Harvey Mudd College Magazine, fall/winter 2016

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FALL/WINTER 2016 2015

The World of Work

Nitin Savant ’08 navigates the world while working remotely.










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Food is Community

Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons With menu items as diverse as Mongolian barbecue, rotisserie chicken, Brazilian barbecue made on a churrasco grill, Thai curries and noodle soups, Korean tacos, and pozole, it’s safe to say that college dining has evolved. Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons offers these culinary selections—all made in-house from scratch— to Harvey Mudd students and to those from the other Claremont Colleges, who often line up early in anticipation. It’s no surprise then that Harvey Mudd is on The Daily Meal’s annual list for best college dining. Harvey Mudd is lauded for going trayless and

offering reusable cups and to-go containers. Students can track the nutrition of all meals through My Fitness Pal and Fitbit, with whom Harvey Mudd partners, and they can enjoy some healthy competition during a Copper Chef Competition (modeled after Iron Chef), held several times each academic year. Dining services works with students who have special diets and food allergies, and all lead employees have completed gluten-free training through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness GREAT Schools program, allowing Harvey Mudd to earn recognition as a GREAT School.


eggie Valley and Simple Servings: Although V annual student surveys lean strongly toward the meat eaters (one reason for the dining hall’s 5-C popularity), the Veggie Valley remains a popular station. Nearby is a station called Simple Servings for those with food allergies, gluten intolerance, or those who prefer plain and simple foods. Food here is free from common allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, wheat, soy, milk products and eggs. All foods offered in Simple Servings are also gluten free.


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the permanent collections of many museums, including L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Museum of American Art. elly McConnell ’17, the goalie for the Claremont3 K Mudd-Scripps women’s soccer team, says she appreciates all of the healthy options, including the Creations custom salad bar, as well as the friendly staff and the flexibility of being able to eat “in” or take her meals to go (in a recyclable container, of course). alad bar: The three daily soups are fresh, as is 4 S the bread. Local (up to 200 miles away) organic produce is featured based on the season and availability.

ood taste applies to more than just the food. 2 G The multicolored geometric painting near the drink station is by artist Karl Benjamin (1925–2012). Benjamin received his MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 1960 and went on to teach art at Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University. From the studio he built behind his home on 8th Street in Claremont, Benjamin produced a prolific amount of work and became one of the art world’s dominant figures in abstract geometric painting. His work can be found in

xhibition: Dining Services General Manager 5 E Miguel Ruvalcaba, who has worked at many college and university dining halls, including at each of the undergraduate Claremont Colleges, says, “Never have I seen an exhibition station as popular as HMC’s.” He attributes its popularity to Mudders’ technical personalities—they want to build it. The most popular build-it-yourself themes are Pasta Night (Wednesdays) and Pizza Night (Fridays). On these occasions, you’re likely to find lines from the station all the way to the cash register. Juan Sanchez (pictured), is one of the popular Exhibition chefs. He enjoys interacting with students, who happen to be the same age as his children. He says, “I like to do a show with the pans when cooking and to make the students feel like they're at home.” 6 I sabel Balseiro, Alexander and Adelaide Hixon Professor of Humanities and Professor of

Comparative Literature, frequents the dining hall about twice a week. She’s among the many Harvey Mudd professors you’ll find dining with each other and with students during mealtimes. “Meeting students informally is a great plus,” she says. She calls the Exhibition and Creations stations “a luxury,” and enjoys the friendliness of the kitchen staff. reations: Salad made to order, only open during 7 C the lunch hour, is the most popular station at that time. Students love it so much, they brave wait times of up to 15 minutes for the opportunity to craft their custom salad tossed with one of 16 custom-made dressings (most popular: jalapenocilantro and Fernando's Spicy Dressing, a student's creation), and their choice of six to eight different proteins (including shrimp and smoked salmon), assorted vegetables, berries, dried fruits and even avocado. The Creations station, a suggestion from the student-run Food Committee, accommodates the increased demand for foods prepared fresh while diners wait. 8 Lupita Olimon works primarily in the deli, prepping all the fruit, vegetables and meat for meals. 9 Ruvalcaba says, “At Harvey Mudd, we have invested heavily in kitchen equipment and talented chefs in order to make possible any menu imaginable. We also work closely with our Food Committee, which meets with dining staff weekly, to make students' on-campus dining experience varied and fun.”




The Secret of My Success I HAVE SPENT MY LIFE WORKING IN FIELDS— computer science and mathematics—where women are underrepresented. I’ve also been the first woman in key leadership positions in several organizations. I owe my success to many people from whom I’ve sought help—that is, when I finally found the courage to ask for it. I am now fairly comfortable asking for help when I need it, but it took me many years to realize that was a skill I needed to develop. I also came to see that others might have the same challenge and that, in general, there is great hesitancy to seek help, whether it’s for something simple like directions or for something complex like trying something new or making a major life change. It has been a journey to be sure, but now I recognize when seeking the advice of others is the best path, and I want to empower our students to do the same.

How do I know when to ask? One indication that I might need to ask for help is when I’m doing something new. Some of my other indicators are: if my usual approaches are not having the same level of success; if people are interpreting my behavior in a way I didn’t intend; if I’m experiencing an unusual amount of failure or stress; or (most important) if people are telling me that I need help. Of course, realizing you need help doesn’t necessarily mean knowing where to find it. I’ll often start by talking with several people to get a broad perspective and a range of advice. Not all advice may be a good match for me and my situation. I often find it easier to start by reading a book or taking a course. If the problem is serious enough, I will find a coach—someone whose advice I trust. Sometimes I realize that I need more confidence than usual to be able to accept the help that

I need, so I’ll engage in some confidence-building activities. Things that work well for me include helping someone else, doing something I’m good at, learning a new skill unrelated to the issue I’m facing and talking with my cheerleaders—the people who encourage me in all situations. Most important is being willing to try more than one approach. Some approaches work better than others depending on the person and situation.

Relationships matter I think it’s especially important that students learn early about the importance of asking for help. For the last two years, I’ve offered first-year students a chance to sign up for dinner with me to talk about this essential skill. Each dinner includes one of our peer academic liaisons (PALs) as well as a faculty member. This fall, we hosted 10 dinners with nearly 120 students attending. These dinners provide me with a great way to meet our newest students, listen to their concerns and give suggestions on where they can get help with any academic or personal issues. We all realize that the first year of college can be a particularly challenging time for our students. That’s why over the last several years, the College has added staff in the Division of Student Affairs, expanded the proctor and mentor programs and embedded intentional training around diversity and inclusion, expanded health and wellness staff and programming, added peer academic liaisons in the dorms and increased space and resources for the Office of Institutional Diversity. These improvements better support all our students and help them both to thrive academically and to develop as whole people. In these ways, we hope we can make sure that every student feels comfortable asking for—and getting—the help they need to be successful at Harvey Mudd and beyond.

The Harvey Mudd College Magazine is produced three times per year by the Office of Communications and Marketing. Director of Communications, Senior Editor Stephanie L. Graham Art Director Janice Gilson Graphic Designer Robert Vidaure Writer Sarah Barnes Contributing Writers Ashley Festa, Becky Ham, Lia King, Chris Quirk, Elaine Regus Proofreaders Sarah Barnes, Kelly Lauer Contributing Photographers Seth Affoumado, Webb Chappell, Margarita Corporan, Shannon Cottrell, Elisa Ferrari, Jeanine Hill, Cheryl Ogden, Deborah Tracey Vice President for Advancement Dan Macaluso Chief Communications Officer Timothy L. Hussey, APR

The Harvey Mudd College Magazine (SSN 0276-0797) is published by Harvey Mudd College, Office of Communications and Marketing, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711. Nonprofit Organization Postage Paid at Claremont, CA 91711 Postmaster: Send address changes to Harvey Mudd College, Advancement Services, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711. Copyright © 2017—Harvey Mudd College. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in the Harvey Mudd College Magazine are those of the individual authors and subjects and do not necessarily reflect the views of the College administration, faculty or students. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without the express written consent of the editor. The Harvey Mudd College Magazine staff welcomes your input: communications@hmc.edu or Harvey Mudd College Magazine Harvey Mudd College, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711

The Harvey Mudd College Facebook page has nearly 9,000 fans. Join the conversation. Maria Klawe President, Harvey Mudd College





Into the Fire


Aurora Pribram-Jones ’09 acknowledges her life hasn’t always been easy. But that certainly hasn’t stopped her from becoming a remarkable researcher. Written by Ashley Festa

Working Out


Traveling while working remotely can be hectic and liberating. Just ask Nitin Savant ’08. Written by Chris Quirk

Opinions about the content of Harvey Mudd College Magazine are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and may be edited for clarity and brevity.

Dear Editor, I was enjoying the article in the summer 2016 College magazine, which also celebrates Mudd’s success recruiting women, and was extremely surprised to see the reference in its final sentence to LIGO as “[taking] its place among mankind’s tools.” Blithely referring to humanity while excluding half of it (which Mudd is trying to recruit!), is very disappointing in this day and age. I expected better. Surely it wouldn’t have taken much to make the edit, or find another way to write that sentence? Sincerely, Ruth Fink-Winter ’92

Clear for Takeoff


Innovative, noninvasive products influenced by aviation are ramping up the way doctors monitor patients thanks to Steve Barker ’67. Written by Ashley Festa

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In reading the article “Clearing the deck” in the summer 2016 issue of the HMC Magazine, it states that “The old deck area (31,645 square feet) was removed within days.” However, the Libra deck improvements by the numbers chart states that it took 1,440 labor hours to remove

Annual Report Academic Year 2015–2016

the concrete deck. Assuming “within days” means three days, that would mean 1,440/3=480 hours per day. Assuming an eight-hour day, that would require 60 people to be working eight hours per day for all three days. Somehow that doesn’t seem plausible. Did I misinterpret the article? Thanks, Ivan Waldman P12, parent of Sophie Waldman ’12

Editor’s note: We checked with James Hawley, director of capital projects, about this: “We removed the deck in five days with a 24-man crew working 12-hour days. Some of the hours are on actual removal (laborers, operators, saw-cutters), some are truck drivers hauling debris and some are management. Also, the five working days were not consecutive; construction scheduling does not count weekend days or holidays.”


Facebook, Oct. 6, 2016: We shared one of the Hoch-Shanahan Dining Hall menu items: Pepper braised lamb shanks and root vegetables served with herb-potato puree prepared by Chef Andre Thomas Weis.

Facebook, Oct. 25, 2016: We posted a student’s Admissions blog post about Baby STEMS, the Engineering Systems core course taken by sophomores who now tinker with underwater robots instead of rockets.

“Times have certainly changed. Who out there remembers Festive Tuna Boats at Platt?” –Robert Blackman ’89

“Rockets?! Robots?! Why does Mudd keep getting cooler after I graduated?” –Margot Molander ’05

“He eats better at school.” –Joanna Wong-Albelo P17

“Rockets? In my day, we hammered bridges and we liked it.” –Michael Martin ’09

“What about the recycled food casseroles during the last week before break?” –Kari Sutherland ’90



Campus-Community Partnerships

Harvey Mudd seeks sustained involvement COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IS NOT A BUZZWORD AT

Harvey Mudd College. “It’s a critical, necessary and intrinsic component of a world-class institution of higher education,” says Gabriela Gamiz, director of Harvey Mudd’s Office of Community Engagement. The College’s dedication to community engagement earned it a spot on the 2015 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the Education category, which recognizes institutions that have made a commitment to improving educational outcomes for children and youth in pre-kindergarten through college. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term, campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service. This is the first time HMC has earned the award, which recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. HMC’s mission statement and Strategic Vision speak to developing top-tier STEM professionals “with a clear understanding of the impact of their work on society” and to global engagement and informed contributions to society. “Community engagement at Harvey Mudd College is about more than just one-time opportunities,” Gamiz says. “We seek sustained involvement that is driven by sharing expertise and building capacity.” The Office of Community Engagement works with faculty to support and develop new servicelearning courses, uses endowed funds to support student community engagement efforts and offers a number of community involvement opportunities for students. Close to half of the Harvey Mudd student body collectively contributes about 17,000 hours to community service each year. Three community engagement projects highlighted in Harvey Mudd’s 2015 Honor Roll application are: •C ommunity tutoring: Harvey Mudd College offers free, over-the-phone tutoring in math and science



for students in grades four through 12 nationwide via Homework Hotline; and tutoring offered by HMC students twice weekly in math and science for students in grades six through 12. •C omputer science initiative: The NSF-supported MyCS program is designed to develop computer science fluency among middle- and high-school teachers in the Pomona Unified School District (PUSD) and in Kauai, Hawaii, and to help them create new courses for implementation at their school sites. More than two dozen computer science classes have been developed by program participants, with more than 3,000 students in middle and high school earning elective credit in these courses. HMC students also partner with PUSD elementary school teachers to develop educational games for use on iPads under the NSF-supported Gaming Project. Ten iPad apps that focus on math and environmental science literacy have been developed and made freely available via iTunes for anyone to download and use. •S cience Bus: This student-run, volunteer organization teaches weekly, hands-on science lessons to fourth- and fifth-grade students at local elementary schools, with topics ranging from erosion to electromagnetism. Volunteers teach in 15–20 classrooms at five different schools, reaching more than 600 students weekly. In addition, Science Bus invites its participants and their families to the Harvey Mudd campus for Science Day where they enjoy hands-on explorations of STEM topics and faculty demonstrations of current research projects.

Harvey Mudd College ranked No. 2 among liberal arts colleges in Washington Monthly’s 2016 College Rankings, a survey of U.S. institutions that aims to measure contribution to the public good. Survey methodology included factors such as the number of students participating in community service, service hours performed and academic courses that incorporate service; the percentage of alumni who go on to get PhDs; and comparisons between the actual graduation rate and predicted graduation rate—as a measure of how well the school performs as an engine of social mobility. Harvey Mudd rates highly in these and many other survey factors with its emphasis on community engagement, integration of community service into the curriculum, support of student service organizations, outreach programs in local schools and mission to educate socially responsible leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Community Advocate HMC’s new Title IX coordinator


coordinator of Title IX and student disability support, is passionate about protecting the rights of all students. Kahn’s office on the first floor of the Sprague Center provides a welcoming space where students can feel comfortable confiding in her about sensitive topics, including struggles with disabilities, sexual misconduct or gender discrimination. “These are students who need extra TLC,” Kahn says. Kahn joined Harvey Mudd in June 2016 filling a new position that combined compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title IX, a statute of the U.S. Department of Education that governs gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct. In response to a growing number of sexual assault cases on college campuses nationwide, the department’s Office for Civil Rights issued a mandate in 2011 that required every college name a Title IX coordinator, establish a grievance process and investigate complaints to ensure the safety of the community. Previously, several student affairs staff members were jointly serving in those roles in addition to their regular responsibilities. Kahn is the first HMC staff member whose sole duty is Title IX and disability support. She has a law degree from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles and an MBA from the Drucker School at Claremont Graduate School. She was previously deputy director of Title IX at Cal Poly Pomona and interim Title IX coordinator at Claremont McKenna College. “Having an experienced and dedicated professional focusing on the services, policies, procedures and processes is very beneficial to students and ensures consistency and a greater level of care,” says Leslie Hughes, assistant vice president for student affairs. “In her time here, Deborah has already enhanced policies, procedures and access to resources. I believe that her background and expertise will be great assets to continue evolving the way HMC manages these areas of compliance and our service to students.” Kahn sees a lot of commonalities between students with disabilities and victims of sexual assault. “When you have a disability, it can be especially scary because a lot of disabilities are invisible,” Kahn

says. “People around you don’t have any idea you’re coping with something that could be a substantial impairment to life activities, and you silently struggle.” The same could be said for sexual assault victims. “It changes the normalcy after you survive a stalking incident or sexual assault. Just walking to the dining commons at dusk becomes a difficult experience,” Kahn says. Kahn believes she can make a difference at Harvey Mudd in both of these areas through working to improve policies and helping better educate the College community. One significant challenge Kahn anticipates is convincing Mudders with disabilities to seek help regarding extra accommodations that could help them to succeed. “Students may perceive extra time for exams as an unfair advantage, so they are reluctant to come forward and ask for it,” Kahn says. “But, if they need accommodations to make learning equally accessible, then it becomes a necessity.” She works with faculty and staff to help them interpret ADA requirements and accommodate students with disabilities. In addition, Kahn is available to discuss the duties of “responsible employees,” who are obligated to report any allegations of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence and stalking under HMC’s Title IX policy. During orientation, Kahn engaged students in discussions about sexual relations and what constitutes consent under a new California law that took effect January 2015. Consent is defined as an “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” Consent is not lack of protest or resistance nor silence. And, it can be withdrawn at any time. “At the very least, I want them to understand that ‘yes’ means ‘yes.’ All students need to receive a green light or ‘yes’ in order to continue,” Kahn says. “That’s the standard they are being held to. It’s no longer ‘no’ means ‘no.’ It’s ‘Yes, I would like to participate.’” She also plans on scheduling trainings and workshops throughout the year, possibly teaming with representatives from House of Ruth, the EmPOWER Center, Project Sister or other sexual violence and assault support groups on and off campus.

Kahn is helping ensure that Harvey Mudd supports all of its students with regard to ADA and Title IX. “I’ve seen a lot of positive changes and a lot of interest and receptivity in continuing to make Harvey Mudd a good environment for all community members.”

Deborah Kahn

hen you have a disability, “ W

it can be especially scary because a lot of disabilities are invisible.







students have new internship and volunteer opportunities available to them, thanks to programs offered by Harvey Mudd and Claremont McKenna colleges. Representatives from The Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design at Harvey Mudd College and the Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna College welcomed local community members Nov. 15 to the Energize Colleges and Claremont Locally Grown Power Launch event where they shared plans to expand opportunities for students to learn about and prepare for the clean energy sector of the 21st century. Energize Colleges is an initiative sponsored by California utility ratepayers and managed by the nonprofit Strategic Energy Innovations that aims to spread advancement of energy and sustainability careers through experiential learning. Nine colleges and universities across the state were selected to participate, among them Harvey Mudd and Claremont McKenna. The program includes a three-year investment in energy-sector internships for Harvey Mudd and Claremont McKenna students. In collaboration with other local organizations, Energize Colleges, through its internships, is supporting the Claremont Locally Grown Power initiative, which aims to bring solar manufacturing to Claremont to support renewable energy jobs and use a patented technology to build low-cost solar photovoltaic for residents. Energize Colleges begins with 10 semester-long internships through spring 2017. Students may select internships that follow specific career pathways, including energy engineering,



environmental controls technology, solar design, sales, estimation, installation and maintenance, energy auditing, energy storage, energy and environmental management, and building construction and architecture. One of the opportunities at Harvey Mudd is an internship with the Office of Facilities and Maintenance, where interns will help measure and aggregate important environmental data to gain sustainability certification and support the development of a pathway to carbon neutrality. Students will also

Eight Reasons Why Drinkward Dorm Earned LEED Silver The Wayne and Julie Drinkward Residence Hall is the fourth Harvey Mudd College building to earn LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for energy efficiency and environmentally sensitive design. Here are eight reasons why:

1. Stormwater collection and recharging of groundwater

2. 50 percent reduction in landscape water use

3. 4 8 percent reduction in building water use

4. O ptimizing building energy performance by 30 percent

5. P ower generation from green power through the use of credits and offsets 6. R ecycling 75 percent of construction waste 7. B uilding-wide use of low-emitting materials 8. T he largest and tallest dorm on campus also earned points for “innovation and exemplary performance” for including Greenguard-certified furniture made from recycled furniture components, employing a campus-wide green cleaning program and for having a LEED-accredited professional on staff (James Hawley, director of capital projects).

have the chance to become involved in other sustainable campus improvements. “Energy is going to be a deciding factor for our country’s future,” said Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design Director Tanja Srebotnjak. “Building knowledge and capacity in college will be critical to fill the pipeline for what is already a growing and rapidly evolving professional field. Thus, Energize Colleges not only helps to fill a pressing need but also aligns very well with Harvey Mudd College’s mission.”

Takeaways From the First Hixon Center Conference Center leadership shares thoughts on fall 2016 event

Tanja Srebotnjak Director, Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design

Louis Spanias Sustainability Program Manager, Hixon Center

“This was the first conference organized by the new Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design and as such it provided us with both an opportunity to present the many existing sustainability activities occurring at the College to a larger audience and to learn the ropes of conference organization at Mudd. More than anything, we wanted the conference to succeed in being a venue for people to come together, share knowledge, network and do something—all in the spirit of promoting a positive, can-do attitude towards sustainability. We purposely chose a broad theme for the conference—sustainable design and solutions—so as to include the many facets of sustainability research and practice. … it was immensely gratifying and reassuring to feel a certain vibe of agency and engagement throughout the day.”

“This conference was not just about provoking discussion, but also it was designed to inspire attendees and leave them with inspiration and optimism, as well as a better understanding of the many sustainable solutions that are out there. During each of our panel presentations, we asked our speakers to share how both problems and recent innovations in urban design and water infrastructure impacted people, and we asked them to give us their genuine perspectives on what we have to be optimistic about. … Our morning presentations and our poster session showcased the outstanding work of local professionals, academics, and most importantly, our students—and how their work and research offer great potential in remedying a number of social and environmental problems. … Workshops were intended to be reminders that simply changing our behaviors and practices on an individual level can go a long way toward addressing environmental problems.”

To view the Hixon Center Conference keynote speaker Amanda Sabicer, partner and board member of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, visit: bit.ly/HixonKeynote2016

Harvey Mudd College is the top liberal arts college for innovation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Colleges. The College takes the No. 1 spot on the list of “Most Innovative Schools,” a ranking that highlights colleges making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.





Rooting Out Inequality

Mathematics plays a major role in higher education success Written by Elaine Regus THE ROOT OF SOCIAL INEQUALITY IN THE UNITED

States lies in a simple math equation: Poor math skills = a lifetime of economic struggles. “The highest predictor of actually graduating from college is your performance in your first math class,” says Karen Saxe, Dewitt Wallace professor of mathematics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and featured speaker at the 11th

other three elementary schools were nearly all black, reflecting the town’s segregated housing patterns. In 1966, the town’s residents sued the school district saying it violated Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruling that barred racial discrimination in public schools. The suit led to an order by the state Department of Education for the local school board to adopt an integration

The highest predictor of actually graduating from college is your performance in your first math class.


Michael E. Moody lecture series on Oct. 26. Saxe’s presentation centered on math’s role in measuring various elements of inequality that exist in our society and the role math education plays in narrowing the inequality gap. She began by describing various mathematical systems used to measure and analyze social inequality including: • The Gini index, which is used by economists to quantify and analyze income inequality; • DW-Nominate (dynamic weighted nominal three-step estimation), which is used to determine how far apart liberals and conservatives are based on Congressional roll-call votes; • The Roeck and Polsby-Popper scores, which are two systems used to measure the compactness of Congressional districts to guard against gerrymandering, which can unfairly benefit more extreme candidates. Then, she switched gears and focused on the question of whether possessing mathematical knowledge can enhance an individual’s social mobility and therefore help alleviate social inequality. Saxe framed her interest in social justice by relating a personal story of growing up in New Jersey in the 1960s where her first memories of school revolved around desegregation and integration. In first grade, Saxe attended one of three all-white elementary schools in her town. The



plan for the district’s schools. Saxe was among a group of white students who were subsequently bused to a magnet school that was 97 percent black. Decades later, while most all public schools across the country are desegregated, many classrooms, particularly those in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, are not truly integrated. “Math classrooms remain one of the most segregated places in the U.S.,” Saxe says. To illustrate her point, she displayed a chart from 2011–2012 showing that while 54 percent of high school students are white, 64 percent of students taking calculus are white. Blacks make up 16 percent of the high school population and only 8 percent of students taking calculus. “If we looked at a similar graph for low-income students, we’d see a similar maybe worse tale and the same for very rural students,” Saxe says. Beyond that, most low-income and minority students who go to college, go to community colleges where meeting the basic math requirements has been a notorious hindrance to advancement. More than 60 percent of all students entering community college must take developmental math courses, and more than 70 percent never complete the classes, leaving them unable to obtain their degree.

Karen Saxe

“Math courses are the most significant barrier to degree completion in both STEM and non-STEM fields,” says Saxe, who called the situation a “national calamity” since mathematical knowledge leads to a lot of interesting jobs and higher paying careers and so can play a profound role in an individual’s economic mobility. The good news is, social inequality can be reduced if the right tax, labor and education policies that affect the distribution of society’s resources are enacted. While the knowledge gap is extremely difficult to erase, Saxe said polices that would ensure high-quality, full-time teachers are more equitably distributed among public schools by providing incentives to teach in high-poverty schools are a good start. “We can all fight against inequities in society, and we should each find our own little way to do this,” Saxe says.




“ W hat we are in is a cycle of violence. Every time the U.S.

bombs Syria, or France passes a ban on burkinis, it fuels the agenda of groups like ISIS.”


Video: youtu.be/n1AtPhfora0

Video: youtu.be/rBrDZVXobD4

“ The fact that we have evidence that implicit biases are malleable, that they can be

controlled, that they can be changed and, in fact, that the discrimination that results from implicit bias is under the control of the actor despite the fact that it’s automatic, despite the fact that it’s unintentional, means that we can hold people—indeed, groups of people— responsible for doing something about the harms that they cause.”


Video: youtu.be/HTHKjTeEkB4

Hixon Forum: Science and the Senses Feb. 10–11

A free conference sponsored by the Hixon-Riggs Program for Responsive Science and Engineering of Harvey Mudd College, The Claremont Colleges’ Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (The Hive) and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens. hmc.edu/hixonforum





Bias in the System How do algorithms perpetuate discrimination, and what can we do to fix it? Written by Paige Garratt ’16 TECHNOLOGY HAS THE POSSIBILITY TO CHANGE

the world. We often hear stories of people using Twitter and Facebook to fight for democracy, getting an education through online courses or applying big data to solve public health problems. However, we must not assume that technology is inherently good. Computer systems can contain the same biases as humans, and as programmers we must know how to detect and fix these biases. I believe that as computer scientists it is our job to think about the impact of our work. There is a significant lack of critical thinking about the possible negative impacts of computer science, so I decided to research how algorithms learn to discriminate.

There’s bias in algorithms? Algorithms can appear free of bias because they remove human influence. Whereas previously a bank teller handling your loan application might be swayed by their first impressions, a computer program is not affected by appearance. The fact that a human is not making the decision makes the program appear objective, but humans are not removed from programs. People write the algorithms, find the initial data and interact with the program, all of which provide opportunities for bias to creep in. Why should we care about bias in algorithms? As programmers we spend a lot of time thinking about the best algorithm for a particular problem but spend less time thinking about the impact the program might have. If our algorithms are discriminating then we are directly responsible for their harm. It is important to learn how to detect discrimination so we can reduce any negative impact of our work.

What are biases and algorithms? Bias, as defined by Merriam Webster, is “a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others.” Bias isn’t always bad; if you believe



Mexican food is the best type of food, then you have a bias. However, if bias takes the form of an unfair preference that is routinely acted upon, it’s known as discrimination. Although people sometimes actively discriminate due to their own biases, implicit bias is much more common than active discrimination. In these situations, people unconsciously discriminate due to pressures in society. For example, in a recent study, researchers repeatedly applied for a lab manager position (a stereotypically male role), where they kept the content of the applications the same but changed the name and gender. In feedback, the women were ranked lower in competence, hireability and willingness to mentor and were also offered a lower salary. Since the content of the applications was the same, these differences were solely based on gender. The men and women who ranked these applications did not intentionally prefer men, rather societal stereotypes about who’s a better fit for the role unintentionally affected their decisions. This is implicit bias. Next, let’s talk about algorithms; they’re really just a set of steps to solve a problem. When I was an underclassman the word “algorithms” scared me. I thought that I couldn’t write algorithms until I’d taken my school’s algorithms course. But if you’ve ever written a computer program that was meant to give you an answer or solve a particular problem, then you’ve written an algorithm!

How algorithms discriminate Any time humans interact with programs they have the potential to influence them, and this influence may be unintentional. People interact with algorithms during development, through the data those algorithms access and when the programs interact with users. Let’s see how bias can occur in each of these stages of the algorithm.

Development An algorithm starts off in development where bias can affect programming decisions. When two options seem equally rational or multiple algorithms could be used, you are required to use your values to judge which option is best. Your bias could influence this decision. While your choice is not necessarily discriminatory, your bias could cause a problematic outcome. The choices developers make could provide an opportunity for implicit bias to occur.

Data Once an algorithm has been developed, it is often trained with data. Training happens when machine learning algorithms take a bunch of data and use statistics to find trends. Machine learning algorithms then use these trends for future predictions. Training can go wrong if, for example, a company used past hiring data to train an algorithm to select new employees, but their old hiring managers suffered from implicit bias when evaluating resumes of women. Then the algorithm will learn those trends from the data and keep discriminating. Past-biased trends can easily be encoded into an algorithm through old data. Another problem is that the data might not be representative of all groups. Boston had this problem when it developed an app that detected potholes using accelerometer data gathered by smartphones as people drove around the city. Unfortunately, the people who own smartphones are not representative of the entire population, and as a result, this app focused city resources on wealthier neighborhoods. Most algorithms are susceptible to this type of bias because, in general, wealthier people own more technology and have better internet access, which is split based on income, education, race and location. There is inherently more data about people who spend more time on the internet, and data sets that cross this divide are harder to access, less dense in information and smaller in overall size. Another issue with machine learning algorithms is that it can be hard to know what trends the algorithm found or how it found them. Let’s say a bank is building a machine-learning system to approve loan applications and that historically this bank has unintentionally discriminated against its applicants based on race. If the data given to the algorithm include race, the machine learning algorithm could easily find race to be an important factor in its predictions. But even if the data do not include race, this trait is often doubly encoded in other variables, like socioeconomic status and location. So the machine learning algorithm could find a trend where it approximates race based on other variables and still perpetuates the discrimination. For example, the algorithm could find that the zip code of the applicant is an important feature to use when deciding whether to approve a loan. But if the neighborhoods in this city have significantly

different racial makeups, then zip code is a proxy for race, and the algorithm is still effectively using race as a factor in its decision. Using race as a part of a loan application decision is illegal. The scary thing is that the developers might not guess the algorithm is discriminating since they removed race as a feature. So, machine learning algorithms can learn to discriminate using variables we don’t give them access to, and we might have no clue that they are discriminating.

Users Finally, users may influence a product with their own biases. As a pertinent recent example, Microsoft released a version of a twitter bot called Tay, which quickly turned racist, misogynist and anti-Semitic by learning from user tweets. In this case, Twitter users intentionally tried to distort the bot, but any system that relies on user input is vulnerable to the impact of user choices. Systems that rely less explicitly on users can still have problems. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Corinne Moss-Racusin and colleagues asked users to rate the quality of image search results when focusing on different occupations. They found that users rated the results as having higher quality if the gender proportions of the images matched the stereotypes of who did what job (so stereotypically a search for “nurses” would have mostly images of women). This study reveals a direct conflict between the goals of improving quality and keeping results unbiased. Any system that employs users to rate results suffers from this potential for bias. But programmers do have the power to find and fix these biases.

How can we find and fix bias? On a personal level, we should strive to be aware of the impact of the algorithms we develop. Here are some tasks we can complete to make sure we are considering our full impact: Ask yourself questions about the impact of the software 1. Will it affect everyone equally? • Will two users from different backgrounds have a different experience with the software? If so, is the experience fair to both? 2. Will all people have equal access to it?

Internet Adoption by the Race of Head of Household 100






77% 67%







Source: CEA Calculations, Census, 2013

• W hat is needed to access this technology (a certain device, knowing English, specific jargon)? Is this technology available to all? 3. Will it work better for some groups over others? • I s the program optimized for some set of data? Is that data representative? • D oes it require any prior knowledge? Does everyone have equal access to that prior knowledge? 4. Is it resilient to attacks by trolls on the internet? Run tests with all demographics of users and user data 1. One of the best ways to answer the questions above is to run tests. If your application uses profiles of any kind, try running many profiles changing the traits slightly each time. For example, you could change the name to be more masculine or feminine or of a different ethnicity, or change the age of the profile. To make this easier, there are random name generators that can generate names across gender and ethnic spectrums. 2. You can also ask a diverse set of people to try the software and ask them to be hyper-aware of any assumptions it makes.

In some cases it may not be possible to reach full equality, but we should do our best. One metric is to remove inequality from the code we work on directly. For example, we might not be able to get data across the digital divide, but we can make sure our data is as representative as possible.




We can also encourage our institutions to consider their impact. Companies can develop frameworks that make auditing their software easier. Auditing is the process of submitting different user profiles to a system and seeing if the results change in a way that is problematic (e.g., see if changing a name to make it more feminine gives discriminatory search results). Externally, companies and institutions can produce ethics policies. Much like companies currently produce privacy policies that dictate what they will never do with user data, companies can clearly state what sort of ethical standards they have adopted for their software. This would keep companies accountable for their systems. Academic institutions should produce similar statements. “It’s just research” is not an excuse for ignoring these problems. Technology really does have the possibility to change the world. However, as programmers, we have a responsibility to think about all the impacts of our software. We must be vigilant to the ways that algorithms can perpetuate the discrimination already present in society and work to remove bias from our algorithms. Paige Garratt ’16 is a computer science alumna. She completed this research in an independent study with the help of computer science Professor Ben Wiedermann during her last semester to bring together her interests in computer science and social justice. To read her full article, view more data and go on an algorithmic adventure, see paige-garratt.com/algorithms.





CS Champion

How one professor uses computer science courses to crush implicit bias and promote social justice Written by Sarah Barnes COMPUTER SCIENCE PROFESSOR COLLEEN LEWIS IS

something of a social activist superhero whose arch enemy is implicit bias in her field. Though she and others like her have made progress, stereotypes of the male computer “nerd” or its obnoxious younger brother the “brogrammer” are still prevalent. Lewis challenges her students to recognize and combat these stereotypes through increased awareness. “One of the things I think people should learn is what a microaggression is,” says Lewis, referring to a concept that is sometimes also described as “unintended discrimination.” Microaggressions are the use of common social behaviors and expressions that, even when used without conscious malicious intent, can have the same impact as intentional discrimination. Lewis sees understanding this concept as key to her success as a professor and to her students’ success in their careers. “We each have our own sphere of influence, right?” she asks. “So you’re going to go out into the world and have a sphere of influence, and how are you going to make positive change in that space? It’s my responsibility to understand how my implicit bias shapes students’ experience.” One way Lewis integrates social justice topics into her computer science curriculum is by incorporating the use of a Bechdel test. Named for American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, the test originated as the idea of one of Bechdel’s comic strip characters, who declares that she only sees a movie if it meets the following requirements: It has to have at least two female characters, the two characters must talk to each other, and the characters’ conversations must be about something other than men. Students working on graph problems use a movie script to build a graph that describes who talks to whom. “They are then able to run statistics on the graph, and one of the things they can test is the Bechdel test,” Lewis explains. “This is a way that they’re still just learning the exact same graphalgorithm content, but it’s imbedding these broader ideas.”



In her software engineering class, where students work in teams and evaluate each other, Lewis encourages her students to understand the implications of implicit bias. “We talk really explicitly about the ways in which our evaluations of people are not shaped by pure metrics,” Lewis says, “they’re shaped by a perception of the contributions this type of person might make. We’re surrounded by stereotypes, and students need to understand how those stereotypes can shape their evaluations, even though those evaluations might feel unbiased.” If all this sounds more like behavioral science than computer science, perhaps that’s because considering topics like racial equity and feminism has traditionally been the job of humanities professors while the STEM professors focused more on STEM. Lewis believes that there is as much opportunity to address these topics through science as there is through art or literature. By understanding the mechanics of implicit bias and showing her students how to do the same, she has contributed to Harvey Mudd’s intentional process of altering the culture of computer science to remove cultural and structural barriers that discourage participation. “I’m excited to empower Mudders to change the culture of CS and to fight for social justice” she says.

Lewis received the 2016 Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award at the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing. The award recognizes a junior faculty member for high-quality research and significant positive impact on diversity. Ever eager to continue working to broaden participation in computer science, Lewis is already thinking about next steps. In addition to the Grace Hopper conference, she's eager for students to participate in the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, an event that she says “has a broader definition of diversity and gives consideration to the dimensions of students’ identities and intersections of those dimensions.” Mathematician Richard Tapia is HMC's 2017 Commencement speaker.

“ I ’m excited to empower Mudders to change the culture of CS and to fight for social justice.


What Lies Within biological researchers the power to see deep within whole cells. Until recently, the capacity of optical microscopy to obtain complete, high-resolution images of cells and tissues has been a challenge (or has been limited) because resolution rapidly deteriorates due to the thickness of the structures. With a microscope that allows three-dimensional imaging of whole cells, it is now possible to glimpse what lies within them. Whitney Duim ’05, a chemistry alumna and visiting assistant professor in the Harvey Mudd College Department of Chemistry, was involved in developing the new microscope as a post-doctoral scholar at Yale University. Based on this work, Duim and her colleagues published the article, “Ultra-High Resolution 3-D Imaging of Whole Cells,” in the journal Cell. The new microscope—whole-cell 4Pi singlemolecule switching nanoscopy (W-4PiSMSN)— represents the culmination of more than a decade’s research on high-resolution fluorescence imaging techniques. And, it establishes 3-D biological imaging with molecular specificity and resolution in the 10-nanometer range as a general imaging technique. “Development of this new microscope makes it possible to get to 10-20 nanometers resolution in three dimensions and see the entire structure of cells,” Duim says. “A lot of biological processes happen at the nanometer scale. Being able to see that in three dimensions, high-resolution is a big deal! There are going to be a lot of researchers who are going to want one of these microscopes.” Duim developed the preparation of samples and took the first images of three different biological structures—microtubule filaments, clathrin-coated vesicles and the Golgi apparatus in mammalian cells—on the nanoscope. After taking the photos, the team used a computer algorithm to process the data and was able to see the structures in three dimensions. This served as the first proof-ofprinciple for the team. “It’s a very complicated microscope that took a long time to build,” Duim says. “So getting those first images [was] very exciting.” Two major advances made it possible to take photos at all depths in a cell. Light-collecting objective lenses were placed both underneath and on top of the sample. Then, the team applied

Using a new 3-D super-resolution instrument, researchers captured this visualization of a “primary cilium,” the antenna of the cell.

adaptive optics, a technology used commonly in astronomy, to correct for distortion of light as it passed through the cells. “We hope the microscope will unlock other advances in biology, basically being able to capture more interaction in the cells, more structures in the cell and contribute to our understanding not only of what is going on in the cell but [potentially assist in] therapeutic and medical applications,” Duim says. Unlike other powerful microscopes, this one also has the potential to provide high-resolution imaging of living cells. “There’s a tremendous amount of very important information you can get from fixed cells. But with this technology, we hope to be able to watch movement in live cells in real time in high resolution,” she says. Duim is sharing her knowledge of this important instrument with Harvey Mudd students. During the past school year and summer, Duim and her student researchers built a custom, two-dimensional, highresolution microscope. They studied the aggregation of the protein involved in Huntington’s disease, a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that is fatal and incurable. “Our microscope is not as fancy as the threedimensional instrument, but we can do [highresolution] two-dimensional imaging quite well,” Duim says. Their summer research was funded by the HMC chemistry department, a grant from The Claremont Colleges’ Collaborative HHMI Undergraduate Science Education Award to Duim

Photo courtesy of CELL


Whitney Duim ’05

and Professor Rachel Levy of the HMC Department of Mathematics, and the Norman F. Sprague III, M.D. Experiential Learning Fund established by the Jean Perkins Foundation. Carla Becker ’18, Rebecca Harman ’17 and Ali Khan ’19 worked with Duim over the summer creating the protein from DNA, preparing the aggregates from that protein and then recording and analyzing the images. Becker and Harman are continuing work with Duim this school year. They are studying how the aggregates grow, their structure and how sensitive they are to the environment in which they form. “The hope is eventually to be able to identify therapeutic [targets], ways to inhibit aggregation or cause formation of aggregate species that are not as toxic to the cell,” Duim says.






University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia continue to advance strategies for developing novel high-entropy alloys (HEAs) with properties exceeding those of conventional engineering metals. Thanks to support from a three-year, $229,898 National Science Foundation grant, this work will continue. Lori Bassman, professor of engineering, associate dean for academic affairs and principal investigator for the project, has collaborated with researchers from UNSW since 2006 and has involved Harvey Mudd students for the past eight summers. Here are some impressive facts about this research:

1. HEAs are the focus of considerable attention due to their potential to exceed traditional alloys in a broad range of important uses, from their incorporation in lightweight, high-strength structures to their use in hightemperature and corrosive environments.

2. Traditional alloys used in engineering applications, including steel and aluminum, are formed using a primary solvent element combined with small quantities of other elements. HEAs consist of at least four elemental components containing substantial content of each.

illian Liang ’18, Kate Reed ’18 and Adam Shaw ’18 work on high-entr L opy alloy research at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

3. Students will fabricate, characterize and model HEAs. Among the project goals is the development of key thermodynamic and electronic principles that predict formation of ductile intermetallic phases and the atomic ordering and disordering of those phases.

4. Results of this work could potentially include several new alloy systems plus an experimentally validated strategy that will enable efficient development of further novel HEA systems.

5. Over the next three summers, five Harvey Mudd students funded by the NSF grant and the Jude and Eileen Laspa Fellowship in Applied Mechanics will work at UNSW’s School of Materials Science and Engineering and Electron Microscope Unit and also will complete at least two academic semesters of complementary research at Harvey Mudd.

6. Students have an opportunity to work with UNSW specialists, including Kevin Laws, a leading expert in compositionally complex metal alloys, and Karen Privat, an expert on quantitative electron beam microanalysis.

7. Research by Harvey Mudd and UNSW participants has yielded patent filings for two new families of HEAs as well as eight published journal articles, nine refereed conference papers and five poster presentations.



Shaw prepares a sample.


Johnson-Rae Professor of Computer Science Zach Dodds is developing a course named Computing for Insight designed to foster the use of computing across a broad range of non-computer science fields. The project is funded by a three-year, $298,338 grant from the National Science Foundation.

summer component. They will also partner with HMC to develop a workshop about computing courses that serve non-computer science majors. The Computing for Insight course seeks to contribute support across all of HMC’s academic departments; mathematics, physics and biology were noted specifically in the project description. The effort

Just as writing and critical thinking undergird all of the college experience, so too can computing—its skillset and mindset— contribute to many curricular pursuits.


“Just as writing and critical thinking undergird all of the college experience, so too can computing—its skillset and mindset—contribute to many curricular pursuits,” Dodds says. Through the proposed course, the project seeks initially to build students’ comfort and confidence using computing on open-ended problems in a variety of fields. The project will then focus that broad effort toward creative inquiry within an individual student’s primary discipline. More broadly, the project seeks to better understand whether and how computing can contribute to the goals of disciplines outside computer science. “Computing for Insight experiments with a model inviting all disciplines to leverage computing as part of their culture, both who they are and what they do,” Dodds says. “I hope as many people as possible build a positive identity around computing and its capabilities.” Computing for Insight layers on top of entry-level computing courses. Students will develop and practice “investigative computing” skills, that is creating small prototype programs that use data, simulations and/or other computing to gain insight, particularly into fields other than CS, and to develop capabilities and confidence with existing libraries that support such investigations. Six undergraduates will work with Dodds and other project collaborators over the next three summers. They will implement and test a set of discipline-specific assignments and projects. Olin College of Engineering and the University of Richmond will send students to Harvey Mudd for this

will also seek to support the economics department at Claremont McKenna College and the information sciences school at Claremont Graduate University. “Those departments have expressed enthusiasm for having their students, if they choose, join as summer interns and/or take the course. Those students will help determine what computational skills, analyses and/or projects might add value in their work,” Dodds says. Computing for Insight builds on three previous NSF-funded projects that have resulted in fundamental changes in computer science at the Claremont Colleges, which now serves a much broader audience than it did a decade ago. Those projects include: •C ISE REU Site in Computer Systems (2011– 2016), a summer research program that hosted 10 undergraduates at HMC • The CS for All project (2009–2012) that introduced computer science and programming curriculum to students of all majors •M iddle-years Computer Science/MyCS (2013–2016), a pilot middle-school computer science curriculum

Zach Dodds

“The department is enthusiastic about Professor Dodds’s efforts to expand the utility and reach of computing,” says Melissa O’Neill, chair of the Computer Science Department. “This project invests in the relationship between computing and many other disciplines, with the goal of creating more accessible— or deeper—insights in those disciplines.”





Getting the Wheels Turning Thanks to Harvey Mudd’s new Bicycle Revolution course, the city of La Verne now takes active transportation (pedestrian- and bike-friendly options) more seriously. “Last spring we convened a meeting involving citizen advocates and the mayor pro-tem, who met one another for the first time,” says course instructor Paul Steinberg, professor of political science and environmental policy and holder of the Malcolm Lewis Chair of Sustainability and Society. This gathering resulted in well-attended meetings of the Community Outreach Commission and the La Verne Planning Commission, which happens to be headed by a biking enthusiast. Spurred by the Harvey Mudd students, the city council is learning more from its citizens, who are advocating for better bicycle infrastructure.

Guacamole Shortage? Ran Libeskind-Hadas, R. Michael Shanahan Professor of Computer Science, co-authored “Invasive Asian Fusarium: Euwallacea ambrosia beetle mutualists pose a serious threat to forests, urban landscapes and the avocado industry,” which was accepted to the journal Phytoparacitica. The paper describes co-evolution between pairs of species, in this case, the Euwallacea ambrosia beetle and the fungus Fusarium. The researchers used a Harvey Mudd-developed software package called Jane to compare evolutionary trees of the two systems. The algorithm posits the most likely scenario by which the beetle and her best pal fungus developed their 21-million-year-old mutualistic relationship, helping researchers to better understand the pair’s co-evolutionary histories. Article link: bit.ly/RanBeetle16

Cloud Favorite “The bittersweet ways in which our perception frames the passing of life” served as the basis for the title He Watches the Clouds Pass the Window, the latest composition created by Bill Alves, professor of music. The work was performed this fall by Brightwork Newmusic ensemble during the HMC Concert Series. Last November, Alves released Guitars & Gamelan, a collection he composed with the Harvey Mudd College American Gamelan; it showcases a variety of electric and acoustic guitar work over a broad collective of instruments, offering a unique blend of Eastern and Western music that spans a wide array of soundscapes. Guitars & Gamelan was lauded by Robert Carl of Fanfare Magazine, who called Alves “an original and comprehensive musician,” and Carl named the collection on his 2016 recommendations list.



Faculty Forum Addresses Social Justice MORE THAN 150 HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE COMMUNITY

members gathered during a forum held at the beginning of the 2016–2017 academic year to share personal stories and discuss the past summer’s culturally divisive events. The gathering on campus was initiated by Harvey Mudd faculty members who are passionate about social justice, meaningful equity and inclusion on campus. In addition to providing a venue to have respectful dialogue, the forum allowed time for participants to brainstorm concrete actions to make HMC more inclusive and welcoming and to promote greater social justice locally and beyond. “We have the most important civil rights movement in the country in the last 50 years happening currently,” says Dagan Karp, associate professor of mathematics and associate dean of diversity. “The struggle for gender, LGBTQ and racial justice is now an everyday part of the national conversation. We are part of and not separate from our larger society, and our institution plays an important role.” Nearly one-third of Harvey Mudd faculty members, representing all academic departments, attended the fall community forum and helped lead the conversation about diversity, inclusion and equity in times of social injustice. It’s the first in a series of open dialogues and conversations planned for this year. “This is one of the ways that Harvey Mudd is leading the way and carving a path for other liberal arts colleges,” says Sumun (Sumi) Pendakur,

associate dean for institutional diversity. “Faculty have such a strong presence that the ability to leverage their power in this particular format is really meaningful.” “As a student, it was empowering and comforting to hear faculty step out of their ‘classroom’ role and share their experiences,” says Harvey Mudd student government president Shailee Samar ’18. “It helped me realize that my emotions and responses were normal, and I had mentors who I could share my feelings with.” She and other members of student government look forward to more forums and discussions with faculty to help all concerned cope with important events and participate in responses to them. “The more people who know that you can, in fact, have an inclusive environment, where you’re doing arguably the best undergraduate science, engineering and mathematics in the country, and doing so with a diverse student body, including people who are from historically underrepresented groups in science, the better,” Karp says. “I want it to be known that it’s happening here and that we’re not doing this to count numbers, that we’re broadening participation as a part of the civil rights struggle. “My dream is for people to know that Mudd is proof by example that one can play a leadership role in undergraduate STEM education while broadening participation in STEM and working passionately toward social justice on campus and beyond.”

Forum participants provided several suggestions for improving equity, inclusion and social justice on campus. They included: • Providing a “social justice” discussion table in the dining hall during meal times • Inviting alumni to be part of the discussion • Developing a mechanism for students to advise and support faculty members regarding social justice issues • Helping students and faculty who are passionate about social justice pursue these interests • Creating a work-study position in the Office of Institutional Diversity that would serve as a resource regarding current events relating to social justice and equity

Bosonic brownies? During Dessertfest 2015, Ramita Kondepudi ’18 observed, “students had to be restrained from taking extras, and the fudge brownies were rationed.” The fall 2016 event was no less spectacular as physics professors set out delectable, homemade desserts, and physics majors and their friends sampled the goodies and chatted with professors. The “Knock You Naked Brownies” are courtesy of Jim Eckert, “physics department party planner and minister for frivolity.” “They have a German chocolate cake base with caramel and chocolate chips sandwiched between two layers of the brownie dough,” he says. Dessertfest (or Kick Off Classic, its proper name) is one of several events hosted by the Department of Physics. They also host Ice Cream Fest, which features the standard liquid/sugar concoction frozen by liquid nitrogen, and Wafflefest, a homage to late physics Professor Ted Stoddard.




Teaching Matters

The Claremont Colleges unite to enhance studentcentered teaching strategies




received a $1.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish a new Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) to help faculty members enhance their teaching through programming, consultation services and support programs. The design of the CTL is informed by research on teaching and learning centers and is designed to assist faculty in adopting evidence-based, student-centered teaching strategies while building capacity for the colleges to carry out the work of making excellence inclusive. The Center for Teaching and Learning will be the first major collaborative initiative on teaching and learning across The Claremont Colleges. It will support existing teaching-related efforts at the colleges and facilitate the sharing of effective teaching strategies. The center will work with the Academic Deans Committee of The Claremont Colleges to share knowledge and offer programs and services, including workshops, seminars and institutes. Scripps College will serve as lead college for this effort, with Amy Marcus-Newhall, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Scripps, serving as lead dean. For its first two years, the CTL will be led by Darryl Yong ’96, on leave from Harvey Mudd, where he is a professor of mathematics. He is well known at The Claremont Colleges for his knowledge of pedagogy, outstanding teaching ability and commitment to inclusive pedagogy. While Yong is a mathematician, he is a math/music double major and has worked closely with faculty members in

CTL will have significant and positive effects on the quality “ Tof heinstruction in classrooms across The Claremont Colleges. ” — A MY MARCUS-NEWHALL, VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AND DEAN OF FACULTY AT SCRIPPS COLLEGE

many disciplines in his role as associate dean for diversity during the past five years. He directed HMC’s Mellon Foundation-supported summer bridge program and is also an investigator on a flipped classroom study with HMC professors Nancy Lape, Eliot Bush and Rachel Levy. “The CTL will have significant and positive effects on the quality of instruction in classrooms across The Claremont Colleges. It is so exciting to have Darryl Yong take on the inaugural directorship,” says Marcus-Newhall. “Faculty will undoubtedly view the CTL as a valuable resource to further develop their teaching pedagogies through innovative and inclusive best practices.” The Claremont Colleges seek to address the value of inclusiveness and the persistent realities of exclusivity by creating welcoming learning environments through inclusive pedagogy and curricula. The CTL will help faculty adopt these practices to promote more equitable outcomes for students. “Faculty have a direct influence on helping students feel welcome at our institutions as well as helping them learn,” says Yong.

Yong and other CTL staff will be housed in Honnold Library, a facility shared by all of the colleges. The CTL aspires to serve as a catalyst for collaboration across The Claremont Colleges on matters relating to teaching and learning by supporting the work that the institutions are already doing, connecting faculty to needed expertise, advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning and supporting departmental and institutional initiatives. The CTL is one of several collaborations among The Claremont Colleges. Recent projects include the Faculty Career Enhancement Program, the launch of a 5-College Environmental Analysis Program, a 5-College project to develop new resources in the digital humanities, and targeted initiatives at individual colleges. To learn more about the Center for Teaching and Learning, visit teaching.claremont.edu.

Darryl Yong ’96, director, CUC Center for Teaching and Learning






Challenge Accepted

Upward Bound graduate discusses fitting in, standing out and giving back Written by Elaine Regus AR UPW D BOUND TAUGHT LEONARDO HUERTA ’17

“ U pward Bound helped me

take on the [Harvey Mudd] challenge. The rigor and pace make you really ready to work fast and work hard.


some very important lessons, like the value of hard– L EONARDO HUERTA ’17 work and the importance of relying on friends to help one succeed in school and in life. fi ese lessons sustained him through high school of program alumni from 2010 to 2014 are and during his years at Harvey Mudd. currently enrolled or have already graduated “N othing can really prepare you for Harvey from college. Mudd,â€? Huerta says, “but I think Upward Bound While Upward Bound graduates go on to helped me take on the challenge. fie rigor and college at high rates, very few have matricpace make you really ready to work fast and work ulated to Harvey Mudd. Since 1966, the College hard. It also prepared me to rely on my peers more has graduated just one Upward Bound student: than anything. Here, that’s the only way to survive: Dan del Rosario ’92. Huerta is on track to be by making friends, studying with friends and the second. Upward Bound student Karen Perez struggling with friends.â€? enrolled at the College in 2009, but after a year, Huerta, an engineering major, is one of she transferred to USC where she graduated hundreds of students who have participated in with a bachelor’s degree. Upward Bound at Harvey Mudd College. fie more Huerta’s Upward Bound experience than ff -year-old federally funded program serves convinced him to apply to Harvey Mudd students from schools in El Monte, La Puente even though he knew how competitive the and South El Monte. Students are recruited as admission process is. His other top choices ninth graders to participate in the free, three-year were Stanford, MIT and Caltech; all three program that includes tutoring sessions, SAT prep rejected him. Then, the day after he received a courses and two, six-week residential summer rejection letter from UCLA, Huerta received a programs on the HMC campus and at other college “big envelopeâ€? from Harvey Mudd. campuses. “I was ecstatic!â€? Huerta says. After fi e experiential learning design of Harvey attending the Admitted Student Program, he Mudd’s Upward Bound program was developed was sold. “I thought, ‘This is home, this is what by c O tĂĄvio BubiĂłn, HMC Upward Bound’s rst I want.’â€? director, and Sam Tanenbaum, emeritus engineering Unlike his time as a student in Upward professor and former dean of faculty. Courses Bound, when he arrived at Harvey Mudd as typically are taught by Upward Bound alumni like an undergraduate, Huerta was one of very few Huerta. He was a math tutor last summer and Latino students on campus. He was part of a volunteers as an Upward Bound tutor on Saturday small group that included several non-Latinos mornings. who established a Harvey Mudd chapter of Started as one of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s the Society of Professional Latinos in STEMs War on Poverty programs, Upward Bound celebrated (SPLS) to promote Latino culture on campus. its th anniversary in ff having enrolled more Since then, membership has grown, along with than two million students nationwide. A study the number of Harvey Mudd’s Hispanic/Latino by the U.S. e D partment of Education found that students, which has nearly doubled since percent of Upward Bound students enrolled in 2010 (from 53 to 104). Huerta served as SPLS college. president last year and has taken on the role of Among Harvey Mudd’s Upward Bound alumni, “elder,â€? sharing his experiences and struggles those who enrolled in college ranged from with the younger students. “I have high hopes percent for the high school class of to for the club; it’s in good hands.â€? percent for the class of ff. And, percent



Academically, Huerta is enjoying his work in the Clinic Program and the insight it provides. As part of Engineering Clinic—in which students solve timely, technical problems for high-profile companies—Huerta’s team worked with City of Hope to develop devices to assist cancer patients with metastatic tumors that often weaken bones. One of their devices is a titanium nail that can help prevent fractures in the femur. “Engineering Professor Gordon Krauss always emphasized the importance of what we do, how we are improving peoples’ lives,� Huerta says. “These patients have metastatic cancer, so they may not have too many years to live. We just want those years to be as good as possible.� City of Hope liaisons were pleased with the team’s work, and Huerta now has his name on three patent applications. During fall semester, he worked on another City of Hope Engineering Clinic project to improve the lighting and camera systems associated with laparoscopic surgery so they are more portable and cost effective, which would make them more accessible in Third World countries. “These experiences really put me at a crossroads,� Huerta says. “Do I want to go into product development or do I want to help people live longer and have a better life?� While Huerta feels drawn to a biomedical career, he’s still weighing his options. “I’d like to go out into the field, make some money and find out what I want to do with my engineering degree,� Huerta said. “Then, maybe I’ll go to graduate school so I can be really good at whatever I decide to do.�

Voting Systems Count

Election results viewed from math perspective AS HARVEY MUDD COMMUNITY MEMBERS GATHER

across campus to discuss election results, we found one group of students who share a unique perspective on the outcome, due in part to their participation in Professor Michael Orrison’s Mathematics of Voting class. One of their takeaways: How you vote may matter more than what you think of the choices. “Voting is definitely not as simple as everyone thinks it is. Just learning about basic voting systems took up an entire quarter!” says Alex Chang, one of eight first years in the class. Students spent the half-semester course examining various voting systems and comparing outcomes based on how the votes were tallied. They also did individual research projects and made presentations on topics ranging from attempting to find a more efficient alternative to Robert’s Rules of Order to rating voting systems based on how happy voters are with the outcomes. In the process, they learned not only how to think locally and globally, they also learned about the effect of voting systems. “It’s important for students to realize that mathematics is powerful, and it can put you in a position where you can see problems more clearly than ever before. But let’s remember, there are people involved,” says Orrison, professor of mathematics. The class explored ways in which voting systems can be manipulated when voters vote disingenuously. Say a department is hosting a dinner and asks faculty to rank the drink choices— wine, beer or milk—by giving each choice three, two or one points, depending on their preference. If someone likes alcohol and prefers wine but many in the group prefer beer, then that person might put wine first, milk second and beer third in hopes of diluting the beer vote. The same could be said for third-party candidates in a national election, for example. Someone who prefers the Green Party or Libertarian candidate might vote for a major party candidate because they want their vote to count. Ian Taylor ’20 ran a simulation for his presentation in which he found that 11 percent of the time disingenuous voters benefited by not voting for the selection or candidate that they preferred.

Orrison is quick to point out that the class is not intended to teach students how to manipulate elections. He wants to raise their awareness so if faced with a voting situation, they can educate others by pointing out the pitfalls of any election procedure. Orrison first became interested in voting systems as a graduate student at Dartmouth College researching ways to analyze and rank data. He read some papers suggesting that certain techniques could be applied to voting questions. “Many authors were saying you could do it but few people were using the mathematics I was interested in—symmetry and fast algorithms—to look at voting,” Orrison says. When he first arrived at Harvey Mudd College in 2001, Orrison wanted to get students involved in the kinds of research he was interested in. Voting was a natural starting point because almost everyone has participated in voting affecting the nation, the college or their own dorm. Over the years, voting issues were not only an entry point to his research but voting questions became more and more intriguing, and his research began to shift toward voting. “With a class like this, I feel like I can balance the kinds of questions that might seem purely mathematical with questions around voting and decision-making that seem undeniably applicable,” Orrison says. At the beginning of his research, Orrison encountered many voting systems and found a couple that he liked because they were mathematically interesting and impervious to typical attacks or criticisms. Today, he’s reluctant to recommend any specific voting system. “What I’ve learned since then is that no matter how mathematically amazing a voting system is, if everyone in the organization is suspicious that the voting system can be rigged or they’re not willing to trust the result because the system is too complicated or unfamiliar, you can do more damage than good,” Orrison says.

“ I t’s important for students to

realize that mathematics is powerful, and it can put you in a position where you can see problems more clearly than ever before. But let’s remember, there are people involved.







different cultures that make up the campus community. At a celebration of the Hindu festival Diwali, participants enjoyed Indian food and learned traditional Indian dances, including Garba, shown. In October, the group Danzantes Aztecas shared their music and dance in honor of Hispanic/Latinx heritage.

Human-Robot Cooperation

Browser Breakthrough Anna Ma ’17, Dima Smirnov POM ’17 and computer science Professor Ran Libeskind-Hadas had a paper titled “DTL Reconciliation Repair” accepted to the 2017 Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Conference and, concurrently, invited to appear in the journal BMC Systems Biology. Ma presented the paper at the conference in Shenzhen, China, in January.



Harvey Mudd students Scott Chow ’17 (computer science), Sam Dietrich ’17 (engineering) and Kyle Lund ’17 (robotics IPS) and computer science Professor Jim Boerkoel will present their paper, “Robust Execution of Probabilistic Temporal Plans,” at AAAI-17, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Conference in San Francisco, Feb. 4–9, 2017. The Harvey Mudd students faced strong competition, with a record 2,590 submissions and only 638 papers accepted, for an acceptance rate of below 25 percent. Their paper considers scheduling scenarios in which robots must collaborate to complete a task (e.g., teams of robots autonomously navigating a warehouse to fetch and deliver items in order to fulfill online merchandise orders). The students developed algorithms for finding plans that are more likely to be successful. The work stems from a summer 2015 research project. Boerkoel says, “They were able to put together one of the strongest sets of reviews I’ve ever seen for a paper at AAAI either as an author or reviewer.”

Ground Zika

Intern lends computational skills to public health efforts Written by Lia King MEETING BIOLOGISTS AND EPIDEMIOLOGISTS TRYING

to solve the Zika virus epidemic in Puerto Rico inspired Moira Dillon ’18, a recent intern at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Puerto Rico Department of Public Health. “I was very grateful for the opportunity to learn what a response to something like this looks like—it takes many scientists but also so many other people working to engage with the community,” says Dillon, a mathematical and computational biology major and recipient of the Ben Huppe ’14 Memorial Internship for a Sustainable World. The on-the-ground realities of a career in public health were on full display the six weeks she spent in Puerto Rico during summer 2016, assisting a team in modeling the Zika virus and potential rates of microcephaly. “I came down with computational skills in hand to help with anything that came up,” she says. She supported a team working to determine the percentage of pregnant women in Puerto Rico who were being tested for Zika each week. The symptoms of Zika are usually mild—a fever, a rash, a feeling of

“ I was very grateful for the opportunity to learn what a response to

something like this looks like—it takes many scientists but also so many other people working to engage with the community.


fatigue—and only about 20–25 percent of people infected with Zika show symptoms at all. “So what that means is that for most people who get Zika, they’re fine, there aren’t severe health consequences. But the problem is that Zika does affect different populations in very severe ways—Zika can be passed from a mother to a fetus, and when that happens the baby can be born with microcephaly,” says Dillon. “Something the CDC in Puerto Rico is working very hard on right now is making sure they’re testing every woman who’s pregnant. One of the things I worked on this

summer was developing a model to see how well they’re doing that. While they know how many women they are testing each week, they don’t know how many women they should be testing each week, so the goal is to come up with a way to figure out those numbers.” After her experience in Puerto Rico, Dillon is considering perusing a master’s in public health or epidemiology or a PhD in immunology. “It was inspiring yet also very challenging to be a part of the response to this virus and to witness firsthand the impact it is having around the world.”

oira Dillon ’18 pr M esents her research on the Zika virus during the fall Community Engagement poster session.




Aurora Pribram-Jones ’09 acknowledges her life hasn’t always been easy. But that certainly hasn’t stopped her from becoming a remarkable researcher. Written by Ashley Festa | Photos by Seth Affoumado


discovered her passion. But, her truest self—that’s a bit more elusive. Her journey began as a teenager. In the 1980s and early ’90s, she was transferred from her East Palo Alto, California, neighborhood to a high school in the affluent city of Palo Alto. Despite issues of crime and drugs in her home city, she says she felt most like herself there and struggled with the deep cultural and social divide she felt between the two worlds. “If you’re a transfer student or a scholarship student, you often hear about how you’re different than ‘the rest of them,’ about how inspiring it is that you’ll be ‘more than where you came from,’ that sort of thing,” Pribram-Jones says. “Which is horribly cruel and dismissive of your identity, your home, your family, and all of those valuable pieces of self and community.” At age 15, Pribram-Jones dropped out of school and moved to Southern California to reset her life. When she returned to East Palo Alto a year later, her search for self and where she belonged intensified.




he started at Foothill College, a two-year community college where she spent nearly a decade attending part time, dabbling in various fields of study—music, psychology, accounting, cultural anthropology and more— looking for one that fit. She also took a diverse assortment of jobs—at a bakery, a seminary, a preschool and elsewhere—to support herself. When she found herself working at an independent technical and general bookstore, things began to fall into place. “There were lots of science books there, so I got to read in the stacks after hours,” Pribram-Jones says. “That was a really good time in my life, the excitement of having access to so much information. It’s like being in love for the first time or like being a drug addict.” She had found her passion and decided to return to college full time. She had taught herself enough that she was able to test into Foothill’s science program, triple majoring in chemistry, biology and mathematics. After Pribram-Jones earned her associate’s degree, John Sawka ’72, one of her math professors, a mentor and a math alumnus, recommended her when she applied to Harvey Mudd. To her surprise, she was admitted. But PribramJones’s struggle with identity continued after she transferred in fall 2005. When she joined a band called Popebear, she found camaraderie and rapport. “Singing for Popebear was probably the role I was most comfortable in at HMC and beyond,” she says. “It formed a solid identity for me, letting me gender-bend in lyrics and styles without being explicitly focused on that, instead being immersed in the music and performance. I also loved feeling so comfortable in a group that I often just didn’t give a damn about others’ expectations.” However, family issues, her own mental health problems and persistent feelings of isolation overwhelmed her studies, and she fell behind. Despite extensions from professors and her best effort to keep up, she was asked to take a break from the college for all of 2007. But she returned in 2008 to finish her bachelor’s degree. “In my research laboratory, she always undertook projects with enthusiasm, ingenuity and a positive attitude,” says Jerry Van Hecke ’61, Donald A. Strauss Professor of Chemistry. “She demonstrated through her own initiative and drive that a particular class of achiral liquid crystalline materials would spontaneously form a chiral liquid crystalline phase. This was exacting work and typical of her laboratory abilities.”



“ Her many strengths—including fortitude, a

strong intellect, a sincere passion for her work and a genuine consideration for others—have enabled her to thrive. ” – K ERRY KARUKSTIS, DEPARTMENT CHAIR AND RAY AND MARY INGWERSEN PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY

Award-winning researcher Aurora PribramJones often tells her mentees, “You can survive even if you’ve had failure in your life.”

“Things are great now, but it was hard for me then,” Pribram-Jones says. “I’m not one of those students who just coasted through. I went from Dean’s List to ITR (ineligible to re-register) in record time. When I do mentoring with students, I talk about that a lot. You can survive even if you’ve had failure in your life.” Pribram-Jones has taken that message to many groups of students, including at her alma mater with Mudders Mentoring Mudders, with HMC’s Upward Bound program pairing up with low-income high school kids, or through the writing workshop she co-founded at the University of California, Irvine to help students successfully apply for national fellowships. It was that leadership and outreach, in addition to her excellence in research, that contributed to her recognition as a Frederick A. Howes Scholar, an award presented annually through the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Program. The award is one of many distinctions and fellowships she has earned during her undergraduate and graduate years. “Her many strengths—including fortitude, a strong intellect, a sincere passion for her work and a genuine consideration for others—have enabled her to thrive,” says Kerry Karukstis, department chair and Ray and Mary Ingwersen Professor of Chemistry. “Her numerous professional honors reflect those same attributes— achievement and leadership in her field as well as service to others, particularly through mentoring.” Among Pribram-Jones’s most prestigious honors are the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Fellowship at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where she works

as part of the Quantum Simulations Group and Design Physics Division. Her research has been published in the Physical Review, Journal of Chemical Physics and Annual Reviews of Physical Chemistry. Pribram-Jones becomes giddy talking about her research, particularly her work with density functional theory. She and a colleague developed a method to cut the computational cost of calculations of electrons at high temperatures (finite-temperature potential functional theory), which is part of her postdoctoral work at Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore. As substances get hotter, Pribram-Jones explains, calculations for density functional theory take longer. Depending on the temperature and the substance, sometimes calculations are prohibitively time consuming, even with large, powerful computers. Her finite-temperature potential functional theory method circumvents that problem for simulating warm dense matter. The result is a faster, and still accurate, calculation. Her theory isn’t completely implemented for real systems yet, so she’s not yet sure how much faster the calculations will be. For her postdoc, Pribram-Jones is applying the method to warm, dense matter. She’s excited to make such a potentially game-changing contribution to the scientific community. Pribram-Jones is married to David Gross, who graduated from Harvey Mudd in 2008 (mathematics major), and the two have a toddler who keeps them busy. When she completes her fellowships, Pribram-Jones wants to find a position in academia. “I really should be in the classroom,” she says. “I love my research, but I need the balance of both. I’m still searching for where I’ll feel at home in the world.”




Savant ’08 signed up for a world tour with a twist. During June 2015, he set off on Remote Year, a 12-month, 12-city excursion where participants work remotely at their home jobs or pursue their own projects while traveling the globe. ”I heard about Remote Year, and I was hooked. I knew it was for me,” Savant recalls. Just before hearing about Remote Year, Savant found himself dissastisfied with his career path. An engineering major at Harvey Mudd, he earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Arizona State University then took a position at Laserfiche, a Long Beach software firm, where he stayed for five years working as a solutions engineer and program manager. “I actually got the job through Harvey Mudd’s career website and really enjoyed it for the first three years. But after that point, the path I was on didn’t lead to the kinds of challenges and growth I was looking for.”



With the gig culture continuing to permeate—some would argue plague—the American work scene, those in creative, technology and other sectors are increasingly able and sometimes compelled to fashion customized work arrangements, and Forbes magazine predicts that, by 2025, 92 percent of millennials will prefer to work remotely. Savant was part of Remote Year’s maiden voyage, which coincidentally included Mudder Joyce Lin ’12 among the 75 intrepid souls selected from 25,000 initial applicants. The grand tour touched down in three continents, and included a month each in Prague, Istanbul, Hanoi, Kyoto, Lima and seven other cities. For Savant, Remote Year offered an optimal blend of travel, community and a focused work environment. While many of Savant’s fellow travelers worked for companies back home, Savant used the time to develop his coding and design skills, with the intention of breaking in as a web developer when he returned to the United States. Reading the itinerary is enough to induce a case of the travel bug, but the reality of moving to a new country every month combined with the necessity of staying productive was grinding. “I think the impression you get from Remote Year is that it’s a year of vacation, but it’s not really that at all,” Savant attests. “Seeing new places, people and cultures is amazing, of course, but the constant change can be challenging. In addition to getting accustomed to a new culture and language each month, we had to figure out how to eat, exercise, work and get our laundry done, among other little things. Just when you’re feeling comfortable in your new routine, it’s time to leave and start over.” As Savant worked independently, other participants reported struggling with time differences—with workdays from Asia sometimes beginning at 10 p.m.—as well as connectivity and other hurdles. Finding an equilibrium between achieving work goals and enjoying the immersive travel experience was discombobulating for some of the participants. “The nature of the trip made it difficult to keep a routine. We all wanted to get things done, but the constant travel took its toll.” Among Savant’s signature moments on the tour, some were more understated than others. A tango lesson while in Buenos Aires was a natural, especially for an athlete like Savant, who was on the ClaremontMudd-Scripps basketball team for four years. A wordless encounter at a solitary dinner at a small restaurant on the Croatian seaside, which Savant described on the blog he kept during the trip, evinced a more nuanced facet of what it means to explore another culture. “I discovered

Savant prepares to feed a bucket of bananas to an elephant after spending a day at the Patara Elephant Farm in Chiangmai, Thailand.

“ I discovered a new way to live in and interact with a city. I figured

out what I wanted and didn’t want out of a city. When I move to a new city, I plan to spend much more time outside of my apartment, participating in and getting to know its unique culture. ”


a new way to live in and interact with a city. I figured out what I wanted and didn’t want out of a city. When I move to a new city, I plan to spend much more time outside of my apartment, participating in and getting to know its unique culture.” Savant is on the move again, recently relocating to Minneapolis to start the next phase of his career. He continues to develop his coding skills and has begun looking for work in web development. “If my life had ended a year ago, I would have felt I had missed something vital. But now, I feel more fulfilled than ever, knowing that I’ve taken advantage of the unique opportunities that I’m privileged to have. I’ve begun making decisions less out of fear and trusting that things will be OK.”

After driving to Valparaiso, Chile, and exploring the colorful port city known for its bohemian, artistic vibe, Savant and friends enjoy the evening.





Clear for Takeoff Innovative, noninvasive products influenced by aviation are ramping up the way doctors monitor patients Written by Ashley Festa | Photos by Jeanine Hill


about advancing the practice of medicine? Steve Barker ’67, a licensed aviator, professor and anesthesiologist, uses his knowledge of physics and aeronautical engineering to improve the way physicians perform in the operating room. “I’m taking what people have learned in aviation and applying it to medicine,” says Barker, a Harvey Mudd physics major who recently earned the College’s Outstanding Alumni Award. For example, he compares the displays of a patient’s vitals in the operating room to a pilot’s cockpit instruments. “In aviation, we can display everything digitally, but the brain registers analog information better. You can understand the position of a needle faster than digesting numbers,” says Barker, who holds a PhD in aeronautical engineering from Caltech. “Aviation realized that years ago. Instrument displays show a picture of a needle (gauge), and if it’s abnormal, you’ll know in less than a second. Then you can look at the digital number.”



arker helped make these ideas into reality by partnering with Masimo, a global medical technology company. The resulting product is called Root, a patient-monitoring platform that helps doctors instantly interpret the patient’s vital information. Hospitals across the nation already use the display along with other innovative, noninvasive products Masimo has developed with Barker’s help. One of Masimo’s most well-known and widely used products is a pulse oximetry technology that accurately measures a patient’s arterial blood oxygen saturation despite motion and low perfusion. When Masimo’s founders Joe Kiani and Mohamed Diab learned of Barker’s extensive research on pulse oximetry, they asked him to study their new idea. At the time, pulse oximeters couldn’t accurately measure oxygen in the blood if the patient did not remain perfectly still—nearly impossible for most people—resulting in many false alarms and missed true alarms. Barker looked at the technology through the lens of an engineer, as well as a researcher and clinician, and helped Kiani and Diab refine their pulse oximeter idea into the product it is today. At its release in 1995, after six years of research and development, Masimo’s pulse oximeter won the Excellence in Technology Innovation Award. “Steve changed the landscape of what’s possible with pulse oximetry,” Kiani says. “He was a huge contributor to Masimo’s success. His reputation was stellar, and his research is one of the reasons we’re here today.”

Pilot projects In addition to the pulse oximeter and the Root monitor, Masimo continues to develop new products with Barker, a consultant who serves as the company’s chief science officer, chairman of its Scientific Advisory Board and a member of its board of directors. “They listened to my crazy ideas and tried them out,” Barker says. “That’s gratifying to see.” For example, something he is currently pushing is improving the alarm system in the operating room. Again, he brings his knowledge of aeronautical engineering to the drawing board. “When something goes wrong, the alarm just beeps,” Barker says. “You can’t tell where it’s coming from or what measurements it’s alarming. There’s no useful information.



Using his expertise as an engineer, researcher and clinician, Steve Barker ’67 helped Masimo develop a more accurate, award-winning pulse oximeter.

“ I realized how medicine was crying out for more engineers. I wasn’t throwing away my engineering background. I was combining the two.” – STEVE BARKER ’67

“In modern airplanes, alarms don’t just beep. They say ‘too low’ or ‘collision alert’ for example,” he says. “There’s no reason we can’t have those kinds of alarms in the operating room.” Another idea, in its very early stages, comes from the heads-up displays projected onto pilots’ helmets. Barker proposes surgeons wear goggles that display monitors in the corner of the doctor’s vision. This would give the surgeon constant access to a patient’s vitals and prevent the need to turn around to check monitors. “Imagine trying to market an airplane where the pilot has to turn around 180 degrees,” Barker says. “But that’s the way it is in the operating room. All instruments are in the opposite direction of where the patient is.”

Operating a simulator Even before he teamed up with Masimo, Barker found connections between medicine and aviation. While he was a professor at the University of Arizona, he persuaded the dean of the department of anesthesiology to buy a simulator to allow students to practice their skills.

“When a pilot is upgrading to a (Boeing) 747, the airlines aren’t going to let you take it up and put it into a tailspin,” he says. “But you have to know how to recover from that, so you learn in a simulator.” During residency, he says, students can train for a variety of situations in the operating room. Some of these they will never encounter, but they must know how to respond in case of emergency. “They can ‘fly that plane’ in the simulator,” Barker says.

Academia to medicine roundtrip Medicine is a longtime passion for Barker that started in high school, but he put that idea aside and began his career teaching engineering students as a tenured professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. After about five years, Barker had what he calls an “identity crisis” teaching the same classes every semester. So when he discovered the University of Miami offered an accelerated M.D. program for people with doctorates in the hard sciences, he seized the opportunity to follow his suppressed interest in medicine—and never looked back.

“I wanted to work with my hands, so I thought I’d be a surgeon,” he says. “But after my first year of residency, I noticed what people were doing on the other side of the drapes was more fascinating to me, so I switched to anesthesiology. “I realized how medicine was crying out for more engineers,” he says. “I wasn’t throwing away my engineering background. I was combining the two.” With his M.D., Barker went to the University of California, Irvine where he earned tenure and chaired the department of anesthesiology for several years before moving to the University of Arizona, where he again earned tenure and chaired the anesthesiology department, while also teaching aerospace and mechanical engineering. Though he ended his chairmanship in 2013, he still loves teaching, which he continues to do for physicians getting continuing education credits as well as educating Masimo employees about being a physician and what a cockpit is like. “If I’m remembered for bringing medicine and engineering together, that makes me happy,” Barker says. “That and the teaching that goes with it.”




Family Weekend 2017: Prepare to Have a Blast at Harvey Mudd Feb. 17–18 Enter your student’s orbit at Harvey Mudd College’s Family Weekend Feb. 17–18. Don’t miss your chance to build bridges (literally!), explore the campus and participate in activities with students, faculty and staff. Visit the Family Weekend web page at hmc.edu/parents or contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at 909.621.8436 or parents@hmc.edu.

Join friends and classmates for Alumni Weekend 2017 as we celebrate the people, places and programs of Harvey Mudd. Mingle with faculty, catch up with classmates and friends and find out what’s new at the College. Reunion celebrations will be held for class years ending in “2” and “7.” For more information or to register, visit the Alumni Weekend website at alumni.hmc.edu/alumni-weekend.

Eclipse 2017: HMC’s Largest Event Ever? On Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will stretch across North America from the coast of northern Oregon to the coast of South Carolina. The Harvey Mudd College Alumni Association will host events in four locations along the path of totality: Madras, Oregon* | Casper, Wyoming | Columbia, Missouri | Charleston, South Carolina See what we have planned in each state (bit.ly/EclipseHMC). We’ve secured a limited number of hotel rooms in each city, but we expect these to go very quickly (*Oregon is sold out). Make your plans now!

Please, Find Your Seat The College invites you to become part of the future of the new Galileo Auditoria by selecting and naming one or more of the nearly 600 seats. There’s still a great selection of seats available. hmc.edu/galileo






Joseph Knowles, Santa Ynez Valley artist and

For the first time, 1,500 U.S. gallons of jet fuel has been produced from “Lanzanol,” LanzaTech’s low carbon ethanol. The breakthrough toward developing commercially viable low-carbon fuel is the result of a partnership between Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech. Since 2011, they have been committed to producing the world’s first jet fuel derived from waste industrial gases from steel mills via a fermentation process. Jennifer Holmgren (chemistry), chief executive of LanzaTech, said, “We can now truly imagine a world where a steel mill can not only produce the steel for the components of the plane but also recycle its gases to produce the fuel that powers the aircraft. This program illustrates that such breakthroughs are only possible through collaboration. In this case, it is governments, laboratories, NGOs and industry coming together to disrupt our current global carbon trajectory.” See bit.ly/2h4spmh.

member of the Founding Class of Harvey Mudd College, visited campus in December for an art reception and talk, “It’s Not a Hobby: Integrating the Sciences and Liberal Arts in a Career.” Joe is the son of two artists. After receiving B.A. and B. Architecture degrees from Stanford University, with minors in art and engineering, he pursued a career in architecture, then he entered the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. In the 1980s, Joe left architecture to concentrate on art and graphic design and also worked in a number of different areas from construction to sales. His art has been represented in one-person and group shows in Santa Barbara as well as in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. His subject matter—created on paper in pastel, oil, watercolor and ink—varies from the highly abstract to the extremely representational. As an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, he has focused in recent years on work which relates to his Native American heritage, including the “Bison Series” of iconic buffalo images. See thecgallery.com.

1967 Gary Smith (mathematics), Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College, writes, “I hope that Mudders will be interested in my new book, What the Luck? The Surprising Role of Chance in Our Everyday Lives, (Overlook Press, 2016). Arthur Benjamin, HMC Smallwood Professor of Mathematics, writes, “After reading What the Luck, you will appreciate how to separate the sense from the nonsense when it comes to making decisions about your health, your money, your test scores or your favorite sports team. Written with accuracy and humor, I highly recommend it.”

1971 At Tech Tactics West 2016 in November, a Porsche Club of America event dedicated to Porsche technical information, Chris Powell (chemistry), a member of the PCA National Technical Committee, was an invited speaker. He has been a Porsche enthusiast since 1963 and a Porsche technician since 1974, beginning at the Porsche dealership in Seattle. He was on an IMSA GT racing team from 1978 to 1984, (maintaining RSR, 934, 935, 924GTR, 962) and since then has owned a Porsche-only repair shop, now in Redmond, Washington.

The 2016 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Class of Fellows includes Lynn Kistler ’81, P15 (physics), professor and director of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at University of New Hampshire. Lynn joined the physics department in 1990, coming from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (Germany). She has graduated five PhD students and is known in the field for her work on understanding the impact of heavy ions on the magnetosphere and for developing the mass spectrometers that make the required measurements. Her work includes the design, fabrication and testing of state-of-the-art instrumentation for spacecraft as well as the analysis of the data collected by these instruments. The AGU acknowledges Fellows for their remarkable contributions to their research fields, exceptional knowledge and visionary leadership.

1983 Amanda R. Simpson (physics), deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, is one of the invited speakers who will participate in The Economist’s annual Pride and Prejudice event March 23. The event was launched in 2015 “to make the case for fully including LGBT people in every aspect of economic and social life throughout the world, in the belief that it will help drive progress more broadly.” Amanda was the keynote speaker at West

Point’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov. 30. She is responsible for training, moving and sustaining military forces and weapons platforms for military operations. In her remarks, Amanda said, “As long as there are remembrance lists, as long as people are taking their own lives rather than believing in a future for themselves, as long as bullies terrorize others, as long as prejudice is met with indifference, as long as differences are considered as negatives, as long as words are used to hurt, as long as some are not welcome in all parts of society—there is work to be done.”

1994 Jennifer Switkes (physics and mathematics), associate chair of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Sciences Math Department, volunteers her time at California Rehabilitation Center, a medium-security state prison in Norco, California, and has gone with teams to teach math in Uganda prisons with the Prison Education Project, which helps inmates receive GED classes. At both the Norco and Uganda prisons, Jennifer bases her teaching on five values she wants represented in her instruction: excellence, honor, integrity, love and purpose. This philosophy won her the 2015 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching which recognizes outstanding faculty accomplishments. Read the Cal Poly news article about Jennifer: http://bit.ly/2hhTXIp. Mark Mathison (engineering) made partner as a patent attorney earlier this year at his law firm, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. His practice is in patent law, drafting patents and arguing them through the world’s patent offices. “Talking with a patent examiner is just like talking with an engineer who is a couple of years out of undergrad,” Mark says. “But they deal with many lawyers and see a lot of vague garbage, so they really appreciate a frank, engineer-to-engineer discussion to understand a novel twist on a technology.” Mark and his wife, Sara, have three small children and live in Walnut Creek, California.

1995 Andy Oliver (computer science) has built a visual

programming tool for Minecraft called ScraM that lets anyone, including kids, make games, stories or any change they can imagine in their own Minecraft world. In the process, players learn real




programming skills using a block-based language (like Blockly or Scratch). To learn more or try it for free, visit scram.frequal.com.

1996 At the 2016 San Diego State University Writers’ Conference, Beston Barnett (engineering and sculpture) won a Conference Choice award for his urban fantasy novel set in a folklore library in Berlin (“There’s talking animals, sex and lots of juicy stuff about cataloging,” he says). Beston worked as an engineer at IBM, ran a music publishing company (Art Hurts Records), then became an award-winning furniture maker. Read more at bit.ly/2gc7Es6. On Monday, Sept. 19, those watching one of the last Oakland Athletics home baseball games against the Houston Astros saw four Mudders win a flip-cup game against fellow fans at a mid-inning break. Hans Purkey (chemistry) started, followed by Russell Hamilton ’94 (engineering), Keith Pitts (biology) and, finally, anchor Kirby Lawton ’94 (biology). They won tickets to a remaining Oakland A’s game the following Saturday. All four credited years of intense competition in similar games at Mudd for their skill at winning.

1997 Katy Wong (engineering) received the Corporate

Promotion of Education award during the 2016 Women of Color STEM Conference. Katy is a senior staff systems engineer at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. She was lauded for executing a $10 million project while capturing a separate $3 million contract and leading a $70 million proposal. She uses her involvement with technical associations to enhance her team, mentors junior teammates and supports her team’s educational efforts. She provides outreach through activities at work and beyond, including being a supporter of HMC’s President’s Scholars program.

2001 Teri Krebs (mathematics) was a panelist at the Future

of Psychedelics event held at Právnická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy in October. The co-founder of EmmaSofia, an organization focused on protecting the rights of those who use psychedelics, Teri studied neuroscience at Boston University and the



Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She served as an associate in psychiatry at Harvard Medical and lives in Norway, studying MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) and psychedelics with funding from the country’s Research Council. Paul SanGiorgio (physics) returned to campus this fall to discuss “Life After Physics, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Systems Engineering” for a Physics Colloquium. He shared his story with students: “After graduating from Harvey Mudd College, I was certain that I would someday become a professor of physics. After many years toiling in a basement at grad school, a couple of post-docs and plenty of life events later, I have found happiness and fulfillment in a highly unusual place: as a systems engineer for Illumina Inc. Illumina is the world leader in genetic sequencing and is the principal driving force bringing the cost of sequencing a human genome down from $100 million in 2003 to less than $1,000 today.”

2002 The Golden Bear Scholars program at West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVUTech) recognizes two faculty each academic year for their exceptional record or nationally visible achievement in research, scholarship or creativity. One of the recipients, Deborah Chun (mathematics and engineering), WVU assistant professor of mathematics, received $2,500 to be used toward academic travel or research. Deborah worked for the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., after leaving HMC. She completed a master’s in applied and computational mathematics at Johns Hopkins Whiting College and a PhD program in mathematics at Louisiana State University. In 2011, she began teaching mathematics at WVUTech, where she has instructed almost every mathematics course the college offers, including her favorites Discrete Mathematics, and Probability and Statistics. Her research focus is on matroid theory, which feeds into the larger mathematics fields of combinatorics and has applications in everything from computer science to engineering. Deborah plans to use her scholarship to focus on collaborations with researchers at Wright State College, Vanderbilt University and the United States Naval Academy.

Fernando Antonio Medrano (engineering) was a featured speaker at the 2016 TEDxSantaBarbara event. Antonio spoke about his life journey toward inner harmony and fulfillment. As a teenager, he formed his own extramural a cappella group, Denim, that performed throughout Northern California and recorded two albums, one of which won the national Contemporary A Cappella Award for best High School Album in the nation. His passion for science and music led him to a master’s in multimedia engineering followed by a PhD in computational geography, both from UC Santa Barbara. His PhD research was in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory using high-performance computing to identify quality corridors for the location of new electrical transmission lines and resulted in five publications in peer-reviewed journals. While in grad school, he toured the nation and three continents as the bass singer for the professional a cappella group The House Jacks. He recently taught geography in Spain and co-founded software startup Arogi, which specializes in artificial intelligence on geographic information, and he sings in a chamber choir and leads two a cappella groups, Airplay and Keep Me Posted.

2004 Adele Tamboli (physics), a U.S. Department of Energy

(DOE) scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and research assistant professor at the Colorado School of Mines, has been awarded additional funding from the DOE’s Office of Science, which chose 49 scientists to receive significant funding for research as part of its Early Career Research Program. Adele joined NREL in 2014 and is part of its High Efficiency Crystalline PV research group. Her work, which focuses on photovoltaic materials and devices, centers on developing a new class of III-V analog phosphide and nitride materials. These materials may have applications in extremely efficient but inexpensive photovoltaics as well as into platforms for improved lasers and optical computing.

2005 Andrew Wetzel (physics) is highlighted in press

releases from Caltech and the Carnegie Observatories for his work to recreate the galaxy in a supercomputer. New theoretical modeling work


Healthy for Two from Andrew, who holds a joint fellowship between Carnegie and Caltech, offers the most accurate predictions to date about the dwarf galaxies in the Milky Way’s neighborhood. According to the Carnegie news release, Andrew achieved this by running the highest-resolution and most-detailed simulation ever of a galaxy like our Milky Way. His findings, published by The Astrophysical Journal Letters (bit.ly/2hlhBzx), help to resolve longstanding debates about how these dwarf galaxies formed. Andrew and his collaborators worked on carefully modeling the complex physics of stellar evolution, including how supernovae—the fantastic explosions that punctuate the death of massive stars—affect their host galaxy. His model resulted in a population of dwarf galaxies that is similar to what astronomers observe around us. Andrew is running an even higher resolution, more sophisticated simulation that will allow him to model the very faintest dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way. Read the full Carnegie Observatories news release: bit.ly/2ci1ntj. Andrew has accepted a faculty position at UC Davis beginning in fall 2017, and his wife, Whitney Duim (chemistry), a visiting assistant professor of chemistry at HMC, will undertake a two-year teaching and research position that allows her to continue working on neurodegenerative diseases. See bit.ly/2gDJpiP.

2008 Lauryn Baranowski (engineering) and Lindsay Muth ’07 (engineering) were hosts for a private tour of C Squared Ciders in Denver. The December event provided an opportunity for alumni in the area to catch up and learn about the making of craft (hard) cider.

2010 Jin-Soo Jo (engineering)

married Megan Marie Turner POM ’11 Nov. 11 in Long Beach, California. Jin-Soo is a web developer with Internet Brands Inc. in Los Angeles. He earned his M.S. in biomedical engineering from UCLA. Megan is an architect with TCA Architects in Irvine, California.

Alumna uses the latest technology to promote healthy pregnancy weight management Written by Becky Ham Photo by Webb Chappell PREGNANT WOMEN OFTEN HEAR THAT THEY

should “eat for two,” but the adage doesn’t hold up for Molly Waring ’03, a chronic disease epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “That’s a misconception. Especially earlier in pregnancy, when the fetus is about the size of, say, a kidney bean, you’re really eating for 1.01 or something like that,” she says, laughing. Waring, a psychology/biology alumna, studies weight management across the lifespan, with a special focus on pregnant and postpartum women. The early days of parenthood might seem like a challenging time to talk about weight loss, but Waring says it can be a “rich time of life” for healthy changes. “It may be difficult, and there are a lot of barriers to making lifestyle changes, but many women are very motivated to be healthy for themselves and their babies,” says Waring, an assistant professor in the departments of Quantitative Health Sciences and Obstetrics & Gynecology. While at Harvey Mudd, Waring says she “went in different directions to find the thing that most struck my passion,” taking courses in math, computer science and biology before deciding to major in psychology. A summer internship sequencing dragonfly eye DNA convinced her that she liked working with data—but not dragonflies. “While I saw the importance of that research, I realized that for me personally I wanted to be a little bit closer to improving the health of human beings.” Her PhD work in epidemiology at Brown University eventually drew her to studying obesity and weight management, particularly among pregnant and postpartum women. Obesity among pregnant women has been linked to complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, and there is some research to suggest that maternal obesity might “program” a fetus’s metabolism in a way that leads to conditions such as diabetes later in life. The most effective strategies for promoting healthy weight gain during pregnancy are

similar to the advice offered to most adults, including keeping a food diary and increasing physical activity. Waring is focused on the best way to deliver evidence-based weight management strategies to women who may be too busy to attend a weekly clinic or weight management group. “It’s just not practical for many women,” she says, “especially those who already have a child at home.” Waring and her colleagues recently finished a pilot study that looks at how these interventions could be delivered through an interactive website, where a health counselor and a group of pregnant women share advice and support. Although they are still analyzing their data, the researchers are encouraged by feedback from the women. “They told us that having women who were going through very similar things was a really helpful part of the program,” Waring says, “especially when they didn’t have women that they knew or that lived near them who were pregnant or at the same point in their pregnancies.” Waring has a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old with her husband, Ben FrantzDale ’03. “There’s something to be said for experiencing the thing you’re researching,” she says. “It made me appreciate how much more challenging some of the things I found difficult during my pregnancies would be for women with fewer resources.” She and colleagues are working to develop and test this and other behavioral weight management interventions delivered through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, with an eye to reaching the widest possible audience. “I don’t want to just stop and say it works in the research setting,” Waring says. “I would want to see our interventions implemented on a larger scale, where women across the country can access it through a university, or maybe we can work with the CDC to offer it to women nationally.” FALL / WINTER 2016



In Memoriam Kenneth D. Stevens ’61 (chemistry) passed away

Oct. 8, 2016, after a long decline due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was a member of the Founding Class and played on the first and only tri-college (Pomona/ CMC/HMC) freshman football team, one year before the first CMC/HMC Stags athletic teams were formed. A running back and kicker (his two PATs won the first Stags/Sagehens football game) and four-year letterman, Ken was named captain and most valuable player in his senior year. One of the first student dorm proctors, Ken married Claire Culley POM ’61 shortly after graduation. Ken went on to the University of Washington (PhD, physical organic chemistry, 1966), completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York (1966–1967) and served as assistant professor of chemistry at Harvey Mudd from 1967 to 1969. During that time, he took a class in ceramics at Scripps College that was to change his life forever. He became an MFA student at the University of Puget Sound, then, when a science faculty member became ill, he was called upon to teach chemistry as lecturer and, eventually, became a full-time, assistant professor of chemistry. In 1971–1972, he became assistant professor of art after earning his MFA in ceramics. Over the subsequent 30 years, until his retirement in 2001, Ken served in a variety of roles, including as chair of the department of art. His professional affiliations included the American Crafts Council, the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts, the College Art Association and Tacoma Art Museum. During his career as a ceramist, artist and teacher, it was Ken’s overall “Harvey Mudd education,” not just his chemistry, that enabled him to develop new and unique glazes for his ceramic creations. He paid attention to “cause and effect” with “no fudging” and to the “repeatability” of his experiments. Ken valued highly his role as a teacher of studio art in a liberal arts setting, approached the studio as “a guide and a resource” to student-artists, and—amid his work to teach craft and history—affirmed that “it is my goal to reawaken in [students] the ability to take an imaginative idea or concept that does not

depend on logical thinking for its existence and then be able to create a physical object that somehow expresses that idea.” Known for his work with porcelain, “particularly with respect to glazes and high-temperature saggar-fired ware,” Ken accumulated an extensive list of shows to his credit and was one of the members of a group of Tacoma clay artists known as “Club Mud.” He was generous in sharing his art and love of ceramics broadly, including talks and exhibits at local high schools and colleges, civic organizations and events and in galleries and festivals throughout the Western United States and abroad. Internationally renowned for his work, on several occasions Ken was selected to be a Monbusho Fellow (Japanese Ministry of Education Fellow) and researched ceramics in Japan, where he enjoyed “Honored Artist” status. Ken developed a teaching partnership with Mrs. Mutsuko Miki, wife of former Prime Minister of Japan Takeo Miki, making possible her summer workshops at Puget Sound. He was the first Puget Sound faculty representative to visit Naruto University, spending his 1995 sabbatical in Tokushima. In 2001, Ken was honored with an exhibition entitled “Works by the Students of Ken Stevens” at the Kittridge Gallery at UPS. That same year, Ken’s own works were presented in an exhibition at UPS titled “Full Circle.” The exhibition was also featured in a tribute to Ken and his approaching retirement in the December 2001 issue of Ceramics Monthly. Read more about Ken in Arches magazine bit.ly/2hlq3Pq and in Dwell magazine bit.ly/2hlr5L7.

Geradette “Geri” Murray Dyche ’73 of Hoyt, Kansas, died Sept. 30, 2016, at age 64. Geri was involved in her church as well as the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and the Topeka Chamber of Commerce. She worked for many years at Adams Business Forms then built and managed her own business, eBiz Software. She is survived by her husband, Steve, as well as a son, stepson and stepdaughter. Keith Meyer ’80 (engineering) passed away Aug. 24, 2016. He worked as a defense engineer for Rockwell and

spent 31 years working at Northrop Grumman.



Elise Brown ’95 (biology) was an integral part of the strong, tough, supportive and fantastic women of the Harvey Mudd Class of 1995. She went on to earn a master’s in public health at San Diego State University followed by an M.D. from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Elise was unwavering in her pursuit of a career in medicine and was dedicated to being the best doctor possible. On Friday, June 24, 2016, Elise began having symptoms of an intracranial hemorrhage. A thorough and valiant effort was made to try to fix the problem, but unfortunately, Elise succumbed to complications of a bleeding cerebral aneurysm and died late that night. Elise made an amazing impact. As a physician, she was recognized as a champion for advocating for her patients, often going above and beyond to ensure they received the best care possible and tending to the needs of families during critical times. Her peers remember Elise as being one of the most astute clinicians they had ever worked with. She was also known for her dedication to medical education and for sharing her knowledge with nurses, medical students and fellow colleagues. Elise embodied the values that Harvey Mudd holds dear—a commitment to making the world a better place—through her continual pursuit of knowledge and her compassion for her patients, her peers and her loved ones. In tribute to Elise, several of her Mudd classmates rallied to raise funds to establish the endowed Elise C. Brown ’95 Memorial Scholarship, which will provide financial aid for a female Harvey Mudd student who intends to pursue a career in medicine. With the overwhelming, additional support of other alumni and Elise’s friends, the initial goal of $50,000 was met to create a permanent legacy for Elise at the College. With this endowment officially created, additional funds are still being raised to increase the value of this scholarship each year. To add your support to this scholarship, please visit hmc.edu/campaign/ permanent-legacy-for-elise-brown-95/ or contact Dan Macaluso (909.607.7069, dmacaluso@hmc. edu) or Christine Harrison (909.621.8335, charrison@hmc.edu).

Annual Report Academic Year 2015–2016

To educate a new generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians

Prestigious national fellowships and scholarships

Harvey Mudd

is on a mission … To invest in people, programs and places that will advance the College’s strategic vision



To attract and retain diverse students of extraordinary ability CLASS OF 2020











Harvey Mudd College Homework Hotline takes its 20,000th call To prepare passionate problem solvers to contribute to society

Best Undergraduate Engineering Program U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT (TIED WITH ROSE-HULMAN)

Ranked No. 1 nationally for return on investment –PAYSCALE




45% F E M A LE

55% MALE


To engage with and serve our community


To lead by example


Graduating Class of 2016 milestones:





College With Best Career Placement











To enable infrastructure improvements that support excellence and build community WITH ADDITION OF WAYNE AND JULIE DRINKWARD RESIDENCE HALL, ALL STUDENTS CAN NOW BE HOUSED ON CAMPUS







recognizes how essential philanthropy is to the success of Harvey Mudd College. As one of several revenue sources, philanthropic support—both new gifts and perpetual funding provided by previously established endowments—plays a critical role in our ability to sustain the people, programs and places that make Harvey Mudd so special and important. When The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College began in 2011, we focused attention on the areas where our alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends could personally invest to build upon our past successes and enable an even brighter future. Since that time, gifts to the College have exceeded $135.53 million, representing

The Harvey Mudd community also gathered on campus, across the country and even internationally to engage with each other, stay informed about College activities and celebrate our shared successes. Some of last year’s activities involved 28 events hosted by more than 40 volunteers to honor the College’s 60th anniversary. These events were in addition to the 39 targeted regional events for alumni and parents. Back on campus, both Family Weekend and Alumni Weekend broke records yet again, experiencing increased attendance of 23 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Our students continue to raise awareness of important issues and students from every class on campus join together to support a common cause each

The collective and collaborative support of so many people empowers every aspect of Harvey Mudd’s success, and it ensures strong progress toward building even greater excellence in our future. an amazing 90.21 percent toward the campaign goal of $150 million with two years left in the planned timeline. Of that total, $12.97 million represents new gifts and pledges received during fiscal year 2015–2016. Harvey Mudd received more than $16.61 million in terms of annual cash flow (all cash, including new gifts, payments on prior-year pledges and realized bequests) during fiscal year 2015–2016. More than half of these gifts were immediately put to work with $3.89 million directly supporting Harvey Mudd’s operating budget through the Annual Mudd Fundd and $4.76 million supporting a variety of programs and activities beyond what the operating budget can provide, such as summer research, student travel to conferences, the new student Makerspace prototype, lab and equipment support, community outreach, Wayne ’73 and Julie Drinkward Residence Hall and other important areas. An additional $7.96 million augmented existing or created new endowment funds that provide a permanent source of revenue for programs across the College, including faculty support, student financial aid, summer research stipends for students and faculty, programs within student affairs and other areas critical to our mission.



year through the Student Philanthropy Campaign. Last year’s campaign—spearheaded by a dedicated group of student volunteers—raised $4,512 from 43 percent of the student body to increase student access to mental health services. Their efforts support Harvey Mudd students in need of financial assistance for mental health provider co-pays for visits, transportation or medication. This fourth year of the all-student fundraising effort served as yet another demonstration of the creativity, leadership and thoughtfulness of our remarkable students. In closing, thank you to everyone in the Harvey Mudd community for engaging with and investing in the transformational work of this amazing institution. The collective and collaborative support of so many people empowers every aspect of Harvey Mudd’s success, and it ensures strong progress toward building even greater excellence in our future. On behalf of the College, we look forward to your continued involvement every step of the way, and we appreciate your commitment to the mission of Harvey Mudd College.

Campaign Snapshot

$135,318,389 CAMPAIGN TOTAL AS OF JUNE 30, 2016


FY 2015–2016 Participation Snapshot



Sources of Gifts









$16,613,454 TOTAL

Gifts From Individuals



ALUMNI, 32.09%




PARENTS, 8.04%


$13,628,404* TOTAL

Philanthropic Giving by Fiscal Year 2015–2016
































Annual Mudd Fundd Designated/Restricted

Bequests Total Philanthropic Giving




Financial Review


Financial Position

Endowment Investments


Harvey Mudd College (the “College”) ended the fiscal year with assets of approximately $444 million. This total consists primarily of investments of $309 million and of land, buildings and equipment of $116 million. Liabilities of $57 million consist primarily of long-term notes and bonds payable, accounts payable and accrued liabilities. During the 2015–2016 fiscal year, total net assets decreased by $17 million. This decrease in net assets resulted from utilizing prior gains in the investment pool, through endowment payout, to support the operations of the College. As of June 30, 2016, net assets totaled $386 million in three net asset categories: 1) unrestricted (those over which the College has discretion) of $145 million, 2) temporarily restricted (those given to the College for a specific purpose) of $97 million, and 3) permanently restricted (those given to the College to be held in perpetuity) of $144 million.

The endowment experienced a decrease in the market value to $273 million at year-end, representing an equivalent of $336,069 per student. Endowment payout supported 22 percent of the College’s operating budget during the fiscal year. Since the College has a globally diversified investment pool, the performance return was (4.2 percent) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016 primarily due to losses incurred in international markets. The College is reviewing opportunities to improve investment results and is continuing to further diversify the portfolio to take advantage of historically strong performing asset classes common in many endowment portfolios.

The College continues to report strong operating results, despite the lower-thanexpected investment returns. The College has begun the initial planning phase of a new academic building while continuing to focus on renovations of existing facilities. We look forward to being able to share with you the results of the amazing renovations in progress for the Galileo auditoria and other exciting projects being planned.

Financial Operations Total revenues for fiscal year 2015–2016 were $74 million, which includes continued strong support of the College through gifts and grants. Total expenses for 2015–2016 were approximately $65 million. For the year ending June 30, 2016, the College experienced an operating budget surplus after transfers to high priority areas, as approved by the Budget and Financial Planning Committee of the Harvey Mudd College Board of Trustees. The key factors influencing the positive operating surplus were increased net student revenues, other revenues and savings from several operating budget areas.




Endowment Market Value




$288,996 $272,636








$150,000 JUNE 30, 2012

JUNE 30, 2013

JUNE 30, 2014

JUNE 30, 2015

The College’s audited financial statements are located online at: hmc.edu/bao/financial-affairs.

JUNE 30, 2016



50% Tuition, fees, room and board Less financial aid Net student revenue Federal grants Private gifts and grants Private contracts Endowment payout

















Other revenue



Total Revenue





Total Revenue 2% OTHER REVENUE














Academic support



Student services



Institutional support



Auxiliary enterprises





Instruction Research Public service

Total Expenses



Pooled investment (losses), net of endowment payout



Other changes in net assets



Excess revenue/expenses






Total Expenses





Change in Net Assets









celebrated the College’s 60th anniversary during the 2015–2016 academic year. At special events and annual gatherings, the Harvey Mudd community connected and shared our visions for the College. While there may be some differences in opinion about priorities, I’m pleased that after six decades, community members continue to enthusiastically support our mission of preparing leaders to better understand the impact of their work on society. This work is not without its challenges, some of which include providing the most modern curriculum and learning tools; increasing excellence and diversity at all levels; nurturing and developing students, and ensuring affordability. The HMC Board of Trustees has seen progress in all of these areas due in great part to the leadership of President Maria Klawe, now in her 10th year at the College. For this reason, the board extended her term for another five years, through June 2021. We considered the accomplishments to date as well as the opportunity to conclude the many initiatives currently in process and are excited to move forward with the incredible progress made during President Klawe’s tenure, particularly during the past five years. The preceding report provides an update on many of these successes, including The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College, through which we continue to develop the infrastructure and resources that support our commitment to excellence and community building. At the end of the 2015–2016 fiscal year we had raised $135,318,389; as of the printing of this report, the total stands at more than $139 million. We thank all who have shown their support. It’s through working together that the best things are accomplished. Just look at our progress in making the College a more diverse place, reflective of surrounding communities and the world. As you may have read, the Class of 2016 had more female than male graduates in both physics and computer science. And the Class of 2020 is one of the most diverse in



Partnerships with the other Claremont Colleges are stronger than ever and are expanding. the College’s history. This effort is successful because the board, faculty, alumni, staff and students are working together. President Klawe has pledged to build on progress to increase racial and socio-economic diversity and inclusiveness at all levels. Partnerships with the other Claremont Colleges are stronger than ever and are expanding. The Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (the Hive), made possible by a landmark $25 million gift from physics alumnus Rick Sontag ’64 and his wife, Susan (POM ’64), opened in fall 2015 on the Pomona College campus to nurture the creativity of students at the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges by giving them the tools to discover cross-disciplinary creative solutions. Harvey Mudd also is pursuing a potential partnership with Claremont McKenna College to expand access to computing concepts and tools across disciplines. This exciting educational initiative—Cross-disciplinary Collaborations in Computing (C3)—responds to the need for greater access to computing competencies and computational and analytical thinking, especially for students not intending to major in computer science. You’ll be hearing more about C3 as it develops.

During the academic year, the Harvey Mudd community was saddened by the untimely death of engineering student Tristan Witte ’18. We also mourn the passing of William Arce, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps athletic director and Stags head baseball coach, as well as several longtime faculty: physics Professor Jack Waggoner, who taught for 33 years; engineering Professor Harry E. Williams Jr. (an Honorary Alumnus), who began on the physics faculty before moving to engineering where he taught for 40 years; and engineering Professor Clive Dym (an Honorary Alumnus and National Academy of Engineering Gordon Prize recipient), who developed innovative strategies and paradigms that transformed design education. At one of his renowned Design Workshops that have now been named in his honor, Dym remarked that the engineering program was developed by “visionaries, innovators and entrepreneurs who put together a curriculum that was well ahead of its time ... [They] were doers,” he said. This is how I see the entire Harvey Mudd College community—as doers who are working together to fulfill the College’s important mission. I look forward to accomplishing even more with you.


Jacobs-Keck Renovation Investing in infrastructure improvement is a critical element of Harvey Mudd College’s Strategic Plan to support excellence and build community for current and future generations. As you know, achieving and sustaining excellence and innovation in education and research requires modern facilities, technical staff, equipment and information technology infrastructure. In recent years, the College has initiated many building and renovation projects, including the R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, the Wayne and Julie Drinkward Residence Hall and the Galileo Auditoria restoration project. Renovation of the Jacobs Hall of Science and Keck Laboratories complex (Jacobs-Keck) is the next major project. Given that Jacobs-Keck is the hub of year-round activities, including our summer research programs, the renovation is planned in phases over the next several summers. Phase 1, scheduled to start in summer 2017, will involve renovation of the three Chemistry instructional laboratories—the General Chemistry Laboratory, the Physical Chemistry Laboratory and Advanced Chemistry Laboratory (SuperLab). Upgrades to SuperLab are essential. The lab, which opened in 1984–1985, is the oldest space of the entire academic complex. Extensive modernization and safety upgrades are planned. The General Chemistry Laboratory

will be overhauled to make room for the growing inventory of instruments that have been acquired over the years. The Physical Chemistry Laboratory facelift will enable the College to offer additional lab sections to accommodate the planned growth in the student body over the coming decade. Replacement of existing hoods, HVAC systems and utilities with more efficient models also is included in Phase 1. Later phases of the project will focus on improvements to the building’s infrastructure and culminate with renovations to the physics department’s laboratories and offices, providing upgraded space for faculty use and research. Thanks to the continued generous support of alumni and friends, Harvey Mudd College will continue to adapt to the ever-changing needs of faculty and students in order to offer a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary and hands-on STEM education. If you have any interest in learning more about or supporting phase 1 of the Jacobs-Keck Renovation, please contact chemistry department Chair and the Ray and Mary Ingwersen Professor of Chemistry Kerry Karukstis at karukstis@g.hmc.edu or 909.607.3225 or Assistant Vice President for Development and Constituent Relations Matt Leroux at mleroux@g.hmc.edu or 909.607.0902.

is on a mission


Harvey Mudd College 301 Platt Boulevard | Claremont, CA 91711 hmc.edu/magazine

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Cherlyn Chan ’17 and Callie Glanton ’20 make chocolate chip cookies using “unsightly” avocados instead of butter at a workshop led by Christy Spackman, the Hixon-Riggs Early Career Fellow in Science, Technology and Society. Participants learned about reducing food waste as they made a roasted red pepper soup and apple pies using donated vegetables and fruit that were bruised or otherwise considered unfit for retail selling. The event was part of the first Harvey Mudd Biennial Conference for Sustainable Design and Solutions hosted by the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design. See page 7 for a recap and a link to the keynote talk.

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