Arizona Engineer | Winter 2023 | The Giving Issue

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Pierre Deymier Leads the Quiet Revolution

PLUS 4 A Note on Giving: Fuel Wonder 7 $35.5M Boosts Computer Chip Production

and Workforce Training

8 Students Help Probe OSIRIS-REx Sample 20 Clubs Instill Purpose, Infuse Fun 46:2

Winter 2023




Giving of Time, Treasure and Talent On all fronts, the Wildcat Engineering community is answering the call

DEAR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS, Thanksgiving was quite the fitting leadup to this alumni magazine focused on giving. I hope this issue – full of stories about how we are all coming together to support students and strengthen our communities – inspires you as much as it has me. I was delighted to see so many of you during Homecoming, a big weekend of firsts. Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos received Alumna of the Year from both the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine – Tucson. Arizona beat UCLA to win three straight games against ranked opponents. And President Robbins kicked off the university’s philanthropic fundraising campaign, Fuel Wonder, with a bold goal of $3 billion. In other unprecedented news, the college’s undergraduate program rose to No. 50 – top 30 among public universities – in US News & World Report rankings. The peer reputational score, an important rankings factor, was among our highest. UA Engineering is on the rise, and people are taking note.

Putting Arizona First

I am proud of all the ways our Wildcat engineering family has embraced the giving of time, treasure and talent, especially to support the people of Arizona. In recognition of her work on sustainable energy with Indigenous communities, Kelly SimmonsPotter, the college’s new associate dean for Academic Affairs, was named a Distinguished Outreach Professor. Professor Sharon ONeal’s unwavering commitment to the software engineering program is helping fill a critical industry need. Engineering faculty and staff have helped establish STEM internships for students with autism. And student clubs have given their time to mentor high school students and build houses for people in need. Generous alumni support is critical to the college’s efforts. For example, the Berge family’s contributions include funding for community-oriented senior design projects (think better animal habitats at the zoo, hostage negotiation devices for law enforcement to assist people in crisis, and foot controls for airplane pilots without arms). As another standout example, Mike and Sheri Hummel’s amazing philanthropic commitment to the Cancer Engineering Initiative is helping move care toward personalized treatments. It truly takes a community to achieve success. Thank you for answering the call.

Ensuring a Great Tomorrow

Looking toward the future, the college continues to grow its academic offerings and research programs, and improve its status among peer institutions. We recently launched our 17th undergraduate degree, computer science and engineering, which is expected to lend significantly to enrollment growth and fill much-needed industry positions. Research funding is rocketing to record levels, including $35.5 million from the Arizona Commerce Authority to upgrade cleanroom facilities for semiconductor research and educational efforts. And, a $30 million National Science Foundation center is applying the properties of sound to vastly improve computing technologies. We are grateful for your partnership, as we can only be great together. Wishing you a safe and wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year. Go Cats and Bear Down!

David W. Hahn Craig M. Berge Dean, College of Engineering










GIVING issue


Wildcat Engineering communities are contributing time, insight and resources to fuel wonder.



12 Pierre Deymier Leads the Quiet Revolution

2 Dean’s Message

Researchers are exploiting the properties of sound in an effort to improve everyday technologies.

29 Class Notes 31 Thoughts on Philanthropy



$35.5M Investment — Modern facilities and workforce training are critical to reinforcing the semiconductor industry.

OSIRIS-REx — NASA interns help analyze asteroid sample for clues to the origins of life on Earth.

The University of Arizona College of Engineering P.O. Box 210072 Tucson, AZ 85721-0072 Facebook: @UACollegeofEngineering Instagram: @AZEngineering LinkedIn: University of Arizona College of Engineering 520.621.1992 • Produced by

University of Arizona Engineering Marketing & Communications

Co-managing Editors

Katy Smith and Karina Barrentine

Art Director

David Hostetler


Arizona Board of Regents, Emily Dieckman, Jeff Gardner, Jason Gelt, Alexandra Pere, Chris Quirk, Brian Topping, University Communications, University Philanthropy & Engagement


Jessica Cox Motivational Services, Kate Gardiner, Martha Lochert, NASA, Julis Schlosburg


Club Connections — Public service, skills development and social groups enrich the educational experience.

Arizona Engineer is published twice a year for alumni and friends of the University of Arizona College of Engineering. Some articles in this print magazine are edited for length. Please visit for more stories, photos and videos. All contents © 2023 Arizona Board of Regents. All rights reserved. The University of Arizona is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information in its programs and activities. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples. Today, Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, with Tucson being home to the O’odham and the Yaqui. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the university strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service.

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GUEST COLUMN by John-Paul Roczniak President & CEO, UA Foundation VP of Development and Alumni Relations

Giving to the University of Arizona is more important now than ever. Learn more about the campaign and find resources on ways to give at

A Note on Giving Philanthropy exists at the intersection of your best financial interest and what kind of change you’d like to make in the world. One of the best parts of my job is meeting with alumni, coming to understand what they care about and showing them how they can make a meaningful difference at the University of Arizona. Of course, giving is also a practical part of your financial planning, and the university is a place where your dollars can have tremendous impact. I was so proud to highlight several examples during the launch of the public phase of Fuel Wonder, an effort to raise $3 billion to support the university’s strategic plan priorities. These priorities include what we call the university ecosystem of students and faculty that form the core mission; the institution’s “front porch” of arts and athletics that draw the community to campus; and a moonshot priority to fund an effort to transform medicine through the Center for Advanced Molecular and Immunological Therapies, or CAMI. In this issue of Arizona Engineer, you can read about donors whose gifts are a part of this campaign, and who have fueled meaningful progress at the College of Engineering. Kenneth Hartwein, who graduated in 1953, supported the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering through his estate, and Michael and Sheri Hummel of the class of 1982 have invested their philanthropic dollars in the Cancer Engineering Initiative. One thing these donors have in common? They are all alumni. I cannot overemphasize the importance of alumni in the university’s future. You know from personal experience how invested faculty and staff were in your success during your time on campus. Thank you if you are already giving to the College of Engineering. If you’re not giving yet, I challenge you to consider a personally meaningful way to pay your success forward. Perhaps a scholarship helped you finish your degree. Perhaps a research project gave you an edge when you went out in the job market. A gift of any amount is a vote of confidence in the Wildcat students and researchers who are following in your footsteps. Finally, a quick note on how the Foundation is structured. In November, a university budget presentation to the Arizona Board of Regents drew media attention because the institution fell below the ABOR-set minimum on one metric, days cash on hand. The university has since developed a plan to replenish its reserves, but I have had some inquiries from donors asking about how their dollars are managed. Because the University of Arizona Foundation is a separate, 501 (c) (3) organization, your donations to benefit the university are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law and can only be used by the institution for the purposes you designate. Giving to the University of Arizona is more important than ever. You can learn more about the campaign and find resources on ways to give at Bear Down, and Go Cats!




GUEST COLUMN by Mike Hummel 2022 Alumnus of the Year

Michael and Sheri Hummel, both Class of 1982, have committed $5 million to benefit the Cancer Engineering Initiative, a program jointly implemented at the College of Engineering and the University of Arizona Cancer Center. The initiative aims to create humanlike cancer models and growth environments to help improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Their gift also supports gynecological cancer research at the College of Medicine – Tucson.

Making a Lasting Difference for Cancer Research Like many families, mine has been affected by cancer. When my wife, Sheri, and I decided to make a gift that could transform people’s lives, we structured it in a way we hope will engage the colleges of engineering and medicine to help people mitigate cancer right now and change the way the disease is fought far into the future.

Our Experience Sheri was at high risk for breast cancer because of her family history. For 15 years, she saw Dr. Setsuko Chambers and her team at a high-risk clinic. In 2021, Sheri was diagnosed with breast cancer based on the testing they did. She was told that, without those tests, she would have gone another two years without a diagnosis. She is now cancer-free. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that process might have saved Sheri’s life. For part of our gift, we wanted to support the clinic and Dr. Chambers, who is director of women’s cancers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, and her research at the College of Medicine – Tucson.

Cancer Engineering We’re also interested in helping to make fundamental changes in how cancer is detected, treated and understood. When we learned about cancer engineering, we became excited to participate in a way that could make a lasting difference. Engineering is solving problems. Applying an engineering approach to this kind of problem is exciting. This field is in its infancy, and a lot of work and resources will have to go toward making it successful. In March, we attended the UA Cancer Engineering Symposium, which brought together experts to share strategies and build community. We were struck by the passion and intelligence of the people engaged in this effort.

Giving as a Wildcat Family Our history with the UA goes back a long way – to two generations before me and one after. Our son Ryan earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering and our other son, Kevin, completed his undergraduate degree and graduated from the College of Medicine – Tucson. Since the gift benefits both colleges, it includes all four of us. We’re fortunate to be able to make a generous gift to help others. This is partly because of our educations and our careers. I served for 41 years at Salt River Project and retired as the general manager and CEO, and Sheri was a first-grade teacher for over 20 years. I would like to encourage those who have funds, expertise or time – please join us in support of the College of Engineering in a way that matters to you.


Winter 2023



$12M Launches Consortium for Potable Water Reuse A team of researchers is advancing alternatives as traditional water sources dwindle in the Southwest.


A CONSORTIUM OF universities in the arid southwestern states is bringing together experts in diverse fields to advance water treatment technologies, make water reuse systems more efficient and drive sustainable practices. The Colorado River – which provides drinking water to tens of millions of people and irrigation for more than 5 million acres of farmland – has dropped by a third in recent years. Arizona gets more than a third of its water from the Colorado River and another 40% from groundwater. With groundwater predicted to be inadequate to meet demand over the next century, the state recently limited housing construction in Phoenix. The rest of Arizona’s water comes from reclaimed water and other rivers. The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory has granted the UA $4 million for phase one of a project to improve water security and water reuse methods. Phase two will add $3 million, with the possibility of another $3 million for phase three. Together with the University of Southern California and the University of Nevada, Reno, which each received grants of the




Andrea Achilli, associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering, is leading a regional multi-university team focused on improving methods of water treatment and reuse.

same amount, the university is launching the Consortium for Potable Water Reuse.

Keeping the Well From Running Dry “We are one of the leading schools that do research on water reuse in the Southwest, which is where alternative water sources and potable use is needed,” said principal investigator Andrea Achilli, an associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering and researcher at the university’s Water & Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center. “What we want to do is to allow for self-sufficiency and resiliency.”

“Their expertise will be key in ensuring potable water for Southwest communities as we face water usage cuts and historic drought.” ROBERT C. ROBBINS, UA president

The UA team, which includes researchers in chemical and environmental engineering, systems and industrial engineering, environmental science and microbiology, is focusing on using automation and decentralization to improve potable water reuse deployment and adoption. Engineering co-principal

investigators are Jim Farrell, Kerri Hickenbottom and Eduardo Saez of chemical and environmental engineering and Mohammed Shafae of systems and industrial engineering. “The University of Arizona’s water programs are consistently ranked among the top in the world thanks to the incredible faculty and staff we have working in this vital area,” said university President Robert C. Robbins. “Their expertise will be key in ensuring potable water for Southwest communities as we face water usage cuts and historic drought.” Additionally, the team aims to educate doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers to develop new technologies. In collaboration with Jeff Prevatt, deputy director of the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department, faculty also plan to train water sector employees to analyze data sets and work with advanced sensors, automation and controls. “It’s contributing to the Arizona economy, but we’re also pushing the envelope nationally and saying, ‘This is what a resilient community would look like with respect to water,’” coinvestigator Hickenbottom said.

Arizona Commerce Authority Awards $35.5M to Boost Computer Chip Production, Workforce Training

The UA is partnering with other Arizona educators to drive economic development in the semiconductor industry.


THE ARIZONA COMMERCE Authority has awarded the College of Engineering $35.5 million to expand the Micro/ Nano Fabrication Center, or MNFC, a facility that supports manufacturing and research efforts involving semiconductors, computer chips, optical devices and quantum computing systems. The funding also supports expansion of training and educational modules to ensure the state of Arizona will have the workforce needed to meet increasing demand in an industry of national importance. “The Arizona Commerce Authority’s investment will help make Arizona a national leader in microand nano-fabrication,” said David W. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge Dean of the College of Engineering. “The benefits extend far beyond the University of Arizona to our many partner institutions and to the state’s workforce. And they extend beyond today’s technologies to the light-based and quantum circuits we will employ in the future.” The college is collaborating with the Southwest NanoLab Alliance, a coalition of regional universities. The UA will also pass $3 million of the funds to Pima Community College and Central Arizona College to

support expanded workforce training programs, including virtual reality classrooms.

The university has already committed an additional $4 million to upgrade the center’s infrastructure.

“The MNFC expansion furthers Arizona’s semiconductor workforce, supporting the work of students, faculty and industry leaders,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We’re proud to support the University of Arizona with the expansion of this state-of-the-art center, which will serve as a key resource to drive further workforce development and innovation throughout Arizona.”

“I am incredibly proud of our College of Engineering and the work it does for our state,” said university President Robert C. Robbins. “It has a long history of innovative research and training the next generation of Arizona’s workforce. The expanded facility will have far-reaching impact for our students, researchers and industry partners, and I am very thankful to the Arizona Commerce Authority for this investment.”

The lion’s share of the grant to the university is dedicated to upgrading and expanding the MNFC facility and installing more modern equipment.

The U.S. holds only a 12% share of global semiconductor production capacity, according to a January report in the New

York Times, and 90% of the most sophisticated chips are made in Taiwan. Part of the motivation for the CHIPS and Science Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law in August 2022, is to boost production of chips in the U.S. and mitigate overseas supply chain threats. UA leaders are moving with urgency to address the challenges and opportunities, said Liesl Folks, vice president of semiconductor manufacturing. “We are committed to advancing sustainable economic development, training the workforce of the future and enhancing national security – thereby growing the pool of well-paid jobs in Arizona and across the nation,” Folks said.

Upgrades to the existing Micro/Nano Fabrication Center, shown here with materials science and engineering graduate student Christina Dinh holding a silicon wafer, will help strengthen the state’s semiconductor industry.


Winter 2023




Students Help Probe OSIRIS-REx Sample NASA interns Maanyaa Kapur and Zach Purdie are on a team working to solve some of the great mysteries of the universe.

“If a small asteroid like Bennu hit the Earth… could such a strike have provided the building blocks for life on Earth?” MAANYAA KAPUR aerospace engineering student and NASA intern



THE WORLD IS waiting to learn what the asteroid sample from the UA-led OSIRIS-REx mission will reveal, and two aerospace engineering students are helping discover the answers. NASA interns Maanyaa Kapur and Zach Purdie are on the sample analysis team at the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Kapur, who earned a BS and is working on her MS at the university, began her internship in 2021. Purdie, who is in the final year of his undergraduate program, started interning a little over a year ago. He served for five years in the U.S. Navy, working as an avionics technician, before beginning his studies.

Maanyaa Kapur plans to apply her multifaceted skills in industry.

The OSIRIS-REx mission not only will give a window into the formation of the solar system some 4.5 billion years ago, but also the sample is expected to yield information for planetary defense.

Scientists have already discovered evidence of carbon and water in the samples.

Pinpointing Origins of Life “If a small asteroid like Bennu hit the Earth, could it be what first delivered carbon and water to Earth?” posed Kapur. “Could such a strike have provided the building blocks for life on Earth?” Furthermore, she said, “If we had to shoot down an asteroid headed for Earth, you would want to know the physical qualities of the asteroid, how it would break apart and how the parts would behave.” The spacecraft launched in 2016 and reached Bennu in 2018. After assessing the area for two years, OSIRIS-REx approached Bennu in 2020 and drove its robotic arm into the asteroid’s surface to capture a sample. Then the craft fired its thrusters to reverse the descent and separate from the asteroid. OSIRIS-REx went on to study another asteroid while the return capsule with the sample landed in the Utah desert on Sept. 24, 2023. Scientists at the UA and elsewhere will study the Bennu sample for decades to learn more about the formation of the solar system.

Gaining Critical Experience the mission,” she said. Purdie and Kapur worked on a team that developed an apparatus to assess the thermal conductivity of the sample. Knowing how well the asteroid conducts heat will help researchers identify the makeup of the asteroid.

“I went from being a student to creating a mechanical design with SolidWorks software, and then working with the machinists to get these very fine levels of precision, even down to which machines to use for the best fabrication.”

One of Purdie’s tasks has been to create a sample standard, a mock-up of an actual asteroid sample, using metallic 3D printing. “We volumetrically scan the sample and create an analogous version in stainless steel, which has a known thermal conductivity, to create a control or calibration standard for measuring the sample itself,” he explained.

Opening Doors to Jobs

In addition, Purdie has been integrally involved in everything from wiring up the instruments to designing software.

Because of her work on the mission, aerospace companies have taken notice of Kapur, who has her eyes on a job in industry after graduation.

“You work on a space mission like this, and you really get to see all the different types of engineers it takes to do even one project and get the end result,” he said.

Zach Purdie is taking in all the engineering expertise that goes into a space mission.

Kapur’s experience has been similarly varied.

“Designing an experimental setup on my computer, getting it fabricated and assembled, and then putting it inside a vacuum chamber was an amazing learning experience,” she said. “People in industry seem to appreciate that.”

“I’ve worked on the propulsion side of things, the aerodynamic side, and now the mechanical design component with

While Purdie is still weighing post-graduation options, he finds himself especially intrigued with the idea of mining in space.


Winter 2023



University Piloting DOD Civilian Training Program Engineering students gain skills critical to homeland security.


THE UA IS one of just four universities hosting the Defense Civilian Training Corps (DCTC), a program that prepares college students for civilian careers with the U.S. Department of Defense. Students are reimbursed for tuition and fees, receive a $2,000 monthly living stipend, do paid summer internships with the DOD, and get jobs with the department upon graduation. The UA was chosen alongside Purdue University, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Across the four schools, the two-year pilot program will consist of approximately 80 students set to graduate in spring 2025. Larry Head, professor of systems and industrial engineering and principal investigator of the UA program, said the training corps curriculum teaches students skills that are vital to national security. Studies also cover leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The University of Arizona has a very diverse student population, and we want to make sure that they have access to all kinds of career opportunities,” Head said. “This program is a really unique opportunity for students to serve our country in our national security and defense, without being in the military.” In the summer of 2024, students in the program will be placed in internships with DOD labs and partners, and they will be given real-world scenarios to assess. “The base would tell them, for example, they’re looking to acquire a new software system and ask the students to investigate the requirements of the system, who the providers are, what policies are in effect, what the cost estimate and timeline would be – and then plan out the project,” said Head. Work will take place in a two-unit course, roughly six hours a week, over

two years. There will also be planned activities and social events. Students will earn government security clearance, facilitated by the University of Arizona Applied Research Corporation.

“This program is a really unique opportunity for students to serve our country in our national security and defense, without being in the military.” LARRY HEAD, UA principal investigator and professor of systems and industrial engineering

A nonprofit affiliated with the university, the Applied Research Corporation facilitates mutually beneficial collaborations in the national security environment. Austin Yamada, president and CEO of the corporation, said the DCTC provides students with the right education and tools to become valuable members of the nation’s civilian defense workforce immediately following graduation. “I had a 25-year career as a civilian in the Defense Department, and I can attest that being a civilian in the DOD is an extremely rewarding experience,” Yamada said. The DCTC aligns strongly with national interests, according to the Defense Department.

Larry Head, professor of systems and industrial engineering and program lead, says courses that emphasize real-life skills give students an edge in the civilian defense workforce.




“The Defense Civilian Training Corps will complement other workforce initiatives, while finding and developing the acquisition talent pipeline that is mission-driven on day one to increase the DOD’s readiness and modernization as an enduring advantage over U.S. competitors,” said Tanya Skeen, acting assistant secretary of defense for acquisition.

A Powerhouse Program Begins With a Steady Proponent

Sharon ONeal draws on personal experience to give software engineering students a distinct edge in the work world.


AFTER RETIRING IN 2017, Sharon ONeal was called upon to lead the launch of the College of Engineering’s software engineering program. She decided working with students would be “a cool adventure.” David W. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge Dean of the college, asked ONeal to work with other faculty to create an industry-aligned bachelor’s program and begin instructing students, building on her career and experiences teaching and mentoring in the college. Since that beginning two years ago, the BS program has attracted 177 students majoring or minoring in software engineering, and the college has opened up graduate programs, as well as offerings at University of Arizona Online and the Yuma campus, with plans to expand to Chandler.

“I walk into the classroom and fall in love with my students and watch them apply the knowledge and skills they are gaining while working on realworld projects.” SHARON ONEAL, software engineering program founder

And the students? “They’re learning from the knowledge I gained over my 35-year career. But, at the same time, I’m getting a lot back from them. I walk into

Samantha Perry has found ONeal’s counsel helpful.

Thought leader Sharon ONeal (left) and software engineering advisor Juliana Lincoln put their passion and experience behind mentoring and guiding students toward meaningful interdisciplinary careers.

the classroom and fall in love with my students and watch them apply the knowledge and skills they are gaining while working on real-world projects,” said the systems and industrial engineering professor of practice. ONeal designed the software engineering program to ensure that students graduate with the essential knowledge they need to hit the ground running. “I have experienced the critical skills to build very complex, large-scale products,” she said. “I was absolutely thrilled to be part of shaping a program where essential skills are combined to enable a software engineer to be successful and work with interdisciplinary teams.” Software engineering students take courses in a variety of engineering disciplines so they can collaborate and communicate with other types of engineers. ONeal was the ideal galvanizer for the much-needed program,

which saw its first graduate in December 2023, said Hahn. “Sharon is an incredibly accomplished professional who managed more than 500 engineers at Raytheon,” he said. “In addition to being a thought leader on software engineering, she cares deeply about students and contributes to their success through scholarship and mentorship. She even goes beyond that service to philanthropic giving. Sharon inspires others in many ways.”

“From the beginning, Sharon has provided guidance on what degree would be best for me. She has also helped me sort through my internship options,” said the software engineering major, who spent the past summer interning for Northrop Grumman at its Rolling Meadows, Illinois, site. ONeal finds it rewarding to shepherd the next generation and strives to be “more than just a professor.” “I’m here to teach students and help them see all the possibilities they can go after in their lives,” she said.


Inspired to Give and Guide Helping students is important to ONeal, partly because a high school teacher encouraged her to become the first in her family to attend college. “Marilyn Nathanson changed my life. It makes me tear up when I think about it. To this day, I keep in touch with her,” said ONeal. Now, ONeal has endowed a scholarship to help students access education in perpetuity. Of course, she is also a mentor, and junior 46:2

Winter 2023




Pierre Deymier Leads the Quiet Revolution Researchers at the New Frontiers of Sound Center are supercharging acoustics.



MOST PEOPLE HAVE never heard of topical acoustics. But this emerging field has the potential to revolutionize everyday technologies. Thanks to $30 million in funding from the National Science Foundation to establish the New Frontiers of Sound Science and Technology Center, researchers led by Pierre Deymier are exploiting the properties of sound in ways that could vastly improve computing, telecommunications and sensing. “We all know technologies such as the loudspeaker or the microphone, but we also use sound for sensing environments, such as with sonar and ultrasound medical imaging, and for data transmission and processing every day in your smartphone,” said Deymier, professor of materials science and engineering, center director and project principal investigator. Possible outcomes include reaching quantum-like computing speeds, reducing the power usage of smartphones, and sensing changes in aging infrastructure or the natural environment due to climate change. The NSF’s initial $30 million award comes with an additional $30 million option over the following five years to bring together researchers working in topological acoustics. “The quiet revolution advancing sound science and technology is afoot. And that is where the new center comes in,” Deymier said. Deymier has been with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for more than 38 years and is a member of the university’s BIO5 Institute and a professor in the Applied Mathematics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program. Co-principal investigators are Sara Chavarria, assistant dean of research development in the UA College of Education and assistant director of

the UA STEM Learning Center; Chiara Daraio of the California Institute of Technology; Andrea Alù of the Advanced Science Research Center at the City University of New York Graduate Center; and Massimo Ruzzene of the University of Colorado Boulder.

Mapping Sound to Space Using topological acoustics is a sophisticated way of looking at sound that maps sound waves to an abstract multidimensional space, called a Hilbert Space, to examine their geometry. This allows scientists to see and manipulate attributes of sound waves that aren’t visible in traditional acoustics.

“The outcome we expect is that this field of topological acoustics will be one that represents the world’s needs, because we will have trained students of diverse backgrounds to be the future TA scientists, engineers, leaders and educators.” SARA CHAVARRIA, co-PI and assistant dean of research development, College of Education

To investigate sound through a topological acoustics lens, scientists form a vector using as graph points on the Hilbert Space all the points in space through which sound travels. The angle of this amplitude vector, known as the geometric phase, provides a visual representation of the geometry of sound. A simplified example: If a sound is traveling through a room and an object is moved, added or removed, the effect on the sound may not be noticeable when observed through the lens of traditional acoustics, such as frequency. But it could be seen when examined with topological acoustics because such minor changes alter the geometric phase – that is, they alter the geometry of the sound.

It’s essentially supercharging the field of acoustics and enabling researchers to see information they couldn’t see before.

Educational Element Center leaders are providing training and education across multiple disciplines and to people from different backgrounds. They say establishing a common language for experts in fields ranging from materials science and electrical engineering to geosciences and mathematics will help the world benefit from the work. The team will write a textbook and accompanying digital resources about topological acoustics and launch a program to provide opportunities for students underrepresented in STEM to access mentoring and research experience in the subject. “The outcome we expect is that this field of TA will be one that represents the world’s needs, because we will have trained students of diverse backgrounds to be the future TA scientists, engineers, leaders and educators,” said co-principal investigator Chavarria. Gov. Katie Hobbs also stressed how the center would lend to Arizona’s strength in emerging technologies. “This monumental announcement once again demonstrates Arizona’s strong position leading the nation in technological innovation,” she said. “We see society’s biggest challenges as a chance to innovate, problem solve and forge new horizons, and our public universities like the University of Arizona are a key part of making that happen.” Center partners include CalTech; City University of New York; Georgia Tech; Spelman College; University of Alaska Fairbanks; University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Colorado Boulder; and Wayne State University. 46:2

Winter 2023



SCAN QR TO VIEW Homecoming Video

(From left to right) Atria Namvar, Armin Sorooshian (alum and faculty member), Abby Norwood, Paul Blowers (faculty member) and Justine Schluntz (alum and faculty member) gather at the 2023 Homecoming tailgate.

Homecoming 2023

60th Engineers Breakfast celebrates proud legacy, promising future.


ENGINEERING’S HOMECOMING 2023 was all about evolution: a college on the move, with alumni working across fields to improve lives and guiding students toward rewarding careers. “I know individually and collectively we’re changing the world to a better place,” said David W. Hahn, Craig M. Berge Dean of the college, at the annual Engineers Breakfast on Nov. 3. “We’re really proud of the work you do every day as engineers in industry and government and the defense of our nation and also in academia, helping to shape the future engineering workforce.”

Dynamic Crossover Careers Keynote speaker Dr. Zoe Draelos, who received the 2023 Alumnus of the Year Award for both UA Engineering and the College of Medicine – Tucson, was no

stranger to the 60-year-old celebratory breakfast. In her youth she attended many with her father, the late professor Dimitri Kececioglu, whose storied career included pioneering reliability engineering and teaching at the university for more than 40 years. “I grew up at the University of Arizona – climbing the olive trees of Olive Street, sliding down the staircases of the original Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building, and jumping from drafting table to drafting table,” said Draelos, who always knew she would follow in her father’s footsteps. Draelos went well beyond her early aspirations in mechanical engineering. She also earned a medical degree at the university and became widely recognized as the most influential woman in dermatology. “Where medicine hits engineering and where engineering hits medicine, that’s where invention occurs,” she said.

Power of Role Models More than 300 Wildcats at the breakfast hear about 2023 alumni award winners and get updates on advancements in student enrollment, academic programs, research and diversity.




Another trailblazing alumna, Barbara Filas, delivered the 18th Annual W.C. Lacy Distinguished Lecture Series, a

Homecoming tribute to the first head of the combined Department of Mining and Geological Engineering. Aaliyah Thompson-Mazzeo, Filas was one of Engineering Student Council the first women president, welcomes participants to the breakfast. to graduate from the mining engineering program. She has worked on every continent except Antarctica, traversing terrain from the coal mines of Illinois to the boardroom of a global mining firm. She was the first woman to serve as president of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration and was elected to the National Academy of Engineers in 2022.

Filas had influential leaders helping her along the way and is now dedicated to mentoring others. “You have to remember how you got there,” she said, addressing the students in the audience. “Giving back is one of the most important things you can do throughout your career.”

2023 Alumni Awardees Alumnus of the Year Award Zoe Draelos | Mechanical Engineering, 1979

Draelos founded Dermatology Consulting Services to perform research in aging skin and provide aesthetic procedures. She has contributed chapters to 42 textbooks, served as the principal investigator on 750 studies, and was the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology for 10 years. “I’m so grateful for this award today,” she said. “I went to many Engineers Breakfasts with my father, and it’s really an honor for me to receive this award,” Draelos said. “I have enjoyed my career tremendously, and at heart, I will always be a University of Arizona Engineering Wildcat.”

Bear Down Award Scott Sayles | Civil Engineering, 2000

Sayles is a civil engineer with a passion for design, construction and problem solving. Sayles has enjoyed working for WSP and Parsons on complex projects in the United States and internationally. He was recently reappointed to the Arizona Board of Technical Registration as the civil engineering board member. He has also been part of many volunteer efforts that support engineering, including the UA Alumni Engineering Council, the Sayles Advancement in Education Foundation, and the UA Civil and Architectural Engineering Alumni Industrial Council.

Outstanding Young Alumni Volunteer Award Ryan Gapp | Biomedical Engineering, 2014 Gapp is a quality engineer with W. L. Gore & Associates and lives in Flagstaff. He grew up in Tucson and was one of the first graduates of the BS in biomedical engineering program. Gapp has volunteered as the UA outreach champion/liaison from Gore since 2018, leading other Wildcats who also enjoy volunteering for College of Engineering events or helping advocate for philanthropic support for the UA.

Outstanding Young Alumni Volunteer Award Vy Kieu | Mechanical Engineering, 2014

Kieu has spent nine years in the utility industry with Salt River Project and has nearly 13 years of professional experience, including with IBM. As the manager of generation planning, analysis and renewables, Kieu is leading the SRP’s transformation of energy generation to include more renewable resources. Kieu has served on the Alumni Engineering Council Board for more than five years and is currently council president. She has volunteered her time and expertise consistently to support the next generation of engineers.

Sydney S. Woods Alumni Service Award Alex Reynoso | Mining Engineering, 1974

Reynoso enjoyed an exciting 44 years of adventures in the mining industry, retiring after 28 years with Rio Tinto Kennecott in Utah. Reynoso has been involved with the Alumni Association for 30 years. He is the founding member and president of the Salt Lake City SkiCats. He was awarded the 2021 Alumni Wildcat Spirit Award. His scholarship endowment affords opportunities for students underrepresented in mining. He supports the Bear Down Network and volunteers with community and church charities.

HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2023 Michael ‘Mike’ J. Arnold

Paul R. Gray

BS & MS Chemical Engineering, 1972 & 1977

BS, MS, PhD Electrical Engineering, 1963, 1965 & 1969

David ‘Dave’ S. Crawford

Gary W. Harper

BS Civil Engineering, 1972

BS Mechanical Engineering, 1971

Co-founder Modular Mining Systems; professor of practice

Retired CEO, Sundt Construction

UC Berkeley professor emeritus, executive vice chancellor & provost emeritus

40-year career. Salt River Project

Bruce D. Moreton

40-year career. Bechtel construction company

BS Mechanical Engineering, 1973 46:2

Winter 2023



Engineering Grows in Size, Diversity and Excellence

Enrollment for 2023 breaks records as the college serves a more diverse student body and moves into the top 30 undergraduate programs.


THE COLLEGE OF Engineering – looking to fill workforce gaps while increasing its population of students from underrepresented backgrounds – is making significant strides not only in enrollment growth but also in research expenditures, faculty hires and national rankings.

perspectives and inclusive work environments are critical to finding the best solutions to the world’s most pressing engineering challenges, said David W. Hahn, the College of Engineering Craig M. Berge Dean.

“We are seeing the results of our multifaceted growth strategy, which includes educating more students from underrepresented backgrounds and supporting student success from the day they start college, and even before they come to the university, until after graduation,” said Hahn. “The support of the university leadership, our The college’s most recent additions include 22 faculty members, 14 of whom are shown here during an orientation workshop. generous alumni and industry partners, and dedicated faculty and staff, is critical to Engineering’s fall 2023 first-year class the college serving more students and remained at all-time highs with 750 raising its status among peer institutions.” students. Students of color increased by 5% to 45%, and women rose from 30% to 33%. This exceeds the national average, Ensuring Diverse Perspectives where only 24% of people who graduated ENGAGED (ENGineering Access, Greater with a bachelor’s degree in engineering Equity and Diversity), which includes were women, according to a 2023 National Catapult, is one of the college’s primary Science Foundation report. support mechanisms for retaining underrepresented students – women, Additionally, research expenditures first-generation college students increased 19% to $63 million in 2023; and minorities. Engineering hired a record 22 faculty members; software engineering expanded “Catapult creates a broader access to include graduate degrees; and the point into engineering education by college launched a computer science and admitting students who are strong, engineering academic program. but who are not necessarily good test takers, and supporting them through The college is now ranked higher than cohort-based courses, success strategies ever in US News & World Report: top 30 classes, peer mentors, and facultyundergraduate engineering programs at student interaction opportunities,” said a public university (with a doctorate as Noel Hennessey, director of ENGAGED. its highest degree). Also among the multiple ENGAGED At the core of the college’s growth goals offerings is Summer TRACK (Teaching is diversity and inclusion. Diverse Research and Career Knowledge), which




helps students entering their sophomore year catch up on difficult courses and introduces a career development class. “Summer TRACK keeps students’ interest in engineering when the classes feel like a real grind,” said Hennessey. “The experience they have understanding what engineers do day to day inspires and motivates them.”

Alumni Key to Student Success The college is dedicated to uplifting students on all fronts, and alumni are invaluable in their support. For example, alumn Kenneth Hartwein recently gifted the aerospace and mechanical engineering department a $2.8 million bequest to fund clubs, career preparation and additional student lab assistants. Some students, like Trisha Jean Lane, are already paying it forward and thinking ahead to how they can do even more. As a participant in Pima-UAZ STEM Bridge, an Arizona Science Engineering Mathematics Scholars program, Lane is mentoring 10 students who transferred from Pima Community College. The environmental engineering junior – a firstgeneration college student, mother and member of the Diné (Navajo) tribe – also received a Environmental engineering junior 2022 Engineering Trisha Jean Lane looks forward to a time when she can do even more to General help underrepresented students. Scholarship. “The scholarship has inspired me to help others and give back to the community,” said Lane. “One day I can help students achieve their goals as I have been helped.”

Alum Bequeaths $2.8M for AME Hands-on Learning

Kenneth Hartwein’s gift goes toward educating problem-solving engineers.


KENNETH HARTWEIN made a gift that will benefit every student in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering many times over, according to Farzad Mashayek, department head and professor.

graduated in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. His career path can be traced to the admiration he held for his father, John Lawson, who worked as a machinist at the UA. Hartwein designated his gift for experiential education because he wanted to help the college educate problemsolvers, said Gary Rudd, longtime neighbor and the trustee of the estate. Hartwein worked for Shell Oil Co. nearly his entire career and earned a reputation as a strategist. He was awarded several patents for inventions related to his field.

The endowment benefits every student in aerospace and mechanical engineering, many of whom are building cars, robots and drones, like these seniors with their Design Day 2023 robotics project.

“He was a go-to guy for Shell. If they had a problem with a well, he could solve it,” Rudd said.

Hartwein died in March at the age of 93. He remembered his former department with a $2.8 million bequest, which will create an endowment that prepares students to take on challenging roles early in their careers, said David W. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge Dean of the College of Engineering.

Rudd and his family met Hartwein and his wife, Peggy, when the couple moved to Fredericksburg, Texas, upon Hartwein’s retirement. Over the next 30 years, the Hartweins became like another set of grandparents to the Rudds’ children and like parents to Rudd and his wife, Nancy.

“The College of Engineering emphasizes experience in educating engineers who change the world. Every student graduates with the confidence of having completed multiple professionallevel projects,” Hahn said. “Kenneth Hartwein’s generosity will help us continually improve the resources that ensure aerospace and mechanical engineering students can apply coursework in tangible ways, which is well aligned with Kenneth’s own handson learning.”

Hartwein invested in stocks as a hobby and amassed wealth from his investments.

Inventor and Mentor Hartwein grew up in Tucson and

“they actually see it in practice, which is huge for understanding what is going on.” Student clubs are another priority area for the gift. Aerospace and mechanical engineering students are active in several organizations, for example, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The gift also will help the UA chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers elevate its presence in national ASME competitions. Other popular clubs for aerospace and mechanical engineering students that will benefit include the Society of Automotive Engineers, Baja Wildcat Racing and BattleBots.

“The College of Engineering emphasizes experience in educating engineers who change the world.” DAVID W. HAHN Craig M. Berge Dean

“These extracurricular activities are extremely important,” Mashayek said. “This is where students get handson experience for what they learn in classrooms. They build things and compete, and they also learn how to organize the chapters.”

“He was very generous and wanted to share with his alma mater,” Rudd said.

Learning in Practice Initial plans for the gift include funding equipment and student assistant pay for the department’s many lab-based courses, said Mashayek. “In the classroom, students see the theory,” he said, adding that, in the lab, which is part of required coursework,

The legacy of Kenneth Hartwein, pictured in this family portrait with son Jack and wife Peggy, is reinforcing experiential learning.


Winter 2023



Anchored in Social Activism, Campus Romance Matures Into Lifelong Dedication to Helping Others Chemical engineering alum Scott Roberts, who went on to earn a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Washington in 1974, and art major Catherine Bontempo crossed paths on campus with friends nearly a half a century ago. Since then they have traveled the world and lived in Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Mexico, where Scott spent 35 years at Shell Oil Company. The married couple cared deeply about out what was happening in the world then, and they are just as dedicated now to combatting social injustices and helping others. They recently made a generous gift toward the Engineering Student Design and Innovation Center, a planned building that all students in the college will soon call their own.

“If you’re a kid growing

up in Arizona, you’re so lucky to have a really fine university like the University of Arizona,” said Scott. “It’s way more affordable than most universities around the country, has excellent faculty and is doing some really interesting work in all kinds of different fields. The UA is kind of a gateway into so many possibilities.”

Isabel Barton is spearheading an interdisciplinary project to extract critical minerals from copper tailings.

Isabel Barton Leads $3.6M Effort to Reuse Waste Rock


THE PAST CENTURY of mining led to an estimated 17.5 billion tons of copper tailings, the waste rock left behind after mining the ore. With support from a $3.6 million grant from the Arizona Board of Regents, university researchers will assess the metal content from these tailings for critical elements such as lithium, which are used in everything from cell phones to electric vehicles and pacemakers. Isabel Barton, assistant professor of mining and geological engineering, is principal investigator on the project. Isabel Barton “The extraordinary volumes of leftover rock from copper mining make reprocessing copper tailings a world-class challenge and opportunity for Arizona,” said Barton. “This large-scale interdisciplinary project represents a substantial first step toward making use of a massive, but undeveloped, potential resource.” Barton will draw on the expertise of 13 researchers in nine departments spanning all three Arizona public

Scott and Catherine Roberts’ recent donation is helping

the Engineering Student Design and 18ensure | construction ARIZONAofENGINEER Innovation Center and reinforcing the university’s standing as a gateway to possibilities.

universities to complete the threeyear project. “Leveraging researchers across disciplines and universities ensures our brightest minds work together to focus on the areas of greatest need in Arizona,” said ABOR Chair-elect Cecilia Mata. Copper is one of the most economically important metals mined in Arizona, and the state continues to lead the nation in copper production. Researchers estimate the copper industry will add 200 million tons of copper tailings annually. “The large amounts of copper tailings in Arizona presents an opportunity for our state to reuse this left behind rock as a potential secondary source of metals and minerals that are critical to the economic and national security of the United States,” said Arizona State Mine Inspector Paul Marsh. “Removing valuable and problematic metals and minerals from the tailings could also help reduce air and ground water contamination.”

‘Impossible Airplane’ Approaches Reality

Zoo habitats, energy display for schoolchildren, and crisisnegotiation throw phone also among boundary-defying capstone designs for community organizations.


UA ALUM Jessica Cox, reportedly the world’s only armless, licensed pilot, has begun the second year of what she calls her “Impossible Airplane” journey. Cox, who earned a psychology degree at the university, and her Rightfooted Foundation, headquartered in Tucson, are

A gift made in honor of alum Craig M. Berge for the college’s four-year design program includes support for a growing list of community-oriented capstone projects, like this year’s continuation of Cox’s plane.

This crisis-negotiation throw phone for local law enforcement is nearing market readiness.

“I felt like I was one with the airplane while trying it out, and that was a first for me,” said Cox at the May 2023 Craig M. Berge Design Day, an annual event where teams display their senior projects. “I’ve been flying for over a decade in a plane that has been built for someone with hands, and now I get to feel something that’s been built uniquely and specifically for me.”

in the second year of working with an Interdisciplinary Capstone team to design a cockpit control system for the first exclusively footcontrolled airplane.

The project not only has the potential to benefit many people who have disabilities, but also it could influence more universal designs in the aviation industry.

Students at the 2023 Craig M. Berge Design Day test the Impossible Airplane’s foot-controlled cockpit.

No doubt this work will “motivate people to do amazing things,” said David Margolis, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and faculty advisor for the project. ”I’ve never seen a project that could have as big of an impact.”

The throw phone, typically

“I’ve been flying for over a decade in a plane that has been built for someone with hands, and now I get to feel something that’s been built uniquely and specifically for me.” JESSICA COX, UA alum and founder of Rightfooted Foundation

Dean-Selected Projects Benefit Local Groups

Jessica Cox, the world’s first armless licensed pilot, and indeed the entire aviation industry are among those benefiting from the capstone community projects.

Park Zoo’s animal habitat upgrades, Tucson Village Farm’s interactive windmill for schoolchildren, and local law enforcement’s improved crisis-negotiation throw phone.

In recent years, a number of Interdisciplinary Capstone sponsors doing community projects have reaped the benefits of the Berge family’s gift. The projects – which College of Engineering Dean David W. Hahn selects annually – include Reid

tossed through a window or near a structure to individuals who have barricaded themselves, won two awards at Design Day 2023. As a chosen community service project for the 2023-2024 academic year, a second capstone team is further developing the technology to move the product toward commercialization.


Winter 2023



Elizabeth Wilson, Society of Women Engineers president, and Danielle Connacher, the organization’s outreach director, recruit SWEsters at the college’s 2023 club fair.

45 Engineering Clubs Instill Purpose, Infuse Fun Teamwork and community service are at the core of membership.


ELIZABETH WILSON FELT like an outsider when she first joined the College of Engineering in 2020. Coming from the School of Art, she had a different backstory than most of her fellow undergraduates.

“For me, it was about being able to have a community from all these different backgrounds in engineering and seeing how they were making their own path.” ELIZABETH WILSON president, Society of Women Engineers

“I didn’t plan on going to school for engineering originally, so I was actually very intimidated,” said Wilson.




Since then, the environmental engineering junior has found her way and is focused on welcoming others into the college. “For me, it was about being able to have a community from all these different backgrounds in engineering and seeing how they were making their own path.” Now president of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Wilson was among leaders from 45 clubs greeting hundreds of engineering students who piled into the Student Union Memorial Ballroom at the start of the fall 2023 semester. Many of the students were getting their first look at the college’s far-reaching clubs. From racing vehicles and building airwave communications to brewing and welding, clubs are not just places for

The BAJA Wildcat Racing club builds a vehicle to race in annual national competitions.

students to try out skills, they also are avenues to serving their communities, making a difference and laying the groundwork for careers in engineering.

To Each Her Own Path

Wilson, along with 70 other active members who have found a home in SWE, is paving the way for upcoming engineering students.

“I think it’s helpful to see what those different career paths and opportunities look like,” said Wilson, “especially when you don’t see yourself navigating the most stereotypical path.” SWE facilitates a career mentorship program called SWEeties that matches upperclass students with underclass club members. For high schoolers, Shadow a SWEster brings students from across the country to the university to spend a

day with club members and attend a special luncheon with faculty members.

A Way to a Better World

Civil engineering junior Jwliannah Ortega joined the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in her first year at the college, like many others, initially to learn welding. “I hang out with these guys all the time,” said Ortega, who is now president of the student organization. “We

all do homework, help each other out with projects and have game socials.” Club members also bond around national competitions. The UA team placed second in ASCE’s regional Intermountain Southwest Student Symposium at the University of Nevada, Reno, in April 2023. The competitions and other club events not only test the mettle of up-and-coming

engineers, they also provide a forum with professionals. “Every other week we have companies talk to students,” Ortega said, explaining that members can apply for internships and even land jobs during the club meetings. Locally, the society builds house frames with Habitat for Humanity, an organization that constructs safe homes for lowincome and underserved populations.

Nick Sivertson, Al Hurworth and Alex Wait (left to right) are founding members of the Wildcat Robotics Club. One thing that drives the team, which emerged from a 2022 Interdisciplinary Capstone project, is multiple opportunities to try out for the BattleBots TV show.


Winter 2023



ECE’s Kelly Simmons-Potter Becomes Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

First order of the day for Distinguished Outreach Professor is to bridge undergraduate and graduate academics.


“I RECOGNIZED THE impact I could have by sharing the fun of science and engineering exploration with students while engaging in cutting-edge research with the exceptional faculty and students in the University of Arizona College of Engineering,” said Simmons-Potter, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, optical sciences and materials science and engineering.

more renowned, but she is highly aligned with our commitment to broadening access to education and creating a welcoming and diverse community of learners.”

well recognized for that in our state,” said Rozenblit. Simmons-Potter directs the Arizona Research Initiative for Solar Energy, or AzRISE, program and is a professor in

Supporting College Growth Simmons-Potter’s initial plans as associate dean include strengthening educational programs to best serve the growing populations of undergraduate and graduate students. She plans to focus the academic affairs team on building bridges between undergraduate and graduate academics to offer broader support to all students.

After two decades of academic success and outreach activities, Simmons-Potter has taken on the position of associate dean of academic affairs for the college. “I am confident Kelly will bring strong leadership to academic affairs at an exciting time,” said David W. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge Dean. “Her perspective will help us achieve all our strategic goals – to become not only larger and

“I’m honored and excited to apply my dedication to education engagement, diversity, and student success, as well as my passion for educating and supporting our amazing rising engineering leaders.” KELLY SIMMONS-POTTER College of Engineering associate dean of academic affairs




“Dr. Potter’s research, teaching, and service – including her deep commitment to outreach in underserved communities – have had an extraordinary impact on our department, college, the university and Arizona community, and society,” said Rozenblit.

With 20 years of academic success and award-winning STEM outreach, Kelly SimmonsPotter leans into her role as associate dean of academic affairs.

Strength in STEM Outreach Simmons-Potter has worked with Jerzy Rozenblit, University Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, since the beginning, as Rozenblit was the ECE department head for many years. Simmons-Potter was also ECE’s director of graduate studies for the past five years. “She has a proven record of creating roadmaps for success for students from a broad range of backgrounds and is

the Indigenous Food, Energy, and Water Systems graduate interdisciplinary program. She was named a University of Arizona Distinguished Outreach Professor this year in recognition of her exceptional environmental, social and economic contributions. SimmonsPotter has secured more than $45 million in grant funding for research in optical materials, sustainability, STEM pipelines, Indigenous resources and sovereignty, and photovoltaics.

And Simmons-Potter will continue to work toward an inclusive and diverse student population, another major college goal, through thoughtful recruitment, retention and advising practices. In her role as ECE’s director of graduate studies, she helped increase the percentage of female students in the Ph.D. program from under 12% to over 17% in five years. “I’m honored and excited to apply my dedication to education engagement, diversity and student success, as well as my passion for educating and supporting our amazing rising engineering leaders,” she said.

Student Regent Vows to Help Ensure Basic Needs for All Classmates Senior Katelyn Rees begins the voting year of her ABOR appointment.


IT IS LIKE “drinking from a firehose.”

That’s what one former student regent told Katelyn Rees when she was appointed to the Arizona Board of Regents a year ago. “That was a very apt description,” said the senior double majoring in mechanical engineering and computer science.

“I have learned more than I ever could have imagined, and I hope to put this knowledge to good use and help make an impact in our universities, their communities and the state of Arizona.” KATELYN REES ABOR student regent

Rees has spent much of the last year devouring details about the three ABOR-governed public universities: the UA, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University. The board has 12 members, including the governor and superintendent of public instruction – ex officio regents – as well as two governor-appointed students. Students serve overlapping two-year terms, with voting rights granted the second year. Other regents serve eightyear terms, after being appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

and the college are very fortunate to have her, and I’m really proud of her service to ABOR on behalf of her fellow students,” said David W. Hahn, Craig M. Berge Dean of the College of Engineering.

Boosting the Health Care Workforce A state university plan for major growth and investment in Arizona health care, AZ Healthy Tomorrow, has been one of the most exciting initiatives for Rees.

Exciting Career Ahead Like those before them, Rees and her fellow Student Regent David Zaragoza planned the annual Student Leadership Summit – which took place in November – for student governments from all three universities. “I have learned more than I ever could have imagined, and I hope to put this knowledge to good use and help make an impact in our universities, their communities and the state of Arizona,” she said.

“The board recognized a commitment to building the health care workforce was needed to support the growth of Arizona,” Rees said. Nearly 3 million Arizonans have limited access to primary care, according to a board analysis, and one in three hospitals in the state faces a significant staffing shortage. The University of Arizona has committed to doubling medical school graduates, and ASU and NAU pledged to launch medical schools.

Focused on Student Housing, Food Security Now Rees is turning her attention to giving back to the student population.

Understanding how just one university operates is enough to make a person’s head spin. Rees learned about three, all while transitioning to her senior year.

“I plan to continue the work of my predecessors and advocate for initiatives related to student food and housing insecurity,” she said.

“Katelyn is the epitome of student leadership and an inspiration for women in STEM, not to mention a brilliant engineer to be. The profession, the state, the university

Rees’ insight into decisions concerning student welfare and her ability to clearly communicate initiatives to her peers is invaluable, said Chair-elect Regent Cecilia Mata.

Next up for Katelyn Rees, who wants to work in robotics, is a position as technology consultant at Accenture in San Fransisco.

Rees starts a position as technology consultant at Accenture in San Francisco after graduation. She hopes to work on robotics at the global technology and consulting company. 46:2

Winter 2023



Autism Society Honors Internship Program


THE AUTISM SOCIETY of Southern Arizona recognized the College of Engineering and its collaborators with its Starfish Award for creating a new internship program. The first two students in the cohort began internships this summer – one at Raytheon and one at Texas Instruments.

doesn’t end there.” His search of the literature showed that 80% to 85% of college students with autism are unemployed or underemployed.

EPICS with Autism (Engineering Professional Internships for College Students with Autism) is a joint endeavor by the college, the UA Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities and Terry Matsunaga.

presents Starfish Awards to UA professor Terry Matsunaga, College of EngineerHe found that employers extend ing Dean David W. Hahn, Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities Executive post-graduation job offers to the Director Wendy Parent-Johnson, and ENGAGED Director Noel Hennessey. majority of student interns they her expertise to set up the program with hire. In Raytheon’s case, they make best practices, such as pre-interview offers to at least 85% of summer interns. training and pre-employment/ internship transition services with the Matsunaga approached David W. interns and the company supervisors. Hahn, the Craig M. Berge Dean of the College of Engineering, for support in “I am very proud of this overall team, creating a program. Hahn enlisted Noel who embraced this opportunity from Hennessey, director of the college’s the start,” said Hahn. “On behalf of ENGAGED program, and Heather Moore, Engineering, we are grateful for this coordinator for career engagement. recognition, and we are committed Wendy Parent-Johnson, executive to keeping this effort going and director of the Sonoran Center for gaining momentum.” Excellence in Disabilities, also provided

“That spawned some ideas in my mind,” he said. From left, Kate Elliott, executive director of the Autism Society of Southern Arizona,

Matsunaga is a professor of medical imaging and an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering. He co-founded an educational camp for youth on the autism spectrum at the university 13 years ago, with the goal of encouraging the students to enroll in college. But recently, Matsunaga decided he wanted to do more, because “the job

STEM Training Takes Aim at Health Care Disparities Tuition-free course positions Pascua Yaqui and Hispanic students for college and the workforce.


A TUITION FREE, 10-week training course for high school graduates and Pima Community College students from the Pascua Yaqui tribe and Hispanic community is key to a program that aims to alleviate health care shortcomings in

underserved populations. “These students will be the future advocates for healthy living and well-being in the community,” said Janet Roveda, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the UA’s Center to Stream Healthcare in Place. “They are brilliant and talented. I do not doubt that they will be our new students at the UA.”

Students, tribe leaders, community members and faculty attend orientation for an educational program that aims to aid underserved populations in alleviating health care shortcomings. Janet Roveda (far right), ECE professor and director of the NSF-funded Center to Stream Healthcare in Place, is collaborating to honor the visions of those the center serves.




C2SHIP, funded

by the National Science Foundation, is a multi-university consortium focused on developing mechanisms for decentralized health care – including personalized care, mobile service, telemedicine, home visits and wellness programs. Roveda has worked closely with Pascua Yaqui tribal officials as well as other leaders, parents and students to honor the visions and needs of their communities. Students in the online course learn about public health, digital health, wearable technology and machine learning for biomedical data. The lessons also integrate traditional Pascua Yaqui views on holistic health and medicine.

Prestigious Scholarships Pave the Way for Twins in Engineering First-year students plan to take problem-solving mindsets all the way to medical school.

As they start their undergraduate journey together, siblings Elizabeth and Andrew (center), shown with their parents Kofi and Sophia Ghartey, settle into the W.A. Franke Honors College.


TWINS ELIZABETH AND Andrew Ghartey see engineering as their best path to careers in medicine. “A lot of technologies need to be made in order to solve the problems in medicine. And that’s where engineering comes in,” said Elizabeth, who is one of only 20 Arizona highschool students to become Flinn Scholars in 2023. On her full-ride Flinn Scholarship, Elizabeth had the choice to attend an honors college at any of the state’s three public universities. Considering the UA her best fit, Elizabeth and her brother joined the university’s W.A. Franke Honors College. “My parents have been saving for a very long time to help me get a bachelor’s degree, but now that money can be applied toward my medical degree, which is probably going to be very expensive,” she said. In fact, both Gharteys decided on the UA after just

one visit April 2023. They were particularly impressed with the meaningful research opportunities in the College of Engineering and BIO5 Institute. Elizabeth is majoring in biomedical engineering in preparation for becoming a medical researcher or clinician and is leaning toward specializing in genetic blood disorders or women’s health. Andrew plans to earn a degree in electrical and computer engineering, then specialize in orthopedic medicine. “I find it rather fascinating,” he said. “It applies a lot in weightlifting strength and athletics.” Andrew was selected for College Board National Recognition, which helps underrepresented students with academic honors stand out on college and scholarship applications. Among other competitive awards, he received a four-year

renewable undergraduate tuition scholarship under the university’s National Scholars Tuition Award program.

Starting a Wildcat Journey With Like-Minded Students The twins weren’t necessarily set on attending the same university, but they are glad they landed at Arizona together. “I see it as already having a friend there and someone to help each other out,” said Andrew. And the Gharteys were excited to move into the Honors Village dorm. “I get to be with like-minded students and students of different interests who are highly ambitious and academically focused,” said Elizabeth. Andrew is looking forward to working out at the village’s NorthREC wellness center. Both hope to play intramural sports. He is a track athlete, and she plays volleyball.

Becoming Problem Solvers, Like Their Dad The siblings’ father, Kofi, an electrical engineer at Intel, has set an example. Andrew believes learning to think like an engineer, as his dad does, will serve him throughout his life. “I observe him and how he goes through things. It reflects problem-solving skills and a lot of adaptability,” Andrew said. Elizabeth agrees, adding that engineering offers a convergence of science, math and technology, with a chance “to apply them to create things and innovate, to solve problems that affect us in the world today.”

“I get to be with likeminded students and students of different interests who are highly ambitious and academically focused.” ELIZABETH GHARTEY first-year student


Winter 2023








At this year’s Solar Oven Throw Down – which tasked more than 650 first-year engineering students with using common, low-cost materials such as cardboard and aluminum foil to construct solar ovens capable of baking acrid biscuits – temperatures reached a high of 486 degrees Fahrenheit.

Endowed Chairs Draw Strong Leadership to the College

Funded by alumni and friends of the school, endowed positions ensure top talent for critical roles.

David W. Hahn

Craig M. Berge Dean In his 20 years at the University of Florida – including eight as head of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering – Hahn oversaw the construction of a 4,000-square-foot student design center and increased the number of female BS graduates in his department to 50% above the national average for mechanical and aerospace engineering.

David W. Hahn

Hahn joined the College of Engineering in 2019. His tenure has seen rankings, enrollment and research funding surge to record levels. And his push for diversity and inclusion has brought traditionally underrepresented student populations to the college in numbers well above the national averages. Craig M. Berge, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the UA in 1957, had a successful career in the automotive industry and stayed involved with the university throughout his life. When he passed away in 2017, his wife, Nancy Haddad Berge, made a gift to the college that established the four-year design program and an endowed chair for the dean of engineering.

Jennifer Barton

Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Chair Renowned in the field for her development of miniature endoscopes that combine multiple optical imaging techniques, BIO5 Institute Director Barton’s research has laid the groundwork for novel diagnostic and treatment methods of cancers and other diseases. She has published over 120 peerreviewed journal papers in these research areas. The Thomas R. Brown Foundations are named for the cofounder of Burr-Brown Research Corp. The distinguished chair is tasked with advancing biotechnological research and education in the college, fostering collaborations with other colleges and campus units, promoting and working with diverse teams, and providing national leadership in the field of bioengineering.

Jennifer Barton

Kray Luxbacher

Gregory H. and Lisa S. Boyce Leadership Chair of Mining and Geological Engineering Luxbacher is an expert in atmospheric monitoring, ventilation system characterization, mine fire simulation and prevention, and mine risk analysis. Before joining the college as MGE department head, she led the Department of Mining and Minerals at Virginia Tech, where she was the first female tenure-track professor.

Kray Luxbacher

Greg Boyce earned his BA in mining engineering in 1976 and went on to lead global energy and mining companies, including Rio Tinto Energy and Peabody Energy. Lisa Boyce is a 1978 business administration alum. The chair is intended to ensure the longevity of strong leadership in the position and see that the UA mining program becomes one of the best in the world.

Sammy Tin

Patrick R. Taylor Endowed Chair of Materials Science and Engineering As MSE department head, Tin emphasizes the interdisciplinary aspects of the field, including research areas like microelectronics processing, advanced manufacturing, quantum computing, flexible electronics and hypersonic vehicles. He previously served as the chair of materials engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology. MSE alum Dylan Taylor and his wife, Gabrielle, made a gift to establish the chair in honor of Dylan’s father, Patrick R. Taylor, who is a pioneer of extractive metallurgy.

Sammy Tin


Winter 2023



College Continues Run of Prestigious Faculty Honors 2023 UNIVERSITY AWARDS OF DISTINCTION Distinguished Outreach

Early Career Scholar

Faculty Service

Early Career Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Kelly Simmons-Potter, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of electrical and computer engineering

Alex Craig, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering

Wolfgang Fink, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

Judith Su, assistant professor of biomedical engineering


Frailty Sensors


Adam Printz, assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering, received an Early Career Research Award for $875,000 from the DOE’s Office of Science to continue developing a process called restricted area printing by ink drawing, or RAPID.

Nima Toosizadeh, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and medicine, received a $580,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for his research involving wearable sensors for frailty screening.

Pierre Deymier, professor of materials science and engineering and the BIO5 Institute as well as lead for the New Frontiers of Sound Science and Technology Center, won the International Phononics Society’s 2023 Bloch Prize.

Autonomous Mining For her work in autonomous mine techniques for safety and sustainability, Nathalie Risso, assistant professor of mining and geological engineering, won a $300,000 Career Development Grant, funded by Freeport-McMoRan, Inc., from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.

Entrepreneurialism The 2023 Tech Lauch Arizona I-Squared Award for Startup of the Year went to cybersecurity company BG Networks, founded by electrical and computer engineering faculty members Roman Lysecky, professor emeritus, and Jerzy Rozenblit, University Distinguished Professor. Ricardo Valerdi – Distinguished Outreach Professor, head of systems and industrial engineering, and creator of STEM outreach program Science of Sport – received the #MadeItHappen Award.

Climate Research University Distinguished Scholar Armin Sorooshian, professor of chemical and environmental engineering, received the American Geophysical Union’s Joanne Simpson Medal for his research in airborne aerosol particles and their effect on climate. Additionally, an international team of scientists he led won NASA’s Group Achievement Award.

WOMEN OF IMPACT ON CAMPUS Liesl Folks, electrical and computer engineering professor and vice president of semiconductor strategy for Research, Innovation and Impact, and Kathleen Melde, ECE professor and the college’s associate dean of faculty affairs and inclusion, were among 30 women honored campuswide as 2023 Women of Impact.




Kathleen Melde

Liesl Folks



Ravneet Chadha, BS/ EE 2009 and MS/EngMgt 2019, is chief data officer and associate vice president Ravneet Chadha at the UA. His engineering background prepared him well for his current background, Chadha said in a recent video interview for CDO Magazine. David Hohman, BS/EngMgt 2009, represented the Resorts World Hotel Tower project team that received the Award of Excellence at the 2023 PostTensioning Institute Project Awards. He and his brother own Superior Post Tension, the fabricator for the Resorts World project in Las Vegas. Hohman’s company supplied post tension reinforcing for the Lowell-Stevens football facility at the north end of Arizona Stadium in 2012. Omid Gohardani, MS/ME 2008, vice president of Springs of Dreams Corporation, won the 2022/2023 outstanding engineer award from Omid Gohardani the Honeywell Aerospace Engineering and Technology leadership team. This award is presented to the top 3% of the Honeywell Aerospace global engineering workforce.


Manny Teran, BS/ME 1999, was named interim CEO of Infrared Laboratories, Inc., and is focusing the organization on innovation, new technologies and new markets for its

infrared detection and cryogenic products and services. Teran is also a member of the UA College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board.

and operations of the state highway system. Swallow also received a Professional Achievement Award from the College of Engineering in 2020.

Manny Teran

Jason Antonino, BS/ MSE 1998, launched a patent research business in 2022 following a varied career. He recently moved to Tucson after living in the Phoenix area for more than 24 years. His treasured life lessons: You never know where your life and career can take you. You can surprise yourself if you give yourself a chance. And you can always Jason Antonino with his bounce back father and son. from failures. Jon Graham, BS/MinEng, 1996, visited the Platosa Mine in the state of Durango, Mexico, with his son Nicholas CarousoGraham, BS/MinEng, 2014. Both of Nicholas’ grandfathers worked in mining and several of his uncles, so the profession is a family tradition.

Kristina Swallow, BS/CE 1994, was named planning and development services director for the City of Tucson. Swallow was previously director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, where she managed an annual budget of $1 billion. During her tenure, she oversaw the planning, construction, Kristina Swallow maintenance

Stephanie Wilkinson, BS/ME 1993, was named chief revenue officer for Simpro, a business management software for commercial and residential trade service businesses. Prior to joining Simpro, Wilkinson held executive positions at several technology companies including IBM Software Group and Magento, and most recently served as the vice president of growth sales and customer success for Adobe’s digital experience business.


Bill Loggins, MS/SIE 1989, works for The MITRE Corporation leading a team that implements open-source data governance Bill Loggins capabilities. Married with two children and two grandchildren, Bill enjoys hiking, fishing, playing cards with friends and family, and walking his dog.

John Graham, right, visits the Platosa Mine with his son Nicholas-Carouso Graham.


Winter 2023



C L AS S NOTES Kurt Harris, BS in GeoE 1986, was recently promoted to director of public works for the City of Sedona. A licensed Professional Engineer, Harris joined the organization in 2022 after a long career with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Arizona Department of Transportation. Thomas J. Fagan, BS/EE 1985, has been promoted to associate Thomas J. Fagan systems director at The Aerospace Corporation. He leads a team of engineers supporting the spectrum management efforts for NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Department of Defense satellites.

John Westover, BS/ChE 1981, has shifted to freelancing after a career in oil and gas industry and engineering consulting. Currently he is working part-time for Monash University, where he received his master’s degree in 2002, and delivering technical and industrial trainings and webinars.


John Drazkowski, BS/ChE 1979, joined the legal team of Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin in Phoenix. Drazkowski’s nearly three decades of experience John Drazkowski includes civil litigation, focusing primarily on premises liability, products liability, contractual disputes, and personal injury matters.

Jilanne Hoffmann, BS/IE 1985, wrote the nonfiction STEM children’s book, A River of Dust: The Life-Giving Link Between North Africa and the Amazon, which has been named a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. A River of Dust is about global interconnectedness and the vital roles that even the smallest Bob Rutherford can play in helping our planet.

Bob Rutherford, BS/ AE 1978, was named the Rotary Club president for Coronado, California. Rutherford is also a member of the Wildcat Mentor Society and

FROM THE ARCHIVES Thank you to Joe Stabile and Anthony Philip Verbout, who wrote in to identify this photo. The man on the right was R.E. Petersen, according to Verbout, and he believes the man in the center was Edwin Parks,an adjunct professor who served from 1960 to 1986. Stabile, however, remembers the man at the center as his former instructor Bill Sears, who joined the facultyin 1974 as an acclaimed aerodynamics pioneer. Sears retired from the UA in 1990 as professor emeritus. The blackboard in the background shows a complex variable equation relating to a wing section.




was named the society’s Aerospace Consultant Mentor of the year in 2020 and 2021. Michael Popovich, MS/SE 1973, is the founder and CEO of Scientific Technology Corporation (STC) in Phoenix. STC provides disease information systems and services to support public health. Popovich credits his systems engineering degree with giving him the discipline and insight to understand and overcome the risks of hidden challenges when implementing health information systems on a large scale. M. Ray Johnson, PhD/EE 1972, retired from the Idaho National Laboratory and a joint teaching appointment at the Idaho State University School of Engineering. He previously taught electrical engineering at Utah State University and helped develop a new department of control engineering at M. Ray Johnson the University of Texas Permian Basin. Johnson’s accomplishments include designing several nuclear reactor control systems and being named a fellow of the Instrument Society of America.

How Will You Fuel Wonder? WONDER STARTS WITH the spark of an idea, but it’s ignited when people unite to make it happen. By giving to a university that thrives on wonder, you light the fire in our students, faculty and staff to do even more – to dream and create today and well into tomorrow, to imagine bigger, fueling a better future for the world. Together we can help those who will go on to accomplish the extraordinary. On Nov. 3, 2023, the University of Arizona launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the history of the institution. With a $3 billion goal, the university is poised to chart a new future that will fundamentally impact our education and research enterprise while changing lives and enriching the world. It’s an aspirational effort with a bold goal, but bold aspirations have been part of our DNA since our inception in 1885. With the start of the silent phase of the campaign in 2017, the College of

Engineering has raised more than $85 million toward our $100 million goal. While we still have a way to go, I feel confident that we will reach our goal with your help. Our priorities for the Fuel Wonder campaign will directly impact our students and faculty and will enhance our rankings and reputation. Our primary goal remains to build the Student Design and Innovation Center. Other strategic goals include named endowed leadership faculty chairs and professorships, Cancer Engineering Initiative support, graduate fellowships, lab renovations and undergraduate support for scholarships, clubs, and diversity and inclusion efforts. Throughout this publication, you have read stories about how our alumni and others have fueled wonder thus far in our fundraising campaign to bring us to within striking distance of the goal.

We are grateful to Mike and Sherri Hummel and their family for their tremendous support for our Cancer Engineering Initiative efforts with their blended outright and estate gifts. We also extend our gratitude to Scott and Catherine Roberts for making a difference with their commitment to our new Student Design and Innovation Building. If you made a gift to the college since 2017, thank you! Your generosity over the years has brought us this far, and we are grateful. If you have yet to make a donation, I would like to encourage you to contact us so we can work with you to make a gift that is meaningful to you. The lasting value of giving is impact. I invite you to consider the impact you want to make – either through an outright gift or a bequest or estate gift – that will help propel us forward and fuel wonder for your College of Engineering.

Margie Puerta Edson, CFRE Assistant Dean, Development & Corporate Relations 520.626.0572


Winter 2023




The University of Arizona College of Engineering P.O. Box 210072 Tucson, AZ 85721-0072

CALLING ALL ALUMNI! Where has life taken you since graduation? We’d like to know and so would your college classmates. Please email us with details (no more than 300 words) and be sure to include the following information: • Name and year you graduated • Major • Degree (BS, MS, PhD, etc.) • Details of your activities


We’d also be interested to see – and share – pictures of your family, your latest work project, that boat or hot rod you just finished building in your garage, or your blossoming gardens. Vacation photos are great, too. We’ll publish your news and photos online and in the next print edition.

Let us know if you’ve been getting some media attention. Just email the link, and we’ll keep spreading the news on the college website and in social media.

Please send your email to






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