News Release

Lipomi named new Faculty Director of IDEA Engineering Student Center

Darren Lipomi, professor of nanoengineering and faculty director of the IDEA Engineering Student Center

August 2, 2021--NanoEngineering Professor Darren Lipomi has been named the new Faculty Director of the IDEA Engineering Student Center at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. His appointment began July 1, 2021. 

The IDEA Engineering Student Center-- where IDEA stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Excellence, and Achievement--has supported thousands of UC San Diego engineering and computer science students through to graduation in the 10 years since its founding. The Center offers programs including summer prep and mentorship programs, peer-led engineering learning communities, support for student diversity organizations, community and culture-building efforts and more. 

The IDEA Engineering Student Center’s mission is to support all students on the challenging path of an engineering and computer science education at UC San Diego, with specific programs that build community, and provide academic and peer support for students traditionally underrepresented in the engineering and computer science fields including Black, Latinx and Native American students, women, first-generation college students, LGBTQ+ students, and low-income students.

“I am incredibly excited for this opportunity,” said Lipomi. "My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. My dad didn’t go to college, and I am the only scientist or engineer in my immediate or extended family. I owe a great deal to student services offices like the IDEA Center, and am especially grateful to them for the role they played in introducing me to undergraduate research.”

Lipomi has been involved with the IDEA Center in various roles since he joined UC San Diego in 2012, including organizing 36 seminars in the Graduate and Postdoc Scholarly Talk Series.

"I always derive such energy from working with our engineering students. I’m especially excited by the opportunity to engage with our students on social media, and to help in their transition to learning on campus, full time, this fall."

Olivia Graeve, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and outgoing faculty director of the IDEA Center.

Lipomi will build on the momentum and achievements that the IDEA Engineering Student Center has made over the last six years under the leadership of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Oliva Graeve. 

“I am incredibly grateful to Professor Graeve for her vision and leadership, and I am proud of the entire IDEA Engineering Student Center team,” said Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering. “Their collective efforts have propelled the IDEA Center to new heights, directly benefiting our students.”

Some of the accomplishments of the IDEA Center under Graeve’s leadership are outlined on IDEA’s 10th year anniversary website and in the Center's annual reports

At the Jacobs School, Lipomi is known for his ability to create inclusive research and learning environments for his students inside and outside the lab. In 2017, he received a campus Diversity Champion award. He has extended his ability to facilitate important STEM conversations and empower young researchers across the nation and around the world through his podcast, which is called "Molecular Podcasting with Darren Lipomi." Many of his podcast episodes relate directly or indirectly to equity, diversity and inclusion. 

In terms of research, Lipomi is a world leader in thin film electronic materials, whose applications include solar energy and artificial touch. Like many high-impact engineering professors, he engages in the virtuous cycle between fundamental and applied research. He is the recipient of the Air Force Young Investigator Award, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

“Together, we are working harder than ever to make the Jacobs School a place where all students, staff and faculty have the resources, support, and community connections inside and outside the classroom that empower them to succeed and thrive,” said Pisano. “Please join me in welcoming Professor Lipomi to the position of Faculty Director, and in thanking Professor Graeve for all her work and accomplishments in this role.”

Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering