School Wide Award Winners
Faculty of the Year
Christine Alvarado is an Associate Teaching Professor and Vice Chair for Undergraduate Affairs in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UC San Diego. Her current efforts are focused on designing curriculum and programs to make computing and computing education more accessible and appealing, with the specific goal of increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities who study computing. In 2013 she received the A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award from the Anita Borg Institute for her contributions diversity in computer science education. Dr. Alvarado received her undergraduate degree in computer science from Dartmouth in 1998, and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from MIT in 2000 and 2004, respectively. Students recalled that her lectures were the highlight of their first year at UCSD. She made learning fun and engaging. She was the reason why we enjoyed the material and had decided to switch into the Computer Science major.
IDEA Award For Community Leadership
SHPE President 2016-2017
An active diversity advocate for STEM for the past three years at UC, San Diego, Jose served as the President and Vice-President External of SHPE UCSD chapter. He created new initiatives for the diversity organizations such as the first Rising Engineers Advanced Challenge (REACh), where students design, build and market a product in 24 hours. He also worked with his team to host the largest Regional Leadership Development Conference (RLDC) and EMPOWER high school conference to date when they hosted over 400 students at UC, San Diego. Jose capped his service with an annual report that highlighted our impact as a chapter. His findings allowed our chapter to be recognized as Regional Chapter of the Year, and the Most Professional Chapter of the Year.
Student of the Year
Alan is a very diligent and sincere student and did extremely well in the SE program. Alan impresses people with his dedication and a strong ability to express his ideas. Alan was awarded a prestigious scholarship from Simpson Gumpertz and Heger (SGH). SGH is a major Structural Engineering consulting firm, and the scholarship was established to celebrate its 60th Anniversary. Alan will attend graduate school at UC Berkeley to enhance his background and understanding of structural design, as well as geotechnical engineering and earthquake engineering. This year, Alan was the President of SCSE and has also been a volunteer for SCSE’s award winning Seismic Outreach program that brings local 4th - 6th grade students from elementary and middle schools to UC San Diego as part of a K’Nex design competition. Alan was instrumental in getting the SCSE Sidekicks - Mentorship Program off the ground last year and successfully expand it this year.
Student of the Year
He’s a member of Tau Beta Pi. He’s also performed undergraduate research in Dr. Joanna McKittrick’s lab in MAE. Yajur has been the president of the Engineering World Health group for 2 years where he raised 6 times the amount of funds that EWH previously had through the USD & UCSD Social Innovation Funds and Big Ideas @ Berkeley. Under his leadership, EWH initiated a new project at the Health Frontiers Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico through a collaboration with UCSD Global Public Health Professors, Dr. Jose Burgos and Victoria Ojeda. Yajur co-conceived and planned a global health inspired Hackathon called UC Health Hack, bridging healthcare, engineering, and social innovation to help low resource settings. He created the prompts targeting mental illness and refugee healthcare, acquired sponsors and funding, served as the Master of Ceremony, and organized mentors, entrepreneurial, and industry connections.
Student of the Year
Ryan Hill has been an active contributor to student life on campus through his leadership in organizations such as Triton Engineering Student Council, SD Hacks, Computer Science and Engineering Society, and Triton Entrepreneurs. Ryan’s efforts have led to raising more than $500,000 towards student initiatives, as well as assisted in lobbying for over $2M in innovation grants for UCSD. In the academic sphere, Ryan spent a year and a half as a computer science tutor under Rick Ord and Mia Minnes. He also piloted UCSD’s first inter-department student-run academic course, which he hopes begins a strong tradition of students more actively engaging in their own education. As he prepares to leave UCSD, Ryan joins the advisory board at “The Triton” news, and hopes to continue to engage with UCSD as an alumnus from his future career as a product manager.
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
He has worked as an undergraduate researcher 2015. His efforts have contributed to multiple publications, in particular, he was second author on a paper that was presented at the Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) conference, part of SPIE Smart Structures/NDE 2017 entitled “Fluid electrodes for submersible robotics based on dielectric elastomer actuators”, which won the First Place SPIE Best Student Paper Award. He has always held a positive outlook and a focus on academics. He has been admitted into Berkeley’s Ph.D. program beginning next fall. Nathaniel served as one of two Directors of Public Relations for Triton Racing, 2014-2015, during the team’s most successful competition ever and led re-branding of team from UC San Diego Formula SAE to Triton Racing. While with FSAE, he advocated for the organization to be inclusive of people in all fields of study and of all backgrounds.
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Michael has received the Henry Booker Memorial Honors Award and joined Professor Drew Hall’s research group to design a minimally-invasive biosensor that detects pH levels and alcohol content in the interstitial fluid. He also helped design a circuit to nebulize fluids using a Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) device. He served as Grand PrIEEE Chair for HKN in 2015 and was chosen to become President of HKN in 2016 when he commanded a larger presence on campus and around San Diego by hosting more workshops geared towards 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year students. Michael will start his PhD Program at Columbia University with a full Fellowship working under Professor Peter Kinget in fall 2017 and plans to be an active alumni after he receives his PhD.
Vivek joined UCSD as part of the UC Regents Scholars and has participated in research at the Center for Advanced Laboratory, which resulted a first author publication last year. Vivek also contributed as coauthor on another publication about Cardiac function during resuscitation from hemorrhagic shock with polymerized bovine hemoglobin-based oxygen therapeutics. He has presented his research at several conferences and won many awards, most recently the 2017, UCSD Muir Scholar. Vivek’s leadership is evident in his commitment to Engineering World Health and Biomedical Engineering Society. He also helped Yajur to organize the Transnational Medicine Day at UCSD. He served as a mentor at Rancho Bernardo High School for the Science Olympiads between 2014 and 2016 and plans to remain an engaged and supportive alumni for the UC San Diego community.
Kyle Buzsaki & Kyle Huynh
Computer Science & Engineering
In their four years here, they’ve excelled in their courses, they’ve been active as CSE department tutors. Students look up to them and seek their guidance for their insights and experience in technologies. They led the Autograder project for three years and re-envisioned the underlying architecture so that new features could be easily added. Through their effective leadership, they mentored existing and new team members so that each made significant contributions. In implementing the help queue feature of the Autograder, they made the previous chaotic whiteboard queue obsolete by enabling tutors to give assistance fairly and efficiently, essential to give an equal opportunity and attention to every student. They’ve touched many lives in CSE through demonstrating intelligence, excellence, leadership, commitment, achievement, innovation, purpose, impact, and humility. The Autograder Project started as a tool for one class, and due to their efforts, the tools is used more than one dozen classes per quarter. Their commitment was beyond expectation and their responsiveness, leadership and commitment to CSE faculty and students were consistently excellent. Their efforts enriched campus diversity by better representing the voices of all students. The Autograder queue equalized opportunity and access, regardless of gender or race, to request and obtain tutor assistance. They plan to remotely offer guidance so that their vision for the Autograder continues to flourish. While they are both moving on to positions in industry, they remain committed to the project and team, fostering leadership and technical growth in its continuing members.
Mohammad Ayman Alkhadra
Mohammad’s lab performance is equivalent to any graduate student despite his full course load, including regular meetings, status updates, and other responsibilities typically reserved for full time researchers. He volunteered at the Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Hospital in Saudi Arabia during the summer of 2013. Mohammad has achieved scholarly leadership through notable productivity and has co-authored a journal article in a high-impact, peer-reviewed journal with yet another in progress. Mohammad mentors fellow undergraduate students within Dr. Lipomi’s lab and has tutored students within the UC San Diego Department of Mathematics on multiple topics. Based on his extraordinary contributions to the scientific community in general and his lab in particular, Dr. Lipomi expressed complete confidence that Mohammad will not just excel in but innovate and transform whatever field he chooses to pursue after graduation. Several faculty, including Dr. Justin Opatkiewicz and Dr. Aaron Drews--expressed the same sentiments.
Stephanie attained the 2nd highest GPA in for graduating seniors in NANO major this year all while pursuing a double major in chemistry and nanoengineering. Most significantly, she carried out research in the NanoEngineering Dept with Andrea Tao and in Chemistry with Cliff Kubiak, the former research resulting in two peer-reviewed scientific publications. Stephanie enjoyed internships with NanoComposix in San Diego and Phaostron Instrument and Electronic in Azusa, CA. She was most recently awarded the UC San Diego Physical Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Award for Excellence and the Richard L. and Fern W. Erion and Laidlaw-Erion Scholarship, 2016. She lead a Clinton Global Initiative University funded Stormwater Filtration project in collaboration with UCSD Environmental Health & Safety and Bio-Clean Inc. Her experiences at UCSD were enriched by studying abroad in Sweden and through service with mentoring for Expand Your Horizons. She plans to pursue a M.S. and will apply for doctoral programs.
Isaac Rozen is a Chemical Engineering student in the NanoEngineering department that has achieved the near-impossible: a 4.0 GPA. He has managed this stellar academic record while also participating in research under Professor Joseph Wang in the areas of microfabrication and nanomotors. He serves as an author on seven separate academic publications, in journals including Advanced Materials, ACS Nano, and Nano Letters, and already has well over 100 citations to his name.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Christopher has served as the VP Internal for the ECE Undergraduate Student Council, is a member of TBP and HKN, was the Electrical Systems lead of the cube satellite project at Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), tutored for three ECE courses (121A, 121B, and 125B), and has served as the VP External as well as the President of IEEE at UC San Diego. His primary goals, in serving the student body, have been to create more opportunities for students to obtain technical growth outside the classroom and to succeed in a professional environment. As VP External for IEEE he created a new professional development series focused on how students can be more confident and better communicate with recruiters and during interviews. He also co-led the revival of ECE day which helped bring all of the major ECE engineering organizations together and engendered better collaboration on other events.
Andrew Abd El-Messih
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Andrew has donated his time and effort to the ECE department through various means of involvement. Not only did he serve on the HKN officer board, but he was also a member of TBP, IEEE, ECE USC, and TESC. He has organized workshops, interviews, and has set short/long term goals for various organizations. This past academic year, alongside of the ECE Chair, he spearheaded hosting the first ECE Honors Job Fair, the HKN Alumni Brunch and created an EE outreach program. Andrew has assisted with the preparation of ECE Day, Founders Day, Triton Day, Triton Transfer Day and Hackathon, in conjunction with IEEE. Andrew is an advocate for women in engineering and has made it a point to increase the number of females in the UCSD engineering organizations. Aside from extracurricular involvement, Andrew was a tutor/reader for ECE 171A where he took an active role to improve the course by introducing new resources such as Piazza, Gradescope and a class website. This upcoming year, Andrew will be the HKN Graduate Advisor and will begin his pursuit towards receiving a MS degree in ECE focusing on Intelligent Systems, Robotics, and Control.
Ring Ceremony for 2018
When: Saturday, June 16th
Location: Warren Mall, UC San Diego
Learning from last year:
School Wide Award Winners
Faculty of the Year, Computer Science
Dr. Mirza is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Engineering from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UC San Diego. Her primary research is in the field of embedded systems and sensor networks. She is an enthusiastic educator who has had a measured impact on students at the Jacobs School of Engineering. She was chosen by the graduating seniors as the 2016 Faculty of the Year based on her engaging teaching style, clarity of her instruction, and overall helpfulness in advancing the academic endeavors of her students. The 2016 class had many great things to say as testament to her hard work and commitment to education. One student shared, “She genuinely cares about students’ learning and growth…I appreciated that she took the time and effort to ensure that everybody understood the material.” Another went on, “Diba was my favorite professor at UCSD. She actually cares about her students and makes very engaging lectures. She puts so much thought into her classes and goes above and beyond.”
Student of the Year, Computer Science
Chyheim joined the Jacobs School of Engineering as a Gates Millennium Scholar. He has been an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers and served as President since 2012. He has been a champion of efforts to both organize and create opportunities for his peers to succeed through workshops and student conference par-ticipation. He attended the Computer Science Summer Institute at Google in 2012, and soon after developed an IOS application called Budget Buddy designed to help people make smarter restaurant decisions based on their monthly spending. Chyheim has developed strong ties with the Silicon Valley community through his work at Facebook, Instagram, and Salesforce, all while maintaining his excellent academic performance. He was chosen for this award based on merits of leadership, overall contributions to student life, and his potential as an impactful and ambitious alumnus. He expressed profound thanks to Professor Rick Ord and Professor Christine Alvarado for their support and mentorship over the past 4 years.
Diversity & Community Service, Mechanical
Ivan is the Vice President External for the UC San Diego chapter of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He played a leadership role in programs aimed at increasing yield rates of diverse, low-income and 1st generation students to the Jacobs School of Engineering. This included serving on the planning committee for the 2016 Engineering Overnight Program, where he helped coordinate and execute a 3 day immersion experience for newly admitted students. Ivan also took on a leadership role in coordinating Breakfast with the Deans for the 2016 Triton Day and Transfer Triton Day. Ivan organized trips to Logan Elementary where UC San Diego students continue to demonstrate the importance of knowledge and creativity to 6th graders through thought-provoking experiments. Ivan worked diligently as an IDEA Scholar to achieve an excellent academic record. This, coupled with his impressive service to community, commitment to improving diversity, and the promotion of inclusive initiatives, made him an ideal candidate for this year’s award.
Melody has been a top performing student in the Bioengineering program and has contributed to outstanding lab research during her time at UC San Diego. She has authored several papers and her mentors believe she has a future as an influential leader in science. Melody was a recipient of the Warren College Undergraduate Research Scholarship and has dedicated her time to community development efforts by participating in the UC San Diego Global Seminar in Spain. She was an active leader on campus, serving as Tau Beta Pi’s Secretary and House Leader and as a member of the Society of Women Engineers and Biomedical Engineering Society. Melody was accepted to top graduate schools, and will be attending Stanford University to pursue a PhD in Bioengineering
Amanda is a student who can balance humility with determination and confidence. She has performed very well academically, and she is very inquisitive and effective at research. She has worked on numerous research projects, including the McCulloch Cardiac Mechanics Lab and the Coleman Neural Interactions Lab. She has also contributed to research with Elaine Tanaka, MD at the Department of Surgery on using non-invasive wearables and imaging tech to predict and prevent injury-prone behaviors. In 2015, Amanda received the NASA-IDEA Center Space Grant and the Warren Undergraduate Research Scholarship. In 2016, she won the Gordon Leadership Fellowship award. In addition to excelling academically, she has been highly involved within the UC San Diego community, serving as Publicity Chair for the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Team Lead for her Senior Design project, and mentee for the Jacobs Undergraduate Mentorship Program. After she graduates from UC San Diego Amanda will be on her way to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she will focus on neuro-engineering in the pursuit of a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Computer Science & Engineering
Huang has been an exceptional student during her time at UC San Diego and has been recognized with Sixth College Provost Honors for academic excellence. She participated in the CSE Early Research Scholars Program during her Sophomore year with Christine Alvarado and conducted undergraduate research with Sanjoy Dasgupta to explore various algorithm designs for constructing a hierarchical clustering tree in sub-quadratic time. Huang was selected to intern at Google for their Engineering Practicum Program for early students. She will go to Google full time after graduation as a software engineer. Huang has served as Vice-President of Women In Computing and worked with the Society of Women Engineers’ Envision Committee, where she helped plan and organize outreach events for 200 high school girls to explore post-secondary education opportunities in STEM. Huang has touched hundreds of lives, including her peers and faculty, while a student here. There is no doubt she will continue touching more lives as a CSE alumna from UC San Diego.
Computer Science & Engineering
Sandra Hui is an outstanding student. She has been a leader in the Women In Computing group and was the chair of Girl’s Day Out, an event that brings over 60 local high school girls to UC San Diego for a day to learn about women in computing. She became a leader in the CSE undergraduate tutoring program and served as the head tutor in various CSE courses for the past three quarters. After she graduates, she will start graduate school in Bioinformatics at UC Berkeley, where she will build on her already impressive research career.
Heryang has been a consistently strong student during her time at UC San Diego. She is part of the prestigious five year BS-MS program; an opportunity available only to top performing students. During the past four years, Heryang has been a leader for the award winning Seismic Outreach Program. SOP educates 4th-6th graders on earthquake engineering through a hands on K’Nex building design project. This past year, Heryang was the Co-Director with Terence Tse; a partner who’s efforts matched her own. She is a very responsible and enthusiastic leader, well-organized, and has the ability to communicate effectively to a variety of audiences. Heryang, with Terence, has ded-icated hundreds of hours to the Seismic Outreach program and has influenced the lives of more than 2000 elementary and middle school students. She has been able to motivate Structural Engineering students of all levels to volunteer and participate in this rewarding program. In doing so, she has given engineers an opportunity to give back to the community. Heryang will be at UC San Diego for one more year to complete her MS in Structural Engineering and will serve as alumni mentor to the new Seismic Outreach directors.
Brenda Ximena Lee Wei
Brenda is a top performing student in the Chemical Engineering program. She is a member of the Chem-E Car Project Team, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Global Ties, and Tau Beta Pi. She has done well to maintain her academics as a well-rounded student committed to positive impact at UCSD. She has been community-focused as exemplified through her service as a Supplemental Instructor at Santa Monica City College. In recognition of her time and effort, she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Brenda has been an inspiration to her peers and has great potential to become an influential alumna in years to come.
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Davis has held several leadership positions during his time at UC San Diego. He has been a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Student Council, where he spearheaded events that improved the political awareness of his peers. He is also the president of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department’s Undergraduate Student Council, where he was instrumental in successfully revamping the constitution, coding design for a new council website, advancing a presence within the campus organization community, and establishing two new positions. Davis has worked on research projects with Professor Garrison Cottrell, developing computational models of the human brain. He also worked with Professor Michael J. Tarr, Head of the Psychology Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he had the opportunity to experiment with deep and recurrent neural network technology in developing the world’s very first differential processor for faces and scenes using neural networks. In the Fall 2016, Davis will return to UC San Diego and pursue an MS degree in Computer Science in the CSE Department.
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Ciara has been described by professors as simply phenomenal fo her combined skills in communi¬cation and research based technical ability. During her time at UC San Diego she has been a part of several labs, serving as an undergraduate research¬er for the Environmental Fluid Mechanics Labora¬tory, and a student member of the UC San Diego Beaglebone Lab. She is a Chancellor’s Scholar, and has been heavily involved with the Chancellor’s Scholars Program where she has served as Secretary and President for the Chancel¬lor’s Scholars Alliance. This year Ciara received the Outstanding Chancellor’s Scholar Award from the UC San Diego Emeriti Association for her dedication and proactive work in the program. She currently works as a Technical Intern at Northrop Grum¬man Corporation, where she will begin to work full time after graduation.
The Senior Class Gift (SCG) is your first step into joining the UC San Diego alumni community and showing how much being a Triton means to you. The mission of the SCG is to engage seniors to leave their legacy and cultivate a pattern of philanthropy before leaving UC San Diego.
By giving $20.17 in honor of our graduating class, you are committing to make UC San Diego a better place. We give back because seniors before us helped make our Triton experience possible. Now it’s our turn to give others the same opportunities. Make your gift online today!"