mudd T H E M AG A Z I N E O F H A R V E Y M U D D C O L L E G E
CONTENTS 18 Stronger Together The multi-talented Mary Jessie Celestin ’21 uses a human-centered approach to vitalize her hometown of San Jose.
26 Mudderings 28 Class Notes
Letters to the Editor Opinions about the content of Mudd Magazine are welcome. Letters for publication may be edited for clarity and brevity.
For Good Health, Follow the Paper Trail
I Develop Therapeutic Strategies
Entrepreneur Chang Hee Kim ’91 develops low-cost, paper diagnostic tests for common ailments.
Abbygail Foster ’08 shares milestones from her professional journey.
Dear Editor, In response to the article “Computing with Nature” about Megan Wheeler ’13 in the spring 2021 issue: In basketball, players talk about their “Welcome to the NBA” moment: the first time they get dunked on by a superstar. Well, back in Marine Ecology, I was a little behind on the reading, so I brought the textbook to class. Prof. McFadden asked, “can anyone give us a working definition of a niche?” Megan Wheeler ’13 rattled off a pretty convincing answer, and when I looked down at my textbook, sure enough, right on the money. I was sitting next to her, so I whispered over. “Megan, that’s word for word what it said in the textbook.” She looked me dead in the eye and said, “I know. It’s the definition.” Welcome to Mudd, Rafer Dannenhauer ’13
Read Mudd Magazine Website: magazine.hmc.edu Go paperless: If you wish to stop receiving the printed magazine, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll send you an email when new editions are posted.
24 Intellectual Horsepower Kyle Lampe ’02 expands the use of machine-learning technology from horses to humans.
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
31 Priya Donti: Scientist and Visionary MIT Technology Review names Priya Donti ’15 to its annual list of Innovators Under 35.
Follow HMC Twitter – @harveymudd Facebook – @harveymuddcollege Instagram – @harvey_mudd LinkedIn – harvey-mudd-college
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Welcome Back for the last year and a half, it’s been eerily quiet on campus when it should have been teeming with students and activity. Since the president’s house is located near student dorms, Nick and I have been keenly aware of this anomaly. So, we shared the students’ excitement when the campus community returned this fall. What a joy to see and hear the Mudd community come alive again. Members of the Class of 2025 (see page 4) are beginning their journey with an eye toward joining more than 7,000 HMC alumni—an impressive network of STEM professionals that includes entrepreneurs, scientists, activists and more (see some of them featured in this issue, pages 16–33). The Class of 2024 is new to campus as well, even though they’ve completed one year of studies. We’re excited to meet everyone and renew acquaintances across campus. COVID-19 has disrupted our routines and forced us to take up new ways of living, interacting and working. The Division of Student Affairs is staying current with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines, including keeping track of students’ COVID-19 vaccination documentation submissions and maintaining protocols for prevention, quarantine and isolation. Nearly all students (99.4%) and faculty (99%) are fully vaccinated, with exemptions offered to members of our community who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs. We’re committed to a safe and healthy campus environment. While delivering the outstanding education our students have come to expect from the College, our faculty members continue to excel in their research and work (page 6). They’ve made extraordinary transitions—from classroom to online and back—and are working with our equally outstanding staff members to expand the learning experience to outdoor spaces, set up throughout the academic portion of campus: Strauss Plaza and the adjacent courtyards of Jacobs/Keck and Parsons, outdoor spaces of the newly opened Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center as well as
the west patio of Hoch-Shanahan. Just one more reason to love our beautiful Southern California location. Thanks to the College’s loyal and new donors, Annual Mudd Fund (AMF) gifts for the 2020–2021 fiscal year totaled $4,295,624 to support the College’s operating budget. Your gifts allowed us to pivot over the last year by providing technology and other resources to students who needed support in transitioning to online coursework while also allowing us to continue providing health care coverage to our furloughed staff. Gifts to the AMF also helped offset a portion of the significant budget shortfalls we faced given last year’s transition to remote instruction. HMC sincerely appreciates all who invested in this effort to make a difference in every aspect of the Mudd experience. We’re thrilled to return to in-person teaching and events, and virtual gatherings will likely remain an important part of many activities for the foreseeable future. Mudd Talks by alumni remain popular with the community (replay on HMC’s YouTube channel), and we look forward to gathering for family and alumni weekends along with Commencement ceremonies for the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 this spring. Here’s to a safe, joyful, productive and memorable academic year.
Summer 2021 | Volume 21, No. 3 Mudd Magazine is produced three times per year by the Office of Communications and Marketing. Director of Communications, Senior Editor Stephanie L. Graham, APR Art Director Robert Vidaure Senior Graphic Designer Joshua Buller Assistant Director Sarah Barnes Writer Leah Gilchrist Contributing Writers Melanie A. Farmer, Ashley Festa, Jen Miller, Kristin Baird Rattini, Elaine Regus, Cleopatre Thelus Contributing Photographers Seth Affoumado, Keenan Gilson, Jeanine Hill, Jeff Miller, Cheryl Ogden, Deborah Tracey Proofreaders Sarah Barnes, Kelly Lauer Vice President for Advancement Hieu Nguyen Chief Communications Officer Timothy L. Hussey, APR Mudd 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 © 2021—Harvey Mudd College. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in the Mudd 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.
Maria Klawe President, Harvey Mudd College
Mudd Magazine staff welcomes your input: email@example.com or Mudd Magazine, Harvey Mudd College, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711
BENNY CHAN / FOTOWORKS
McGregor Center Award engineering news-record california named the Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center as Southern California’s Best Higher Education/Research Project. Winning projects are deemed “best” based on a number of criteria, including construction quality and craftsmanship, functionality of design and aesthetic quality, innovation and contribution to the industry/community. The three-story, 36,000-square-foot McGregor Center provides a new home to the Department of Computer Science and houses a permanent makerspace, labs, Clinic space, student study and collaboration space, as well as administrative and faculty offices. “The McGregor Computer Science Center brings faculty offices, teaching labs, research labs and project work areas into one space, HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
which will help us build a sense of community and belonging while also allowing us to better respond to the needs of students in a more integrated, cohesive way,” says Jim Boerkoel, chair of the Department of Computer Science. The building features a welcoming, expansive first-floor lobby as well as ample study, hangout and collaboration spaces. The design is tied to strategies that invigorate interdisciplinary collaboration. Steinberg Hart (architect) and DPR Construction worked on the McGregor Center. In December 2020, the McGregor Center won the Southern California Development Forum’s Honor Award (Unbuilt/Under Construction category) and its 2020 People’s Choice Award.
Kim Neal is manager of the new makerspace located on the ground floor of the Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center. She serves as a resource to students and faculty by providing instructional, technical and administrative services, and she manages the facility’s day-to-day operations. Neal, who most recently worked at Cal State Los Angeles, where she was a technician in the Department of Film, Television, and Media Studies, works with student stewards and with Jeff Groves, makerspace director, and Drew Price, machine shop manager, to coordinate the activities of the makerspace. Open in fall 2021, the makerspace is available to students of all disciplines from The Claremont Colleges. Neal is enthusiastic about helping create a welcoming, supportive atmosphere “where nobody feels like they can’t join us. Students can learn anything they want to here, without judgment. And failure is OK because failure is just one step toward success.”
New Office Supports Researchers, Clinic the office of sponsored research and Projects within the Division of Academic Affairs will better serve the faculty as they seek funding for their research, says Lisa Sullivan, vice president and R. Michael Shanahan Dean of the Faculty. “The National Science Foundation is a major source of support, and the grants process for government agencies is quite different from private foundations.” Colleen Coxe, former senior director of corporate relations, will lead the new office as assistant vice president for sponsored research and projects. She will work closely with Nicole Wallens, associate director, and Kelly Barker, assistant director, to centralize support for faculty funding to encompass funding from
corporate and government sources and will continue the work of cultivating Clinic sponsors and supporting the Clinic Program. Sponsored research was previously overseen by the director of foundation relations (within advancement), who will now focus on supporting college-wide efforts to engage private funders (i.e., Gates, Ford, Lilly, Mellon, etc.) as well as supporting faculty whose work aligns with such funders. HMC faculty members were awarded $2,572,735 during academic year 2021–2022, mostly in multi-year grants. NSF continues to be a major source of funding for faculty research, and the hope is to diversify that funding. Nicole Wallens
Student Affairs Leadership “I hope to build on what Dr. G has done for student affairs at Mudd by continuing to work collaboratively with students, faculty and staff,” says Marco Antonio Valenzuela, who is serving as interim vice president of student affairs and dean of students for the 2021–2022 academic year. He joined the College’s Division of Student Affairs in September 2018 as assistant dean for housing and residential life. In 2019, he was promoted to associate dean of students and director of residential life. He succeeds Anna “Dr. G” Gonzalez, who left HMC to become vice chancellor for student affairs at Washington University in St. Louis. Valenzuela is relying on his more than 18 years of experience in student affairs, having served at a number of other colleges and universities, including Pomona College and Johns Hopkins University. “I am excited about this opportunity to lead the Division of Student Affairs as we welcome our students back to campus safely.”
Student leaders welcome the newest community members at Orientation.
FIRST-GENERATION 13% CALIFORNIA 46% WEST 18%
Diversity in STEM Harvey Mudd has joined the 2021–2022 First-gen Forward cohort along with other selected colleges and universities and is participating in the program’s professional development, communitybuilding experiences and access to research and resources. The First-gen Forward designation is a national honor that recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. HMC’s Summer Institute program is among the winners of INSIGHT Into Diversity’s 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award. The honor recognizes how the program empowers underrepresented and women students to succeed in the STEM disciplines and its visionary strategies to introduce diverse individuals to academic, extracurricular and professional opportunities in STEM.
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Major Award for Microsite The Office of Admission and the Office of Communications and Marketing collaborated to create a new admission microsite that was attention-getting, clever, informative—and award-winning. The College received a Bronze in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s 2021 Circle of Excellence Awards. Developed by an in-house team of two designers, one web developer, three content developers and two proofreader/reviewers, the HMC admission microsite contributed to a record number of applications for admission—a nearly 40% increase—from the most diverse applicant pool in the College’s history. The admission staff saw increases in applications from women (up 42%), Hispanic/LatinX students (up almost 50%) and African American/Black students (up 79%).
Harvey Mudd Alumni Enhance Caltech’s Schmidt Academy joined the advisory board of Caltech’s Schmidt Academy for Software Engineering, a postbaccalaureate program in software engineering that launched in 2019. Their connections to computer science graduates who are interested in software engineering and who have strong science fundamentals have been key to helping expand the program, which was initially only for Caltech grads. During the three-year, pilot program, Schmidt Scholars are embedded for one to two years with research groups across the Caltech campus. They are mentored by senior software
program. The first contingent of HMC alumni accepted in fall 2020 were Tom Dougherty ’20 (works with David Van Valen, biology), Anya Wallace ’20 (Chiara Daraio, mechanical engineering), Jenna Kahn ’20 (Frederick Eberhardt, philosophy ) and Cody Newman ’20 (Niles Pierce, chemistry)—nearly all will continue for a second year. Fall 2021 Schmidt Scholars from HMC are Alfredo Gomez ’21 and Julia Vendemiatti ’21. Many computer science grads may have a limited view of what careers are available to them beyond highly paid, entry-level software
“S upporters of the Schmidt Academy see the potential our students have to build software that can accelerate scientific discovery. ” —KATHERINE BREEDEN
through a strategic partnership, Harvey Mudd alumni are poised to join the next generation of science-savvy software engineers who will set new standards in scientific software. Along with former HMC computer science professor and department chair Ran LibeskindHadas (now at Claremont McKenna College), Katherine Breeden, HMC assistant professor of computer science and a Caltech graduate,
engineers and receive industry-competitive salaries, a strategy Breeden sees as a model for other universities. Projects range from designing, developing and deploying an adaptive charging network for electric vehicles to improving molecular programming in the cloud. Breeden says the hiring committee has been pleased with HMC applicants, who bring a strong set of skills and perspectives to the
engineering jobs in a handful of well-known tech companies. “But there are tremendous opportunities right now to do impactful, fulfilling computing work in other areas: manufacturing, scientific research in the public sector and more,” Breeden says. “Supporters of the Schmidt Academy see the potential our students have to build software that can accelerate scientific discovery.”
Schmidt Academy Scholar Cody Newman ’20 is working to improve the NUPACK web application, used for the analysis and design of nucleic acid structures, devices and systems.
Faculty Updates Research, Awards, Activities
In the May 12 Medium coronavirus blog, biology professor Eliot Bush examines what sequence analysis and computation reveal about the deadly spread of the coronavirus in Brazil. “The outbreak in Manaus … shows that the combination of waning immunity and the arrival of new variants can lead to large-scale reinfection. Our hope is that widespread vaccination will provide better protection against this, especially through booster shots and tweaked vaccines that better target the variants.” The world’s most diverse marine habitats, coral reefs are often referred to as “the rainforests of the sea.” In a Stauffer Lecture this summer, Catherine McFadden, Vivian and D. Kenneth Baker Professor of Biology, described her research, which focuses on “the species problem” in corals, and discussed what a species is, how we distinguish species from one another, why it’s a difficult problem in corals, and why it matters. “By using the latest technologies in DNA sequencing and microscopy to distinguish species, we’re learning that corals and many of the other organisms that live with and depend on them are far more unique than previously realized.” McFadden is a research associate of the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution). HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
In a July interview with WHYY News (PBS), Lelia Hawkins, associate professor of chemistry, discusses the impact of fireworks on air pollution levels. She explains that some of the most polluting elements are the metals used to create the brilliant colors.
George Montañez and his research students are celebrating recent paper acceptances and presentations at peer-reviewed archival conferences. Topics include “Undecidability of Underfitting” presented at the second International Conference on Computing and Data Science; and “A Probabilistic Theory of Abductive Reasoning” and “The Gopher’s Gambit: Survival Advantages of Artifact-Based Intention Perception,” at the 13th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence. Engineering
Kathy Van Heuvelen, associate professor of chemistry and associate dean of faculty, joins Jennifer Alanis (OID) as a co-chair for the newly established HMC Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion working group to build institutional infrastructure to help make HMC a more inclusive place. The chemistry department welcomed back 13 students to its summer research program (12 in-person and one remote) with the mentorship of four faculty: Lelia Hawkins (atmospheric chemistry), Kerry Karukstis (creating institutional change for undergraduate research), Hal Van Ryswyk (nanomaterials for solar cells), and Dave Vosburg (green synthesis of bio-active molecules). Three new visiting faculty (Sandra Brown, Matthew Kromer and Carine Nemr) have joined the department, and a search for a tenure-track assistant professor has begun.
In the April 16 MURAL article “Lessons Learned from a Year of Virtual Class Collaboration,” Clinical Professor of Engineering Fred Leichter describes how he set up his virtual classroom to aid visual collaboration and interaction. “I ended up treating the whole virtual classroom like a design constraint, rather than just throwing my hands up and saying ‘this doesn’t work,’” says Leichter, the founding director of the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity.
Matthew Spencer spoke at the American Society for Engineering Education annual conference in July on how overloaded student groups change goal orientations. Spencer co-authored the paper "Engineering Identity, Slackers, and Goal Orientation in Team Engineering Projects” with Laura Palucki Blake, AVP for institutional research and effectiveness, and four others. It helps identify factors that influence the experiences and outcomes of engineering teams by asking three questions: How do team member goal orientations affect the outcomes of engineering team projects? What team forming mechanisms (e.g: self-selected, random, or instructor selected) lead to better team experiences? And, what effect does team project work have on engineering identity? Its hypothesis is that positive team experiences, facilitated by similar goal orientations among team members, contribute to engineering identity and increased performance in team projects.
racism. Stoebel, who studies the genetics and evolution of bacteria, said the class showed that science and society impact each other reciprocally and in sometimes surprising ways. Hamilton, whose research focuses on the history of medical technologies, said scientific racism hasn’t ever really gone away and, in the 21st century, there have been a number of developments in genomics, genetic medicine and consumer ancestry testing that seem to be strengthening some older racial categories.
Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts
Students in Paul Steinberg’s Global Environmental Politics course interviewed change makers in their communities. Read highlights of the conversations on the HSA blog.
An essay by Ekaterina Babintseva on Soviet algorithmic thinking appeared in a Palgrave Macmillan edited volume on Cold War social sciences outside the U.S. Professors Vivien Hamilton (history of science) and Dan Stoebel (biology) recently shared an article about their experience creating and co-teaching a Genetics and Race course in Isis, a journal of the History of Science Society published by the University of Chicago Press. The class explored how the relationships between ideas of race and the science behind those ideas have resulted in scientific
David Seitz (cultural geography) presented “Migration is Not a Crime: Migrant Justice and the Creative Uses of Paddington Bear” this summer as part of the summer Stauffer series. The story’s literary and film critics have demonstrated that Michael Bond’s work draws on colonial geographical ideas and that it idealizes Paddington as a non-threatening, assimilated immigrant. Tracing the character’s uptake as an icon of migrant justice movements in the U.K. and Europe, Seitz’s research sheds light on Paddington’s emotional appeal and creative, unexpected use by activists to imagine more just futures.
Heather Zinn Brooks, assistant professor of mathematics, gave a talk in July for the Stauffer series about “Mathematical models of opinion dynamics on networks.” She discussed growing demand to understand the mechanisms behind the spread of content online. And how mechanistic mathematical modeling can help develop a theory to understand the mechanisms underpinning the spread of content and diffusion of information.
Lisette de Pillis and a team of other researchers working on mathematical modeling of oncolytic virotherapy were published with Springer Nature in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. Their paper “Natural Killer Cells Recruitment in Oncolytic Virotherapy: A Mathematical Model” investigates how natural killer cell recruitment to the tumor microenvironment affects oncolytic virotherapy. Jamie Haddock, who joined the Harvey Mudd faculty in July, brings with her a three-year NSF grant for computational mathematics that she earned as an assistant professor (postdoc) in the UCLA Mathematics Department. Her project, “Tensor Models, Methods, and Medicine,” could lead to tools for tensor topic modeling that treat large-scale, complex, multi-modal data in its natural form and may advance the theoretical understanding of these models, their training methods and the complex tensor data to which they are applied. The grant will allow Haddock, her fellow researchers and collaborators in the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Department of Cardiology to apply their findings to case study, cardiac imaging data, and it will fund summer undergraduate research students and a summer workshop connecting application domain experts with mathematical experts and students. Haydee Lindo is co-author with Hailong Dao of the paper “Stable trace ideals and applications,” recently published by arXiv.org.
Faculty Updates (continued) Physics
As co-host of the PBS NOVA series “NOVA Wonders” and a speaker on the popular TED Talk, “Own Your Own Body’s Data,” Talithia Williams demystifies the mathematical process in amusing and insightful ways to excite students, parents, educators and the larger community about STEM education and its possibilities. In recognition of her work, Williams will receive the 2022 Joint Policy Board for Mathematics Communications Award for bringing mathematical ideas and information to non-mathematical audiences.
An expert on the dynamics of soft materials at extreme rates, Mark Ilton, assistant professor of physics, described the “Physical Principles of Fast Elastic Movements” in a Stauffer talk July 23. Animals like the mantis shrimp can use elastic energy to actuate astonishingly fast movements, and we can learn important design principles by studying these organisms. Ilton’s Physics of Soft Matter Lab (posmlab) investigates the physical principles of fast elastic movements. “Using a combination of theory and experiments, we find that the upper limit on the maximum power output of a latch-spring system depends on both materials and size,” Ilton says. Members of the physics department have stepped up efforts to promote equity and inclusion in the department and in professional communities. In June 2020, several department members participated in
a Strike for Black Lives organized by Particles for Justice, a group of particle physicists whose leadership includes Professor Brian Shuve. Participating faculty cancelled classes and research for the day and held study and discussion meetings with colleagues, students and alumni on equity and inclusion in the field of physics. In February 2021, the department adopted a formal statement of community values (physics.hmc.edu/values/). Faculty members established the Physics Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund which provides for an annual award honoring physics students who promote a welcoming and supportive physics community and helps support student attendance at conferences. The physics department was accepted for the first cohort of the American Institute of Physics TEAM-UP project, an initiative aimed at doubling the number of African American students getting degrees in physics over the next decade.
Appointment to second, two-year term as assistant professor
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Nicholas Breznay ’02 (physics) studies emergent phenomena in quantum materials.
David Seitz (humanities, social sciences, and the arts) investigates the cultural, political and affective dimensions of geographical processes.
Leah Mendelson (engineering) studies biological and bioinspired fluid dynamics and imaging techniques for fluid flow measurement.
Brian Shuve (physics) develops and studies new theories to explain mysteries of the universe, such as the nature of dark matter and why there exists more matter than antimatter.
More HMC Postdoctoral Researchers
Dancing Bees Attract PhD to HMC when morgan carr-markell, a phd candidate at the University of Minnesota, arrived at HMC last spring, she brought more than just her teaching skills: Nestled into 10 plastic boxes in the back of her hatchback were approximately 100,000 bees. Carr-Markell is one of four scholars hired as part of Harvey Mudd College’s Postdoctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Computation, created in response to the increased demand for faculty members who can teach computational skills. Readers of the HMC Bee Lab blog (hmcbee. blogspot.com) know the story of the winding mountain road to the apiary, the escaped bees, the fences within fences and the ultimate successful hiving of all those bees by CarrMarkell and her research mentor, biology professor Matina Donaldson-Matasci. Over the summer, Carr-Markell and her research students Maya Abo Dominguez ’22, Fletcher Nickerson ’22 and Giovanni Solis (Upward Bound Program), blogged about their adventures to better understand how honey bees communicate. “Honey bees have a unique system for finding flowers in the landscape around their hive and optimally dividing their workforce to collect from them,” says Carr-Markell. “This system depends on waggle dance communications where a returning forager conveys the direction and distance of the flowers that she just visited to her sister workers … but current models often cannot predict colony foraging decisions.” In an attempt to understand the bees’ actions, Carr-Markell and Nickerson filmed the waggle dances performed by workers in nine
honey bee colonies. Berlin Paez ’22 mapped nearby patches of California buckwheat, which bees favor, using aerial drone surveys. “We also collected data to help in decoding the distances indicated in our bees’ waggle dances by training bees to visit sugar-water feeders at different distances from their hives and filming those bees after they returned,” says Carr-Markell. “I am working to manually decode those dances now.” Abo Dominguez worked on a program to automatically decode and map all of the waggle dances from the many hours of video footage. “She made a lot of progress in improving the pre-processing steps and automatically optimizing parameters for different filming conditions and will continue that work in the fall,” says Carr-Markell, adding that Solis manually decoded dances in a number of videos to aid in testing the automatic dance decoding method under different conditions. Nickerson rewrote an agent-based model of honey bee foraging behavior in Python so that the researchers can determine what rules about recruitment match their experimental results and look at the consequences of those rules for colony foraging success in different environments. “They produced a model that generates a landscape of simulated flowers with simulated bees that collect food from those flowers and communicate with each other about their locations,” says CarrMarkell. “We will continue to add capabilities to the model this fall and perform simulations to compare with our dance/flower mapping results.”
Sarah Kavassalis collaborates with chemistry professor Leilia Hawkins in the CLimate, Environment and Air Research lab (CLEAR lab). Kavassalis is pursuing a PhD in the Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, and is seeking to understand how global change—whether climate or land use—affects the composition of the atmosphere and how the composition of the atmosphere in turn affects global change. Alberto P. Soto works with engineering professor Chris Clark in his Lab for Autonomous and Intelligent Robotics. Soto uses computational tools and robotics to study the movement of animals during behaviors such as predator-prey encounters and fish schooling. Soto earned his PhD in biomechanics at UC Irvine. Joseph Wirth works with biology professor Eliot Bush in the Computational Evolution Lab. Wirth earned his PhD in microbiology from Franklin College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Georgia. An expert in the microbial physiology of pathogenic bacteria, he is investigating the roles of putative genes involved in virulence and oxidative stress in bacterium using molecular genetics and biochemical techniques.
My Year Before Mudd
The pandemic has changed plans and created opportunities. Students in the Class of 2024 who deferred for a year describe working for a startup, living in a convent, wwoofing and more. the incoming class includes a higherthan-usual percentage (15%) of deferring students (typically only three or four entering students choose to defer). Some of these students share how they spent the year before arriving on the HMC campus. Mauricio Bravo
During my gap year, I worked as a trainee/ intern at my dad's business. Laboratorios Tornel is a Mexican animal health company dedicated to the manufacturing and distribution of animal medication ranging from vitamins to vaccines. I joined the finance team and began by learning Microsoft Excel then helped develop the company budget for 2021. I learned a lot about corporate processes as well as money management within a company.
at one of the biggest hospitals in NYC (I heard about COVID-19 in hospitals from an insider) as well as ballerinas, students and one feisty French bulldog. I worked full-time at my old school as a middle school teaching assistant, volunteered as a tutor for high school students, and taught a third grade supplementary math class for children falling behind due to the pandemic. Leilani Elkaslasy
My brother and I moved to Huatulco last summer, and we shadowed a surf guide. I learned how to surf, improved my Spanish and found a community that felt like a second family. I worked as a tutor in the Hamptons to maintain my close connection with the ocean through surfing while being close to my grandmother for whom I often play the role of primary caregiver. After my tutoring job went virtual, I was able to spend January in Aruba, tracing my roots and reconnecting with my adolescent passion for kitesurfing. I moved to Telluride, Colorado, to work as a lifty, barista and staff in the Adventure Center, cared for my grandma and worked as a scuba diving instructor at Seatrek BVI leading their Bahamas program. Conor Floyd
Erin Donahue ’25
In September 2020, I moved into a co-living women’s residence located in an NYC convent. It was a really interesting experience to live on my own and meet the other women from all different walks of life. I met women who just returned from the Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders, a woman who works for the New York Department of Education as a curriculum developer, and an administrator HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Over my gap year, I worked four days a week for the U.S. embassy in Austria. I worked in logistics and facilities to help in-person while many employees worked from home due to COVID-19. I also tutored twice a week and throughout the academic year. Alongside tutoring, participating in MOOCs and coding, challenges like Advent of Code allowed me to continue learning and thinking about academics over my gap year.
exchange for food and housing. We started in Laguna Beach, stayed for a month and visited some relatives then traveled up the coast, wwoofing along the way. Alina Scholz
I started my gap year at a working ranch in Wyoming, training and caring for horses, helping manage the property and building on my riding and horsemanship. Being able to spend my entire day outside at such a beautiful location, and working with people from completely different backgrounds and experiences was amazing. For three months, I interned at Richard Wolf's research and development center in Knittlingen, Germany, where they develop surgical instruments, specializing in endoscopes. My projects included programming and testing a gyro sensor for an endoscope camera head, as well as 3D modeling components and attachments for their products. I assisted with checking MDR compliance (medical devices regulations in the EU) for Wolf's sterilization and preparation processes. I even observed a surgical training using Wolf products. Later, I worked at Allscripts, a Chicago-based healthcare IT company, on the digital transformation team and learned about project management, IT-related challenges and opportunities in healthcare.
I stayed with my uncle in Honolulu, Hawaii, where I learned how to surf, got scuba certified and volunteered at the University of Hawaii. With a friend, I also did wwoofing, a program where an individual volunteers at a farm in
Alina Scholz ’25
Robots and Rockets Return Members of Harvey Mudd College’s MuddSub robotics team and the Mudd Amateur Rocketry Club (MARC) are eager to get back to campus this fall. Here’s what they’ve been doing over the last year and what they hope to accomplish this academic year.
include the MuddSub alumni network. On the technical side, the team is excited about conducting underwater testing in the tank on campus. “During the online semesters, our team has been unable to physically test our robot in an underwater setting,” Yang says. “We hope to hold in-person pool tests, if possible.” Looking ahead to the summer 2022 robosub competition, the team is building a new robot, which they will deploy along with the current sub.
MuddSub In summer 2021, under the guidance of Zach Dodds, Leonhard-Johnson-Rae Professor of Computer Science, MuddSub members participated in a research experience for undergraduates, a paid research opportunity for students funded by a team sponsor. Sophomores Francine Wright, James Clinton, Rin Ha and Jordan Stone had access to a backyard pool for their research, which included deploying and testing the systems and code onto the robot, developing a testing simulator and working on acoustical localization (hydrophones). In August, the MuddSub team entered the Robonation robosub competition, where they received $500 and placed sixth in the sensor optimization skills video category and second in the website category (www.muddsub.org). MuddSub leadership has clear plans for the fall semester, which will mark the first time the team will meet in person and on campus since March 2020. The first order of business, says MuddSub co-president Daniel Yang ’22, is recruitment. “A lot of technical university organizations require some sort of skill-based interview to vet potential members. We decided that our organization wants to accept as many new members as possible.” Team solidarity is another focus for MuddSub leadership, which is planning social events and gatherings, some of which will
The overarching goal of MARC (Mudd Amateur Rocketry Club) is to develop organizational sustainability. Edward Jacobs ’22, the team’s chief engineer, hopes to lay the groundwork for rocketry at Mudd so that it is “something that persists and takes relatively little time outside of class to keep the main functions going.” In addition to building organizational integrity and longevity, MARC members spent last academic year and the summer designing a high-powered rocket. This fall and spring, they hope to build the rocket, which they will launch in summer 2022 at the Spaceport America Cup, the largest intercollegiate, international rocket engineering conference and competition. MARC members are eager to begin their in-person weekly build sessions on campus with the objective of helping club members achieve their national, level 1 rocketry certification. “[Level 1 certification] is the first thing that we ask students to do because it's a small project, you can put in as little or as much time as you want into it, and it's something that's very personally rewarding,” says Jacobs. “For me, and for all the students that I've seen launch rockets, afterwards we’re glowing.” Other objectives for the fall include finishing building the club’s website and expanding MARC’s membership to more students from other Claremont colleges. “This isn't just a Mudd thing,” Jacobs says. “You don't need to be an engineering major to participate in this, you just need to be interested in rocketry. And that's one of the joys of it: Even if you have zero experience with rockets, as long as you're interested, we can work from there.”
Going for the Gold The U.S. Physics team earned five gold medals at the 51st International Physics Olympiad, considered the most important event of the year for the world’s most talented physics students. The two-part, experimental and theoretical olympiad tasks were solved by almost 400 students from 76 countries. One of the coaches for the U.S. team is CS and mathematics major Kye Shi ’22. • I was on the International Physics Olympiad team in 2017 and loved it. I wanted to return and give back to the team. I was also just nostalgic of the whole experience (summer camp, the labs, the atmosphere and the lovable coaches), so I reached out to a head coach and joined the coaching team in 2019. • Coach Kevin Zhou deserves credit for our success this year. He organized structured activities and contacted guest speakers and developed a rigorous, comprehensive plan to prepare the "traveling" team for the international olympiad. Kevin, as well as the students, truly made the very best of the everything-is-now-online situation. The olympiad was officially hosted in Lithuania this year, which meant that, even though no one traveled to attend in person, all events were scheduled in Lithuanian time (seven hours ahead of ET, 10 hours ahead of PDT). So, during the olympiad, our students across the U.S. had begin their day around midnight, work through the night until approximately 7 a.m., then go to bed in the morning. We helped them adapt to this nocturnal schedule a week prior to the olympiad. • W hat I think contributed substantially to the team’s success this year is our focus on teaching in a student-driven manner (active learning or inquiry-based learning). I think "doing" (as opposed to listening to lectures) is by far the most effective way to learn. I'm thrilled to see where we can go in the next few years. SUMMER 2021
Space to Grieve Students aim to help health care professionals acknowledge and cope with grief through humancentered design By Ashley Festa
in the health care field, physicians, nurses and caregivers often feel pressure, either from others or from within, to block out any emotions or attachments they may feel toward the patients in their care. Senior Kaitlyn Paulsen, who is double majoring in human-centered design and engineering, and project partner Anya Zimmerman-Smith CMC ’21, whose work on this project was part of her thesis in humancentered design, wanted to help caregivers find a way to deal with difficult emotions. As part of an independent study project titled “Caring for Caregivers: Spreading Collaborative Grief Support Using Human-Centered Design,” the duo researched the stereotypes and realities surrounding emotions within the health care profession. They learned that having a space to express and process those emotions, particularly grief, helps prevent burnout among health care providers, a condition that costs the United States $4.6 billion a year. During their research, they discovered The Honor Project, a practice already being used at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center to benefit neuro-oncologists and their medical teams. Because brain cancer is often fatal, neuro-oncologists frequently encounter grief—including their own. “The Honor Project created an intentional space within the workday where doctors, nurses, social workers and researchers can gather to share and reflect on their emotions,” Paulsen says. “This practice acknowledges the humanity of health care professionals and challenges the stereotype of needing to stay emotionally detached.” “Through all our research, we saw that the effect of loss and grief on health care professionals is profound and complex,” HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Zimmerman-Smith says. “So we wanted to define what The Honor Project does in hopes of showing people that it solves these needs that we found to exist.” The Honor Project was the brainchild of Rosemary Rossi, a social worker at the UCSF Brain Tumor Center, and Dr. Susan Chang, director of the division of UCSF Neuro-Oncology and the medical director for the Gordon Murray Caregiver Program and Sheri Sobrato Brisson Survivorship programs. After learning about the practice, Paulsen and Zimmerman-Smith set out to develop a way to share The Honor Project with medical communities throughout the nation. To persuade hospital administrators that The Honor Project is needed in the medical field, Paulsen and Zimmerman-Smith found a way to describe how the practice helps health care providers cope with their grief. They produced a three-minute, hand-illustrated video that aims not only to explain the project,
but also to address potential reluctance to adopting the practice. “The video was a place where all these insights could be gathered in a much more succinct and personable way,” Paulsen says. Feedback from many sources helped direct the video’s development. The two students also created an implementation guide to help administrators get started. “They did some really great and difficult research into the emotions and impact that terminal illness and likely death have on caregivers and medical staff,” says the students’ project adviser Fred Leichter, HMC clinical professor of engineering and executive director of the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity. “Their video and material were so well received that Dr. Susan Chang sent the material to her counterparts, the heads of neuro-oncology at every major research hospital in the country.” Organizations such as MD Anderson, Mayo
Clinic and the National Institutes of Health have already shown interest in adopting the practice. Chang, as a co-designer of the project, discovered that The Honor Project she had helped create at UCSF was a human-centered design practice, even though the formal concept of human-centered design was new to her. “I never thought of it as a formulated way of approaching the design of a program that never existed before, so this is very eye-opening to me,” Chang says. “Anya and Kaitlyn are so eloquent and compassionate, and it was a joy to partner with them. Because I see The Honor Project as very important and valuable, I hope through their work we can extend this to our global neuro-oncology community of health care providers.” Human-centered design isn’t a major at Harvey Mudd. Paulsen took a single humancentered design class and was hooked. After
she had taken the three human-centered design courses offered, she developed a proposal to create her own major. Her proposal included courses in engineering, psychology, anthropology, art and design, reasoning that human-centered design is an “interdisciplinary field that bridges technical product design and mechanical design skills with its emotional, sociocultural, environmental, visual and anthropological context.” Paulsen stresses empathy as a necessary factor in successful human-centered design projects. She says her extensive interviews with health care providers helped her understand how they cope with emotion— whether they build walls to block out feelings or struggle with their grief alone. She also learned that some doctors and administrators might be reluctant to adopt a practice that would take time and resources away from their primary job. The video Paulsen and Zimmerman-Smith created acknowledges the
hesitation some may feel toward the public expression of grief but emphasizes the benefits of collective mourning. Paulsen is now exploring what The Honor Project would look like in oncology settings where the mortality rate is lower, or in completely different health care fields, such as nursing homes or veterinary clinics. “We struggled with the fact that The Honor Project is so simple: You write the patient’s name on a card and then later gather and connect. That’s all it is,” Paulsen says. “Part of my brain said we have nothing of value to add, but Professor Leichter reminded us that even the simplest things that should exist everywhere often don’t. That was our goal: to spread the project wherever it’s needed.”
To learn more about The Honor Project and to watch Paulsen’s video, visit thehonorproject.org.
Selected Capstone Projects
These projects demonstrate some of the many academic achievements during the 2020-2021 academic year, the second consecutive year spent working remotely. View more projects in the online document at bit.ly/HMCcapstone21.
Biology 1. Molecular Immunology Advisor: Danae Schulz, Barbara Stokes Dewey Assistant Professor of Biology Student: Gabriella Teodoro ’21 Throughout the semester, members of the Biology 160 class created figures to illustrate molecular immunology concepts. For her third and final figure for this class, Teodoro combined her interests in public health, vocal music and immunology, to write a song breaking down how molecular immunology works in the body as a parody of the song “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus. Through her lyrics, Teodoro illustrates how vaccines work and can control infectious diseases.
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Chemistry/Physics 2. Optimizing Observational Arrays for Carbon Dioxide in the Tropical Pacific Ocean Advisors: Tom Donnelly, professor of physics; Lelia Hawkins, associate professor of chemistry; Matt Mazloff, associate researcher, Oceans and Atmospheres Section, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego Student: Winnie Chu ’22 Ocean biogeochemistry is impacted by changes in the ocean climate, such as increases in acidity and temperature. To quantify these changes, an array of floats fitted with biogeochemical sensors (BGC-Argo) is being deployed. Chu’s research aims to maximize the information captured by each float by determining the correlation lengthscales of carbon dioxide concentration in an ocean model. Their results inform float deployment strategies that best capture the large-scale biogeochemical variability in the tropical Pacific.
Physics 3. Modeling Grain Splitting and ShapeDependent Shrinkage Using Dislocation Theory and Configurational Entropy Advisor: Sharon Gerbode, Iris and Howard Critchell Associate Professor of Physics Student: Anna R. Barth ’21 In simulations and experiments on colloidal polycrystals, researchers have observed anomalous behavior regarding how small enclosed grains shrink and rotate. Regarding shrinkage, Barth and her colleagues observed that the rate of shrinkage depended on grain shape, contrary to the accepted theory. She expanded on the role single dislocations might play in this phenomenon. In the case of rotation, it was observed that rather than rotating as a rigid object, a small enclosed grain can break into smaller, counter-rotating pieces. Barth presents a method for estimating the free energy of such a system by directly counting microstates.
Computer Science/Mathematics 4. The Complexity of Symmetry Advisors: Mohamed Omar, associate professor of mathematics; Nick Pippenger, professor of mathematics Student: Matthew LeMay ’21 One of the main goals of theoretical computer science is to prove limits on how efficiently certain Boolean functions can be computed. The study of the algebraic complexity of polynomials provides an indirect approach to exploring these questions, which may prove fruitful since much is known about polynomials already from the field of algebra. LeMay explores current research in establishing lower bounds on invariant rings and polynomial families.
Mathematics/Computational Biology 5. Evolutionary Patterns in the PEVK Region of Titin in Marine and Subterranean Mammals Advisor: Findley Finseth, assistant professor of biology, WM Keck Science Department Student: Fiona M. Callahan ’21 Species that have independently evolved to live in extreme environments often have similar traits, aka convergent evolution. Researchers investigate these patterns in marine and subterranean mammals in a gene called TTN, which encodes a key muscle protein. Previously, large deletions were observed in this gene in several marine and subterranean mammals. Callahan analyzed a denser sampling of these clades. The number of exons, total length and evolutionary rate were investigated in marine and subterranean mammals and their relatives.
Physics 6. Determining Nonlinear Properties of Viscoelastic Materials Advisor: Mark Ilton, assistant professor of physics Student: Andres L. Cook ’21 Living things use recoiling viscoelastic materials to drive fast, powerful movements. However, previous studies of these materials have mostly assumed that they behave linearly, where in reality this is not the case. Nonlinear viscoelastic models exist, but it can be challenging to measure the new material properties they predict. Cook presents a data analysis algorithm to process the results of an oscillatory strain experiment and extract these nonlinear materials properties.
Remote Ingenuity Clinic students bridged physical distance as teams, spending a full academic year working remotely. Some data-heavy projects transitioned more smoothly to remote teamwork, but other teams improvised to build prototypes in their backyards, arrange for “contactless” exchange of materials and relied heavily on Drew Price, machine shop manager, to test and troubleshoot ideas. Sponsors, too, were creative in designing projects that could be managed remotely. “When project descriptions were finalized in August, no one imagined that in May we would still all be working remotely,” says Qimin Yang Engineering Clinic associate director. “We are enormously grateful to this year’s Clinic sponsors for their flexibility, and for being available to our students on a weekly basis, despite the pandemicinduced turbulence in their own lives.” Find 2020-2021 Clinic projects at bit.ly/3k8L024.
Engineering 1. A More Reliable and Less Traumatic Swab for COVID-19 Testing City of Hope Liaisons: Dr. Yuman Fong, Dr. Thomas J. Gernon, Dr. Stanley Hamilton, aColin Cook Advisor: Kash Gokli Students: Marylin Roque ’21, Sophie Yu ’21, Natalie Krieger ’21, Kevin Proudfoot ’21, Vivian Lam ’22, Kaitlyn Paulsen ’22, Vadim Mathys ’22 Students took on the timely task of devising a more reliable and less traumatic form of COVID-19 testing. After an extensive review of available testing methods, the team chose to improve upon the current most effective form of testing, nasopharyngeal swabbing, by focusing on reliability (lowering false-negative rate), comfortability and manufacturability. The team seeks to patent a swab that improves testing for COVID-19 and other pathogens.
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Computer Science Clinic
2. Automating and Assessing Data Anonymization ServiceNow Liaisons: Shaleen Shankar, James Capaldo ’92, Vincent Seguin, Magaly Drant Advisor: Xanda Schofield ’13 Students: Erik Salgado ’21, Alvin Zheng ’21, Mimi Louie SCR ’21, Rachael Soh ’21 ServiceNow provides cloud computing solutions that manage and automate services for its clients. The company manages large amounts of client data from many sources, and protecting this data is a top priority. Students developed a flexible, general and principled data anonymization service that provides ServiceNow clients the ability to make informed decisions about data privacy.
3. Community Environmental Health Action Team (CEHAT) South Gate CEHAT Liaisons: Samir Patel, Liz Ruiz, Victor Ferrer Advisor: Julie Medero Students: Hillary Rodriguez ’21, Carson Herness ’21, Lotenna Nwobbi ’21, Amber Kampen ’21, Adam Grobman ’21 Students collaborated with the Community Environmental Health Action Team (CEHAT) of South Gate, California, to create an air quality website that is accessible to non-technical audiences in both English and Spanish. The site will be used to inform the CEHAT, regulators and South Gate residents about local air quality and help educate the community about improving the air, protecting the environment and saving money.
Computer Science Clinic
4. Coordinating Personal Interactions within Juniper Cloud Labs Juniper Cloud Liaisons: Lynn Gates, Marcelino Chua Advisor: Lisa Kaczmarczyk Students: Jennifer Zhuge CMC ’21, Noah Bekele ’21, Ciante Jones ’21, Taeyun Lee ’21, Girum Tihtina ’21
5. Improving Equity and Efficiency in Career Technical Education Funding Decisions LAUSD Liaisons: Esther Soliman, Seema Puri, Laura Hayes, Michael Flores, Andrew Ekchian Advisor: Darryl Yong ’96 Students: Sean Pine CMC ’21, Trevor Nogues ’21, Fiona Plunkett ’21, Bhavana Bheem ’21, Justin Grant PZ ’21
6. Arctic Ice Project Deployment Method Investigation Arctic Ice Liaisons: Leslie Field, Alexander Sholtz, Tim Player ’20 Advisor: Ruye Wang Students: Wing-Yee Law ’21, Dominique Aiu Taber ’21, Yoo-Jin Hwang ’22, Benjamin Jin ’22, Naina Kaimal ’22, Olivia Hockley-Rodes ’22
Social distancing during the pandemic changed the way Juniper’s sales and marketing teams conduct client meetings. In order to help strengthen personal relationships and increase confidence during online sales meetings, the Clinic team designed an all-inclusive web portal to support and coordinate an online technicalinteraction experience of Juniper’s products and services.
Career Technical Education programs in the Los Angeles Unified School District are career-centered, sequenced courses in fields like engineering, arts, media and medicine. There are two inefficiencies in LAUSD’s current funding allocation process for CTE programs: inequitable distribution of funding and an overly time-consuming application review process. The team helped address these problems by revising the current funding application and introducing a data-driven process for determining how funding is allocated.
Arctic Ice Project is a nonprofit seeking to preserve and restore the Arctic through safe and effective albedo-modification techniques (“Albedo” is a measure of the proportion of incident light or radiation reflected by a surface.). The team developed a particle simulation model to assess the viability of a ship-based, blowerdriven deployment of albedo-modifying hollow glass microspheres (HGMs) utilizing natural weather patterns for distribution. They also compiled information on the material properties of HGMs to determine ideal transportation methods.
The multi-talented Mary Jessie Celestin ’21 uses a human-centered approach to vitalize her hometown of San Jose Written by Melanie A. Farmer Photo by Seth Affoumado
an jose, california, sits at the heart of innovation and emerging technology—Silicon Valley—so why does Mary Jessie Celestin ’21 think it needs reinventing? “Where we live, there is so much tech and innovation happening, and at the same time, the apprehension or fear toward technology and general distrust among residents of San Jose is super valid,” she says. “There’s a huge disconnect between local officials and developers in San Jose and the community, culture and identity of our city. What is the point of innovation in a city if those most marginalized aren’t protected, supported and centered in the process?” That’s where San Jose Strong (SJS) comes in. The one-year-old nonprofit organization, founded by Celestin, serves as a hub for anyone interested in reinventing San Jose HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
“for and by the community.” Their platform, comprising social media accounts, website and, soon, a mobile app, serves as a destination for residents to learn about San Jose happenings, local organizations, businesses and events. The organization also serves as an organizing hub by providing its members with the resources and connections to create initiatives, programs and events that support the San Jose community. “I’m really interested in the idea of developing or revamping cities with smart, innovative infrastructure but designing within the context of the community and its residents,” says Celestin. Black Lives Matter to San Jose Strong
The impetus for San Jose Strong emerged during the height of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. When the world shut down due to the pandemic, Celestin was stationed in Auckland, New Zealand, for a study abroad program. Like so many other students living through a first-ever pandemic, Celestin was suddenly sent home and rounded out her junior year taking classes remotely in San Jose. Across the U.S., the BLM movement had taken off, and it spurred Celestin to action. Living with her parents in downtown San Jose, within walking distance of City Hall, odds were Celestin was participating in a BLM protest or could view or hear one happening from their home. “I was feeling overwhelmed whenever I went online, seeing all of these horrible acts of violence against Black people.” On Blackout Tuesday, held June 2, 2020, a day of action played out via social media to protest racism and police brutality, Celestin posted to her Instagram a “Guide to Activism.” It provided followers with up-to-date information on where to protest and how to support BLM and community activism. That post has since garnered 50,000 views. “People were so engaged. They wanted to find out how to get involved and what to do.” Building on that momentum, and the daily 50 to 100 direct messages to follow, Celestin quickly launched San Jose Strong. That summer, she and her collaborators focused on establishing its organizational structure and mission and implementing initiatives and committees, including a fellowship and mentorship program for local high schoolers. The app will soon be piloted with San Jose
We need more socially aware scientists and engineers. We can’t design things in a vacuum or cancel out the human experience. —MARY JESSIE CELESTIN ’21
residents. Celestin credits a string of Mudders who sit on the website and app committee, including Sega Birhane ’20, Pip DiGiacomo ’18, Ciante Jones ’21 and Elijah Whitsett ’19, responsible for developing the technology behind San Jose Strong. To date, SJS’s network has grown to more than 10,500 social media followers, 250-plus Discord server members and over 75 email list members. The organization comprises some 50 active members and 15-plus team leads, and together they have shared 200+ guides to local initiatives in San Jose, hosted 24 events and raised more than $7,000. Engineering without borders, literally
Born in Oakland, California, Celestin moved with her parents multiple times across the U.S. before settling down in San Jose in 2011. Celestin says she was fortunate that her parents—her father, who is Haitian-American and mother, who is Cape Verdean-American and Irish-American—instilled in her wisdom and insight to view the world through a wide lens. Her early interests in not only math and science but also culture and the liberal arts, fueled a stream of creativity that she pours into all aspects of her life, including as a fantasy writer and musician. Indeed, her love for creating fictional worlds and cities spills over to her passion for human-centered design and civil engineering. “HMC drew me in because I knew I would be exposed to all branches of STEM and engineering, and the liberal arts as well,” says Celestin. The project management experience gained from the HMC curriculum, she adds, is a valuable takeaway—learning to identify problems but then thinking about how to
develop a solution from which the user will benefit. “We need more socially aware scientists and engineers. We can’t design things in a vacuum or cancel out the human experience.” At HMC, Celestin served as co-president of the school’s Engineers Without Borders chapter, as a STEM curriculum developer and teacher for STEAM:Coders and as a member of Black Lives at Mudd. Celestin is a singersongwriter in the neo-soul, lo-fi musical genre. Alongside others from The Claremont Colleges, she opened for TeaMarr during the Good Vibes Only Festival during fall 2019 at HMC and did a live stream performance for a 5C Solidarity event to help students with mutual aid during the pandemic in summer 2020. Her debut album “I Swear I’m Not a Zombie” is available on all listening platforms under her stage name “maryjessie.” This fall, Celestin will attend UC Berkeley’s master’s program in civil engineering. She also interns at Ivaldi Group, an engineering firm focused on helping businesses shift to digital operations and supply chain management. Her varied interests in engineering, design, fantasy literature and music are interconnected beautifully and build on inspiration from the streets of San Jose, through its infrastructure, people and community. “I’m inspired when I go to places like Nirvana Soul [a local coffee shop] or when I take a trip to a Farmer’s Market or the flea market,” says Celestin. “I get so many ideas just from being out in the city, observing the community and neighborhoods, and being around people. I want folks to come to San Jose Strong and to get plugged into all the amazing organizations, businesses, projects and programs folks have created here in San Jose.” SUMMER 2021
For Good Health, Follow the Paper Trail Entrepreneur Chang Hee Kim’ 91 develops low-cost, paper diagnostic tests for common ailments Written by Kristin Baird Rattini Photos by Jeff Miller
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
there’s no missing the mission statement of GoDx on the company’s homepage. Emblazoned in large letters at the top of the screen is the declaration, “WHY WE EXIST: Our team believes that all humans have the right to know their health now.” “We’re trying to democratize diagnostics,” says founder Chang Hee Kim ’91. Kim is developing multiplex paper diagnostic tests to rapidly and inexpensively tackle ailments from sepsis to STIs, diarrheal diseases to COVID-19 in the U.S. and abroad. Kim originally launched GoDx to identify the most common pathogens that cause diarrheal diseases in order to speed up proper treatment. Globally, 2.2 million people die each year from gastrointestinal infections; they’re the second most-common cause of death in children. “My wife, Sarah Kim, and I attended a church mission conference in 2010 where people were using their businesses to help in the developing world,” he says. “I thought I could use my expertise in diagnostics to save lives and improve health.” It was a noble intention and connection that Kim had recognized as early as high school. “I noticed that many of the people who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry worked in medicine or biology,” he says. “I wanted to study chemistry because I felt most biology problems can be solved through chemistry.” He set his sights on Harvey Mudd’s chemistry program. “My high school chemistry curriculum, CHEM Study, was created by J. Arthur Campbell (founding faculty/professor
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
of chemistry),” he says. “That’s how I heard about the school and even about the bumper sticker, ‘Honk if you passed P Chem.’ I wanted to get that bumper sticker from Professor Van Hecke.” He took away from Harvey Mudd far more than just the bumper sticker. The school’s mission to develop leaders who are socially responsible resonated with him, and he developed a work ethic and innovative mindset that have served him well as a bioentrepreneur. “Harvey Mudd builds more than just knowledge,” he says. “It builds creativity, persistence and grit.” The cross-registration system at The Claremont Colleges—which allowed Kim to take a broad selection of courses in humanities and social sciences— and social interactions with liberal arts majors, helped him become well-rounded, socially aware and responsible. “My favorite class was Professor Warner’s 19th century Russian literature at Claremont McKenna College, although I didn’t pursue it because I got a B+.” Kim minored in economics and was influenced positively by Professor Gary Evans’ meetings about bioentrepreneurship. After graduate studies in biochemistry and genomics at Caltech, Harvard and MIT— including a Howard Hughes postdoctoral fellowship in Nobel laureate Professor Jack Szostak’s lab at Harvard—Kim spent seven years as a scientist and team leader at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He transitioned from bench work to applied and clinical research and further honed his genomic and diagnostic skills. In 2010, he entered the startup fray and joined a Caltech classmate at DxTerity Diagnostics in Los Angeles. During his time there, he sharpened his commercialization and product development acumen as the company went from zero to $50 million in government contracts for its radiation exposure blood tests. In 2017, GoDx opened for business in Madison, Wisconsin (where Professor Hal Van Ryswyk, Kim’s research advisor for four years, received his PhD). “We get so much more press and attention here than we would in California,” Kim says. Indeed, he has won several Wisconsin state grants since launching the company and was recognized this year as one of the 56 top pharmaceutical startups and companies in Wisconsin. Kim entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with the NIH,
a collaboration between the government and the private sector that facilitates the development and commercialization of health care pharmaceuticals and products. “It gave us a lot of credibility and resources because we had access to the NIH labs and staff,” he says. Through his participation in the NIH’s 10-week Innovation Corps, he interviewed 100 potential customers to better hone his product to fit market demands. He secured both Phase 1 and Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research grants from the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), invaluable funding for improving his testing technology. “For our GO-GutDx, we invented a new isothermal method for amplifying the DNA and RNA in stool,” he explains. “It doesn’t require an expensive machine or thermal cycling like polymerase chain reaction does. It’s very low-cost and fast, so it’s very well suited for the developing world.” A University of Iowa researcher is using GO-GutDX in a clinical study of children in Kenya, and Kim has applied for a grant to conduct his own larger study in Kenya. He’s also seeking certification of GO-GutDx by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ CLIA Program so it can be used as an approved lab test domestically, especially for C. difficile, a common diarrheal infection in U.S. hospitals. GoDx has other products in development: a sepsis test for the U.S. Navy and an STI test, both funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. When the pandemic erupted in early 2020, Kim realized that his paper diagnostic tools could also be adapted to detect COVID-19. He received a supplementary $800,000 SBIR grant from NCATS to develop GO-COVIDx. “We were running out of supplies and worried that our office would be shut down, but we just kept working,” he says. His team’s dedication earned them a spot in a “Heroes of the Pandemic” calendar issued by a local charity. After a successful clinical study at the Medical College of Wisconsin, GO-COVIDx is currently under review by the CLIA Program. Kim aims to roll out the certified GO-COVIDx through labs and through mobile testing to reach remote areas as well as serve schools as they start the new academic year. “We’re hoping we can help out by taking our test to them,” he says.
Method of detecting nucleic acids using three-dimensional paper microfluidic devices: Sample is loaded on the one dot on the left. It is dispersed into seven different locations for the multiplexed detection of seven pathogens and one location for the control.
Intellectual Horsepower Kyle Lampe ’02 starts a company and expands the use of machinelearning technology from horses to humans Written by Ashley Festa
yle lampe created a muppet. In 2011, Lampe ’02 was working in London at Microsoft as the lead developer of Kinect Sesame Street TV, an interactive television program made for the Xbox 360 and Kinect. The program could detect children’s movement and allow them to participate in the show—essentially, it was two-way TV. Lampe was part of the team that created a fuzzy green muppet monster named Cooper, the TV show’s host. But there was a lot more to the job than that, Lampe says. His team worked on the depth camera used in the Sesame Street program that made it interactive—children could “play” the TV show on the Xbox while the camera tracked their movements in 3D. For example, the camera could recognize a child making a throwing motion. Kinect Sesame Street TV won numerous accolades, but Microsoft discontinued the show after two seasons. However, that wasn’t the end of the story for Lampe and the 3D camera. Lampe left Microsoft in 2016 to create his own company, Victory Parade. He teamed up with his wife, Rachel, a veterinary neurosurgeon, to bring machine-learning technology to the world of horses, including work with the Olympic veterinarians for dressage, jumping and eventing. Lampe had been using the depth camera to analyze how children move, so he transferred his skills and the technology to focus on horse health, injuries and recovery. Animals tend to hide their injuries so they don’t become prey. “It’s an art on behalf of a veterinarian to determine where the animal is injured,” Lampe says. As an engineer, he wanted to find ways to deterministically measure injury by analyzing the way the horses move using the depth camera. After a brief term at Magic AI, a horsemonitoring company that acquired Victory Parade, Lampe joined Inspiren as vice president of software engineering. Lampe explains that Inspiren, a nurse-led company, uses machine learning and computer vision in a similar way, only now he’s helping humans rather than horses. The movement-detecting camera, a device Inspiren calls AUGi, automatically documents nurses’ interactions with patients in the patients’ medical record. While it’s a relatively simple task, the device has huge implications for patient care. It alerts when patients
Kyle Lampe ’02
attempt to get out of bed. Research has shown that when nurses interact with patients more often, patients are less likely to fall. The AUGi technology can alert nurses to which rooms they need to visit, preventing unsteady patients from getting out of bed alone to use the restroom, for example. The device also documents the handoff of a patient from one nurse to another, something that’s typically difficult to measure. The camera can also report how long nurses spend with each patient, which benefits hospital administration as well—if any particular patient is taking up more time than nurses can afford to spend, the hospital can evaluate staffing decisions to provide reinforcements. This helps hospitals increase patient satisfaction as well as optimize nurses’ time. Among its awards, the device earned a spot on Time magazine’s 2019 list of top inventions. Like many startup businesses, Inspiren was hit hard by the pandemic, but it has successfully weathered the storm. In this niche, Lampe and Inspiren have been perfectly positioned to provide an answer for hospitals looking to improve their infrastructure in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Particularly when a deadly airborne virus is ravaging the healthcare industry, hospitals are very interested in adding new ways to safely monitor their patients from a distance. While he’s proud of where his career has taken him, Lampe enjoys being with family when he’s away from work. He and his wife, along with their 3-year-old daughter and a newborn son (September), recently moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he works remotely for Inspiren, which is based in New York. While he says it was intimidating to leave the security of a large public company to start his own business, taking that leap allowed him to grow. “I landed in a rewarding field,” Lampe says. “I haven’t looked back to the big company culture. It’s great to have founded my own
AUGi, Inspiren's movement-detecting camera, documents nurses' interactions with patients in the patients' medical record as well as the transition from one nurse to another.
startup, and I’m still at a startup. You need a diverse set of skills to be able to do that.” He says his time at Harvey Mudd taught him much of what he needed to know to achieve his goals. Not so much the degree itself—that was in computational physics, and he works in the field of machine learning—but instead, other key assets. “The three biggest metrics for success: intellectual horsepower, work ethic and passion,” Lampe says. “Mudd taught me those first two, and everyone coming out of there has those in spades. If you find something you’re passionate about, you’re going to be successful.” Thinking back to his time creating Kinect Sesame Street TV with Microsoft, Lampe says it was that experience that set him up to start his own company. Not only was the job incredibly technical, but it was also amazingly creative. “That was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever worked on, watching kids use the Sesame Street TV product and especially watching my daughter use it,” Lampe says. “What I did at Sesame Street is now being applied in hospitals. Everything I learned while doing a beloved kids’ show now helps nurses interacting with patients.” SUMMER 2021
MUDDERINGS Spotlight Recognition Award For the Spotlight Recognition Award given throughout the year, the HMC Alumni Association selects inspirational alumni “who have had a tangible effect of noted magnitude that embodies the HMC visionary themes of innovation, leadership and impact through global influence and contributions to society.”
Elizabeth Johansen ’01 (engineering) Very early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Johansen used her creativity to design a reusable face shield that could be made with easily accessible materials. With the severe shortage of personal protective equipment, this design both improved on many other face shields by reducing the exposure pathways as well as allowed for increased production when demand was highest. For her latest projects, she’s collaborating on programs to design more accessible and affordable capnography and oxygen devices for Sub-Saharan Africa through Spark Health Design; leading a team to design a shelf-stable vaccine patch system with Vaxess Technologies; and advising an Olin and Babson Colleges student team on technology to enable early hearing loss detection to improve life outcomes for children in underserved communities.
Jennifer Lindsay ’02 (math) Lindsay is a software developer, lyric soprano and violinist based in Orange County, California. Recently, she made her role debut as Micaëla in Bizet's “Carmen” with Opera Santa Barbara. Other solo roles include Mimì in “La Bohème” with Opera Connecticut and Violetta in “La Traviata” with Pacific Lyric Opera. Last season, Lindsay joined the Metropolitan Opera as a member of the ensemble in a new and wildly popular production of Gershwin's “Porgy and Bess.” The production was named Best Opera Recording at the 2020 Grammy Awards, for which Lindsay received an official Grammy Participant certificate. This fall, she will return to the Metropolitan Opera for their hotly anticipated revival of the same production.
Madeleine Ong ’11 (engineering) Drone light shows at both the 2018 Pyeongchang and 2020/2021 Tokyo Olympics were artistic masterpieces as well as major technological advances in the use of drone technology. Ong was Intel’s first employee dedicated to their new drone light show venture. She previously worked in a highly technical platform architect role and pivoted to her new role just as Intel completed its first drone light show. Ong, a licensed drone pilot, was responsible for bringing the show to more places; within a year, her team had pivoted from a branding activation to a full-on business. In addition to the Olympics, Ong and her team have presented Intel drone light show performances at the Super Bowl, Wonder Woman home entertainment release and Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Steve Quilici ’67 (physics) Small towns often do not have the financial capability to pay for the outside expertise critical for the infrastructure and important decisions they have to make to thrive. Quilici helps citizens intelligently evaluate planning, zoning and other community matters. He learned to “give back” to the community by watching his father, who was active in community affairs (political, youth sports). Quilici became active in leadership positions in several professional organizations related to his work in aerospace and then joined other community organizations (Los Angeles County Business Technology Center, City of Ojai Planning Commission and board positions). These collaborations allowed him to give back to various communities and made for a busy retirement. He believes Mudders should get involved in local professional societies, charities and local government (volunteer) agencies to help the communities, stay informed and meet interesting people.
Peter Schwartzman ’91 (physics) Schwartzman is contributing to his community through his volunteer work and by serving as mayor of Galesburg, Illinois. He moved there in 1998 to launch the Environmental Studies Department at Knox College, having recently completed a PhD in atmospheric sciences at the University of Virginia. Nine years later, after a sabbatical spent volunteering for a non-profit environmental justice organization in Chicago and with two children, he felt compelled to improve the city where his family would reside. This mindset led first to the founding of a small community center, which clarified to Schwartzman the important role of local government and moved him to run for city council. After serving as a council member for 10 years, he saw an opportunity to inject optimism and a collective mindset into his community. He was elected mayor of Galesburg in April 2021.
AABOG Update The Alumni Association Board of Governors (AABOG), comprised of alumni volunteers, is the leadership body of the Harvey Mudd College Alumni Association. Board members serve three-year terms and partner closely with staff, faculty and students to strengthen relationships and increase alumni support of the college.
Austin Brown ’02
Eun Bin Go ’15
Gregory Rae ’00, president Kathy French ’97, vice president Grace Credo ’96, treasurer Marissa Lee ’18, secretary
Hayden Hatch ’12
Izzy Lee ’16
CLASS NOTES 1962
(several of which he discovered and helped name). Michael says, “The book covers far more mushroom species than any other book on the market. Nearly the entire book is devoted to the illustrated key and both novice mushroom hunters and professional mycologists are already using it with ease. See samples on the website mushroomsofcascadia.com. He adds, “I am forever indebted for having been chosen for the Bates program many years ago. Like virtually all Bates graduates, I have maintained regular contact with Iris.”
Dick Silver (engineering) reports: “It is lots of
WORK to get older! And as I have succeeded at that, there is joy and rejoicing in my posterity. Kay Lea Silver, Menlo-Atherton High school 1959 and BYU, granted me a contract renewal for our 58th year married coming up. We have had two grandchildren pass away. There are three in the U.S. Navy. One is retired from the National Guard and one has top-secret clearance in National Guard Signal Corps. When I ask him what training was given to you this year? His reply, “If I told you, I’d have to shoot you.” Oldest son is in the IT group for Delta Airlines. I asked him for recommendations for a good router on my home network; he said the only routers he was familiar with cost $20,000 each. The family now is eight children, 19 grandkids and 13 great-grandkids. The photo shows me using my planer to prepare zebra-wood for bathroom cabinets. Woodwork is my hobby. I became an engineer as well to afford an early retirement!”
Michael Beug (chemistry)
published his second mushroom identification book (the first was Ascomycete Fungi of North America in 2014 with coauthors Allen and Arleen Bessette). The new book is a solo effort featuring 45 years of his mushroom photography: Mushrooms of Cascadia: An Illustrated Key, Fungi Press 2021. It is a unique mushroom field guide designed to slip into a fanny pack and used in the field with nearly 1,050 photographs of 950 species HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Brian Dorman (chemistry) has horses and
mammoth riding donkeys on six acres in McKinleyville, California. He graduated from UCSF medical school 50 years ago and practices telemedicine as a urologist. He’s part of the open-heart team in Eureka because in California they need a second surgeon when they do heart cases. Brian is a large animal shelter lead and is on the animal evacuation team for the North Valley Animal Disaster Group in Butte county and worked during the Bear North Complex fire. He’s also a volunteer at the California Native Plant Society Nursery in Eureka. Jon Williams (physics) was appointed
vice president clinical affairs of Adverum Biotechnologies Inc, to further its efforts in developing novel therapies. He will provide scientific and technical expertise and leadership across Adverum’s clinical development program for ADVM-022. Julie Clark, MD, chief medical officer at Adverum Biotechnologies, says, “Jon is a dynamic scientist and prolific published researcher, bringing 25 years of experience in clinical and preclinical drug and medical device development and regulatory strategies to this new position at Adverum. His comprehensive knowledge of ocular diseases, including angiogenic retinal disease, strategic clinical trial design and execution across all phases of ophthalmic product development will be valuable for our ADVM-022 clinical development program and our pipeline.” “Ocular gene therapy to treat retinal diseases is an exciting field with the potential to
transform the current standard of care for patients,” says Jon. “Adverum is propelling this therapeutic area forward in bold new ways.” He joins Adverum from Bausch Health Companies, where he served as senior director, clinical affairs and was responsible for leading clinical science and medical writing for ophthalmic medical device projects. Previously, he worked at Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Bausch + Lomb Incorporated and ISTA Pharmaceuticals. While executive director for biological research at Magainin Pharmaceuticals, he was instrumental in characterizing the novel antiangiogenic nature of Squalamine, a natural aminosterol product, in several animal models of systemic or ocular disease.
David Wilbur (math) and Linda Wilbur started
a nonprofit in 2013 providing education and mentoring to low-income, underserved families in east Los Angeles. The main program is a free parenting and toddler program called Baby College (lindave.org). Dave says, “Baby College has had quite a 2020-2021. First, we lost our lease in January 2020, but luckily found a new place at a church in the Hermon part of Los Angeles. Just as we had moved in but before we could open, the pandemic hit. We transitioned to a more remote mode, providing families with COVID-safe, curbside pickup of weekly art/science bags with online meetings with their teachers for the kids as well as online meetings with the parents providing our Parenting Without Violence program. When food insecurity hit, we arranged to deliver food boxes. So far, we have delivered over 2,500 art/science bags and 3,000 food boxes. With the improved vaccination rates and lowered infection rates, we finally opened with in-person classes in mid-June 2021. So far, over 100 families have attended.”
After 12 years as dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, Henry E. Brady (math and physics) stepped down June 30. “I’m proud to say that the school got bigger adding two more degree programs and many new faculty members. Its student body and faculty got much more diverse, and it is rated
I Develop Therapeutic Strategies Abbygail Foster ’08 shares milestones from her professional journey Interview by Cleopatre Thelus, OBSA doctoral fellow, and Stephanie L. Graham
i grew up in st. catherine, jamaica and have always had a passion for science. My interests led me to Harvey Mudd College’s exceptional engineering program. At Harvey Mudd, I had the opportunity to work with new materials for tissue repair and cell growth with Prof. Elizabeth Orwin ’95 and Prof. Nancy Lape. These research experiences sparked my interest in drug delivery and biomaterial development. After graduation, I moved to the East Coast to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware, where I developed new stimulus-responsive materials for targeted gene and drug delivery. I then moved back to California to further explore my interest in biomaterial design as a postdoctoral researcher in the Stanford Materials Science Department and the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. While there, I had the unique opportunity to collaborate with physicians to develop biomaterial strategies for tissue regeneration and cell delivery. I joined Genentech in 2019 to provide scientific support for therapeutic development. I am a technical development scientist in the Pharmaceutical Development Department, where I am the formulation lead on one of Genentech’s T-cell-engaging bispecific antibody programs for the treatment of metastatic cancers. This dual-targeting antibody is designed to redirect T-cells to attack cancer cells. As a formulation scientist, I work with our development and clinical teams to design a successful formulation of this antibody, manage clinical trials and pilot studies, and
develop approaches for the safe and effective clinical use of our antibody drug. In addition to supporting one of our antibody programs, I am also the formulation lead for one of Genentech’s engineered T-cell therapies. In this role, I have the unique opportunity to combine my cell delivery
expertise with the formulation expertise I have gained at Genentech to develop this exciting new therapeutic strategy. I am grateful for my experiences at Harvey Mudd, which opened the door to a career creating new therapies with world-class scientists who are passionate about tackling unmet medical needs.
the No. 1 public policy school in the nation. I am excited about going back to teaching and research, and I was just unexpectedly awarded the 2021 Frank J. Goodnow Award of the American Political Science Association to honor the service of teachers, researchers and public servants in the many fields of politics. I feel relaxed for the first time in decades, and I am looking forward to days without the daily challenges of being a dean at a major university in these difficult times.” Henry received the HMC Outstanding Alumnus award in 2014.
Bruce Cohen (physics) still works about two
days each week for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on a contract basis doing technical work (telecommuting because of COVID). Otherwise he’s busy with work around the house, gardening, walking and hiking, books, weekly golf games, and lots of Zooms with friends and family.
in advance. Since retiring, I have done a little traveling, done a little research work to finish up a math-based manuscript and worked on remodeling my basement. Since my significant other is planning to move to Denver and I have a small place out on Whidbey Island on Puget Sound, the immediate plan is to move to Whidbey, and split our time between Denver, Whidbey and travel. I mess around with math a bit (any advice re: learning Lie methods from scratch would be appreciated!) and am also trying to learn how to play the piano, which is something I promised myself I would try when I retired.”
Mid-pandemic, James Bean (math) and his wife, Margaret, retired from positions in Boston and moved back to Portland, Oregon. Their two children (Meghan and James) and two granddaughters (Lillian and Rosie) had settled there. They recently welcomed a third granddaughter (Zoe). James is senior advisor to the president at Northeastern University in addition to chairing the Harvey Mudd College Board of Trustees.
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
retired since the summer of 2018. He writes, “My wife and I had expected to increase our international traveling as she edged closer to retirement herself, but COVID-19 had other ideas. We have recently ventured out for some domestic travel as we recover from our pandemic-induced cabin fever.”
Laveille Kao Voss (engineering) and Jeff Voss ’82 (engineering) have used the pandemic Rich Helling (chemistry), director of
sustainability at Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan, reached the milestone of “biking around the world” in December (cumulative 24,901 miles on 12/6/20, almost all done in Midland County on my commuting bike [I’ve not opted for an array of bikes, just one]). Rich, an expert in chemical engineering, works intimately with life cycle assessment and analysis at the Dow Chemical Company.
year to learn how to manage a vineyard and make wine in the garage. Laveille says, “Our family vineyard didn’t make a commercial wine for the 2020 vintage, and we took advantage of that. We recently had a blending session, and we learned a lot from this process. We are looking forward to our 2021 vintage and improving from 2020. When not working (whatever that means) I am also trying to improve my golf game. One of these days, I will be able to take advantage of being an empty nester. Wendell Wenjen ’85/86 (engineering) leads
strategic alliances with storage software companies for Seagate’s enterprise systems group. After five years of software engineering for Hughes Aircraft after HMC, he received an MBA from UCLA and has been in the Bay Area doing business development, product management and marketing for a variety of companies in the data center hardware business, consumer electronics and advertising industries.
Brian Williams (chemistry) retired from
Bucknell University in May 2020 after 31 years. He writes, “Given COVID, the non-academics I run into thought that was a brilliant move, but the academics will know this was sheer dumb luck as the whole process of retirement and replacement had to be planned two years
Kirk Norenberg (engineering) has been fully
Jack Cuzick (math) received the QM
Engagement Voyager Award for “impact with the best scope and geographical reach.” The award was made for a body of research that was instrumental in worldwide decisions to replace cytological screening for cervical cancer with more effective primary HPV screening. HPV primary screening is now implemented in the UK and Australia and recommended by the European Commission, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and American Cancer Society. Jack received the HMC Outstanding Alumnus award in 2010.
postdoc at LANL and second child, Jack Aloysius. Finally, 27 years at PNNL where child No. 3, Benjamin Braun, was born. Finally figured it out: we have a baby every time we move, so we stopped moving! I work on nuclear non-proliferation and other national security related R&D for PNNL and our USG clients— very fulfilling to see the impact. Shameless plug: I chair review panels of such research, conducting 60+ such reviews each year and am always looking for expert reviewers. Drop me a line with CV; would love to sign up some Mudders for reviews.”
Greg Eiden (chemistry) writes, “After Mudd,
five years at Tektronix, then six years in Madison to get a P-Chem PhD, married Ann and had our first child, Madeline Rose. Then
Scientist and Visionary Priya Donti was named to MIT Technology Review’s annual list of Innovators Under 35 priya donti ’15 is making good on her promise to address global warming and the energy crisis. She began working toward this goal during her time at Harvey Mudd, when she served as co-president of the student environmental club ESW/MOSS, volunteered with community service organizations and developed educational games in partnership with middle school teachers. She earned a degree in computer science/mathematics with an emphasis in environmental analysis and garnered multiple awards, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Udall Foundation Honorable Mention, and a Watson Fellowship to investigate the cultural and social ramifications of renewable energy policy and smart electric grids. Now a PhD student in computer science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, working at the intersection of machine learning, electric power systems and climate change mitigation, Donti has earned yet another honor. She is on MIT Technology Review’s prestigious annual list of Innovators Under 35 as a 2021 Visionary, among those “looking to the future of quantum computing, energy policy, robotics and more.” Every year, the media company has recognized a list of exceptionally talented technologists whose work has great potential to transform the world. Tim Maher, managing editor of MIT Technology Review, says: “We get more than 500 nominations for the list every year, and getting that list down to 35—a task not only for the editors at MIT Technology Review but also for our 30-plus judges—is one of the hardest things we do each year. We love the way the final list always shows what a wide variety of people there are, all around the world, working on creative solutions to some of humanity’s hardest problems.”
Donti monderates a panel at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
At Carnegie Mellon University, where she is a doctoral candidate working toward a joint degree in computer science and public policy, Donti co-founded an initiative called Climate Change AI, a group of volunteers from academia and industry that seeks to facilitate work at the intersection of climate change and machine learning. She also was a lead author on an influential paper titled “Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning,” which describes how machine learning can be a powerful tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping society adapt to a changing climate. Donti’s focus is on working to mitigate the impact of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable populations. Donti is the most recent Harvey Mudd
alum on MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 list. In 2016, Kevin Esvelt ’04, director of the Sculpting Evolution group and assistant professor at MIT Media Lab, made the Visionaries list for his work developing new gene-editing techniques and raising awareness about the potential threats of gene drives. Learn more about this year’s honorees on the MIT Technology Review website and in the July/ August issue. The honorees are also featured at the upcoming EmTech MIT conference, MIT Technology Review’s annual flagship event (held online September 28–30, 2021), which offers a carefully curated perspective on the most significant developments of the year, with a focus on understanding their potential business and societal impact.
Susan (Buckels) Doherty (engineering) is chief
marketing officer at Fort Mason Games, where women create fun mobile games for women. She says, “Now that the pandemic is here, I’m taking time off to help family and take care of our new Collie pup, who is a delightful addition to our family. For fellow Bates Aeronautics alums out there, I enjoyed reading Iris Critchell’s new biography The Privilege of Flight. What a great book about Iris’ interesting life!”
Tim Wendler (engineering) hosted several
virtual Class of 1989 mini-reunions. He rejoined the board of the Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy, a land trust that works to preserve wildlife corridors, and was recently appointed to the Pasadena Unified School District Redistricting Committee. He continues to serve on the Pasadena Planning Commission, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Advisory Committee and as president of the Professional Environmental Management Association.
Janet Cooke Hansen (engineering) is still
based in Encinitas, California, where she enjoys year-round gardening and daily beach walks. For the past 20 years, she’s been making custom lighted clothing, mostly for clients in the entertainment industry (Broadway shows, theme parks, concerts, sports mascots, etc.). “While this work has been slower during the pandemic, I’ve been spending more time on the non-wearable side of my business, building up my portfolio of LED art.” See janethansen.com and enlighted.com. Paul Vahey (chemistry) is celebrating 25 years
of marriage with Sheri and completing 15 years at Boeing as an analytical chemist and associate technical fellow. He says, “Enjoy seeing fellow Mudd alums at martial arts class, online escape rooms and old-fashioned in-person visits.”
Ellen Heian (engineering) is interested in
cottage-scale plastics recycling and welcomes input on the topic.
Greg Harr (engineering) joined a small
consulting firm focusing on utility energy HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
efficiency and electric vehicle programs, Electrify Everything. His unpaid side hustle solarforall.org is working on its 30th solar install on affordable housing in Oregon and southwest Washington this year. Yvonne Ulrich-Lai (biology) is an associate
professor of pharmacology and systems biology at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. She says, “The goal of my research program is to identify the neural and hormonal substrates that are responsible for the interactions among diet, obesity and stress. This includes investigating how eating so-called ’comfort’ foods provide stress relief.”
Joe Beda (CS) writes, “Rachel Donahue
(biology) and I are 21 years married with two kids in Seattle. I’m currently a principal engineer at VMware after selling my startup, Heptio, in late 2018. Beyond Heptio, I also helped found the Kubernetes open-source project and started Google Compute Engine, all while at Google for over 10 years.”
1998 Sarah Jacobson
(engineering) has been an economist at Williams College since 2010, and has been an associate professor since 2016. She specializes in environmental and behavioral economics. “In recent years, I’ve also been working a lot on diversity, equity and inclusion in economics, in my department and more broadly. I recently won an NSF grant with some colleagues to study in-kind donations (donations of stuff rather than money). And I’m looking forward to a sabbatical in 2021–2022!”
Econ/engineering alum Edith Harbaugh and John Kodumal ’00 (CS), are co-founders of LaunchDarkly (featured in spring 2019 HMC Magazine, https://bit.ly/LDspr19). They raised $200 million in late-stage financing led by Lead Edge Capital LLC to scale up the company’s core feature platform. With this new funding, LaunchDarkly has tripled its valuation to $3 billion. Edith and John met at HMC and later founded their continuous-delivery, feature flag management platform in 2014.
David Beydler (CS)
writes, “After working as a software engineer at a company called Paracel for a few years, I developed a repetitive stress injury in my hands (don’t let this happen to you!) and had to stop working. I rested my hands for about three years, traveling to Europe, China and New Zealand, then went back to school and got an M.S. in mathematics from Cal State LA. I’ve been a math professor at Mt. San Antonio College (California) since 2011. It has been a joy sharing the wonders of math with my students, many of whom are first-generation college students. I like to challenge them to learn programming (my primary passion!) and sometimes create fun little programs with them during breaktime. My favorite students are my two sons, who are currently enduring endless quizzing on circle properties and for loops.”
Jon Erickson (physics) was promoted to
professor of physics and engineering at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. For the past 18 months, Angie (Kurle) Luengen (math) has been working at a tiny EdTech startup, Corsava. She says, “As is often the case with startups, I wear a lot of hats. Rarely does a day go exactly as planned, but I love my team, and it’s fun to be tackling the “college fit” problem; working to connect the next generation of college students with a college campus and experience that will allow them to thrive. I’m learning a ton too, which makes it even better! Outside of work, Ross and I continue to enjoy hiking, backpacking, and kayaking in the Pacific Northwest. Our two dogs are frequently along for the adventures. My most frequent trail buddy is our three-anda-half-year-old pup, Strider. We’re racking up miles training to earn his Working Pack Dog title.”
Antonio Medrano (engineering) is an assistant
professor of computer science at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. In 2020, he was part of a group awarded an NSF grant on using artificial intelligence for environmental science research (AI2ES, www.ai2es.org). His lab is using deep learning to protect sea turtle nests from inundation along the Texas coast. He and his wife, Noemi, just had their first child, Nolan, in June 2021.
Trish Brock (biology) has been working at
California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, for about 15 years, first helping submit grant applications, and more recently as director for research compliance. She now reviews human subject and animal subject protocols and helps faculty working on export-controlled projects and activities. She says, “It has been wonderful getting to use my broad Mudd education across a wide variety of projects and activities. I love living and working in the Central Coast and seeing lots of animals and life in my yard.”
Joseph Checkelsky (physics) is one of five
faculty members in the MIT School of Science to earn tenure for 2021. Joseph investigates exotic electronic states of matter through the synthesis, measurement and control of solid materials. His research aims to broaden the boundaries of understanding quantum mechanical condensate systems and to reveal new physical phenomena that open the door to new technologies by realizing emergent electronic and magnetic functions. Checkelsky received a PhD in physics from Princeton University and was appointed a postdoc at the Institute of Physical Chemistry in Japan and a lectureship at the University of Tokyo before joining the MIT Department of Physics in 2014. Last fall, Eric Harley (math) left Baltimore for South Kingstown, Rhode Island, to be closer to family. He says, “I had been living in Baltimore since starting grad school in 2004 at Johns Hopkins, so it was the end of an era, but 2020 was especially rough on the kids (9 and 5), and we didn’t feel like we had another choice. Professionally, over the last year and a half I led the development and implementation of a new sampling method for the USDA’s Food Safety
agency leveraging big data, machine learning and good ol’ fashioned statistics. I can say unequivocally that America’s supply of chicken nuggets has never been safer.”
California) that was recently awarded $20 million in federal earmark funding.
2008 Rosemary Dodson
After working for the last 10+ years as an operational weather forecaster, Lewis Kanofsky (engineering) moved to Kansas City in mid-March to start a new job as a research meteorologist at the Aviation Weather Center.
and economics) joins Ivey Business School (Ontario, Canada) as assistant professor of finance, where he teaches the HBA1 core finance course. His research interests include market microstructure, information economics and asset management. This summer, he received his PhD in finance from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Prior to that, he spent more than six years in the asset management industry working at two hedge funds, Citadel and Millennium, as a fundamental equity investor and about a year in financial litigation consulting at Charles River Associates. In his free time, he enjoys watching and playing soccer, traveling and spending time with family.
(engineering) travels across the United States working as a test engineer for various companies. After graduation, she spent five years in Hawaii at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard testing non-nuclear systems on naval submarines. She writes, “I met my future husband there while he was serving as a submarine officer and followed him to Los Angeles, where I was a production test engineer at SpaceX testing rocket components for manufacturing defects. We moved to Orlando for my husband’s medical school, and I spent three years at L3Harris Corporation testing communication systems. Currently, I am a system integration and test engineer for Northrop Grumman in San Diego while my husband is doing his residency at Naval Medical Center San Diego. Test engineering has allowed me the flexibility to change jobs because the principles and experience carry over to completely different systems and types of testing. I find testing engaging because it is active work and requires great communication and coordination.”
Abbygail Foster (engineering) and her husband,
George Malikov (math
(mathematical biology) has been a data scientist at Facebook in the Small Business Group for two years. Spouse, George Tucker ’08 (CS/ math) is a research scientist at Google Brain. They’ve both been working from their home in Sunnyvale and enjoying the extra time with their 2-year-old son and newborn son. Kapy Kangombe (CS) recently left Microsoft to
join Amazon Web Services as a senior software engineer working on the Domain Name System service called Route 53.
Andrew Foster, welcomed their second child, Naomi Grace, on Feb. 24. Ben Stanphill (engineering) gave a Mudd
Talk about “Career Paths in Environmental Remediation.” He described public repositories of hazardous waste cleanup projects in California and gave an overview of environmental remediation with a focus on toxic chemicals in soil, groundwater and indoor air. He discussed careers in consulting and how Harvey Mudd’s unique educational philosophy prepares graduates for careers that straddle multiple disciplines. Ben is a senior civil engineer focusing on environmental remediation with Arcadis, a global design and consultancy firm based in the Netherlands.
Rebecca Young—now Becky Kelcher—
(engineering) was the consultant project manager of an interchange reconstruction project (I-10/Monroe Street in Indio, SUMMER 2021
Jessica Kurata (biology) works as a senior
bioinformatic scientist at Guardant Health developing a blood test to detect if a patient’s cancer has been completely removed by surgery or if they should still receive therapy. Kristen M. Warren (engineering) has been a research engineer at a startup company called Embr Labs since 2016. She says, “Our first product, the Embr Wave, generates sensations of warmth or cold on the inside of your wrist, stimulating your thermoreceptors with precise temperature profiles we call thermal waveforms. Our device and patented thermal waveforms have been shown to alleviate the intensity of hot flashes for women going through menopause and help users with general temperature regulation problems to sleep better and feel less stressed.”
Tony Evans married Masha Kleshcheva on July 24 in Veneta, Oregon. Andy Wong, Eric Peterson and Sam Gordon served as groomsmen. Claire O’Hanlon officiated. Other Mudders in attendance included Adrian Sampson, Scott Smith, Ginna Kim, Catherine Bradshaw, Shannon McKenna and Ryan Quarfoth. Pictured are Shannon, Ryan, Scott,
Tony, Adrian, Claire, Eric, Ginna and Andy. University of California, Merced natural sciences professor Aurora Pribram-Jones (chemistry) has received an NSF grant partnering with Harvey Mudd and University of South Wales that will give some firstgeneration undergrads a collaborative research experience, including a summer of research in Australia.
Physicists at Stanford, Princeton and other universities say that they have used Google’s quantum computer to demonstrate a genuine “time crystal,” an object whose parts move in a regular, repeating cycle, sustaining this constant change without burning any energy. Vedika Khemani (physics), a condensed matter physicist at Stanford, co-discovered the novel phase while she was a graduate student and co-authored a paper with the Google team. Joshua Swanson (math) finished his postdoc
at UCSD and is starting a second and final one at USC.
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
During 2020, Kyle Shan (math) finished a master’s degree and moved to Boise, where he’s a data scientist at Micron. He and Kristina Ming married in July. Helen Woodward (CS) lives in the Bay Area
and works for Akamai on their real-time user monitoring product, mPulse, to collect data at large-scale and present meaningful analysis of it in real time.
Ramy Elminyawi (engineering) works at a
startup in San Diego that creates satellite payloads. “Since we’re a startup, I wear many hats, but my main two involve writing embedded software and integrating the individual electronics into a fully functional system.”
Katarina Hoeger (math) writes: “This past year
was my second year studying in the Intermedia department at UMaine. I have created audio and visual artworks, in the media of VR, sound, visuals, webpages and booklets. A few of the pieces required mathematics and algorithms (efficient sorting, efficiently choosing a spot to place the next virtual object, etc.). One specifically was a partial exploration of wallpaper groups.” In August, Katarina hosted a Mudd Makers: Co-Create session, which celebrates and nurtures the Mudd community’s creativity, curiosity and dedication. Andrew Hilger (engineering) completed an M.S.
in electrical engineering at Stanford in 2018. He did research with a glaciology professor mapping basal conditions under Antaractic ice using synthetic aperture radar. He also worked at Sandia National Labs on software that processes remote sensing data and is currently working on autonomous vehicle maps at Zoox.
Shannon (Wetzler) Quevedo (chemistry and
biology) recently married and also defended her chemistry PhD from the University of Michigan. She accepted a tenure track position that begins in fall 2021 at the Virginia Military Institute, where she will be Major Shannon Quevedo, PhD.
Josh Sanz (engineering) worked for three
Maddie Weinstein (math) graduated from UC
years at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on radar signal processing. He’s now in year three of an EECS PhD at UC Berkeley working on machine learning for wireless communications. In his spare time, he likes to rock climb, run, ski and play Age of Empires with friends during social distancing.
Berkeley with her PhD in math in May and has started a postdoc at Stanford. She is an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador, a STEM role model for girls. She and her dog, Pumpkin Pi, were featured in a video on the GoldieBlox YouTube channel about debunking stereotypes about mathematicians.
visualization of Penrose tilings that other math-lovers might enjoy! Visit penrosemoire. com to view it.
Virtual Hangout series. Participants learned simple breathing, yoga and meditation techniques that can be done at home to find comfort, lower anxiety, increase energy and support health.
Marc Finzi (physics) is working toward his PhD
Sarah Silcox (engineering) is the distribution
in CS at NYU (transferred from Cornell). His recent projects are either physics-inspired, such as LieConv—arxiv.org/abs/2002.12880 —where he develops neural networks with symmetries to Lie groups or projects that are at the intersection of physics and ML, such as (arxiv.org/abs/2010.13581), where he devises networks with better inductive biases (from classical physics) to learn from physical systems like the dynamics of a jointed robot. He has done work with two ex-theoretical physicists, Roberto Bondesan and Max Welling, on probabilistic numeric convolutional networks using tools from the physics toolbox like Greens functions and GPs to model discretization errors in CNNs probabilistically. He’s also working on a project to use neural networks to express solutions in numerical relativity to simplify some challenges with adaptive mesh refinement.
integrity management engineer at Dominion Energy Utah, Wyoming, Idaho. She analyzes the possible risks to the low-pressure natural gas pipeline assets in these states. She reports that she’s finished two 200-page comics and picked up fishing. “I began fishing in July 2020 when I realized I was an adult and could fulfill my wildest dreams.”
Lakshay Akula (math) made a math
Immediately after graduating, Kathryn Jones (engineering) took a position as a graduate engineer for IMI Precision Engineering. The position entailed four six-month placements in different locations with different roles at each one, including one six-month international placement and two international training sessions. She says, “It was a great way to see the country while also learning business side engineering roles and production processes. At the end of my two years with the company, I decided to go back for graduate school since I had always planned on getting an advanced degree.” She’s enrolled at UCI to earn a PhD in civil engineering with a focus on concrete additive manufacturing for wind turbines. Lydia Scharff (engineering) works at Aurora
Flight Sciences in Virginia and spent most of the last two years working on the Boeing Passenger Air Vehicle.
During the summer, Shailee Samar (CS) led short yoga sequences and guided meditations for Mudd Meditates, as part of the Alumni
After graduating, David Kwan (engineering) worked for Georg Fischer Signet (his Clinic sponsor) as a firmware engineer and then as a project manager. Since then, he moved to the Bay Area to work as an engineering program manager at Apple. “I’m excited to be around many of my Mudd friends in the Bay Area!”
Camille Goldman (biology) is pursuing a PhD
in biomedical science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She joined a lab that uses organoids (3D cell models) to study Parkinson’s disease. “We are particularly interested in using our model to study geneenvironment interactions as most cases of PD have environmental causes that are not fully understood. Before COVID-19, I was taking full advantage of living in New York City. Now that I’m more confined to my tiny apartment, I spend my free time reading and baking. And yes, I do have a sourdough starter!” Jingnan Shi (engineering) has been working toward a PhD in robotics at MIT AeroAstro. His paper “Optimal Pose and Shape Estimation for Category-level 3D Object Perception” earned the Best Paper Finalist award at the 2021 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference. He’s working on robust robotic perception systems and the intersection between theory and practical systems. Hannah Slocumb (chemistry) writes: “I’m
about to start my third year in UCI’s organic chemistry PhD program, where I’ve been working in Prof. Vy Dong’s lab. This year, I’ve been awarded the NSF GRFP, had a paper published on the asymmetric hydroamination of dienes with pyrazoles in ACIE and earned my chemistry M.S. degree.”
Kristin Lie (engineering) works on satellites in
El Segundo. “I’ve also kept busy during COVID by building a climbing wall in my garage and am enjoying my newly purchased power tools!”
Future Gift Guide We’re planning ahead for the next Ultimudd Gift Guide in summer 2022. Let us know about your business or suggest a fellow alum, and we’ll follow up. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
and am surprisingly good at—cutting hair, woodworking (I made the couch and planters in the photo!), painting, cooking and bothering my cats just to name a few. Now that work ends at 5 p.m. and there are no problem sets, I have many creative personal projects to devote my time to. On top of that I also have thought about what kind of impact I want to have in my work and how to accomplish it. It took some digging to find a career path that I could apply my skill set from Mudd to, and I’ve decided to go into science writing and communication, starting with a life science writing internship now and moving to a patent writing position in the spring.”
Danielle Michaud (engineering) writes, “This
year has given me time to learn about myself in a way that I couldn’t have at Mudd. I’ve found many new things that I enjoy doing
Lucila Grinspan (engineering) has been relaxing
with the family in Miami and Asheville, North Carolina, and working on getting a Salesforce administrator certification.
This new platform provides direct access to a trusted network of diverse peers who can serve as mentors and supporters. Whether joining as an information provider or information seeker (or both), engaging on MuddCompass allows you to connect directly with Mudders in-person and online, locally and globally.
Once you join the community, make sure to download our new mobile app. Visit muddcompass.hmc.edu on your mobile device browser and log in (Use Safari on your iOS device). Follow the prompts to “Add to Home Screen”
JOIN AT MUDDCOMPASS.HMC.EDU
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Richard Llewellyn ’68
MuddCompass now features alumni-owned businesses! Add your business listing. Log in to MuddCompass, select the Resources tab in the main menu, and then choose Business Directory in the sub-menu. Select the blue Create a Resource button and enter your business information into the form, then select the blue Submit button at the bottom of the page. Questions? Email email@example.com.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard Llewellyn ’68 (engineering) passed away on June 6 of pancreatic cancer. He worked at Westinghouse Corp., which became Northrop Grumman, for more than 30 years and pioneered work that went into radar and targeting systems for the military but also found its way into today's vehicle sensing technologies. “Rick was an innovative thinker who contributed to the design of computer hardware for the AWACS radar system and led the development of the first fully programmable airborne processors for the Electronically Agile Radar, the F-16 fighter, and B-1B bomber,” says his wife, Julia Wagner, in a June 2021 Baltimore Sun interview. “Generations of computing systems flying today can trace their heritage back to some of Rick’s original concepts.” During their extensive travels, Richard and Julia (married nearly 46 years) captured many images and videos of animals and birds. In addition to Julia, a retired dentist, survivors include a brother, John Llewellyn of Pasadena, California; a sister, Ann Evans of Knapp Island, Canada; and nieces and nephews.
Ask Me About Giving Marissa Lee ’18 is a shining example of someone who consistently gives back to her community. What started as involvement in HMC’s annual Student Philanthropy Campaign as a first year has evolved into a series of post-graduate, recurring contributions to the College that support various campus initiatives. Students involved in the Student Philanthropy Campaign identify an underfunded area on campus and then raise student awareness and funds for the targeted program while instilling a culture of engagement and contributing to the campus community. “It is a cool way for students to get involved in defining areas that we can improve in our community and tangibly help support those initiatives,” says Lee, now a grad student in mechanical engineering at Stanford University who studies human health and mobility using biomechanical and statistical modeling. After graduation, it was only natural that Lee continue her campaign of giving back while gently encouraging her alumni friends to do the same. As a volunteer, she began serving on the Alumni Association Board of Governors, lending her expertise to the committees of admission (she’s interviewed prospective students), executive and outreach. During 2018–2019, she was the only AABOG representative for all of the class years after 2010, and one of 32 young alumni volunteers. Now, thanks in large part to her leadership, there are five AABOG representatives and over four times as many volunteers serving from the young alumni classes. In addition to being AABOG secretary, Lee currently chairs the Outreach Committee and is instrumental in the development of Alumni Perspectives, a small-group virtual discussion series that connects alumni and students around various themes pertaining to careers,
life and more. As a focus group member, she helps shape new young alumni initiatives, and she’s hosted alumni virtual game nights. As an HMC donor, Lee’s contributions initially went to the general fund. A few years ago, she started giving a portion to the Department of Engineering and, this year, she plans to help support the Homework Hotline, which she was involved in as an undergrad. As her contributions have increased depending on her financial situation, Lee has switched from annual to monthly donations. She encourages fellow classmates to follow her lead by giving a few dollars a month instead of a big sum annually. “I continually have conversations with people,” says Lee, who’s adept at introducing the topic of giving as part of a friendly chat. Lee also contributes time and energy connecting alumni to students and helping support students in general.
301 Platt Boulevard Claremont, CA 91711 hmc.edu/magazine
Mudders embrace a new world as they return to Claremont. For half of the student body, this fall marks the first time that they have stepped foot on the Harvey Mudd campus for classes.
Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Claremont, CA Permit No. 35