Alumni notes

November 1, 2016
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Fall 2016


Cierra Atkinson (M.S.’12 CEE) was named a fellow by the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, a program designed specifically for early-career, high school mathematics and science teachers. She earned a Master of Arts in education from Stanford University in 2016. Before transitioning to the teaching profession, Atkinson worked as a staff geotechnical engineer at Engeo, Inc. She begins her first year of teaching this fall at Del Mar High School in San Jose, California.

Peter Bailis (Ph.D.’15 EECS) was named as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in Enterprise Technology for his work on large-scale data management. A recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, he became the youngest-ever tenure-track assistant professor at Stanford’s computer science department this fall.

Patrick Goodwill (Ph.D.’10 BioE) and bioengineering professor Steven Conolly lead a startup called Magnetic Insight. They plan on installing their first magnetic particle imaging scanner at the Stanford School of Medicine, where researchers will explore using MPI to solve challenges in cell therapy and vascular imaging. The company has also recently secured an oversubscribed seed funding round of $3 million.

Kory Hedman (Ph.D.’10 IEOR) has won the Outstanding Young Engineer Award from the IEEE Power and Energy Society. He is currently an assistant professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering at Arizona State University, where he was recently promoted to tenure.

Moneer Helu (M.S.’09, Ph.D.’13 ME) was recognized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers on their list, “30 Under 30: Future Leaders of Manufacturing.” The former associate director of Berkeley’s Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability, he now works at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His research at Berkeley focused on developing data-driven tools and analytics to assess the performance and productivity of machining systems.

Daniel Kawano (Ph.D.’11 ME) was awarded the Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award by the Mechanics Division of the American Society for Engineering Education in June. An assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana, Kawano is also a coauthor of the forthcoming textbook Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics, with ME professor emeritus Benson Tongue.

Chung-Wei Lin (Ph.D.’15 EECS), along with EECS professor Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, has received the 2016 ACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems Best Paper Award. Titled “Security-Aware Design Methodology and Optimization for Automotive Systems,” the paper was written in collaboration with researchers from UC Riverside and supported by the TerraSwarm Research Center.

Nicole Michenfelder-Schauser (B.S.’15 MSE) has been named a winner of the Hertz Foundation Fellowship, the most competitive Ph.D. fellowship program in science and engineering in the United States. She is one of 12 recipients from over 800 applicants across the fields of science, engineering and mathematics. This fall, she begins her Ph.D. studies in materials science at UC Santa Barbara.

Jack Reilly (Ph.D.’14 CEE) received the Council of University Transportation Center’s Milton Pikarsky Memorial Award in Science and Technology for his dissertation on new methods for coordinated, predictive and decentralized freeway traffic control to help connect related corridors and increase traffic flow. Now at Google, he is part of the Ground Truth team at Google Maps, which leverages the company’s vast resources to develop the underlying map data that powers location-aware products like navigation and traffic.

Olivier Siegelaar (B.S.’13 ME) rowed for the Dutch national team in the 2016 Olympics. Siegelaar has also rowed in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games for his native Netherlands. While at Berkeley, Siegelaar rowed for the Bears and competed in world championship-caliber events. Over the summer, Siegelaar was named the recipient of a Pac-12 postgraduate scholarship. He has plans to pursue an M.B.A. at Oxford University.

Augusto Tentori (Ph.D.’15 BioE), now a researcher at MIT, was one of 21 scholars granted postdoctoral fellowships this year by the Ford Foundation.


Scott Aaronson (Ph.D.’04 EECS), associate professor at MIT (soon UT Austin) and an authority on quantum computation, “Answers Every Ridiculously Big Question (John Horgan) Throws at Him” in an interview for Scientific American. In the article, he riffs on simulated universes, the Singularity, unified theories, P/NP, the mind-body problem, free will, why there’s something rather than nothing and more.

Dino Di Carlo (B.S.’02, Ph.D.’06 BioE) has been named the 2016 Outstanding Young Investigator by the Materials Research Society. He is currently a professor in UCLA’s bioengineering department. His award-winning research on microstructured materials for cell analysis and regeneration was presented at the 2016 MRS Spring Meeting at UCLA.

Sumit Gulwani (Ph.D.’05 CS) is leading an effort to bring the power of computer code to those who are unable to write it themselves. His research was featured in a Financial Times article, which described how his team at Microsoft developed Flash Fill for Excel, which uses programming by example to automatically fill in outputs without entering a formula.

Tasha Kamegai-Karadi (B.S.’09 CEE) received a New Faces of Engineering Award from DiscoverE, the largest nonprofit promoting the engineering industry. After graduating, she earned her master’s degree in environmental engineering and science from Stanford. Now she works as a groundwater expert at Geosyntec Consultants, remediating contaminated groundwater and soil and protecting occupants with field investigations to assess vapor intrusion. In honor of her mother, she also advocates for women’s mental health in engineering, and has lectured on the subject at the Society of Women Engineers’ largest conference.

Tejas Narechania (B.S.’05 EECS, B.A.’05 Political Science) has joined the faculty of Berkeley’s School of Law as an assistant professor. He will teach courses on property, intellectual property and telecommunications regulation. Prior to joining the law school, he served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the United States Supreme Court.


Susan Hubbard (Ph.D.’98 CEE), a geophysicist and Berkeley Lab’s associate director for earth and environmental sciences, will head up a three-year Department of Energy initiative to quantify how mountainous watershed floods, drought, fire and early snowmelt affect the downstream delivery of water, nutrients, carbon and metals.

Jason Mikami (B.S.’98 EECS, B.A.’92 East Asian Languages) is now the vice president of engineering and operations at Bitcasa, a cloud technology provider. He also helps operate the family winery, Mikami Vineyards, whose 2013 Zinfandel was recently awarded 90 points by Wine Enthusiast. The wine also won a Double Gold Medal at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Dawn Tilbury (M.S.’92, Ph.D.’94 EECS), professor of mechanical engineering and associate dean of research at the University of Michigan College of Engineering, has won the 2016 Gold Award from the Engineering Society of Detroit’s Affiliate Council, their most prestigious distinction. Tilbury joined the UM faculty in 1995; her research interests include distributed control of mechanical systems with network communication, logic control of manufacturing systems, reliability of ground robotics and dynamic systems modeling of physiological systems. She was elected an IEEE fellow in 2008 and an ASME fellow in 2012.


Dimitri Bevc (M.S.’89 Engineering Geoscience) was named the Fall 2015 Distinguished Lecturer by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. His lecture, “Full-waveform inversion: challenges, opportunities and impact,” was delivered at 26 locations throughout North America (including Berkeley), South America and Europe.

Rudolph Bonaparte (M.S.’78, Ph.D.’82 CE) received the 2016 Outstanding Projects and Leaders Lifetime Achievement Award in Design from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The president and CEO of Geosyntec Consultants, he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and serves as board chair for Berkeley Engineering’s CEE Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

Joon Sik Lee (Ph.D.’85 ME) was appointed deputy prime minister for social affairs by South Korean President Park Geunhye. After graduate work in heat transfer, he joined the faculty at Seoul National University, where he later served as executive vice president and provost. He recently spent his sabbatical at the Laser Thermal Laboratory at Berkeley’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Rhonda Righter (B.S.’82, Ph.D.’86 IEOR), professor and former chair of the IEOR department, was named program co-chair for the European Conference on Queueing Theory, where scientists and technicians can promote research and exchange ideas, theory and applications.


Donald T. Hawkins (B.S.’64 Chemistry, M.S.’66, Ph.D.’70 MSE), editor at Information Today, Inc., in Medford, NJ, has co-edited his second book, Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits, with the late Miriam Drake, former dean of libraries at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jorg Imberger (Ph.D.’70 CEE) is credited with founding the field of environmental fluid mechanics — specifically, for applying fundamental fluid mechanics principles to environmental flows. He is best known for pioneering work in physical limnology — transforming the field with state-of-the-art measurement tools and computation.

James Roberts (B.S.’79, M.S.’80 CEE) has risen through the ranks over the years at Granite Construction Company, a national civil construction firm based in Watsonville, CA, and became president and CEO in 2010.

Ronald W. Yeung (Ph.D.’73 ME), inaugural faculty holder of the American Bureau of Shipping Endowed Chair in Ocean Engineering and professor of hydromechanics and ocean engineering, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division at their annual conference in June. In his acceptance speech, Yeung acknowledged the efforts of his many collaborators and students during his 34 years on the Berkeley faculty.


Jean Paul Jacob (M.S.’65, Ph.D.’66 EECS) was honored with a medal of the Rio Branco Order, one of the highest honors of the Brazilian Government, in part for his work with the college as faculty-in-residence in the electrical engineering and computer sciences department and as special advisor to the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). The medal was bestowed by Eduardo Prisco Ramos, consul general of Brazil in San Francisco, in July. Jacob’s research interests have covered software engineering, artificial intelligence, multimedia, personal digital assistants and decision-support systems. He is considered a worldwide expert on informatics for the 21st century.

Ron Laurie (B.S.’64 IEOR) went to law school and became a patent attorney and intellectual property strategist at several large law firms. After 35 years as a lawyer, he started an investment banking firm to advise technology companies and institutional investors in acquiring, divesting and investing in IP assets and in sourcing and executing corporate transactions in which IP plays a significant role.

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Topics: Alumni