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The e-newsletter for Berkeley Engineering Alumni Fall 2022
Dean Liu with student during Golden Bear Orientation 2022

From the dean

I’m excited to share with you that our new aerospace engineering baccalaureate program launched this fall with the arrival of its inaugural freshman class. This multidisciplinary program, designed by faculty from across the College of Engineering, will prepare students for rewarding careers in the aerospace industry.
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Macchi bear with balloons in front of McLaughlin Hall

Homecoming 2022

Homecoming weekend is Sept. 23–25, and registration is open! At Berkeley Engineering, Dean Tsu-Jae King Liu will be hosting a panel, A Global Challenge: Berkeley Engineers Combat Climate Change, on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 10–11 a.m. Please join us!

Launching a new discipline

Group photo of the first class of aerospace engineersAnd…we have liftoff! On our new aerospace engineering (AE) major, that is. Our first class of incoming freshman began instruction last month with a curriculum that includes aero design, solid mechanics, dynamics, fluid mechanics and controls. According to faculty director Panos Papadopoulos, the college is also working on a new state-of-the-art sophomore-level aerospace design course, for which we’re renovating a 4,000-square-foot lab space in Hesse Hall. A powerful wind tunnel will be installed there by December. This fall’s freshmen AE students will hear from senior aerospace leaders in private industry and government, who will share their insights about working in the field. And a senior-level capstone course and many more elective aerospace-related courses are in development. 

Read on to hear from several Berkeley Engineering alumni who are already soaring in the aerospace industry.

The sky’s the limit 

Warren Hoburg in flight suit in front of jetWhen the SpaceX Crew-6 mission heads to the International Space Station in spring 2023, Berkeley Engineering alum Warren “Woody” Hoburg (M.S.’11, Ph.D.’13 EECS) will be, quite literally, launching a new career. A NASA astronaut since 2017, Hoburg will be taking on the role of pilot on the spacecraft Dragon for the first time, applying years of intensive training. “I always thought being an astronaut would be the coolest job ever, but I had no knowledge of how to get there,” he said. “It was only in hindsight that my skills and background made sense.” Read more

A soaring partnership 

Center Director Eugene Tu speaks during the NASA Experience opening ceremony at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California.According to Eugene Tu (B.S.’88 ME), there’s never been a better time to pursue a career in aerospace engineering: We’re learning more about the origins and future of the universe, potentially finding life elsewhere and extending human presence to other worlds. There are great opportunities to benefit society, to revolutionize the use of our airspace and to understand our planet from the unique vantage point of space. As a result, growing numbers of private sector companies are investing and working in aerospace. Read more

Astronomical success 

Wayne GoodmanWayne Goodman (M.S.’83, Ph.D.’87 ME) remembers exactly when the inspiration first struck: watching the first Apollo spacecraft launches on television, which led to building and flying his own model rockets growing up. “I’ve always been fascinated by the challenges associated with space systems and how to overcome them,” he said. “They’re constrained by size, weight, power and leaving Earth’s gravity safely. It’s remarkable when you think about all the things that need to come together and work right for a successful launch.” Read more

High-elevation rewards 

Armen AskijianWith his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a master’s from the University of Santa Clara, Armen Askijian (B.S.’02 ME) started out in the construction industry, but it wasn’t long before he found his way into aerospace. As a staff mechanical engineer with Lockheed Martin’s satellite mechanisms group, he was able to apply his engineering education to complex satellite design programs, including spacecraft separation from launch vehicles, solar array deployments and precision mechanisms for pointing antennae and optics. Read more

Alumni News

Meryll Dindin (MEng’19 BioE) has announced that his startup, Polygon, is now out of stealth mode and has become a vertically integrated psychology practice with tech-enabled in-house psychologists. 

Esther Fernández-Bravo (MEng’22 IEOR) was named to the 2022 Nova 111 Student List for industrial engineering, which highlights top talent in Spain between the ages of 18–25.

Donna Ebenstein (Ph.D.’02 BioE) was appointed chair of the biomedical engineering department at Bucknell University.
Leslie Field (M.S.’88, Ph.D.’91 EECS) received the inaugural Mark Shannon Grand Challenges Award. 
Bruce Hajek (Ph.D.’79 EECS) and Nickhil Jakatdar (M.S.’98, Ph.D.’00 EECS) were selected for Berkeley’s EE Distinguished Alumni honor, while Kimberly Keeton (M.S.’94, Ph.D.’99) and Noam Nisan (Ph.D.’89 CS) were selected for the CS Distinguished Alumni honor.

Josh Kittleson (Ph.D.’12 BioE) is the new vice president of biology at New Culture, working on vegan cheese.
Wilbur Lam (Ph.D.’08 BioE), professor at Georgia Tech, was elected to the 2022 class of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering College of Fellows.

Connor Landgraf (MEng’14 BioE) reports that his startup, Eko, has landed an additional $30M Series C extension for algorithmic heart problem detection.

Stewart Liu (Ph.D.’17 IEOR) has joined Berkeley’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research as a new assistant teaching professor.
Pierre-Habte Nouvellon (MEng’18 IEOR) was named on Forbes’ “30 Under 30: Social Media”  list for the startup Snipfeed. 
Divya Periyakoil (B.S.’20 EECS), of Berkeley’s Bixby Center for Population, Health, and Sustainability, was accepted into the 2022 cohort of Bloomberg Fellows at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Rhonda Righter (Ph.D.’86 IEOR), Berkeley professor of industrial engineering and operations research, was appointed the inaugural Ronald W. Wolff Chancellor’s Chair.

Samuel Ruiperez-Campillo (MEng’22 BioE) and Max Monange (MEng’22 NE) have launched SWiiFT, a personalized platform dedicated to helping international students form connections through unique and improvised experiences. 

Rui Wang (MEng’16 MSE) was named to MIT Technology Review’s list of “35 Innovators Under 35 for Climate Change” for his work on solar power.

Angela Wu (B.S.’06 BioE) is now a tenured associate professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Howard Wu (M.S.’18 EECS) is the founder of Aleo Systems, Inc., which raised $200 million in February of this year using the zero-knowledge proof technology developed by Shafi Goldwasser (M.S.’81, Ph.D.’84 EECS), professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing. 

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering inducted the following people into the 2021 class of its Academy of Distinguished Alumni: Ross W. Boulanger (M.S.’87, Ph.D.’90 CE), Donald W. Davies (M.S.’90 CE), William J. Dunlay (Ph.D.’74 CE), Lorraine N. Fleming (Ph.D.’85 CE), Kimberly E. Kurtis (M.S.’95, Ph.D.’98 CE), Julie L. Labonte (M.S.’94 CE), Linsey C. Marr (M.S.’97, Ph.D.’02 CE) and Judith Mitrani-Reiser (M.S.’01 CE). 

Alumni resources

There are many ways to stay engaged with Berkeley Engineering. Check out our college’s alumni webpage, which includes links to resources like the UC Alumni Career Network, a series of education webinars designed to support UC alumni as they launch, grow and expand their careers. The @Cal Alumni Network, is a platform that helps connect alumni worldwide with each other and with other UC Berkeley students, as is Berkeley Engineering’s LinkedIn group for alumni. If you have news to share about yourself that may be of interest to the wider Berkeley Engineering community, or if you just want to update your contact information, please let us know with this form.
Alumni spotlightThe alumni spotlight page features members of this vibrant community, sharing news on individual alumni and where they are now. Learn more about your fellow Berkeley Engineering graduates or complete this short questionnaire to participate yourself. New spotlights will be added throughout the year, and we want to hear your story!

Help with our next issue!

In the next issue of BEar News, we’ll be exploring the theme of sustainability and fighting climate change, with stories of Berkeley Engineering alums who are already working in this field. If you know of stories about BE alumni that fit this theme, please contact Julianna Fleming.
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