UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

Two engineers win Excellence in Stewardship awards

San Diego, Calif., May 22, 2019 -- Shu Chien, a professor of bioengineering and the department’s founding chair, and Jesse DeWald, staff director of the Envision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio, were both recognized with Excellence in Stewardship awards this year.

The award recognizes exemplary efforts that demonstrate the impact of philanthropy and significantly strengthen a donor's relationship with the university. Brian Keating, a professor in the Department of Physics, is also being recognized this year.

Bioengineering Professor Shu Chien

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Shu Chien 

Shu Chien has been a part of the UC San Diego community since 1988 when he joined the bioengineering program. As the founding chair of the Department of Bioengineering,  Chien has played a major role in establishing UC San Diego’s bioengineering program as one of the top programs in the country. In 2008, he became the founding director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM), an initiative that synergizes UC San Diego’s unique strengths in engineering and medicine. He also established the UC Systemwide Bioengineering Institute of California (BIC), which facilitates cross-collaboration in research and training among the ten UC campuses.

Chien’s ability to see the value of collaboration extends to his interactions and relationships with donors. He helps donors understand why bringing engineering and medicine together is so important, and he offers them opportunities to make a significant impact on people’s health and wellbeing. UC San Diego Foundation Trustee Drew Senyei notes that, “The combination of engineering and medicine have produced numerous advances in health care that would not have been possible without his tenacity.”

 As the faculty lead for the Siebel Scholars Programm, Chien maintains strong relationships with both scholars and alumni, is active in the stewardship of the Siebel Scholars Foundation, and oversees the administration of the $2 million grant. To date, 50 talented PhD students have joined the prestigious group recognized for academic excellence and leadership achievement.

Chien also serves as the convener of the Tang Prize, overseeing four selection committees in the categories of Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. Since he arranged to include the Tang Prize Lecture at the annual Experimental Biology conference, held every other year in San Diego, attendance at the Lecture has increased dramatically, from about 500 to an expected 5,000 in 2020, benefitting UC San Diego and the entire community.

Chien is one of a very small number of scholars who are members of all three national academies: the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences. Despite global recognition and countless awards, including the Revelle Medal for sustained, distinguished, and extraordinary service to campus, he is most often described by friends and colleagues as “gracious” and “humble” and is highly regarded as an example of how to succeed both in research and in life. It is said that in hallways and corridors of campus, one can hear echoes of the mantra “be like Shu.”

Envision Maker Studio Director Jesse DeWald

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Jesse DeWald

The EnVision Maker Studio was established through a collaboration between the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Division of Arts and Humanities to provide undergraduate engineering and visual arts students with a space where theory and hands-on experience intersect. As staff director, Jesse DeWald develops educational projects and empowers students to use the studio to design their own future. He has proven to be a valuable partner to Advancement colleagues by identifying the most pressing needs of EnVision, acting as an advocate in the community, and leading important stewardship initiatives and events.

Shortly after EnVision opened in January 2016, DeWald recognized the need to increase the size, capacity, and accessibility of the space. With the help of the Charles Lee Powell Foundation, he secured philanthropic support to double studio’s size and capacity and add dedicated lecture classrooms that allow the studio to be open for student use even when classes are in session.

In response to students’ appetite for more hands-on, practical experience, DeWald developed and implemented two internship programs. In the summer of 2016, nearly one hundred students participated in a series of projects and workshops designed to improve their leadership and mentoring skills. Student volunteers who have completed their internship program run the day-to-day operations of EnVision, putting their new skills to work and helping students who are new to the studio environment.

DeWald also developed the Summer Engineering Experience (SEE), an internship program designed to mirror industry experience as closely as possible. As a result of his ongoing stewardship efforts, the Powell Foundation agreed to expand their support to fund the program. In 2018, ten students were selected from an applicant pool of over 100 to participate in the ten-week program which immersed in the full design process—from pitching an idea to working with clients and from project management to team building. They worked with Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to translate the work of researchers into an exhibit for display. As a result of the success of the program, an even larger group of applicants is expected in 2019.

DeWald strives to improve students’ experience and jumpstart their future success. When he identified a gap in student preparedness for what comes after graduation, his idea to create EnVision Alumni 101 “Lessons from Industry” workshops resonated with alumnus Sam Knight ’73, and a new engagement platform was formed. The workshops now bring students and alumni across campus together to discuss topics like interviewing, career options, and overcoming new challenges. Sam says, “Jesse doesn’t simply manage the EnVision Maker Studio. He is passionate about making the whole student experience meaningful, and it is his commitment to the students that makes Jesse a star.”

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