Harvey Mudd College Magazine, spring 2020

Page 1


Accomplishing the goals of the College’s Strategic Vision and negotiating the obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have required incredible teamwork.











1 2


Social Animalia Bee Lab

In biology professor Matina Donaldson-Matasci’s HMC Bee Lab, scientists study how colonies of social insects, such as bees and ants, coordinate group behaviors. “Using a combination of field experiments with honey bees, laboratory experiments with ants, mathematical models and computer simulations, we explore how different types of communication systems are suited to different types of environments and social structures,” says Donaldson-Matasci. Recent projects in the Bee Lab include field

experiments on honey bee foraging, mapping the floral landscape using drones and computer vision, and a combination of lab experiments and simulations of the transportation networks of arboreal ants. When researchers aren’t running an experiment in the lab or collecting data in the field, they can be found in the lab meeting room doing computational projects and attending weekly lab meetings. 1. Arya Massarat ’20 is working on an automated method for mapping the species of flowering plants frequented by bees in a landscape. “We have drone images of landscapes in which honey bees forage for nectar and pollen,” he says. “My method stitches these

images together, uses computer vision algorithms to identify plants within the images and then automatically labels each plant by its species. At large scales, creating the maps that my method produces is difficult to do manually because bees can travel vast distances in search of resources. We hope my method will allow the lab to create many of these maps automatically. This will allow the lab to ask interesting questions about how the layout and composition of the species of plants in a landscape affect the honey bee colonies within it.” 2. Elena Romero ’20 is working on her senior thesis, which studies turtle ants. “One turtle ant colony often





T urtle ants seem to have a way of crawling into the hearts of their researchers. Nora Nickerson ’22 is so fond of the creatures, she has created illustrations of them to describe her research. Donaldson-Matasci loves ants and bees, but she says, “In my opinion, the turtle ants are just adorable, and they are fascinating partly because so much is still unknown about how they behave and what they do in the wild. That means that there are lots of interesting questions open for exploration.”

lives in multiple nests at the same time. I am primarily using statistics to investigate how turtle ants allocate colony members to the colony’s different nests,” she says. “I really enjoy getting to work with the data from previous experiments we’ve run in the lab. I find the data to be really interesting and complex. It seems like something new is always popping up.” 3. This structure, built to hold 10 ant nests, is the latest iteration in a design developed in the Bee Lab. “These ants live in trees, with multiple nests in hollow cavities in twigs,” says Donaldson-Matasci, describing the structure to Bradley Gonmiah ’23 and daughter, Irene. “Each little red tube on a blue stand is a nest mimicking those cavities. The structure is our attempt to mimic the three-dimensional space that the ants have to navigate when walking between nests. We want to know how the possible pathways between nests might affect which cavities the ants choose to nest in and how they use those nests. Do they put all their babies in nests that are easily accessible? Spread them across many nests? Try to put them in places where it’s easy to quickly move them?”

4. Marylin Roque ’21 is one of the students who designed the multi-nest structure. An engineering major with a strong interest in biology, Roque is enthusiastic about her work. “What could be better than designing something for a biological application?” she says. Roque spent summer 2019 developing the multilevel structure parameters based on field observations, information from previous experiments using earlier versions of the platform and functionality set by experimental needs. After designing the parts of the structure with AutoCAD software, Roque laser cuts them in acrylic. Finally, she glues the pieces together. “The last step is my absolute favorite part of the process,” she says, “because there is a rush of emotion either from knowing that all calculations, hard work and patience paid off, or from realizing that it’s time to go back to step one.” 5. Bee Lab researchers use tiny radio frequency identification tags to track the ants’ movement with lasers. Ants are anesthetized with nitrogen gas and gently sandwiched in a foam disk with their thorax

exposed. With the help of a microscope, the scientist glues the tiny tag, which looks like a single piece of silver glitter, to the ant’s thorax. Tag attached, the sleeping ant is scanned with a laser, activating a circuit on the tag that broadcasts a unique number. The number is automatically added to the colony database. 6. The nest platforms are placed in “arenas,” where researchers can observe and record ant behavior. Lasers pointed at each nest scan the ants as they enter and exit, recording their movement. 7. Humans aren’t the only ones having to adjust to online coursework during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donaldson-Matasci brought the turtle ants home with her so that she wouldn’t have to return to the lab to feed them. “So far, it’s not too bad,” she says. “It took a little while to gather up all the things they need and set up a space in my house. But now that’s done, it will actually be easier here. They need to be fed once a week and my daughter, Irene, enjoys helping me.” One change Irene implemented was to rename the colonies.

SPRING 2020 | VOLUME 19, NO. 2


The Harvey Mudd College Magazine is produced three times per year by the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Celebrating the “Unity” in Community

Director of Communications, Senior Editor Stephanie L. Graham

Almost fourteen years ago, I wrote about how the College community gathered for four days of strategic planning to “examine all that we do in view of the challenges and changes in the world today.” I would never have guessed that “challenges and changes” would include a global pandemic. These are certainly remarkable times. Since learning about the potential impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in late February, the College has been committed to the health and vitality of our students, faculty and staff—and to the continuity of the College and its academic operations. In response to this unprecedented situation, our community has united to deliver on this promise. Faculty members used the two-week spring break period to transition their courses to an online format. Families welcomed their students home and some also provided housing for classmates. Selected staff from Facilities and Maintenance, Division of Student Affairs and Dining Services reported to work to provide services to on-campus students who were not able to return home. The remainder of staff are continuing to work remotely. We also pledged to:

Art Director Robert Vidaure

• pay our faculty and staff for the remainder of the academic year • pay our work study students • equip our community with alternative platforms for classroom instruction and experiential learning There’s so much more to this story, so I encourage you to read about some of these efforts, as well as comments from community members, on pages 4 and 5. I’m deeply grateful to those who have provided their time and talent as well as financial assistance, including gifts to the Community Emergency Aid Fund that addresses general operational changes needed to effectively respond to COVID-19. The outpouring of support, emails of encouragement and expressions of concern and thanks are not surprising to me. I’ve seen such displays throughout my time as president, and it’s clearly how we’ve been so successful in accomplishing many of the goals of the College’s Strategic Vision. Take a look at what we’ve achieved in the special section beginning on page 14. Even though we have had to cancel or postpone our usual year-end celebrations—including student presentations, Alumni Weekend and Commencement—and will, undoubtedly, face more challenges that COVID-19 presents, I want to reaffirm my 2007 pledge: We are committed to maintaining our role as an educational innovator, our intimate, supportive and rigorous learning community and our dedication to excellence. As you continue to care for yourselves and one another, I hope you enjoy this issue of the magazine and can celebrate for a moment what we’ve accomplished so far, together.

Senior Graphic Designer Joshua Buller Assistant Director Sarah Barnes Writer Leah Gilchrist Contributing Writers Ashley Festa, Becky Ham, Leslie Mertz, Elaine Regus Contributing Photographers Seth Affoumado, Glen Asakawa, Shannon Cottrell, Keenan Gilson, Jeanine Hill, Les Todd, Deborah Tracey Proofreaders Sarah Barnes, Kelly Lauer Vice President for Advancement Hieu Nguyen Chief Communications Officer Timothy L. Hussey, APR

MAGAZINE.HMC.EDU The Harvey Mudd College Magazine (SSN 0276-0797) is published by Harvey Mudd College, Office of Communications and Marketing, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711. Nonprofit Organization Postage Paid at Claremont, CA 91711 Postmaster: Send address changes to Harvey Mudd College, Advancement Services, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711.

Maria Klawe President, Harvey Mudd College

Copyright © 2020—Harvey Mudd College. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in the Harvey Mudd College Magazine are those of the individual authors and subjects and do not necessarily reflect the views of the College administration, faculty or students. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without the express written consent of the editor. The Harvey Mudd College Magazine staff welcomes your input: communications@hmc.edu or Harvey Mudd College Magazine, Harvey Mudd College, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711 Follow Us!


Features 14

Departments Strategic Vision Progress Report 2006–2020 In this special section, we take a close look at the six themes of the College’s Strategic Vision and what we’ve accomplished together.


Breaking Bad Memories
















Natasha Parikh ’14, a talented teacher and researcher, studies how reframing memories can improve coping mechanisms.


Written by Ashley Festa



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

Exploding a nuclear bomb to create an X-ray laser? Physics researchers Henry Kapteyn ’83 and Margaret Murnane knew there had to be a better way. Written by Leslie Mertz


Powered by STEAM Hanna Ma ’94 helps students see the possibilities provided through science and the arts. Written by Ashley Festa

The summer 2019 Space Study of the HSA lounge featured the oversized slide rule that was donated in 1988 by cattle rancher/real estate developer William A. Wilson.

Dear Editor, The oversized slide rule may be a novelty by today’s standards, but when I was a student they were often found in classrooms, so the teacher could demonstrate to a whole class how to use the slide rule. Mark Leonard P93, P.E.





The HMC Response to COVID-19 related to the spread of COVID-19 required immediate action to ensure the safety of HMC community members. At press time, the state of California’s Stay at Home order was still in effect. Yet while the campus may seem desolate—save for a few staff and students—the engine driving the College’s continued operation is being run by HMC community members from homes in Claremont and throughout the region. They are figuring out how to teach and support students, re-imagine a commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020, determine student refunds and employee payroll, and celebrate alumni reunion classes, among many significant tasks. The cancellation of events and the transition to online-only courses for the second half of spring semester is life-altering, but at every turn, HMC community members have demonstrated unity and support for each other.

Students Students began preparing to leave campus after the March 11 announcement. By late-March, just 53 students were housed in the campus residence halls.




In an article in the March 2020 Muddraker, Michelle Lum ’23 writes, “So, two months too early, shedding tears and giving each other tight hugs, students began packing up for the semester. But despite the difficulties they faced, Mudders came together as a community in the fight against coronavirus— helping each other pack, giving each other rides home, and offering places to stay to students with nowhere to go—showing that solidarity, as well as the best of humanity, can emerge even in the darkest of times.”


31 Chinese health officials inform WHO about

07 Chinese authorities identify new type of

41 patients with a mysterious pneumonia.

coronavirus (called novel coronavirus or nCoV).


China records its first death.

20 First U.S. case reported in Snohomish County, Washington.

23 Wuhan is placed under quarantine followed

by Hubei province. The Claremont Colleges Services issues campus email Health Advisory regarding Coronavirus.

30 WHO declares a global public-health emergency.

2019 4



Faculty An extra week after spring break helped faculty members transition to online delivery of all spring semester courses. Faculty members shared strategies and attended virtual workshops as they prepared for an unprecedented online-only semester. During spring break, mathematics professor Susan Martonosi described her plan for spring classes: “In the class where I’m the sole instructor, I plan to record videos using Google Meet (screen-

February 08 First death of an American citizen (in Wuhan). 11

WHO announces new coronavirus disease will be called “COVID-19.”

28 Message from President Maria Klawe sent

to HMC community addresses concerns about COVID-19 outbreak; introduces website, hmc.edu/coronavirus-information

sharing my lecture notes using Microsoft OneNote on my tablet PC) and post them for students to watch asynchronously. I’m trying to post them in 15-ish-minute increments so the file sizes are smaller, which helps address equity concerns for students who are in different time zones, have limited internet connection, have household responsibilities, etc. And it is a more robust plan in case I or anybody in my family gets sick and I’m unable to maintain a consistent class schedule. Also in the spirit of robustness, I’m posting all remaining homework assignments in advance and a complete set of old lecture notes. I’ve introduced Piazza (an online discussion board add-in for Sakai) so that if students have questions on the homework, the graders, I, or even other students can respond and the entire class can benefit. This will promote asynchronous learning for those who can’t attend my live office hours.” Karl Haushalter’s Biochemistry course meets twice per week via Zoom, with the sessions recorded for later viewing by students who are not able to attend. He says, “A highlight of the online class sessions is the use of virtual breakout rooms to provide opportunities for small groups of students to connect and work together on the material. To help keep everyone's spirits up during these challenging times, we include fun activities like ‘Wear HMC Apparel to Class Day’ and ‘Bring your Pet with You to Class Day.’”

Staff Resources and tips provided by human resources, computing and information services and The Claremont Colleges Services helped ease staff members’ transition to remote working. A small number of staff in the Division of Student Affairs, Facilities and Maintenance and Dining Services remain on campus to support the few remaining students. In addition to connecting with all seniors about their post-graduate plans and checking with alumni about the status of jobs and internships, the Office of Career Services became virtual so students could continue to explore opportunities and get guidance without coming to campus. Director Sarah Park says, “It’s pretty amazing to see our Mudd community come together in good times as well as challenging times like this.” Addressing issues around health, safety and communication and helping students get situated were among the priorities for Marco Antonio Valenzuela, associate dean of students and director of residential life. In addition to finding ways for students remaining on campus to feel safe and supported, he and his staff are communicating with students about emergency protocols, meal service, what to do if they feel sick, and what it means to adhere to the statewide stay-at-home directive. While the move-out process was difficult for all concerned, Valenzuela said he was encouraged to see

how the Mudd community came together. “We had faculty and staff step in and help DSA and facilities and maintenance staff with the move-out process. It was great to see this type of support during this high-stress situation.” More information about how the HMC community is being impacted by COVID-19 is included throughout this issue.

Message on the Shanahan Center chalkboard in mid-March

March 09 President Klawe sends email to faculty, staff

and students addressing event cancellations, travel issues, spring break and academic continuity plans.


WHO declares the outbreak a pandemic. In conjunction with the other undergraduate Claremont Colleges, President Maria Klawe announces decision to end in-person instruction and transition to online classes for all spring courses.

12 HMC Division of Student Affairs informs

parents about student housing move out and holds virtual Q-and-A session; discussion posted to bit.ly/ParentQnA31220.

13 U.S. national emergency declared over

COVID-19 outbreak. HMC students advised to go home. Spring break extended; faculty work to transition courses online. Most HMC employees begin telecommuting.

18 U.S. stocks plunge; trading halted 19 California Gov. Gavin Newsom announces Safer

at Home (exempting essential functions) to help slow disease spread.

20 Campus update to students and families

addresses instruction, campus services, student workers and room and board refunds.

23 New York City becomes biggest epicenter of outbreak in the U.S.

25 HMC update to alumni on HMC Coronavirus response. Senate passes $2 trillion stimulus bill—largest in U.S. history—to respond to coronavirus pandemic.

26 U.S. has world’s most reported coronavirus cases.

28 HMC update announces postponement of 2020 Commencement.

30 Spring semester begins via online delivery of curriculum.

Sources: Business Insider, New York Times





HWHL tutors Martha Gao ’21 and Jeni Zhu ’20


the ‘beep’ passing through my eardrums that immediately prompted me to say, “Thank you for calling the Homework Hotline.’” Matt Kweon ’13 took Harvey Mudd College Homework Hotline’s first call—a question from an AP statistics student—Feb. 1, 2010, at 6:45 p.m. More than 30,000 calls later, Homework Hotline celebrates 10 years of bringing math and science tutoring to area students in need and nurturing HMC mentor/leaders, some of whom are now pursuing teaching careers. Modeled after the program at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Homework Hotline (1.877.827.5462) is a free, over-the-phone math and science tutoring service for students in grades 4 through 12. High-achieving Harvey Mudd students answer calls about math- and science-related questions from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, throughout the academic year. Tutors receive training to help them effectively communicate with callers, are equipped with books and materials from local school districts and have a drop box link so callers can upload materials if necessary. HMC’s Homework Hotline tutors average 3,000 calls per academic year, providing service to students in 10 school districts in the Greater Los



Angeles area, though calls have been received from as far away as Boston, Massachusetts, and Vancouver, Canada. The majority of calls to the hotline come from students in junior high and high school, with over 60% of callers requesting help in trigonometry, geometry or algebra. Engineering alumnus Kweon found that Homework Hotline not only made him a more confident student; it influenced his career path. “Working as a Homework Hotline tutor helped me realize what I am passionate about—teaching,” says Kweon, part of the initial group of tutors. He went on to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering at Northwestern University and to serve as a teaching assistant and guest lecturer. “Fast forward to today, I am currently developing my career path to become an industry expert while teaching at a local college/ university as an adjunct professor.” Xanda Schofield ’13, now an assistant professor of computer science at HMC, also connects her desire to become a teacher to her Homework Hotline experience. “While I was only a Homework Hotline tutor for one semester, I still remember it as a pivotal moment in figuring out how excited I was to teach and to explore new ways of communicating about

math to learners,” Schofield says. “It influenced my style not only as a computer science grutor (grader-tutor) in later years at Mudd but also in mentoring research students in my job as a professor.” In 2020, a team of 39 HWHL tutors carries on the now decade-long tradition of mentoring STEM learners. Toty Calvo ’21, a chemistry major, was drawn to becoming a Homework Hotline tutor through a lifelong interest in helping others. One of her most memorable calls was with a third-grader who was struggling with fractions. “I went through apples and pies and four different ways of trying to explain a fraction, and they still didn’t get it,” Calvo recalls. “But the fourth time, when it was about pizzas, they totally understood.” At the end of the call, the student thanked Calvo and told her that she had explained it using different examples than those used in class, which was helpful. Calvo says, “That was the best compliment I got, and I will always remember that.”

Read how the College is working to ensure the continuity of Homework Hotline (see inside back cover).



The College community was fortunate to hear from these accomplished leaders before the cancellation of events in mid-March due to COVID-19.

“I think in today’s world it is very easy to be cynical, to be skeptical and very hard to be optimistic. So that’s why it’s more important to find those rare [optimists] in your life. They have this amazing attitude that you will always find helpful, and you learn to live with an optimistic attitude around them, even though you yourself may not be one of them.” Helen He, co-founder, New Wheel Capital, Feb. 18 Annenberg Leadership and Management Series Lecture: “Three Things to Share.”

“Inequities are produced. They aren’t random. It’s not a random thing that one group’s health is worse than another’s, that it just happened.” Aletha Mayback, chief equity officer, American Medical Association, and pediatrician, Feb. 20 Claremont Colleges Sojourner Truth Lectureship: “A Commitment to Advance Equity in Medicine.”

No More Subject Tests In February, Harvey Mudd College announced that beginning with the high school class of 2021, it will no longer require submission of the SAT subject tests. “We are excited to make this policy change and hope that it will remove a barrier to applying to the College for many students.” said Thyra Briggs, vice president for admission and financial aid. “The mission of Harvey Mudd states that we are looking for students who want to study broadly, become leaders in their field and who understand the impact of their work on society. Our alumni have been transformative leaders since our founding. In order to continue this tradition, it is essential that we make a Harvey Mudd education as accessible as possible.” The College’s admission process values students who have challenged themselves within their context and who wish to join a collaborative community. Equally important is a student’s connection to Harvey Mudd’s mission and distinctive curriculum. The Office of Admission recognizes that applicants present these qualities in many ways throughout their applications.

McGregor Center Construction A mid-April image shows the progress of McGregor Computer Science Center construction. The three-story, 36,000-square-foot academic building will include the Computer Science Department, Clinic and project studios, teaching and research laboratories, and collaboration spaces like a cross-disciplinary makerspace. Completion is expected in March 2021. View the live webcam at bit.ly/HMC-McGregorCam.






(CAREER) Program is a National Science Foundation-wide activity, offering the most prestigious awards in support of early career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models and to lead advances in the mission of their department. HMC’s latest CAREER grant was awarded to Assistant Professor of Engineering Albert Dato for his research of materials that can provide solutions to energy and environmental challenges. The $500,000 grant from the NSF Advanced Manufacturing Program funds the project “Understanding the Process-Structure-Property Relationships in Polymer Nanocomposites Reinforced with Gas-Phase-Synthesized Graphene.” Dato’s research focuses on the scalable and sustainable manufacturing of nanocomposites containing gas phasesynthesized graphene (GSG). Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms densely packed in a honeycomb lattice that possesses extremely high mechanical and thermal properties. GSG is a unique form of graphene that is produced in atmospheric plasmas. The many potential applications for graphene-based nanocomposites include impact-resistant electronics with improved heat dissipation. “The manufacturing of these applications requires graphene that is highly ordered, disperses effectively in polymers, resists aggregation and is environmentally friendly

to produce,” Dato says. “GSG meets these requirements.” Dato is testing the hypothesis that highstrength multifunctional nanocomposites can be created by reinforcing polymers with GSG. Recently published research by Dato and his students Kevin Nakahara ’20, Jacob Knego ’18, Taylor Sloop ’20, Chance Bisquera ’19 and Nicole Subler ’16 demonstrates that GSG-based nanocomposites enhance both strength and strain at break. Our nanocomposites have both increased strength and the ability to stretch further than pure polymer specimens,” Dato says. “Normally, those are trade-off properties in polymers containing graphene. The students’ discovery was groundbreaking because the results cannot be explained by the current knowledge of graphene-based nanocomposites … This CAREER project will reveal new strengthening and thermal transport mechanisms in nanocomposites that will transform knowledge of graphene and advance fundamental understanding of composite materials.”

Latest NSF Grant for CS With a $382,668 grant from the National Science Foundation, computer science professors Lucas Bang and George Montañez will continue their successful computer science REU site at HMC for three more years. Focusing on computer systems, with an eye toward search, AI and data science, the research experience for undergraduates brings the most compelling aspects of graduate school to a 10-week summer program where students and faculty work as peers on stimulating research questions. Academic and recreational group activities create a strong common-cohort experience. The program develops research ability, improves presentation skills and nurtures student interest in researchrelated careers.



Williams Honored with Award, Lectureship Mathematics professor Talithia Williams opened the decade with two honors: the Robert V. Hogg Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory Statistics and a term as the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Pólya Lecturer for 2020–2022. The Special Interest Group on Statistics Education (SIGMAA) of the Mathematical Association of America selected Williams to receive the Hogg Award, which recognizes an individual who has been teaching introductory statistics at the college level for between three and 15 years and who has shown both excellence and growth in teaching during that time. Williams, who accepted the Hogg Award at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Denver, says she’s happy to be recognized for her work, which is intentionally public facing. Her engagement with the public has included giving a TED Talk, hosting the PBS series NOVA Wonders and authoring a book, Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics, which is geared toward a wide audience. As the 2020–2022 Pólya lecturer, Williams is sharing her experiences with other mathematicians around the country. Notably the first African American to receive the lectureship, she will speak at three section meetings each academic year during her term. “I look forward to getting the public excited about data science and statistics, engaging diverse groups in STEM and talking about how we can present math with equity, excellence and inclusion,” she says.

Top Fulbright Producer Harvey Mudd College is a top producer of U.S. Fulbright scholars (faculty, researchers and administrators) for 2019–2020 among bachelor’s institutions, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Three baccalaureate institutions—Harvey Mudd, Washington and Lee University, and Wheaton College (Illinois)—topped the list with three scholars each. The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. More than 2,200 U.S. students and 900 U.S. college and university faculty and administrators are awarded Fulbright awards annually. Harvey Mudd’s latest Fulbright scholars are David Vosburg, professor of chemistry; Gordon Krauss, Fletcher Jones Professor of Engineering Design; and Colleen Coxe, senior director of corporate relations.


Mixed Meaning By Stephanie L. Graham


bit of Neanderthal DNA. We know this because a new method for analyzing the human genome resulted in the recent discovery by Princeton researchers that African individuals carry a stronger signal of Neanderthal ancestry than previously thought. They join people of Asian and European descent whose ancestors interbred with Neanderthals after migrating from Africa. Later generations spread these genes around the world. What is the impact of this Neanderthal DNA? Is it good or bad for the gene pool? Does it matter that some populations have slightly more of this DNA than others? These questions and more made for a lively discussion in the classroom of Alyssa Newman, Hixon-Riggs Early Career Fellow in Science and Technology Studies and a sociologist of race and ethnicity. The topic could not have been more ideal for her class Scientific and Popular Perceptions of Racial Mixing: From Hybrid Degeneracy to Hybrid Vigor. “We discussed how we understand Neanderthal human hybridity and mixing,” says Newman, who began teaching at Harvey Mudd in 2018 and concludes her appointment this year. “It brought up conversations about hybrid degeneracy and hybrid vigor, about perceived differences between these racialized populations, like how are their genes different from one another? The discovery that Africans have Neanderthal ancestry, too, throws a wrench into the ways in which we’re constantly trying to differentiate populations by race.” Other recent scientific discoveries related to human reproduction have given Newman and her students plenty to talk about. In 2018, when she taught Technology and Human Reproduction, news surfaced about twin girls born in China who had their genes edited in order to provide HIV resistance. The procedure used CRISPR, a programmable scalpel that “cuts” a particular DNA sequence and replaces it with a new one. The experiment on the twins raises questions directly related to impact of work on society, a concept that is at the heart of an HMC education.

“It’s been a great field to be in with so many developments constantly changing the ways we’re thinking about things,” says Newman. “Teaching science and technology studies in a liberal arts setting is particularly exciting because the reproductive technologies we discuss in class are the technologies or tools that some students are working on in lab.” Newman earned a PhD in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has spent the past two years at HMC as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts. In addition to her teaching duties, she’s had the opportunity to organize two HMC events, a panel highlighting Puerto Rican scientists (Hixon-Riggs Program) and a conference (Hixon Forum) on reproductive technologies and reproductive justice that gathered scholars to discuss issues of equity, access and ethics. It wasn’t until she took a class on racially mixed people in the U.S. as a college junior that Newman realized she could become a researcher studying people like herself (her father is African American, and her mother is Filipino and Portuguese). Newman began as a sociologist in the field of race and ethnicity, specifically focused on multiracial populations. Her dissertation, a study of the multiracial collective identity in California, allowed her to investigate the state’s multiracial population, the largest in the U.S. I was interested in how mixed-race people have interacted with each other and what racial categories they affiliate with and what experiences they find meaningful.” Her study in this area led to deeper questions about family, specifically about parents from different races. She wondered if people found it important to associate with some or all of their racial backgrounds. “I wanted to study what that means when they have a child and when partners of a different race, especially, want to share multiple

backgrounds with them. How does this identity become important through the next generations?” One of her studies involves five interracial lesbian couples. The resulting paper—“Mixing and Matching: Sperm Donor Selection for Interracial Lesbian Couples”—published in the journal Medical Anthropology, describes how these couples experience a “bio-matching tradeoff” in their search for a gamete donor. As gamete banks tend to have few donors of color, Newman wanted to learn what couples do when they can’t find a donor who represents them. “Several couples wanted to use the same donor for both children because having a biological sibling relationship was important to them, so they had to choose which is more important: matching the donor to the parent and not having biologically related children or using the same donor both times and having racially different kids. I wanted to know if the biological relationship between the two siblings is something that they prioritize more than the shared racial background.” Newman intends to continue her study and to interview the couples again about their new famies and the complex decisions they made. In her Racial Mixing class, Newman’s students are reading Nella Larsen’s Passing (about Black women whose light skin allows them to “pass” as White) as well as texts from the early 1920s about racially mixed persons trapped between two worlds. They will study discourses about racially mixed characters represented in popular culture and do final projects on a variety of topics, including, comparisons of race and sexuality as binary social constructions, and stereotypes about the multiracial experience. Students will submit these final projects as papers, zines, podcasts and videos. In her research and teaching, it is Newman’s hope to illuminate the similarities—beyond the Neanderthal ancestry—among all people.




4 0 T H A N N I V ER S A RY

The Muddraker Legacy ON FEB. 14, 1980, MEMBERS FROM THE CLASS OF

1983 met in North Dorm 215 and produced the first issue of The Muddraker, the brainchild of Ian McCutcheon ’83. Four decades later, thanks to its staff of dedicated journalist Mudders, the paper is still going strong, with new issues being published quarterly for paid subscribers and on-campus distribution. Seniors Tiffany Madruga, Hannah Larson and Rachel Schibler spent the last three years revitalizing the publication, which had gone through a dormant period due to lack of staffing. As they prepare for graduation in May, the three former co-editors-in-chief are confident that The Muddraker will continue to thrive. “We really tried to make recruiting a priority so that there would be students to pass it off to when we leave,” says Madruga. So far, so good. Co-editors-in-chief William La ’22 and Michelle Lum ’23 and the rest of the staff successfully produced the March issue of the paper even as COVID-19 restrictions presented challenges. In their letter from the editors, they write, “With all the recent concerns over coronavirus, and the disruption to this semester, we wanted to publish The Muddraker as a reminder that we’re still very much a community here at Mudd. Wherever you are, whoever you are with, know that [we] Mudders will always be there for each other.” La says he hopes to do more advice articles in future issues. Kyle Grace ’21 , the chief of photography, hopes to do more current events-type articles, “recounting things as they happen,” he says. “We’re also really looking to grow the online presence of The Muddraker, so keep a look out.” Katheryn Wang ’23 lists “Ranking of Mudd Toilets” as her favorite Muddraker article since she’s been on the staff. As the paper’s chief of business, Wang says she also hopes to do more current events-focused articles. Inspired by “PROFiles,”a popular Muddraker feature in which editors ask professors straightforward and quirky questions about their lives and experiences, we’ve used a similar format for this interview with the staff. Visit themuddraker.com



Muddraker staff members Rachel Schibler ’20, Tiffany Madruga ’20, Michelle Lum ’23, Kyle Grace ’21, Hannah Larson ’20, Katheryn Wang ’23 and William La ’22.

What do you think The Muddraker will be like 40 years from now? Kyle Grace ’21—I hope it will be like what it is now,

If you could interview anyone (living or not) for The Muddraker, who would it be?

a fun and enjoyable account of what students’ lives are like here at Mudd.

William La ’22—The person who created The

Rachel Schibler ’20—Probably a lot more digital and

Rachel Schibler ’20—Harvey Mudd himself.

hopefully thriving! Katheryn Wang ’23—I think we will be even larger and

Muddraker (Ian McCutcheon ’83).

Katheryn Wang ’23—Bernadette Banner (a dress

historian, seamstress and YouTube star).

closer in style and quality to a public newspaper.

What’s your secret talent? Hannah Larson ’20—Falling asleep in public places.

What’s your personal motto? Tiffany Madruga ’20—Own what you do. If you can’t,

change what you’re doing.

Tiffany Madruga ’20—Balancing things on my head. Rachel Schibler ’20—I can flip my belly button inside

Message for readers of this article?


All—Subscribe to The Muddraker!

Describe your personal style. William La ’22—I dress to impress myself. Hannah Larson ’20—Somewhere between business

casual and sitting in the Bernard Field Station. Katheryn Wang ’23— Renaissance, history bounding

(contemporary clothing styled after a historical period or person), if I could afford it.

Computing Research Recognition

The Computing Research Association recognizes undergraduates at North American colleges and universities who demonstrate outstanding potential in an area of computing research. Ivy Liu ’20, finalist

Mudd in Minecraft

HMC spring 2020 classes are online. Thanks to some creative students, so is a virtual campus. When administrators announced that the College would transition to online courses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they probably didn’t imagine the campus would go online as well. But, thanks to a group of inventive Mudders, the HMC campus is coming to virtual life in Minecraft, a computer game that allows users to build anything with virtual blocks. “The project began when Serenity Wade ’21 suggested the idea of building Mudd in Minecraft,” says Erik Meike ’21. Nora Nickerson ’22 also expressed interest in the project, so Meike shared a link to a server that would host the build out of the HMC campus. “We started by working with a few friends to build out East Dorm,” Meike says. “A lot of people joined in and it seems like a lot of people have told their friends about it after starting to build, and that has helped it grow significantly.” As of late March, almost 100 users had contributed to the build. “The whole campus is built to scale where 1 block = 1 meter,” says Meike. “It is just crazy how accurate everything is and how creative people are with using the blocks available in Minecraft to create what they wanted to.”

A joint mathematical and computational biology major with multi-disciplinary research experience (she’s worked with biology professors Catherine McFadden, Eliot Bush and CS professors Ran Libeskind-Hadas and Yi-Chieh [Jessica] Wu as well as Baylor College of Medicine researchers), Liu is interested in developing and applying computational methods to facilitate biomedical research. “Integrating computer science with biology has allowed me to see the beauty of theoretical computer science as well as the applications of tools first-hand,” she says.

Daniel Bashir, honorable mention “The main purpose of my team’s research is to develop a quantitative framework for overfitting and underfitting in machine learning,” says Bashir, who works in computer science professor George Montañez’s AMISTAD Lab. “Both of these pitfalls are major issues for anyone interested in using machine learning for practical purposes.”





CS Students Win Best Paper Honors

Students work alongside faculty as colleagues, investigating open-ended questions, producing world-class research, presenting findings at national conferences and, sometimes, winning honors for their work.

Putnam by the Numbers— HMC results

2019 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, a highly competitive mathematics exam HM C PART I CI PANT S O U T O F 4, 229

O U T O F 570 PART I CI PAT I NG I NST I T U T I O NS An Nguyen ’22 Julius Lauw ’20 Student: An Nguyen ’22 Professor and co-author: Colleen Lewis

Students: Julius Lauw ’20, Dominique Macias ’19, Akshay

Organization: SIGCSE 2020 Technical Symposium

Trikha ’21 and Julia Vendemiatti ’21 (computer science) Professor and co-author: George Montañez

Paper: “Competitive Enrollment Policies in

Organization: 12th International Conference on Agents

Computing Departments Negatively Predict First-Year Students’ Sense of Belonging, SelfEfficacy, and Perception of Department” (Award for Best Paper/CS education research track)

and Artificial Intelligence

Nguyen explains: “To identify relationships between

those policies and students’ experiences, we linked survey data from 1,245 first-year students in 80 CS departments to a dataset of department policies. We found that competitive enrollment negatively predicts first-year students’ perception of the computing department as welcoming, their sense of belonging and their self-efficacy in computing. Both belonging and self-efficacy are known predictors of student retention in CS. In addition, these relationships are stronger for students without pre-college computing experience. Our classification of institutions as competitive is conservative, and false positives are likely. This biases our results and suggests that the negative relationships we found are an underestimation of the effects of competitive enrollment.”



Paper: “The Bias-Expressivity Trade-off” (Best Paper;

ICAART 2020 had just a 16% acceptance rate for full papers. The Best Paper award is the first for Montañez’s research lab at Harvey Mudd and his fifth conference award overall.) On behalf of the team, Lauw explains: “One of the

strongest driving forces of this research is our team’s goal to formalize the theory of overfitting and underfitting in machine learning problems. The first step in achieving this target is to design a theoretical framework that allows us to derive bounds on the expressivity of machine learning algorithms. By justifying that there is an inherent trade-off between the expressivity and the amount of bias induced in a machine learning algorithm in this paper, we could potentially use this framework to estimate the expressivity of machine learning algorithms based on the amount of bias induced in the algorithm itself.”




Before play was halted in early March due to the coronavirus pandemic, several Mudders made key contributions to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps winter teams.

All-America honors when he was selected to the Division III Men’s Basketball Academic All-America third team. President, a computer science major, joins Bob Donlan (first-team in 2002), and Tyler Gaffaney (second-team in 2015) as Academic All-Americans from the CMS men’s basketball program. He is also the first Mudder and only the 13th Stag or Athena in any sport to earn the award. President became the 20th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in February, before finishing the year with 1,023. He is the first 1,000-point scorer for the program since former teammate Michael Scarlett passed the plateau in 2018, and the first Harvey Mudd student to hit the milestone since Dick Barton ’67 passed it over 50 years ago in the 1966-1967 season. A starter since his freshman season, President helped the Stags to two SCIAC titles and NCAA bids in 2017 and 2018. He was a second-team All-SCIAC selection in each of the last two years, helping CMS lead the nation in team defense last year.

Lacrosse CMS concluded the 2020 season with a 5-1 record, all in SCIAC games, a combined 41-1 record during the last four years against league opponents. Senior captain Zoe Ryan ’20 captured the final SCIAC Women’s Lacrosse Defensive Player of the Week honor for the 2020 season. She helped the Athenas to a shutout in the last game of an abbreviated spring season against Cal Lutheran. She anchored a defense that allowed only two shots on goal, both of which were while playing down a player after a yellow card. In 2019, Ryan was named the SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year while leading CMS to its third straight 10-0 regular season in league play. She was also the SCIAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player after guiding the Athenas to their third straight conference championship.

The CMS men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both earned SCIAC titles this winter at the league’s annual championship meet in February, taking back the team crown from Pomona-Pitzer. Harvey Mudd student-athletes helped lead the way to the first-place finishes. For the Athenas, Ella Blake ’23 was named the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year after a big weekend, taking first place in the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, while finishing second in the 1650-yard freestyle. Fellow first-year classmate Gracey Hiebert ’23 was runner-up, while Arisa Cowe ’23, came in fifth, giving Harvey Mudd first-years three of the top five finishes in the weekend’s longest distance race. Natalia Orbach-Mandel ’21 was All-SCIAC in both the 100-yard freestyle (finishing second) and the 200-yard freestyle (third), and just missed in the 50-yard freestyle (fourth). She also anchored two CMS relay champions in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard medley relay. Rachel Wander ’22 was All-SCIAC in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing second, while first-year diver Makenna Parkinson

earned a fourth-place finish in the three-meter dive. The Stags won a close 14-point victory over Pomona-Pitzer. Marco Conati ’21 repeated as the SCIAC Champion in the 100-yard butterfly in a new meet record and was part of a record-setting 200-yard medley relay team anchored by Andreas Roeseler ’21. Conati also came in third in the 100-yard freestyle for All-SCIAC honors, while Roeseler was All-SCIAC in the 50-yard freestyle, finishing third. Sean Hoerger ’21 and Henry Limm ’20 were both All-SCIAC winners in the 200-yard breaststroke, finishing second and third, respectively, and sharing the championship podium. Nathan Luis ’23 was All-SCIAC in the 100-yard butterfly, and Dave Makhervaks ’20 was All-SCIAC in the 100-yard backstroke, with both finishing third. In addition to the All-SCIAC winners, Nick Tan ’22, Alec Vercruysse ’23 and Matthew Waddell ’22 reached the finals in multiple events to help give CMS more points in a meet that was decided by the equivalent of one seventh-place finish. Tan was sixth in the 100 back and 200 back as well as seventh in the 200 IM. Waddell was seventh in the 200 fly and ninth in the 1650, while Vercruysse was sixth in the 200 IM and 100 breast and seventh in the 200 breast.


Swimming and Diving

Zoe Ryan ’20

Basketball Senior guard Miles President became the third player in CMS men’s basketball history to earn College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic

Miles President ’20



Strategic Vision Progress Report 2006–2020

Fourteen years ago, the HMC community gathered to examine all that it does, in view of the challenges and changes in the world. Priorities were set around six themes: I.

Innovation, leadership and impact, especially in engineering, science and mathematics


Focus on experiential and interdisciplinary learning

With help from philanthropic institutions, individual donors and the hard work of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and friends, we’ve made great strides in developing and implementing the Strategic Vision for Harvey Mudd College. Read about some of our many successes, as well as creative projects and collaborative initiatives, on the pages that follow.

III. Unsurpassed excellence and diversity at all levels IV.

Nurturing and developing the whole person


Global engagement and informed contributions to society

VI. I mprovement of infrastructure and resources to support HMC’s commitment to excellence and building community



Wayne Drinkward Chair, HMC Board of Trustees






14 Years, 14 Highlights 1. Created new experiential learning opportunities

Sharing the Vision: HMC in the Media

2. Designed innovative interdisciplinary courses 3. Revised the Core curriculum to be as rigorous as ever, yet flexible and innovative 4. Introduced a new writing course to teach the communication skills our students need as leaders 5. Admitted the largest entering class of women in the College’s history 6. Developed unique Clinic opportunities, including Global Clinic and social impact Clinic opportunities with far-reaching impact 7. Expanded our mentoring programs, Summer Institute and Sophomore Retreat

04/2/2012 The NY Times “Giving Women the Access Code” 04/26/2012 PBS NewsHour “’Hard’ Sciences: A Boy Thing?” (Judy Woodruff interviews President Klawe) 10/27/13 The NY Times “Harvard and Harvey Mudd: Both Best Value Colleges, Depending on the List” (HMC No. 1 for ROI in PayScale)

8. Instituted methods to continually assess and improve our educational experience

12/1/15 CNN Money “Why America’s most expensive college is a bargain”

9. Built a state-of-the-art teaching and learning building

2/3/15 NBC’s Today Show features Princeton Review rankings, with Harvey Mudd No. 3 for Colleges That Pay You Back (College name shown for most of segment)

10. Built a LEED-certified residence hall 11. Updated and improved wellness programs 12. Renovated classrooms and labs 13. Celebrated historic graduating classes in which women made up the majority of certain majors (2016 & 2018 computer science; 2016 & 2018 physics; 2014 engineering)

1/4/17 Los Angeles Times “Most computer science majors in the U.S. are men. Not so at Harvey Mudd”

Melinda Gates tweeted these articles, which attracted a huge audience: 5/31/17 Inc. “Half of This College’s STEM Graduates Are Women. Here’s What It Did Differently” 8/22/16 Quartz “Harvey Mudd College took on gender bias and now more than half its computer-science majors are women”

1/11/18 Scientific American “Mohamed Omar’s Favorite Theorem” 2/28/18 Inc.com “How Do You Design a Robot That Isn’t Sexist or Racist? It’s Harder Than You Think” (James Boerkoel) 2/28/18 PBS NOVA “Prediction by the Numbers” (Talithia Williams) as well as her PBS series NOVA Wonders

High-profile articles that include HMC faculty: 04/18/13 Wired “Shark-Stalking Robot Will Spy on Mysterious Ocean Predators” (Chris Clark) 2/05/17 Wired “The Mathematician Who Will Make You Fall in Love with Numbers” (Francis Su)

14. W idely shared the College’s curricular innovations in computer science and engineering




Innovation, Leadership, Impact


NSF CAREER grants awarded to professors Robert Drewell (biology) and Nancy Lape (engineering)

$419,000 award from Mellon Foundation supports Core Curriculum revision efforts

2006: Maria Klawe named fifth HMC president Strategic planning process begins. Over six months HMC community strategizes size, structure, curriculum, student body makeup and impact upon society. Meetings, roundtables, workshops, debates result in six themes 2007: HMC 2020 funds awarded to campus community enable programs and initiatives addressing strategic vision themes Walter and Leonore Annenberg Fund for Leadership Development inaugurated with first speakers 2008: $579,600 National Science Foundation grant enables 36 scholarships $800,000 NSF grant underwrites Department of Mathematics postdoctoral fellowship program focused on teaching and research 2009: President Klawe named to board of directors, Microsoft (becomes 10th member, second woman); elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences



$1 million gift establishes Kenneth A. and Diana G. Jonsson Professorship in Mathematics and the Jonsson Endowed Fund for Mathematics Department travel 2010: HMC team wins Southern California regionals and honorable mention at World finals, ACM ICPC 2012: 2012 Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering Education awarded to professors Clive Dym, Mack Gilkeson and J. Richard Phillips by National Academy of Engineering 2013: Established by trustee/ alumnus John Benediktsson ’01 and his wife Rajashree Karwa: Benediktsson-Karwa Endowed Faculty Chair The board of trustees votes to increase the College’s student body size to 900 students over next decade 2014: Three endowed faculty chairs established: The Michael G. and C. Jane Wilson Chair in Arts and the Humanities; LeonhardJohnson-Rae Chair; Malcolm Lewis Chair of Sustainability and Society

2015: The work of a Southwest Research Institute Engineering Clinic team is a key to New Horizons’ image processing capabilities Endowed faculty chairs established: John Stauffer Chair in Chemistry, Smallwood Family Chair College celebrates 60th anniversary with 28 events in U.S. and abroad HMC INQ for alumni entrepreneurs created by Josh Jones ’98 and economics professor Gary Evans

2016: New endowed faculty chair: Walter and Leonore Annenberg Chair for Leadership

Engineering students win regional American Production and Inventory Control Society competition

Hixon Center hosts its first Biennial Conference for Sustainable Design and Solutions at HMC

2018: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports HMC’s Strategic Vision 2020 with Presidential Leadership Program grant, providing opportunities to increase racial and gender diversity among faculty and to review the Core Curriculum

2017: HMC is top-scoring undergraduate institution in William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition New Claremont Colleges Center for Teaching and Learning funded by Mellon Foundation, HMC math professor Darryl Yong ’96 appointed first director President Klawe receives Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award New joint major in mathematics and physics approved by faculty

HMC physics researchers discover “optical blasting,” a new way to modify material properties Biologists create XenoGI, software to study history of genomic island insertions in a clade of microbes HMC is top-scoring undergraduate institution in William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition

For second-straight year, engineering students win regional American Production and Inventory Control Society competition 2019: HMC team places first in the global supply chain competition at finals of Global Case Competition sponsored by ASCM and Deloitte. HMC named a National Association of Student Personnel Administrators LEAD Initiative Institution for its community-based learning practices Department of Chemistry joins Green Chemistry Commitment to emphasize its commitment to applying chemical principles and sustainable practices to solve societal problems

Experiential, interdisciplinary learning


2006: Clinic project for The Aerospace Corp, launched into space. Original design of camera circuitry boards on picosats were developed by 2003–2004 Clinic team 2008: $1.5 million granted by Howard Hughes Medical Institute for lab support, instruction, curriculum Curriculum committee suggests modifying the Core in order to advance goals of strategic vision and to adapt to changing backgrounds and needs of students $500,000 pledge by Malcolm ’67 and Cynthia Lewis establishes Patton and Claire Lewis Fellowship in Engineering Professional Practice

2009: Merck/AAAS awards $60,000 to biology and chemistry departments 2010: The Ocean Research and Conservation Association launches portable deep-sea webcam, a 2001 Clinic project Writing instruction integrated into new Core. Full-time faculty from each department work to incorporate writing instruction throughout curriculum

2012: HMC shares Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s $3.6 million grant for experiential and interdisciplinary learning opportunities with other undergraduate Claremont Colleges Department of Chemistry faculty pledges $60,000, and The John Stauffer Charitable Trust donates $150,000, to support HMC’s undergraduate chemistry summer research 2013: Clinic Program reaches half-century 2015: Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design established

2011: $367,461 NSF grant funds undergraduate computer science summer research

2016: Faculty form Core Review Planning Team assess and evaluate the Core Curriculum

Hearst Foundation grant funds underwater robotics laboratory Fletcher Jones Foundation grant funds Department of Chemistry instrumentation 2017: Faculty approves a new statement of goals to serve as foundation for Core Curriculum discussions 2018: Engineers visit Malta to develop new technology for finding, mapping and visualizing undiscovered shipwrecks 2019: Harvey Mudd College fields its inaugural entry in RoboNation RoboSub competition




Excellence and diversity 2007: Strategic Vision Diversity Committee assesses campus climate for diversity and identifies strategies for improvement; Multicultural Forum held To reach a more diverse population, HMC begins accepting ACT test scores; Record numbers of applications received, 18% higher than previous year 42.3% of Class of 2011 is female; 63% from outside California Strategic Vision Curriculum Committee study Core and curriculum 2008: Strategic Vision Diversity Committee holds forums on Race and Ethnicity and on Gender and Sexual Orientation Annenberg Foundation grants $1 million for scholarships 2009: For first time, HMC has two Churchill Scholarship recipients in same year Annenberg Foundation awards $1 million for scholarships 2010: $1 million for scholarships granted by Rose Hills Foundation Popularity grows for Summer Institute, which supports underrepresented students. For first time in program’s history, the number of applicants exceeds the number of enrollment slots




Female enrollment (52%) in Class of 2014 surpasses male enrollment for first time in College’s history HMC receives $50,000 grant from AAUW to help increase women’s representation in science and math 2012: Summer Institute program bolstered by $600,000 grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Henry Luce Foundation grants $200,000 for computer science, engineering and physics scholarships

2014: For the first time in the College’s history, the majority (56%) of engineering graduates are women 2015: Class of 2019 is most diverse entering class to date 2016: More physics degrees (52%) and more computer science degrees (54.4%) conferred to women than to men 2017: HMC all-female team is an Outstanding winner (top 1%) in Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling Office of Institutional Diversity launches new programs for first-generation and international students 2018: Class of 2018 has highest percentage of both HMC women physics majors and computer science majors

Kapor Center for Social Impact grant funds study about equitable access to computing careers, especially for women of color

2020: To further improve its inclusive admission practices, HMC eliminates requirement for SAT subject tests

Whole-person development


2007: New student organization established: Mudders Organizing for Sustainability Solutions and Engineers for a Sustainable World (MOSS/ESW) 2010: Student mentor program initiated to provide advising for first-year students New Core Curriculum launched. Provides rigorous broad-based knowledge and experience, creates flexibility to pursue intellectual passions, new interdisciplinary electives or foreign language 2011: HMC mentoring program, Mudders Mentoring Mudders (M3), created by Lupita Bermudez ’09 for alumni, faculty and staff to provide support to Mudders

from sophomore through senior years 2013: Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts launches Concert Series in Drinkward Recital Hall College holds first Leadership Awards ceremony to recognize students, faculty and staff for their engagement and contributions to Harvey Mudd community Taylor Swift performs for Harvey Mudd and the Claremont Colleges after HMC students win contest 2014: Concert series inaugurated in the Wayne ’73 and Julie Drinkward Recital Hall

HMC American Gamelan musicians perform in Drinkward Recital Hall.

In partnership with The Claremont Colleges Consortium, HMC adds resources for students in mental health and wellness and diversity 2015: HMC joins 7Cs in celebrating opening of Rick ’64 and Susan Sontag (POM ’64) Center for Collaborative Creativity (“The Hive”) 2017: Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts launches Visual Arts at HMC program to display community members’ work in the Caryll Mudd and Norman F. Sprague, Jr. Gallery 2020: Forty-three Harvey Mudd College students study abroad during spring semester, the largest group to participate in study abroad in the College’s history

Tasman “Zorg” Loustalet ’16

HMC student athletes contribute to ClaremontMudd-Scripps athletics championships in men’s basketball (2006, 2012, 2017, 2018), women’s basketball (2015-2017), women’s cross country (2006, 2008, 2010– 2019), men’s cross country (2009–2010, 2012–2016. 2019), football (2018), men’s

golf (2016, 2018), women’s golf (2018, 2019), women’s lacrosse (2010, 2011, 2017–2019), men’s soccer (2013, 2018–20190, women’s soccer (2007, 2009, 2014), swimming and diving/women (2006–2015, 2017, 2019, 2020), swimming and diving/ men (2008–2017, 2020), softball (2019), women’s

tennis (2011–2019), men’s tennis (2006–2019), women’s volleyball (2017–2019), men’s water polo (2010, 2015), men’s track and field (2006–2010, 2013–2017, 2019), women’s track and field (2006–2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015–2019)




Global engagement

2006: Global Clinic inaugurated to prepare students to function as innovative engineers and scientists in a global context


Science Bus volunteers inspire youngsters at local elementary schools with hands-on science lessons Lead Project led by chemistry Professor Hal Van Ryswyk. First-year chemistry lab students and local elementary students study lead poisoning in children 2008: Graduating class surpasses all previous classes with most students (38) who spent part of undergrad years abroad President Klawe travels to Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing with four other Claremont Colleges presidents to seek collaborations and exchange ideas and talent Students organize Earth to Claremont, first-ever consortium-wide environmental fair hosted by HMC Center for Environmental Studies 2009: HMC launches Twitter account 2010: HMC Homework Hotline, in cooperation with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, takes first calls $1 million Vickery Family gift goes to Global Clinic Program



2011: Bill Gates visits HMC and participates in Annenberg Speaker Series 2012: HMC and WitsOn (Women in Technology Sharing Online) collaborate to open the first online community mentorship program to support students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math 2014: Office of Community Engagement inaugurated Forbes names President Maria Klawe to its list of “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”

Global Clinic students employ community-centered design to improve drainage channels in a Nairobi, Kenya settlement

2015: Harvey Mudd provides three, free massive open online courses (MOOCs) in CS and physics via EdX.org 2016: Harvey Mudd College Homework Hotline takes 20,000th call 2017: Five-year, $670,000 Department of Education grant renewed for HMC Upward Bound program 2018: NSF grant supports Math for America Los Angeles, a program for math and CS teachers

HMC partners with Girls Who Code for new summer program, Campus IMMERSION program equips elementary school teachers to teach mathematical modeling Clinic Program adds social impact projects

2019: Homework Hotline celebrates 30,000th caller

Infrastructure and resources


2006: West Dorm renovated Campus sustainability audit at The Claremont Colleges spearheaded by Richard Haskell, professor of physics 2007: East Dorm renovation project includes new native plant garden and drip irrigation $579,600 National Science Foundation S-STEM grants scholarship funds Platt Campus Center renovated: Additions include meeting space, music rooms, study areas 2008: President Klawe signs American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and appoints campus-wide Sustainability

Committee, comprising all stakeholder groups BOT Physical Plant and Campus Planning Committee sponsors Engineering Clinic to evaluate recommendations for improving sustainability at HMC

2009: HMC purchases 11.46 acres, preparing for future opportunities

Public launch of The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College, a $150 million comprehensive campaign

2011: Board of Trustees votes to move forward with construction of teaching and learning building; groundbreaking set for summer

Plans for new teaching and learning building begin with support from Wayne Drinkward ’73, who funds and leads initial planning phase

2013: LEED Gold-certified R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning completed

Learning Studio in Sprague Center funded with $750,000 gift from Fletcher Jones Foundation; gift enables educational technology infrastructure upgrade

2014: Renovations to Parsons engineering building include new Clinic areas and updated spaces for departments of Engineering, and Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts

2017: Galileo Auditoria modernized with sustainable materials

2015: College community dedicates Wayne ’73 and Julie Drinkward Residence Hall 2016: Renovations completed of instructional chemistry laboratories in Jacobs-Keck Science Center complex

The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College’s $150 million goal is met and exceeded a year ahead of the December 2018 deadline 2018: The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College, begun in 2011, concludes with $173,911,439 raised, $50 million of this added to the endowment

2019: National Science Foundation grants funds to HMC & Pomona chemistry and physics professors for acquisition of standardized integrated toolset for photovoltaics fabrication and characterization College breaks ground for McGregor Computer Science Center




Breaking Bad Memories A talented teacher and researcher studies how reframing memories can improve coping mechanisms. Written by Ashley Festa | Photo by Les Todd



(mathematical and computational biology) steered her toward doctoral studies and a career as a neuroscientist and a professor, Natasha Parikh’s research has been directly influenced by her work as an HMC proctor and mentor. “As a proctor, I saw people get stressed out in day-to-day life,” says Parikh ’14. “I became more and more interested in human behavior and how that influences what the brain is doing. I wanted to know how some people do a good job handling the incredible stressors of college life, while others need more support and resources.” Her desire to understand—and to help—people who struggle with stress and anxiety has steered her research ever since. While working toward her PhD at Duke University, Parikh wrote a dissertation on using imagination to alter negative responses to memories. Researchers have investigated how people handle their emotions in the moment—such as how they deal with fear in a scary situation—but there’s little published on how we handle emotions related to situations that happened in the past, such as a challenging childhood, psychological trauma or a recent bad experience. Nostalgia, Parikh explains, affects how we feel about things that happened years ago, and it overrides the emotion we felt in the moment. “Memories are not ‘photos’ that never change in our mind,” Parikh says. “We use what we know to help us understand new experiences. So how can we take that idea that memories are changing and adapting and use it to manage current emotions dealing with memories from the past?” Her work with Duke researchers Kevin LaBar and Felipe De Brigard on counterfactual thinking and memory reconsolidation (or modification) is similar: Parikh looks at how people may be able to reframe, or reimagine, events from the past so the event appears better than what could have happened, creating a positive what-if scenario in their mind. “People often wonder about how events could have gone differently, and people who have anxiety, especially, can get stuck,” she says. “Over and over, we think about an event that happened, creating ‘if-only’ scenarios, and when done in excess, this phenomenon appears as rumination and can be detrimental. I’m interested in how we can break out of the rumination of what we should have done better.”

“ We think about an event that

happened, creating ‘if-only’ scenarios, and when done in excess, this phenomenon appears as rumination and can be detrimental. I’m interested in how we can break out of the rumination of what we should have done better.


Parikh says if people are able to create worse what-if situations in their minds, it can help them see the positive side of an event. For instance, a student who earns a poor grade on an exam may reframe negative thoughts of “What if I had studied more” into “Well, I could have failed the exam,” and therefore feel better about the low, passing grade he or she received. Parikh’s research aims to propose better coping mechanisms for people with high levels of anxiety or depression. She emphasizes, however, that her work is intended to help people feel better about what happened without creating a false memory or forgetting the memory. Her research methods include using facial electromyography (EMG). Parikh measures muscle activity on study participants’ faces, such as furrowing the eyebrows or smiling, as they feel different emotions. Functional MRIs allow her to measure brain activity as participants recall memories while inside the MRI scanner. “These all tie back to my HMC degree because I’m measuring brain and muscle activity, which ties to biology; and the data from these machines is so extensive—often thousands of values for every couple seconds—that they require a computer and a lot of fancy math and statistics to make sense of it, which corresponds to the computation and mathematical parts of my degree.” Parikh has continued the research she did at Duke University—where she received her PhD in psychology and neuroscience last year—to Harvard University, where she’s a College Fellow and affective neuroscientist working in the lab of Leah Somerville. Parikh spends about 75 percent

of her time in the classroom and has designed her own classes, including Psychology of Music, Programming for Psychologists, and Psychology of Imagination. She says that as much as she enjoys research, her main focus is becoming a professor and teaching at a liberal arts college. It’s something she’s good at. While a teaching fellow at Duke, she received the 2019 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. One of her nominators wrote: “From the moment she started working with us I have been utterly impressed by her discipline, her technical and mathematical skills, her capacity to learn and find innovative solutions to difficult problems, her natural inclination toward leadership and her unquestionable promise to become a leading researcher and instructor in psychology and neuroscience.” For a neuroscience seminar at Elon University, she taught upper-level students how people learn and what happens to the brain during the learning process. Parikh says the course examined “the good, the bad and the ugly of learning things.” Parikh credits one Harvey Mudd professor in particular with encouraging her toward a career in teaching: computer science professor Ran Libeskind-Hadas. Both professor and student enjoy biology-themed computer science, and Libeskind-Hadas admired Parikh’s curiosity and eagerness to learn.

“I had the pleasure of seeing Natasha grow into a confident and extremely capable young scientist,” he said. “In addition to her exceptional intellectual abilities, Natasha’s enthusiasm for science, combined with her kindness and obvious interest in people, undoubtedly contribute to making her such an effective teacher.” In addition to helping others through her teaching and research, Parikh has found that her discoveries have influenced her own life as well. “Since starting my research in emotion regulation, I’ve been much more attuned to my own emotional state and how I handle emotional situations,” she says. “I’ve used my own techniques to process difficult memories and used knowledge I’ve learned from others’ research in the same area to handle more acute situations or long-term problems.”

UPDATE | April 2, 2020: “With my work on reframing memories, I try to remind myself that part of this experience is what we make of it! What can we remind ourselves to be grateful for during this time? What sorts of things do we have control over still? Focusing on these aspects, rather than the negatives, can be very helpful as we go through each new day.”



Exploding a nuclear bomb to create an X-ray laser? Physics researchers Henry Kapteyn ’83 and Margaret Murnane knew there had to be a better way. Written by Leslie Mertz Photo by Glen Asakawa, University of Colorado Boulder

24 24



John Townsend or Tom Helliwell—Harvey Mudd physics professors—who originally introduced him to the topic of X-ray lasers, but he clearly remembers the discussion about the challenges of generating the enormous power to make them. “With the basic physics of a laser, you’d need about a billion times more power to make an X-ray laser than you’d need to make a laser pointer,” Kapteyn explains. “It was a very interesting problem.” It was also one he didn’t forget. Now 37 years later, Kapteyn has become one of the field’s foremost researchers, greatly expanding the understanding of ultra-fast laser science and its potential for high-resolution medical and other imaging, as well as next-generation microelectronics.

Solved it! After earning physics B.S. and M.S. degrees from HMC and Princeton University, respectively, Kapteyn became a doctoral student in the University of California-Berkeley’s physics department and began pursuing the power puzzle at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. While some scientists at Livermore were mulling over the idea of exploding a nuclear bomb to get the power to make an X-ray laser, Kapteyn hoped to find a more widely accessible method. He took a big step toward that goal by generating laser pulses in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum—and without any explosions required. It was quite an achievement, but he still sought to design lasers at the evenshorter wavelengths of the X-ray region.

Also while at Berkeley, Kapteyn met fellow doctoral student Margaret Murnane, who would become both his wife and his research partner. Once the pair earned their PhD degrees, they took shared-lab faculty positions first at Washington State University and then at the University of Michigan, before finally settling at the University of Colorado and its renowned JILA institute in 1999. Along the way, they succeeded in solving the central power problem plaguing X-ray laser development. “What happened is we used a different set of physics to get around the fundamental difficulties of making an X-ray laser, and we did that by converting light at the visible wavelength to very short wavelengths,” Kapteyn says. The process involved producing super-short pulses of visible light—just 10 femtoseconds (10-14 seconds) in duration—which greatly concentrated the energy of light and generated the high level of power needed to create a focused beam of photons at X-ray frequencies. By “transmuting” laser light from the visible to the X-ray region of the spectrum, it was possible to retain the focused, directional nature of this laser, creating coherent X-ray laser light. Not only did Kapteyn and Murnane produce X-ray laser light, but they did it on a device that can fit in a typical research lab. “This made it a lot more practical,” he says, “because it’s something that runs on your tabletop to generate coherent X-rays as opposed to where this field started, which was a single-shot experiment where your power comes from a nuclear detonation!”

The upshot Since that first discussion about X-ray lasers in his undergraduate days, Kapteyn’s interest has also extended to the myriad potential uses for this technology. To that end, he and Murnane started a company, KMLabs, shortly after they left Berkeley so they could explore the possible uses of ultrafast lasers. Today, the company offers a product line of laser systems capable of delivering femtosecond and attosecond (10-18) pulses of X-ray and ultraviolet light for a broad range of applications. One area of great interest is in imaging, where shorter wavelengths correspond to increased resolution. Kapteyn envisions medical doctors and researchers using this technology to view exceedingly fine details of the brain or other organs. In addition, the couple’s group has also been able to string together successive rapid-fire

snapshots to create videos, and “we made the first actual nanoscale movie just a year or two ago,” he says. Such a capability would yield insight into neuronal activity and other biological processes occurring in real time. In addition, X-ray laser imaging has great potential in the microelectronics industry, which is always seeking smaller and faster chips. “When you’re on an engineering path, which is very much the description of microelectronics, people keep pushing evolutionary improvements without really looking at the underlying physics of what’s happening. There’s a lot that’s unknown and that has to work better to have a big impact.” Kapteyn says. This is where coherent X-ray lasers come in. For instance, KMLabs is helping with a major issue that has arisen since manufacturers have begun using an advanced etching technique called extreme ultraviolet (EUV) or soft X-ray lithography to make new, cutting-edge chips. The technique relies in part on light-sensitive material, called photoresist, to help print the often molecule-sized microscopic circuitry onto chips, but there’s a hitch. The photoresist isn’t behaving as expected, so the chip details aren’t printing cleanly, Kapteyn says. At the request of a nonprofit consortium that serves the semiconductor industry, KMLabs is building an X-ray laser system to peer into light-matter interaction in the photoresists and figure out what’s going on. These are just a few of the possibilities for ultrafast laser technology, he says. “An X-ray laser isn’t something that will be in everybody’s house, but the products that are enabled by that technology could end up being in everybody’s pocket as the next-generation smart phone.”

Married to the Research … and the Research Partner Married research partners are few and far between in the sciences, but Henry Kapteyn wouldn’t have it any other way. He and his wife, Margaret Murnane, have been sharing a lab since 1990. Their joint accomplishments haven’t escaped notice. In addition to the Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science, one of the highest honors awarded by the American Physical Society, they were named co-recipients of the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics. The last time the Franklin Medal went to a married couple for physics accomplishments was in 1909, and it went to none other than celebrated physicists Pierre and Marie Curie. Kapteyn remarked, “It’s a big thrill.” The key to working together for Kapteyn and Murnane has been communication, even when—and sometimes especially when—they don’t see eye to eye, he says. “We bounce ideas off each other all the time, and I think a big part of my success is having someone I can truly be open with and trusting with.” He adds, “You get an information transfer that really accelerates the thinking process and puts you on the right track a lot faster.”

Looking back and forward Kapteyn has seen amazing progress over his career, but he still sees much to do. “We’re now doing things that we wouldn’t have dreamed were possible when I was a grad student or when I was an undergrad at Harvey Mudd, and I feel very fortunate that a lot of what I envisioned I wanted to do with my life is getting there,” he said. “Scientists tend to work until they drop, and I don’t see us running out of things to do. There are a lot of exciting new directions ahead for us.”

UPDATE | March 27, 2020: “Margaret and I have been isolating ourselves for nearly two weeks now—but videoconferencing means we’re still working hard. And also cleaning the house and gardening, to keep sane. Our labs are shut down for the time being. But we’re fortunate otherwise—a few colleagues who have had mild symptoms of COVID, but weren’t tested, are recovering well. The Franklin Institute award gala has been postponed until an indefinite time in the fall, as would be expected.”



Powered by STEAM Hanna Ma ’94 helps students see the possibilities provided through science and the arts.

By Ashley Festa | Photo by Seth Affoumado


Ma ’94 sometimes defined herself by what she wasn’t, in addition to what she was. She excelled at math and science and thought she might become a chemist. But as an immigrant who had come to the United States in third grade and worked hard to learn English, she also thought of herself as “a non-writer” and wasn’t contemplating a career outside of the sciences. Then she took literature classes at Harvey Mudd and dance classes at Scripps College, and “I just fell in love with it all,” she recalls. “I redefined myself as a learner at Harvey Mudd, with the top-level teachers there. They can make a huge impact in how you see yourself.” Today, Ma is the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) coordinator for Contra Costa County in Northern California. She provides support for science and the arts in 18 school districts, where she encourages students to see their own possibilities. “For a long time I’ve wanted to help students redefine themselves, or see themselves with a strengths-based approach rather than a deficit-based approach,” says Ma. “We work with students who sometimes face a lot of challenges, and the arts and sciences help students make a connection and have hope. They learn who they are, what they’re good at, what sparks them and not just what they’ve experienced.”



Ma works with educators across the Contra Costa districts—some with as many as 30,000 students and others with several thousand—to share STEAM resources and learning strategies. She also works directly with students and teachers in the district’s court and community schools for students in alternative programs or the juvenile hall system. “Just today, I went to one of the alternative schools,” she says, “and I asked the students, ’Are you guys interested in music? Are you interested in computer design?’ and a lot of hands went up. I can tell them that there’s a career for them, and that our job is to help them understand how they can get there.” Ma switched from chemistry to engineering at Harvey Mudd after an introduction to engineering class where she and her fellow students designed and constructed an all-weather mobile Red Cross

After taking some acting classes on her own, Ma developed a new drama program and traveled between elementary schools teaching students about the performing arts, improvisation and writing and performing scripts. After 10 years in the classroom and a move to the Bay Area, Ma decided to move into school administration. “I was looking for a different challenge, and also I had seen some models of school site leadership that were negative, and I thought I would like to change that,” she says. She received her master’s degree in education and her administration credential through the University of California, Berkeley Principal Leadership Institute and worked as an administrator in the Mt. Diablo and San Ramon Valley Unified school districts. Her time as a teacher has helped her be a better administrator, Ma says. “All school leaders, whether

“ We work with students who sometimes face a lot of challenges, and the arts and

sciences help students make a connection and have hope. They learn who they are, what they’re good at, what sparks them and not just what they’ve experienced.


tent. “After that, I realized that I wanted the science to be applicable, and I was really drawn to doing something tangible and addressing a problem that helped someone,” she recalls. At the same time, Ma became involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on campus, “and it challenged my thinking about what my values and what my goals are in life,” she says. “It became very clear to me that it wasn’t just about me anymore, and who I was in my faith, but also as one who serves others.” She joined others from InterVarsity in seeking out opportunities to serve the community after graduation from Harvey Mudd and became an elementary school teacher through a Teach for Pomona program. She worked in schools that served mostly low-income and immigrant students.

at a school site or district level or county level, need to be as close to the students as possible, to know what they need and how their needs can be met— their academic and social-emotional needs.” Ma says she still relies on one of the key lessons that she took away from her time at Harvey Mudd—the idea of “a shared struggle.” The academic challenge of Harvey Mudd can surprise students arriving on campus, many of whom were highly successful in high school, she says. “Getting to Mudd, there’s a big challenge in humility, and you kind of have to get over yourself and ask each other for help,” she recalls. “The nice thing about Harvey Mudd is that it’s collaborative rather than competitive. And when you’re facing a struggle, you face it together.”

UPDATE | March 27, 2020: “Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, my work in supporting schools and school districts had to change drastically. As soon as school closures were announced, my county office of education team has been working around the clock to support students, parents and educators with guidance and resources on distance learning. One big challenge that I am currently tackling is creating high-quality instructional plans in science and arts for incarcerated students in our county’s juvenile hall facilities, as they have a very unique set of needs and restrictions.”




AABOG Toasts Seniors

Spring AABOG Events

The HMC Alumni Association has a tradition of giving each graduating senior a small gift before graduation. As seniors prepared to head home March 13 for spring break and then transition to online coursework, President Maria Klawe invited them to collect their gifts from Kingston Hall, where Alumni and Parent Relations staff set up a mini celebration. “It’s deeply rewarding to see all that you have achieved thus far, and I have no doubt that each one of you will continue to bring great pride to our community,” Klawe shared in an email to the senior class.

To help plan activities in your area, contact aabog-events-l@g.hmc. edu or email the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at alumni@ hmc.edu.

An enthusiastic group of alumni and friends attended the HMC Happy Hour and Mudd Escapes in Claremont, Feb. 1.


“Practice, Perseverance, Confidence” Javelin thrower and hurdler Ryan Gibson ’03 (computer science) joined the 2020 class of athletes inducted into the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletics Alumni Association Hall of Fame. Gibson was a three-time All-American in the javelin throw, placing sixth nationally at the NCAA Division III Championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He won three SCIAC championships, two in the javelin (2001 and 2002) and a third in the 110-meter hurdles (2003). Gibson set the program record in the javelin as a junior in 2002, throwing 208 feet, 4 inches, a record which still stands to this day. He also ranked fourth all-time in the 110-meter hurdles upon graduation. Nicknamed “Money” by his teammates, Gibson left CMS as one of only six Stags who had scored three times in the same event at the NCAA Championships. During his four years on the team, the Stags won the SCIAC Championship each year. CMS track and field coach



Ryan Gibson ’03 and John Goldhammer

(1984–2020) John Goldhammer, who was also being inducted into the CMS Hall of Fame, introduced Gibson and presented him with a plaque. During his acceptance speech, Gibson shared experiences balancing academics and athletics during college. “Freshman year at Mudd was pretty rough for me,” he said. “I struggled with a lot of self-doubt, wondering if I’d made the right choice coming to Mudd and trying to do track at the same time.” After a heart-to-heart conversation with Goldhammer, he decided to persevere.

“I committed myself to the team, and … things did get better, and I started to have some confidence that not only did I deserve to be here, but I could also contribute to the team,” he said. Gibson closed his speech with advice for his two children, who attended the event along with other family and friends. “Just because you’re not good at something when you first start doing it, either academically, athletically or professionally, that doesn’t mean that you can’t eventually get really good at it, but not without a lot of practice, perseverance and, most importantly, confidence in yourself. Do it. And then, when you find something that you really enjoy doing—soccer, singing in a musical or just throwing a stick really far—if it’s going to make you happy and you enjoy it, just commit yourself to it and have the confidence in yourself because you can be really good.”

Student club Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) collaborated with AABOG to present "Championing Sustainability in Your Career" on campus. Sharing their experiences with current students were Nithya Menon ’16, Kathy French ’97, Erik Ring ’96 and Ivo Steklac, who were joined by Laura Fleming ’20, president of ESW.

Feb. 21, Karen Hsin Wnuk ’06 and Arran McNabb ’06 organized a get-together at The Exit Game in Monterey Park, California, where alumni and guests solved puzzles and clues to escape a challenging room.


1965 | Reunion Year Fred Hollinger (math) transferred to UCSB after

two-and-a-half years at HMC. He graduated (medieval history) at the peak of the Vietnam draft and decided to become an Air Force officer. He spent nearly 28 years in “fun jobs in fun locations,” including 11 years overseas in Japan and Germany, and got to travel extensively. For the last 17 years of his career, he worked as an international political military affairs specialist and retired as a colonel. For the last 15 years, he has been a business analyst in IT for SunTrust Bank. He writes, “Harvey Mudd prepared me extremely well for both careers.”

1968 Michael Harwood (physics) Retired ophthalmologist.

Attended 50-year reunion in 2018.

1970 | Reunion Year Andrew Bernat P99 (physics) writes, “Sort of a failed

physicist. I earned a PhD in astronomy (mass loss from red supergiants); was a practicing astronomer for six years and then moved to computer science and was a professor for 20 years with the last two as a rotator at NSF. I then became the executive director of the Computing Research Association, a non-profit in DC that looks after the health of the computing research ecosystem. I remain good friends with the computing folks at HMC, and my son graduated from HMC in computer science.”

1975 | Reunion Year

UPenn, mesoscale forecasting up next! And loving it! And need to finish the pilot’s operating handbook for the Twin Velocity experimental aircraft my husband, Dale, and I built, so there is some basic aero dynamic modeling I can foresee in the near future.” After four years of graduate work in physics, Jonathan Mersel (physics) has spent the last 32 years as an industrial physicist doing classical electrodynamics (read Stealth). After retiring eight years ago, he picked up a part-time teaching gig as an adjunct professor of physics at Mt. SAC, exploring the "road not taken." He collects stone sculptures and has spent about two decades serving on HMC’s Alumni Association Board of Governors (AABOG). As past AABOG president, he served on HMC’s Board of Trustees for four years. In 2017, he was honored by AABOG with the Lifetime Recognition Award. He and his wife, Marion Peters, now spend some of their retirement traveling around the world, reading, performing in playreadings and generally enjoying life.

1980 | Reunion Year Jim Wall (engineering) works for MITRE

Corporation, a federally funded research and development center “doing work for the U.S. government that other companies aren’t interested in—or at least not interested in until we show there is some viability in that area. At that point, MITRE spins off work to the private sector—if they prove they can deliver. If it’s a vital function the government needs, MITRE will continue to supply it until the private sector come through. Specifically, I support the part of the Navy here in San Diego that comes under the jurisdiction of US Special Operations Command. Very interesting work that I can’t otherwise say a lot about.”

1987 Suzie Gruber (chemistry) earned advanced degrees

Barbara Filkins (physics) writes: “Well, flying a lot, but not a lot of physics. More the computational side of stuff—security and analytics. That said, I am returning to my roots. Through the first semester of the weather forecasting certificate program at

in chemistry and psychology and spent 15 years in biotechnology before returning to her first love: helping people transform their lives. Now a personal development practitioner in private practice in Ashland, Oregon, she helps people manage stress and uncertainty. In a recent—and timely—blog post (bit.ly/Gruber-toolkit320), she offers some support, advice and a “When It’s Too Much Toolkit.”

1988 As the CEO of OnePoint Patient Care, which owns and operates 10 hospice-centric pharmacies located throughout the U.S., Jeffrey Hohl (engineering/ management & economics, CMC) oversees OnePoint’s sales, services and technology. He previously served as OnePoint’s president and COO, driving its market and operational expansion. He has 30 years of new business growth experience, including business and new product development, operations, marketing, distribution channel management, and product/technology licensing.

1989 Tim Wendler (engineering)

has worked in the field of environmental investigations and remediation for 30 years. “I have just accepted a new position with CDM Smith as a senior client service leader, focusing on business development. I am active in the community as a member of the Pasadena Planning Commission.”

1990 | Reunion Year Doug Dunston (physics) designs and leads workshops

for the engineering faculty at University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, helping them develop engineering students who are great listeners. He and his wife, Sue, fly their two-seater experimental airplane, an RV-9A that they bought in 2012, over the colorful terrain of New Mexico, where they live.

1992 Lighter Capital, a provider of growth capital to tech startups, hired Kevin Fink (engineering) as its chief technology officer. Kevin will lead its technology strategy and leverage the company’s data and partnerships to extend its products and services into new markets. He has held senior technology positions at a variety of technology and media companies, most recently Seattle-based Shiftboard, where he was CTO. He was co-founder




of N2H2, CTO of WhitePages.com and SVP of engineering at Demand Media and Rightside.

1995 | Reunion Year Nathan Cook (physics) has expanded his collection of

master’s degrees, graduating in December 2019 with Georgia Tech’s online master of science in analytics. Supported by the U.S. Air Force civilian scientist and engineer STEM+M program, he worked part-time for two years with full-time pay as well as tuition, books and fees paid for. The degree was an exploration into the world of data science and the answer to the question, Can you send a flight test engineer (FTE) to school and make them both a practicing FTE and a full data science team? (No.) The edict that “it takes a village” applies to data science as well it seems. Lynn Nakamura (biology) says, “My husband Dan and

I are enjoying our 12- & 8-year-old girls. Life is full including kid activities, work as a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician and finding the yoga mat whenever I can.”


Dallas Kashuba (formerly Bethune/CS) has been

Dan Pryma (biology) has a nuclear medicine clinical

working at his company, New Dream/DreamHost, since graduating. He recently formed a new team to research and develop spatial computing interfaces. “We are developing software that uses VR headsets to help people understand and interact with data and information systems in ways not possible on a flat screen. Human brains are adapted for 3-D and current computing interfaces are holding us back! Our first early prototype generates multi-user, interactive 3-D visualizations of Kubernetes clusters.”

practice and does radiobiology/imaging research at the University of Pennsylvania.


Since graduating, Robert Fuentes (biology) earned a DVM degree from Colorado State University in 2005. He has been a practicing small animal veterinarian in Las Vegas for the last 14 years. He says, “I am happily married with three boys and a fourth boy on the way.”

Aaron Archer (math), a research scientist at

Google NYC, returned to campus in February for a computer science colloquium. He leads the Large-Scale Optimization research team, part of the broader NYC Algorithms and Optimization team. Aaron particularly enjoys finding effective ways to model complex real-world optimization problems. His primary mission at Google has been to apply these and other techniques to improve the efficiency of Google’s computational infrastructure, such as the backend for web search.

Karen Shell (physics) has been running the climate

science undergrad program (in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences) at Oregon State University for the past few years. They’re in the process of creating a climate science major, which will be one of the first climate B.S. degrees in the country.



Mike Hanley (CS) works at Disney as a VP, software

engineering, leading development for Connected and Embedded Devices for Disney’s new streaming services: Disney+ and ESPN+.


2002 In March, O’Reilly Media published Software Engineering at Google, completing a project that Titus Winters has been working on for more than two years. This book covers the creation and maintenance of software, from culture (engineering’s impact on society, team leadership) through processes (code review, testing) and technology.


1997 Seattle publication The Stranger reported that Harvey Mudd alumni came up with an idea to repurpose the kitchen of AAA Five-Diamond restaurant The Herbfarm to serve gourmet meals to local-area healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Supported by a GoFundMe campaign, the effort is the brainchild of Carl W. Coryell-Martin (field CTO at VMWare) and Patrick Halstead Jr. ’91 (CEO/ founder Qdabra) who connected vendors and found donors to make it happen. “There’s an appetite for this,” Carl said. “How can we as citizens help the health-care workers? And there’s this free trade: we don’t just help the workers, we also help the restaurants we love ….” Read the article at bit.ly/ SeattleHelp320.

2000 | Reunion Year

Avani Gadani (CS) writes, Matthew Dharm (CS) writes, “After taking a job

with Qualcomm after graduation, I did a couple of startups in embedded systems, eventually winding up with the title CTO. I parted ways with that organization in 2017 and now work for Avnet as a subject-matter expert in all things Broadcom and spend some time consulting for other organizations that need expertise in the world where hardware meets software. I’ve also been spending some time traveling, including a trip to the northern-most city in the world (Honningsvåg, Norway—There are settlements further north, but not incorporated cities.) and a trip to Alaska.

“After a brief stint in industry, I went back to academia and am currently an assistant professor in CS at Emory university. My lab (SimBioSys) looks at problems at the boundaries of systems, complexity and data science. I commute to Atlanta from San Francisco, where I live with my two-year-old son, Agni, as well as Chris Erickson ’06 and Peter Wilson ’02.”


Accounting for the Atmosphere Lex Berk ’78 is the father of MODTRAN, a radiative transfer computer program used worldwide. Written by Becky Ham


“Lex” Berk ’78 took after graduate school and a couple of postdocs was at Spectral Sciences Inc., and his first task at his new job was to improve the accuracy of a widely used software model. The software was called LOWTRAN, a computer program designed to simulate the atmospheric transmission of electromagnetic radiation—mostly infrared and visible light. LOWTRAN modeled the radiation signal that an optical sensor like a camera might see, accounting for the scattering, absorption and emission by particles and molecules. The software “had low spectral resolution and only worked well if your sensor line-of-sight was close to the ground,” says Berk, a principal scientist at Spectral, “such as a thermal imager viewing the leaking of radiation from a building.” Spectral Sciences had a contract to increase LOWTRAN’s resolution so that it could be applied to technology, such as the optical sensors on satellites that peer through the entire atmosphere. “It’s not like taking a picture on the ground, because the intervening atmosphere changes what the received optical signal is,” Berk explains. “So if you want to identify what you’re looking at, it’s difficult to do because you won’t receive the same radiation signal that you would if you were at ground level. You need models such as MODTRAN to account for the changes introduced by the atmosphere.” Today, MODTRAN is used for a variety of applications, from military targeting and surveillance to characterizing the chemical contents of the atmosphere for use in climate and pollution studies. Berk hasn’t stopped upgrading the software and fielding questions about it in the 33 years he’s worked for Spectral Sciences. Since Berk began work on the program, MODTRAN has grown from 5,000 to about 200,000

An MCScene simulated image (not a photograph) with radiometrically accurate RGB signal levels.

lines of code and now has tens of thousands of users in more than 60 countries. “It’s popular because it makes rapid calculations, and the science behind it is good, so it has become the standard the community has accepted,” Berk says. At the heart of MODTRAN are complicated calculations, which drew Berk to the field of radiative transfer. He spent 25 years solving an integral used to calculate the attenuation of light, which was necessary when MODTRAN increased its spectral resolution to its current value, and the old methods for estimating the integral failed. Twenty-five years is a long time, but Berk enjoyed the challenge. “I tend to gravitate toward mathematical problems when they arise. I still work on math problems that don’t have to do with my work when I have time,” he says. Mathematical problems that Berk has worked on for MODTRAN and other radiative transfer software programs include finding a way to characterize absorption for a large range of wavelengths, from ultraviolet to visible to infrared to microwave and beyond, and to account for the refraction of light above the curved earth. Over the last decade and a half, Berk has also worked on a program called MCScene. One of the limitations of MODTRAN, he explains, is that it assumes that the concentration of atmospheric constituents varies with altitude but not horizontally. This makes it difficult to model the radiation from inhomogeneous sources such as a partial cloud field. To remedy this, “MCScene solves

the same kinds of radiative transfer equations [as MODTRAN] but it solves them in 3-D,” he says. Many of Berk’s MODTRAN users are in the military. But he also receives questions on MODTRAN from scientists working on problems such as retrieving the amount of ozone or chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. MODTRAN allows these researchers to work backward to find these amounts from their optical sensor measurements. Berk credits his first-year chemistry professor at Harvey Mudd with turning him away from a career as a pure mathematician and toward science. “I went to Mudd wanting to study math, but he got me excited about chemistry, so I double-majored in chemistry and math.” Berk says he was an “immature undergraduate” who had loved math since childhood. Mudd offered him the opportunity to focus on the type of problems he excelled at. “I have no idea where I would have ended up if it wasn’t for Harvey Mudd,” he says. “I was able to flourish in that environment, and I think I would have struggled in a more general education environment.” The value of his Mudd education has stayed with him, says the man who spent 25 years solving a math problem. “When I went to graduate school, it was easy because of the foundation provided to me by Harvey Mudd,” Berk says. “I learned calculus there. And 40 years later, when colleagues need an integral solved, they come to me.”





Mathematician, software developer and musician Jennifer Lindsay ’02 follows an unorthodox path and arrives at the world’s most prestigious opera house. Written by Alicia Lutz


stage at the Metropolitan Opera House, lowkey eating Swedish Fish. “How did this happen?” she asks herself. “How did I get here?” To be fair, how she got there is pretty unorthodox—but we’ll circle back to that. What about the gelatinous candy she’s sneaking into her mouth mid-performance of the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess? How did that happen? “A bunch of women in the first act are supposed to be snapping freshly picked string beans, and they had the bright idea of adding green jelly beans to the mix so they could eat during the scene without breaking character,” Lindsay explains, chuckling. “My part of the stage is the ’fish shop,’ and we fish shop workers wanted scene-appropriate candy, too, so we got ourselves a bag of Swedish Fish. So, at the top of the opera, right there in the middle of the Metropolitan Opera stage, they’re eating jelly beans and, we’re eating Swedish Fish. “It’s so crazy because in one minute you’re thinking, ’Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m at the Met!’ And the next you’re thinking, ’Do I have time to eat another Swedish Fish before my next cue,’” she says, laughing. “In one sense, it becomes very normalized—just another day of work—but in another sense, it’s absolutely mindblowing.” She’s right—it is pretty incredible. After all, if you make it to this stage, you have arrived. “It’s the biggest, most prestigious opera house in the world,” says Lindsay, a senior developer for Diamond Web Services in Los Angeles whose encore singing career landed her a role as a second soprano in the 68-person chorus for the Met’s production of Porgy and Bess, which ran from November 2019 to February 2020 and even broke box office records, prompting the unheard-of addition of three extra shows. “The Met is huge, and this is one of its bigger shows. There are 90 cast members and a couple



dozen stagehands and stage directors in the wings, and it’s an incredibly complex show. I’m just one tiny piece of the whole puzzle, but I’m very glad to contribute to this humongous spectacle, even though the magnitude of it can be overwhelming.” For opera singers, of course, the Met is the destination—the stage everyone strives to get to, though very few make it. “There are artists who go their entire careers and never get to sing on the Met’s stage,” says Lindsay, who got to this stage not with a music degree or a network of connections in the world of opera, but with degrees in mathematics, computer science and operations research, and a good job in the world of software development. “It’s very difficult to break into the opera business without conservatory or music school credentials and all the connections that come along with those. So, it’s all the more exciting for me to have managed to get to the Met without taking the extra step of going back and getting my music degree.” She may not have taken that extra step, but her talent gave her pretty solid footing. She’d begun playing Suzuki violin around age 3, which gave her a head start. And when she first sang along to the Magic Flute’s “Queen of the Night” aria at age 8, her parents realized this was the direction she should go. “I did have a private musical education growing up, and I have a very well-trained ear because of that,” says Lindsay, a founding member of the Disney Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra by the time she was 11, a guest soprano soloist for the Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition by 14 and a second-place winner in the Opera Pacific singing competition for high schoolers. “Just through my musical upbringing and the opportunities I pursued as a kid, I learned all the sort of things that you’re taught in a conservatory.” Indeed, Lindsay received much of her education in informal, nontraditional settings. She was homeschooled high school, which she skipped,

opting to go straight into junior college instead. By then, Lindsay knew she wanted to study “something STEM-related” in college, and when she stumbled onto the Harvey Mudd campus, she knew it was exactly where she wanted to be. “I remember thinking, ’OK, this is the small, close-knit environment I’m looking for, where I will be taught by actual professors, not grad student TAs, and I can receive the attention and assistance I need to succeed,’” she says, adding that the fact that Harvey Mudd students could pursue musical opportunities at Pomona and Scripps made the decision even easier. What did eventually get lost, though, was her interest in music. She continued taking private lessons from the late Gwendolyn Lytle, who directed Pomona College’s voice department at the time and, by the time she graduated, was first violin chair and concertmaster of the Pomona College Orchestra and recipient of several music awards, including a Renaissance Award from the National Alliance for Excellence. “But it had become sort of a burden by that point,” Lindsay admits. “After I graduated, I quit. Period. I was like, ’I just don’t want to do this music thing anymore.’” And so she dove into her STEM career, earning a master’s in operations research from Columbia University and a master’s in computer science from Johns Hopkins University, eventually landing a job as a programmer and analyst for the Department of Defense and, later, for a defense contractor in Los Angeles. “I spent my 20s just basically plowing ahead in my career in math and computer science and really neglecting my musical talents except on rare occasion,” she says. “They lay dormant until about six years ago when I was laid off in the recession. That’s when I started wondering if I’d gone in the wrong direction.” If Lindsay’s career in software development had In the Met's production of Porgy and Bess, the people of Catfish Row listen to Crown (Alfred Walker) as he mocks the group and God’s power.


I’m On My Way

side-tracked her from pursuing music, the part she landed in a community production of Verdi’s Macbeth got her back on course. “I got to dress up as a witch and act very bizarrely and eccentrically while singing this fantastic music, and I absolutely loved it.” she says. “For the first time, I got to create a character and interact with other characters and be part of an overarching narrative, instead of simply singing an aria or two out of context. I thought, ’Well, now I actually want to be an opera singer!’” “Don’t quit your day job,” her mom said when she announced her newfound passion. She needn’t worry. Lindsay loves her day job. It gives her a sense of balance and grounds her. Even during the run of Porgy and Bess, Lindsay continued to work her remote job full-time from a sublet studio apartment in Washington Heights, flexing her hours around scheduled rehearsals and performances. “I’m lucky to be working for a company that places a high priority on work/life balance,” she says. “I’m also a rather extreme introvert as far as performing artists go. I actually enjoy being alone in a room, designing and implementing features, debugging code and collaborating remotely,” she says. “There’s a part of me that really needs that sort of work in my life. But there’s a part of me that also wants to get up onstage and sing my heart out. I don’t want to be a full-time professional musician, but I also don’t want to give up singing professionally, so I guess I’m just blazing my own path.” When she started down this path six years ago her technique was rusty, but after six months of voice lessons, she was cast as an understudy for a small production of Cosí fan tutte. “And I’ve been bootstrapping my way through the opera world ever since,” she says, admitting that—while she has done many productions since then—she’s seen a lot of rejection, too. “Pursuing this career path has made me very resilient, and I’ve developed a really strong failure tolerance. I’m generally much more resilient now, which has carried over to my tech job, too, making me stronger there.” There are, she insists, quite a few similarities between her work onstage and her work behind the keyboard. “They both draw on a similar set of skills, and there are lots of parallels, especially when it comes to problem solving,” she says. “Of course

everyone knows there’s problem solving in math and computer science, but getting through a performance also requires problem solving, because in live theater nothing happens the same way twice. Maybe I have a cold, and my neck is sore, and someone unexpectedly improvised part of their staging, and there’s a set piece that’s not quite in the right place, and the conductor is taking a slower tempo than usual. I can’t break character or miss a cue or flub a line while I’m dealing with all this. The part of me that likes coding and debugging absolutely loves these kinds of challenges onstage.” And, she says, the stage always presents a challenge, regardless of how long you’ve been in the business. “Every rehearsal and every moment onstage is a learning experience,” says the winner of the National Opera Association’s 2016 Vocal Competition, who also worked as a resident artist in Opera Naples in Florida after debuting with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella recital series in 2015. I especially relish learning by observing artists who are better than me.” Safe to say: Lindsay’s learning a lot at the Met. “I haven’t felt this average since I was a student at Harvey Mudd,” she remarks, laughing. “I have absolutely become a better singer simply by sharing the stage with these extraordinary performers. They challenge me to become a better artist, and that’s the experience I really enjoy. It’s the primary reason I want to keep doing this: to sing alongside the best voices in the business. You can’t help but improve when you’re part of a cast of people who are all at the top of their game. “It’s wonderful to be at the Met because of what the Met represents, of course, but for me it’s more than just a grand, famous opera house,” she adds. “It is an operatic nexus where the best of the best congregate, and I am absolutely privileged to share the stage with them.” And sometimes even some Swedish Fish.

UPDATE | April 1, 2020: “I was looking forward to making my role debut as Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with Pacific Opera Project based in Los Angeles, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, that production was cancelled on the second day of rehearsals. In the meantime, I’ve been staying quite busy as a developer; I was already working from home so not much has changed there. It has been very sobering to see months’ worth of contracts vanish almost overnight for my colleagues who are full-time opera singers, and it has given me a deeper appreciation for the flexibility that I have with my dual careers in programming and music.”

Conor Sen (CS) has been living in Atlanta for

nine years, with wife, Crystal (recently celebrated sixth anniversary), and two kids (4 and 2). Conor manages money for individuals and is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. He writes, “The political fluidity in Georgia, particularly the Atlanta suburbs, makes this a fascinating place to live right now. I do miss those late-night In-N-Out runs, though.”

2005 | Reunion Year Aurora Burd (physics) finished her PhD in geophysics

at the University of Washington in 2013 (“Electrical conductivity of the Pampean Shallow Subduction Region of Argentina near 33˚S and of the Payunia Region of Argentina near 36.5˚S”), and received tenure at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California, in 2018, where she is the main geology instructor. She is excited that the first AVC student to receive an AS-T in geology graduated during spring 2019. During summer 2019, Aurora taught Earth Science 101 (including lab) to inmates inside the maximum-security California State Prison Los Angeles County in Lancaster. This is the first time a lab science has been taught inside this facility, and it’s thought to be the first time a lab science has been taught inside any California State Prison. She lives with her husband, Leo, in Lancaster, where they enjoy listening to and playing both classical music and Irish traditional music.

Tommy Leung (engineering) co-founded countlove.org with his partner, Nathan Perkins. They’ve documented over 21,000 protests reported by local news sources in the United States since January 2017. Over the last two and a half years,




they’ve built machine learning tools to help review over 70,000 news articles and have built tools to help citizens, journalists, policymakers and researchers study temporal and geographic trends in United States protests. He writes, “For example, since January 2017, Americans protested most for women’s rights, greater gun control, and more compassionate immigration policies. We occasionally write about our findings in the Washington Post and present at conferences, and we continue to seek ways to advocate for social causes with our data.” Professionally, Tommy is an engineering director at DuckDuckGo, a private search engine that doesn’t track its users. “I often solve problems related to understanding user preferences under the constraint of having zero user-specific data.”


Since 2017, Andrew Wetzel (physics) and Whitney Duim (chemistry) have been faculty members at the University of California, Davis. Andrew is an assistant professor in physics, pursuing research in theoretical/computational astrophysics, using the country’s most powerful supercomputers to computationally model how our Milky Way galaxy formed. Whitney is a lecturer and researcher in chemistry, having previously spent two years as a visiting professor in chemistry at Harvey Mudd. She continues her research applying high-resolution fluorescence microscopy to understanding biological systems. They have a young son, Felix.


and biology) is an assistant professor of biochemistry at Loyola Marymount University. She received a PhD in biochemistry from UW Madison in 2013 and went on to a tenure track position in biochemistry at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. “After several successful years there, I decided the town was a little too small for my long-term plans and career ambitions. I made a lateral move to LMU in August 2018. Things are going very well, and I am hoping to go up for tenure within a very short number of years.”

Jason Fennell (CS/math) left his role as head of

engineering at Yelp late last year. He’s been enjoying a year off playing with his two young kids and also staying involved with Mudd through the board of trustees. “I’m starting to look for exec jobs again, too.” Elorm Foli (economics) was the subject of a feature that describes his Accra, Ghana-based company E K Brand Consult and its app Syde Hassle. bit.ly/3eobE36 Lindsay Wray (biology) celebrated her first podcast

2006 Sheldon Logan (engineering)

writes, “After four lovely years (best years of my life) at Harvey Mudd in the engineering department, I started to slip to the dark side of computer science by pursuing a PhD in computer engineering at UCSC. After graduating in 2013, I completed my transition to the dark side by joining Google as a software engineer, working in the technical infrastructure division. Recently, I joined the board of trustees of Harvey Mudd College as a way to give back to the school that gave so much to me. When I’m not being a board member or a software engineer, I enjoy life with my wife and dog in the surfing beachside town of Santa Cruz.”


Katie Mouzakis (chemistry


feature in March. The Elle magazine Future of Beauty Award winner and Eighteen B chief science officer talked about studying biomedical applications of silk and shifting from textiles to skin care. Lindsay pioneered a production and purification process that mimics spider silk. The company is named after their b-silk™ protein, composed of “18 repeating blocks of an amino acid sequence found in natural spider silk, and is a structural protein similar to collagen and elastin.”

2009 “Relevance of the ’Immigrant Health Paradox’ for the Health of Arab Americans in California,” by Nadia Abuelezam (math/biology) was published in The American Journal of Public Health in October 2019. In a Twitter post, Nadia remarked that it’s “one of only a handful of papers on Arab American health ever published in AJPH!” Nadia was also

featured on several news outlets, including “All In with Chris Hayes” (March 25, MSNBC), discussing aspects of COVID-19 transmission. She is an infectious disease epidemiologist and an assistant professor at the Connell School of Nursing, Boston College.

2010 | Reunion Year Nathan Jones (engineering)

entered the military and is serving on active duty nearly 10 years later. He’s had the chance to visit, be deployed to, or be stationed in South Korea, Afghanistan, Chad, Germany and both sides of the continental U.S. Recently, he became a junior rotating faculty member at West Point after attending North Carolina State University, from which he’ll receive a master’s degree in electrical engineering (focusing on embedded systems) next May. He’s happily married to the former Cidney Scanlon (engineering), and together they have an energetic toddler named Isaac. Vedika Khemani (physics) is one of 126 early

career researchers to receive the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation 2020 Sloan Research Fellowship, which honors scholars in the U.S. and Canada for their outstanding creativity, leadership and independent research achievements. Vedika is an assistant professor in physics and applied physics at Stanford. Prior to Stanford, she was a junior fellow at Harvard University (2016–2019). Last summer, Khemani returned to HMC to deliver a physics colloquium on recent advances in the understanding of quantum statistical mechanics, focusing on settings in which systems fail to reach thermal equilibrium. Jonathan Simkin

(engineering) was featured in the Jan. 30 Government Technology article “Transit, Swiftly Team Up on Traffic Data for Super Bowl” discussing the partnership between his transportation data and analytics

company Swiftly and the mobile app Transit to boost transit ridership and reduce congestion during the Super Bowl game in Miami. In February, he was on a Government Services Forum panel at UC Berkeley and met with Henry Brady ’69, the dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy. Jonathan says, “I found out that he, too, went to Harvey Mudd, but nearly 40 years earlier! It’s such a small world, and we had a blast connecting and catching up over great times at Mudd.”


a musculoskeletal radiology fellowship. He has published several radiology papers; his research interest is primarily dual-energy CT.

2013 Kevin O’Neill (math) received his PhD in mathematics

from UC Berkeley researching in harmonic analysis under the direction of Michael Christ and is now a Krener Assistant Professor at UC Davis. Megan Wheeler (math/comp/bio) is nearing the end

Kristina Runas (engineering) received an M.S. and PhD in chemical engineering from USC in 2015. Her research focused on biomimetic membranes and evaluation of drug permeation properties of different compositions of lipid bilayers. She moved to Oregon and started working at Intel in 2015 as a process engineer in the Lithography department. She writes, “It’s been an interesting transition from my previous research, but full of challenges and opportunities to learn new techniques and solve engineering problems. I married a great guy named Matt in 2017, who happens to be the sibling of another Mudder, with Allison Wynn McReynolds ’11 as one of my bridesmaids and Cate Maddalena ’11 as the best woman. My husband and I are very happy living in Oregon with our dog (Loki) and horse (Zen), and I still get the chance to compete in the adult amateur hunters every summer. Matt and I like to spend our free time traveling, hiking and kayaking.”


of a PhD at Arizona State University working on social and ecological drivers of plant community dynamics in cities. “My work is primarily in urban ecology, and I’ve been experimenting with a combination of methods from the social sciences and field ecology. I’ve also designed and am teaching my first class on quantitative methods for ecologists, digging back to my first programming experiences at Mudd and how bio professors were able to help me make connections between quantitative skills and biological questions. I don’t see many Mudders out in Phoenix, but I’m planning a move up to the Bay Area when I’m done and hope to do some reconnecting then.”

2014 Miranda Parker (CS) graduated with a PhD in human-

centered computing from Georgia Tech. Christian Stevens (chemistry and biology) is an

MD/PhD student and member of Dr. Benhur Lee’s research team at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The #ViralLeeLab is spearheading an effort to push back on SARS-CoV-2 misinformation. They note, “Naturally, one of the first questions we ask ourselves when a new disease appears is “where did this come from?” The March 24 blog post “The Origins of SARS-CoV-2: Part 1” describes how it likely emerged in the human population. leelabvirus. host/covid19/origins-part1.

2015 | Reunion Year Noah Atwi (biology) graduated

from LSU New Orleans School of Medicine in 2016 and is now in radiology residency at LSU New Orleans. After finishing in 2021, he plans to do

After Mudd, Tasha Arvanitis (physics) headed to New York City for her dream job: a computational chemistry gig combining computer science and physics. She learned a ton about computational quantum mechanics, the biological basis for various diseases, leadership and diversity. She also learned

that sitting at a desk all day is not exactly her thing. So she quit her job, moved to Alaska and became a kayak guide! Now, she travels the country (“and hopefully soon the world”) as a guide, outdoor leader, wilderness EMT and unapologetically enthusiastic explorer. Tasha writes, “My studies at Mudd gave me a qualitative intuition for how the natural world works that has served me well in planning around currents and tides as well as interpreting glaciology, oceanography and geology. I can currently be found in Anacortes, Washington, where I’m leading multi-day kayak trips, working on my combat sea kayak roll and volunteering with the local fire district.” Devon Stork (chemistry and biology) has been

working on his PhD at Harvard Medical School, where he is jointly advised by Ethan Garner and George Church on a project to get nonstandard amino acids working in Bacillus subtilis. He’s hoping to defend in April and graduate in May and then join a small biotech company, “though I’m not sure which one yet!” Mimee Xu (CS) moved to NYU as a PhD student

after a few years in industry (Google, Baidu SVAIL, UnifyID).

2016 For about a year, Sherman Lam (engineering) has been working as a mechanical engineer at Honeybee Robotics (Pasadena, California), where they specialize in robotic space drilling and sample acquisition systems and work closely with NASA and JPL. He writes, “A couple of my past projects focused on the research and development of grinding and dust removal tools for lunar mission proposals. I’m working on a project in collaboration with NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). JAXA plans to conduct a sample return mission to Phobos, and I’ve been designing and testing a pneumatic sample acquisition system that will fly on the spacecraft. So far, I love being part of the Honeybee team. I’ve also been an adamant mountain biker and climber. Among other objectives in the Sierras, Sam DeRose and I successfully climbed the faces of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, and I completed a winter ascent of Mt Whitney, California.”




In August 2019, Jennifer Rogers Brennan

(CS/math) married her boyfriend of nine years, Eamon Brennan. She is working toward a PhD at University of Washington CSE, where she studies machine learning with Kevin Jamieson.


2018 Porter Adams (CS/math), Arthur Reyes (engineering)

and Heather Wing ’21 (CS) founded Disappear Digital to help protect personal data and information. Porter writes, “I had been helping law enforcement with missing persons investigations when I realized how easy it is to find people’s information on the internet. Disappear Digital’s services include checking your social media for privacy concerns, removing phone numbers and home addresses from data broker websites and reviewing data breaches to find potentially compromised passwords.” Jacey Coniff (engineering) works at a small rocket

engine start-up. She writes, “I get to do everything from helping to test the actual engine to developing subcomponents and analyzing data, which makes for a very exciting work environment. In my free time, I love hiking and skiing in the mountains and playing soccer.” Annalise Schweickart (French and math/comp/bio)

Alana Lani Chapko (engineering) describes her love for climbing on chickswithpicks.net. An instructor and guide for American Alpine Institute, Lani leads excursions—including an all-women’s clinic—in Washington, California, Colorado and Canada. She says, “Nothing brings people together like shared experiences in the mountains. Some of my most memorable experiences guiding haven’t been on the summit, but seeing participants push themselves beyond what they thought possible.” https:// chickswithpicks.net/alana-chapko-3/ David Tenorio (engineering) teaches CS to members

of underrepresented communities as his job and does political activism (get those concentration camps closed!) and refereeing soccer as hobbies. He began pursuing a master’s in CS this fall.



is a PhD student at Cornell’s Medical School in NYC, where she works with large medical datasets that include information about patients’ genes, proteins and other important biomolecules. She takes these datasets and turns them into biological networks that she statistically analyzes to look for pathways or processes that may be involved in disease. She says, “Currently, I am focusing on diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease for my studies, but I am excited to expand my work into the field of cancer. When I’m not coding at my research computer, I like to attend talks about what is new in computational biology and explore the big city.” Adam Shaw (physics) works in the physics

department at Caltech, doing research under Professor Manuel Endres on neutral-atom quantum simulation platforms. He runs the group’s main experiment, an apparatus combining nine different lasers, and numerous other hardware, which allows them to trap and image ~100 single atoms in optical tweezers (with only a single atom per site!) for minutes at a time. With their single atom precision, they can perform state-resolved control over the individual motional and electronic degrees of freedom across the entire ensemble, which we hope will lead to new prospects in atomic clocks, quantum simulation and quantum computation.

Eyassu Shimelis (engineering)

joined Lincoln Laboratory at MIT as an assistant technical staff member where he’s worked on many engaging research projects and helped develop some exciting prototypes. He writes, “Working after Mudd has helped me contextualize what I learned as an engineer, and it has helped me focus my academic interests. I’m looking forward to taking a class part-time! At work, I’ve been part of some really impactful educational outreach efforts. This summer, I spent a month teaching a high school robotics class through the Beaver Works program. It’s fascinating to see how effective robotics can be at teaching young students a wide variety of scientific concepts. Outside of work, I recently learned how to sail, and have enjoyed cooking and running. I’ve been fortunate to build strong friendships with Mudders (and other 5C’ers) in the Boston community, and I look forward to welcoming more!”

2019 Felipe Borja (engineering) started graduate school at

Virginia Tech where he’s working in the Unmanned Systems Lab setting up a drone and flight academy in Malawi.

Your News Matters

Have you changed jobs? Retired? Celebrated a milestone? We want your news! In addition to updates you submit, we compile information from a variety of sources: campus event notices, newspaper and magazine articles, press releases and Google alerts. Please submit updates to alumni@hmc.edu.

Caring for Community Through Giving Through the years, critical programs and services offered by HMC’s Division of Student Affairs have grown as new opportunities and needs are identified. Healthy excellence among HMC students and service to the local community are among the top priorities. Join us in celebrating and supporting our caring community as we shed a spotlight on two exciting areas.

Homework Hotline (1.877.827.5462) is a free, over-the-phone math and science tutoring service offered to students in grades four through 12 in the greater Los Angeles area and beyond. Since the College launched its Homework Hotline a decade ago, HMC tutors have fulfilled a muchneeded service, making over 30,000 calls. Tutors hone the important skill of explaining what they know about subjects that are the foundation of their own studies. The program provides them an excellent opportunity to share their skills and gain confidence by demonstrating proficiency in the material. As the College celebrates the program’s 10-year anniversary in 2020, the future and sustainability of Homework Hotline is being evaluated. The College is excited to announce a challenge grant of $25,000 that will provide double the impact with a dollar-for-dollar match. The challenge grant and gifts from the community—along with $75,000 already committed—will help us reach the goal of $125,000 and will fully fund Homework Hotline for another year.

The ASHMC Student Philanthropy Campaign, an all-student fundraising effort, was focused—by student vote—on supporting preventative services related to mental health. Over 60% of the student body made gifts (a remarkable accomplishment!), raising funds to expand resources above and beyond what the College already provides. Add quote: from a SPC co-director about why funding for services related to mental health is important to them/students. The funds invested in this initiative will provide reimbursement to students for off-campus outdoor excursions, cultural outings, yoga classes, cooking/nutrition classes and for many other decompressing activities. Building on the momentum of the students’ successful effort, an HMC alumna created The Emmanuel Fund and sparked a challenge grant of $25,000 that will match, dollar for dollar, gifts to services that support mental health.

hile I was only a Homework “ WHotline tutor for one semester, I still remember it as a pivotal moment in figuring out how excited I was to teach and to explore new ways of communicating about math to learners.


For more information about these important initiatives or to provide financial support, please contact Meg Marsh, director of annual giving, at mmarsh@ hmc.edu or Marcy Rodriguez, associate director of development and constituent programs, at marodriguez@hmc.edu.

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

Muddcraft Though the COVID-19 pandemic may have physically separated Harvey Mudd students, they’ve still found ways to build community. The HMC campus is coming to virtual life in Minecraft, a computer game that allows users to build anything with virtual blocks then hang out there with friends. One of the more than 100 student “architects,” Erik Meike ’21 says, “It is just crazy how accurate everything is and how creative people are with using the blocks available in Minecraft to create what they wanted to.” Read the story and see more of the virtual campus on page 11.


Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Claremont, CA Permit No. 35

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.