Centi: A Ship from Earth, the first in a series of novels chronicling the growth of a colony on a planet in the Tau Centi system. The story follows the colony from a quiet backwater to an independent world defending itself against the manipulation of interstellar politics. 


Jesse Ante (B.S.’68, M.S.’70 ME) retired this past July after 40 years in the U.S. Air Force, PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission. A loyal alumni volunteer, Ante has mentored over 100 students throughout his lifetime and has established several Cal Alumni Association Scholarships. He is now a “manny” for his “Class of 2034” grandson.

Steven Dodge (B.S.’67 Eng. Phys.) received an M.S. in systems science at UCLA while working at a naval laboratory in 1970. He had worked for three aerospace companies in sonar and new business acquisition before retiring in 2001. He remains active with hiking, traveling and his model railroad hobby.


Tommy Woo (B.S.’58 EE) worked in high-tech jobs for over 10 years before changing careers. For the past 30 years, he has been designing restaurants.


Edwin Fong (B.S.’49 EE) worked for CalTrans from 1950–78 and the California Public Utilities Commission from 1978–82. A father of three (including two Berkeley graduates), Fong is now living at Saint Paul Towers overlooking Lake Merritt in Oakland.

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Topics: Alumni