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Alumni Council


Expand engagement between Jacobs School engineering students and the alumni community through actions that teach students the value of alumni as leaders and mentors, and that encourage perpetuation of this tradition within the Jacobs School.

Council Members

Amir Abolfathi, BIO '86

Amir Abolfathi

Daniel Arnold, MAE '05

Current Status: PhD Student Mechnical Engineering, UC Berkeley
Education: BS & MS Mechnical Engineering, UC San Diego

Daniel ArnoldDan Arnold graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of California San Diego in 2005. He received his Masters the following year in the same department. His research focused on autonomous, 2-dimensional vehicle navigation with minimal sensory input. Since receiving his master's in 2006, Daniel has been employed by the Space and Naval Warfare Center in San Diego, Ca. where he worked as a test and evaluation engineer developing unmanned underwater vehicles. He later worked for the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center in Port Hueneme, Ca, where he researched ocean renewable energy technologies for application to navy facilities. In the fall of 2009, Daniel began his PhD studies at UC Berkeley in the mechanical engineering department. His research is focused on the implementation of residential demand response control strategies via a home energy network.

Michelle Baeza, ECE '99

Current Status: Senior Program Manager at Hughes Network Systems

Michelle BaezaMichelle Baeza, PMP is a Senior Program Manager at Hughes Network Systems where she is responsible for managing the installations and maintenance of broadband networks (both satellite and terrestrial) for enterprise customers in North America.

Raised in Los Angeles, CA she earned a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from UCSD in 1999. During her time here, she was involved in leadership positions in student organizations including the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). She gained valuable internship experience at local San Diego companies. Upon graduation, she was employed with Nokia working as a Field Test Engineer. She traveled extensively, tested CDMA handsets on various infrastructures in the US and abroad, and also managed the field test activities of a team of engineers in remote Nokia locations in APAC, China and Brazil. The final years at Nokia were spent as a Technology Marketing Engineer where she was the owner of the CDMA technology demonstrations roadmap & portfolio working as the technical interface between R&D and marketing organizations.

Her project management career started in 2007 after leaving Nokia where she became a project manager for TechnoCom Corporation, which later became Kapsch TrafficCom Inc. She earned a PMP designation and applied her previous leadership, industry experience and courses in project management toward developing her career. As a project manager at Kapsch she managed several product development and system engineering projects, developing 5.9 GHz DSRC technology into onboard and roadside equipment used in tolling applications and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

Michelle is married with two young sons and enjoys traveling extensively, eating great food and staying active through adventure sports like off-roading and snowboarding.

Maritza Borunda, CSE '98

Current Status: Software Engineering at Qualcomm

Maritza BorundaMaritza Borunda is a staff software engineer at Qualcomm, where she is an internal consultant and project engineer on various technical initiatives with several business units. She also manages the advanced technical degrees program for employees in Southern California.

Prior to working at Qualcomm, Maritza worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a systems engineer, software engineer and technical trainer. Her work has taken her around the world, in assignments ranging from working NATO contracts on behalf of the U.S. Army to writing operating systems and integrating complex software into existing systems.

A member of SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) and AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society) since her college days, Maritza continues to be involved with the student community as a mentor and workshop facilitator.

Marc Bernard, ECE '79

Marc Bernard

Jaydeep Chitnis, MAE '96

Jaydeep Chitnis

Silvia De Dea, CHEM '04, '08

Current Status: Staff Scientist at Cymer, Inc.
Education: MS and PhD, Chemical Engineering, UC San Diego

Silvia De DeaSilvia is a Staff Scientist at Cymer, Inc., working on the productization of the next generation Extreme Ultraviolet lithography light source. She joined Cymer on 2008 and since then has been leading projects aiming at solving some of the most critical challenges in EUV technology spanning from improving droplets delivery system, optics lifetime and materials interactions. She is currently leading a team of people to develop new processes aimed at extending the lifetime and reliability of very expensive and critical EUV source optical components.

She received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, San Diego in 2008, and her masters in science in 2004. Focus of her studies were rapid expansions of supercritical solutions (RESS), particularly applied to mass spectrometry studies and magnetic nanoparticles growth. She built Time-of-Flight and quadrupole mass spectrometers to characterize the molecular beam extracted from the high pressure RESS expansion to elucidate the mechanism of nanoparticle and clusters formation.

In the summer of 2001 she interned at Procter and Gamble in the UK working in their product development group on improving the chemical composition of their washing machine detergent.

Prior to moving to the USA, she studied in Italy and earned her bachelors and masters in industrial chemistry from the University of Bologna, Italy in 2001, focusing on catalytic reactions for chemical recycling of plastic materials.

Jennie de Quinto, ECE '03

Current Status: Works for Intel
Education: BS UC San Diego, MS ECE, Engineering Management and BE USC

Jennie DaoJennie de Quinto graduated in June 2003 with a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the ECE Department. She went on to U.S.C. for graduate school and got Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering (Dec. '04), Engineering Management (May '05) and Biomedical Engineering (Dec. '06). She has been working at Intel Corporation in Santa Clara since 2005, initially as a Product Development Engineer on high end server CPUs for 4 years. Currently, she is part of Intel Labs as an Assembly Technology Development Engineer working on Intel's silicon photonics technology. Prior to Intel, she interned at several start-up and private companies in Silicon Valley and the Los Angeles area. She also served as a research assistant for Prof. Edward Yu in 2002-2003, creating software for the Integrated Technology Laboratory.

Nik Devereaux, CSE '01, MAS '11

Current Status: Engineering Program Manager at ViaSat
Education: BS Computer Science and Master in Advance Study, Architecture-based Enterprise Systems Engineering, UC San Diego

Nik DevereauxNik Devereaux is an engineering manager for ViaSat in Carlsbad, CA. He spent about 9 years as a software engineer before moving into a role working on strategic engineering initiatives. He is very involved with university recruiting and ViaSat's summer intern program, and enjoys opportunities to meet and talk with UCSD students throughout the school year.

Wayne Dunstan, MAE '01

Current Status: Works for Cymer, Inc
Education: PhD Aerospace Engineering, UC San Diego

Wayne DunstanWayne Dunstan, PhD manages the control systems group at Cymer, Inc. Since 2004, Dr Dunstan has developed estimation and control algorithms to improve the optical performance and reliability of Cymer's light sources.

From 2001 to 2004, he designed nonlinear system identification methods at the United Technologies Research Center in Hartford, Connecticut and General Electric Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York.

He received his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of California, San Diego in 2003, and his masters in science in 2001.

Prior to moving to the USA, he designed control systems for the coal, sugar and bauxite industries in Australia from 1994 to 1999. In 1994 he earned his bachelors in electrical and electronic engineering from the James Cook University in Australia.

Sam Knight, APIS '73

Current Status: Works for TechnoCom Coporation
Education: BS Applied Physics, IS, UC San Diego

Sam KnightSam Knight is Vice President, Customer Fulfillment of TechnoCom Corporation. He has successfully delivered wireless location quality management solutions to Tier 1 carriers in support of FCC mandated E911 emergency location capabilities and commercial location based wireless services. TechnoCom is a privately held company located in Carlsbad, CA.

Sam has been involved in the San Diego telecommunications industry for more than thirteen years, formerly directing international marketing for Copper Mountain Networks (DSL) and wireless data technologies (CDPD and PHS) at Pacific Communication Sciences, Inc./ADC Wireless. He directed product development and business capture for imaging and computer aided design companies Encad/Kodak, Megatek/Ball Systems, GE/Calma, and Control Data Corporations.

Sam holds a degree in Applied Physics and Information Science from the University of California, San Diego (1973). He served as an advisory board member of the UCSD Library, and has held seats as director of the Society for Concurrent Engineering, co-chair of the University Special Interest Group for the CommNexus San Diego, and chair/member of UCSD's Chancellor Associates Faculty Excellence awards committee.

Sam is an avid swimmer and a regular user of UCSD's Canyonview swimming facilities and has participated in the annual La Jolla rough water swim event for more than thirty years. His wife, Pam, holds a masters of education from UCSD and is a teacher of exceptional qualities in the Poway Unified School District. They have two sons with degrees from California universities -- UCSC and San Francisco State.

Jack Ly, MAE '11

Current Status: Manufacturing Engineering Assistant at Solar Turbines

Jack LyJack is currently a Manufacturing Engineering Assistant at Solar Turbines working with Package Frames. He hopes to transition into the Aerospace Engineering industry, which is his field of study when he graduated in 2011, and work as a civilian Flight Test Engineer for the Air Force. Jack was the President of the Triton Engineering Student Council for the years of 2010-2011, but was involved with the undergraduate engineering community since his first year in 2007. Jack has goals to return to academia to get his Masters in Aerospace Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration.

Michael Miller, AMES '74, '76

Current Status: Works in Satellite Industry

Michael MillerMichael has leveraged Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Sciences degrees from a small engineering school in La Jolla into a 30 year global adventure in the satellite and launch vehicle industry. But he readily acknowledges his success is due equally to those who have been patient and sometimes unknowing mentors, as to his innate ability to overcome both the technical and political challenges encountered during his career in international space.

Reconnection with the University in early 2006 allowed Michael to reflect back on his initial exposure to engineering and on the people most responsible for providing windows to the world beyond the classroom. He proudly acknowledges his associations with Dr's Albert Ellis, Gilbert Hegemier, and Michael Felix -- mentors who exposed him to the exciting world of experimental research. Hi-Speed capture of laser-induced stress waves via density gradient imaging techniques, use of pulsed lasers for interferometry and holographic imaging, and a Mohr's circle approach to biaxial testing of large scale concrete masonry panels to generate a compression-shear failure surface -- incredibly heady stuff for an engineering student rarely inspired by classroom lectures.

These are the people and the experiences that sparked a young imagination to life, and an example of why we should never underestimate the impact of exposing students to the real world of application beyond the textbooks of the undergraduate experience.

Jeff Mounzer, ECE '09

Current Status: PhD Electrical Engineering Candidate, Stanford University
Education: BS Electrical Engineering & BA Ecomonics, UC San Diego

Jeff MounzerJeff Mounzer is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University in Electrical Engineering, under advisor Nick Bambos. His research interests include distributed power control for wireless networks and security risk management for IT organizations. He attended UCSD for his undergraduate studies, graduating in 2008 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a B.A. in Economics. While at UCSD, Jeff was heavily involved in engineering student organizations. For two years, he served as the president of the Triton Engineering Student Council (TESC), the umbrella organization for the engineering student organizations of the Jacobs School of Engineering. Prior to this, he served in TESC as the Chairman of the Disciplines of Engineering Career Fair (DECaF), which brings together engineering students and members of industry.

Also during his time at UCSD, Jeffrey participated in several internships (through the Jacobs School Team Internship Program) and research projects. His research experience includes developing an underwater optical modem with Prof. Curt Schurgers, and his internships included summers with General Atomics, Northrop Grumman, and ViaSat.

Adam Muzikant, BIO '93

Current Status: Principal, Locust Walk Partners, Cambridge, MA

Adam MuzikantDr. Muzikant joined Locust Walk Partners in January 2011 and has over 13 years of leadership and operational experience in entrepreneurial, venture-backed biotechnology companies. Prior to Locust Walk, Adam led the business development efforts at Inotek Pharmaceuticals, where he established multiple research collaborations in ophthalmology and helped close an $18M financing to support a Phase 2 glaucoma program. Prior to Inotek, Adam was Director of Business Development at Predix (subsequently EPIX) Pharmaceuticals, where he played a pivotal role in establishing two large drug discovery collaborations - a $1.2B deal with GlaxoSmithKline and a $300M deal with Amgen. Before transitioning to business development at Predix, Adam was Director of Ion Channel Drug Discovery and led an atrial fibrillation drug discovery program. Before Predix, Adam managed a team of scientists and engineers as the Director of Modeling at Physiome Sciences, an early-stage company focused on systems biology modeling to improve drug development. Adam was a key member of the management team that executed a merger between Physiome and Predix.

Adam earned a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University, with a focus on ion channel electrophysiology and cardiac arrhythmias, and a BS in Engineering (Bioengineering) from the University of California, San Diego.

Bill Proffer, '76, MS '78

Current Status: Works for SAIC

Bill ProfferBill Proffer is assistant vice president for technology and chief systems engineer for Science Applications International in La Jolla, CA. He spent 18 years doing geophysical research at the Nevada Test Site early in his career and has been performing information systems architecture consulting for SAIC's large government and commercial customers for the past 14 years. He enjoys sailing and also serves on the board of directors of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy acquiring land for the Coast to Crest Trail and 55 mile long River Park.

Naomi Ramos, ECE '03

Current Status: Systems Engineer and Technical Fellow at Northrop Grumman

Naomi RamosNaomi Ramos is a graduate of UCSD with a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Engineering. At UCSD, she worked with the Mobile and Embedded Design and Test group and the Center for Wireless Communications (CWC). Her doctorate research was in link layer protocol development, Quality of Service support, and multimedia delivery systems for wireless networks.

Naomi is currently a Systems Engineer and Technical Fellow at Northrop Grumman. She is a member of professional organizations, such as IEEE and ACM, and has published/presented her research work at sponsored conferences and journals. She currently holds patents in the research areas of adaptive wireless networks and scalable video coding.

Jennifer Rhymer, '07, MS '09 & '12

Current Status: Director at Enspired Technologies

Jennifer RhymerJennifer Rhymer is currently the director at Enspired Technologies. A company she recently founded which focuses on the growth of the green composites industry. Recent she completed her PhD at the University of California, San Diego in the department of Structural Engineering under advisor Hyonny Kim. Her research was focused on the force scaling of high velocity ice impacts onto composite structures. She received her Master's and Bachelor's degrees in Structural Engineering from UC San Diego in 2007 and 2009. In her time at UC San Diego she has been involved in numerous student organizations including , the Triton Engineering Student Council (TESC), the Jacobs Graduate Student Council (JGSC), and the Structural Engineering Graduate Student Organization. Additionally, she was and still is involved with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Priyank Saxena, MAE '07

Current Status: Principal Engineer, Combustion Engineering, Caterpillar/Solar Turbines
Education: Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering (Combustion Science), UC San Diego

Priyank SaxenaPriyank Saxena, Ph.D. is a Principal Engineer in Methods, CFD, and Fuels group of Combustion Engineering Department at Solar Turbines Inc. (Caterpillar), San Diego since 2007. He is involved in the research and analysis for the development of gas turbines combustion systems for alternative fuels. He is a Six Sigma Black Belt and leads several process improvement projects. Between 2000 and 2002, he worked as an aerospace research engineer at General Electric Global Research Center in Bangalore, India where he was involved in the design optimization of energy systems using computational fluid dynamics analyses.

He has a Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from University of California, San Diego (UCSD). His research was focused on a fundamental study of ethanol flames structure and development of chemical kinetic mechanisms under the guidance of Professor Forman A. Williams, a pioneer in the field of combustion and the author of Combustion Theory book. He has a masters in aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Priyank is a board member of Western States Section of the Combustion Institute and a member of Combustion, Fuels & Emissions committee of American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has published several research articles, and made presentations and chaired sessions at various international gas turbines and combustion conferences. Also, he teaches guest lectures for a gas turbines propulsion course taught by Professor Kal Seshadri at UCSD.

Beth Simon, CSE '02

Current Status: Faculty CSE, UC San Diego

Beth SimonBeth Simon is a faculty member in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include computer science education and educational technology. She is the co-developer of Ubiquitous Presenter, a Tablet-PC based classroom engagement system used by over 100 instructors and 8,000 students around the world. Beth's interests are varied with over 30 publications in areas including technology-assisted peer assessment, peer instruction, multi-institutional examination evaluation, students preconceptions of computational concepts, and issues of workforce preparedness. During 2007-2008 Beth was on leave as a Science Teaching and Learning Fellow in the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia where her focus was on working with faculty to engage scientifically proven best practices for improving instructional

Adrian Smith, MAE '83

Current Status: Principal, AES Consulting
Education: BS Engineering Science, UC San Diego & MSME, Stanford

Adrian SmithFor over 25 years Adrian has built technologies, products, and businesses across the pharmaceutical, medical diagnostics and high tech industries. He is a founding employee of three medical startups since 1988, and most recently he led the spin out and founding of Pearl Therapeutics, a pulmonary drug company. Pearl is based on particle technology outlicensed from his previous company, Nektar, applied to Metered Dose Inhalers, the most familiar and accepted dosage format for inhaled drugs. Adrian closed over $40M in funding for Pearl between May 07 and Jan 09, recruited the entire senior team, and led the company to put three products into the clinic, with two of them completing Phase 2 trials in just two years from start of operations.

Prior to Pearl he was Vice President for Corporate Development, Pulmonary, at Nektar Therapeutics where he was responsible for business planning for the respiratory division. It was in this capacity that he advanced developing local lung products based on IP assets that were currently unused, and championed the spin-out of Pearl. He also led the acquisition of Aerogen in 2005, and in-licensed technology from SUNY for pulmonary delivery of anti-infective drugs in the hospital setting.

In 1992 Mr. Smith joined Inhale Therapeutics Systems (which changed its name to Nektar in 2003) as the seventh employee, and over the course of a decade as Vice President, Technology Development and Engineering, he established Inhales core capabilities in particle engineering, powder processing, filling & packaging, and aerosol delivery systems. He helped build Inhale's organization across all disciplines including quality systems, manufacturing, HR, and IP, from start-up through 2002 and represented Inhale's technology to help close key early partnership deals with Immunex, Pfizer, Lilly, Biogen, Aventis, and Baxter, and to raise funds from both private and public sources.

Mr Smith has held senior technical and management positions at Cholestech (a medical diagnostics company) which he helped start, led the design and launch of the LDX instrument, and then assumed responsibility for high volume disposable cassette manufacturing, leading the effort to product launch). He was a senior design engineer and program manager for IDEO Product Development, and began his career at Hewlett-Packard where he designed electro-mechanical systems and servos for pen plotters and early generation inkjet printers.

He holds a BS in Engineering Science from UC San Diego, and an MSME from Stanford.

Vince So, MAE '07, '09

Current Status: R&D Engineer, ViaCyte

Photo of Vince SoVince So is a R&D Engineer at ViaCyte, a company focused on commercializing cell therapies to treat diabetes. His role includes developing the equipment, fixtures, designs, testing, and manufacturing processes for cell drug delivery systems. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UCSD. His participation in the Jacobs School Team Internship Program at Abiomed, Life Technologies, and Gen-Probe exposed him to the various opportunities for mechanical engineers in the biotech industry.

Taurin Tan-atichat, CSE '06, '08

Current Status: Software Engineer, Google
Education: BS Computer Engineering & MS Computer Science, UC San Diego

Photo of Taurin Tan-atichatTaurin is a software engineer at Google in Mountain View, CA. He has been working in Platforms, which designs Google’s energy efficient data centers, since 2008. His role includes developing the software that streamlines taking brand new, cutting edge hardware and getting it to serve user queries worldwide. While an undergraduate at UCSD, Taurin was involved with Teams in Engineering Service (TIES) from its inaugural Fall 2004 quarter. He worked on a team that produced a custom-made digital log system for use at a senior home center, complete with wireless touchscreen devices mounted on nursing carts. As a graduate student, Taurin’s research focused on improving the usability and performance of thin-client computing over wide-area networks. He also enjoyed the teaching aspect of academia, serving as a CSE undergraduate tutor for several quarters and as a TA for upper-division courses.