Bonding with Community
Teacher/scholar Jessica Hoover â€™04 demystifies chemistry with interactive art. | 18
NEW DATA SCIENCE INITIATIVE
CLEARING THE AIR
A RICH LIFE
All the Write Stuff Writing Center
Housed in the R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, the HMC Writing Center has almost everything students could want. There are snacks, drinks, stress balls, board games, inspirational photos, comfy couches and a giant flat screen monitor for movie watching. There’s also a well-trained staff of Writing Center consultants, ready to help students polish their papers and perfect their punctuation. Having been housed elsewhere on campus over the years, including in the windowless basement of
the Parsons Engineering Building, the Writing Center is home for good in the Shanahan Center. Architects designed the space intentionally for this purpose and even asked Writing Center Director Wendy Menefee-Libey and her staff to suggest specific features. Requests for a hot tub and pass-through window between Menefee-Libey’s office and The Café were rejected, but the center manages to function beautifully anyway.
1. The main room provides space for group workshops and staff training, and three private rooms are available for one-on-one conferences. 2. Writing Center consultants assist students in any discipline with any stage of the writing process, from developing an idea to perfecting a final draft. Students work through the writing process and improve the expression of their ideas by participating in individualized conferences and occasional group workshops.
3. In addition to word games, the center offers a variety of reference books, including style manuals and grammar handbooks as well as handouts on everything from crafting a good thesis to writing in technical fields to writing with style and grace. Wall-mounted trays hold Mudd-specific literature on how to outline E4 memos, write BIO 54 lab reports or clarify proofs.
4. Throughout the year, Menefee-Libey and the Writing Center consultants present workshops on various topics, including technical writing, revision, peer review, lab reports, essays and research papers. They also attend the annual Southern California Writing Centers Association tutor conference. Consultants are sophomores, juniors and seniors who each work five hours per week and attend an annual fall retreat.
5. When the architect rejected the studentsâ€™ request for a hot tub in the Writing Center, Menefee-Libey asked what she might provide instead. They asked for a cat. In a classic case of not always getting what you want but sometimes getting what you need, Menefee-Libey got the students a stuffed cat, which they named Hot Tub, and the Writing Center mascot was born. Hot Tub mostly hangs out in the center but does get out at least once a year to attend the annual conference with the rest of the staff.
FALL/WINTER 2019 | VOLUME 19, NO. 1
FROM THE PRESIDENT
The Harvey Mudd College Magazine is produced three times per year by the Office of Communications and Marketing.
A Toast To a Healthy Future
Director of Communications, Senior Editor Stephanie L. Graham
As 2019 draws to a close, I’m excited about all that we have accomplished for Harvey Mudd College in recent years, and I look forward to collaborating as a community to continue strengthening this amazing college. It was in this spirit that the HMC Board of Trustees asked the Department Chairs Committee, the Faculty Executive Committee and the President’s Cabinet to collaborate in planning our November trustee Saddle Rock Retreat. We all saw this as a wonderful opportunity to begin strengthening connections among various constituent groups by working together to plan the retreat and to discuss future opportunities for Harvey Mudd. We chose as our focus for the retreat “Healthy Excellence,” the theme for the College’s upcoming reaccreditation effort. Learn more about this effort at hmc.edu/wascreview. We began by exploring how we might foster stronger innovation through our work together, including how we might provide additional time and resources for students and faculty to attempt new ways of innovating through research, the development of new and more equitable courses. One possibility discussed was the creation of an Innovation Fund that could be used to provide additional resources. Our Alumni Association Board of Governors is already leading the way in this effort (see page 26). We also explored the topics of entrepreneurship and sustainability/climate change, including ways we might better integrate climate change into the College’s curriculum. This represents an exciting possibility for Harvey Mudd—an area where our unique strengths in cross-disciplinary learning through the Core and among academic disciplines could position the College as a climate change/sustainability leader. Among those working in this important area is chemistry Professor Lelia Hawkins, whose interdisciplinary work is featured on page 16. At Saddle Rock, we also explored ways to better support student excellence, with a focus on the drivers for health and wellness throughout the HMC community. We also talked about the Mudd culture and ways organizations address cultural shifts more broadly. As part of our work toward
Art Director Janice Gilson
reaccreditation, the College has conducted surveys of students and faculty—with another planned this spring for staff—to gauge perceptions around workload and balance. This research is being used to inform the College’s planning efforts, particularly as they impact our efforts toward reaccreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. On the final day of the retreat, we discussed issues that might face the College over the next 30 years. Together, trustees, faculty, students, staff and administrators brainstormed potential changes in the areas of technology, climate change, tuition and anticipated demographic shifts in population. As part of this effort, we identified a number of future possibilities for the College. In order to explore these opportunities in more depth, we are forming working groups of trustees, faculty and cabinet members to focus on three key issues: 1. Building capacity to address climate change through
research, teaching and more sustainable institutional practices; 2. E xploring and identifying current and potential fundraising priorities for the College, including, for example, summer salaries for faculty researchers, curricular innovation and the Jacobs-Keck renovations, and 3. R aising awareness of the College’s brand through integrated communications and marketing I am incredibly grateful to our faculty leadership for their support in this planning process and for their enthusiasm moving forward in these areas, particularly in how we might begin to turn our attention toward a greater focus on addressing climate change. This is a critical issue facing the world and is an area where I think we all believe Harvey Mudd can be particularly effective in helping identify and implement solutions. Moving forward, we hope that these topical areas will help focus our planning and fundraising efforts as we explore the ways Harvey Mudd College can continue to be a leader in STEM education.
Maria Klawe President, Harvey Mudd College
Senior Graphic Designer Robert Vidaure Assistant Director Sarah Barnes Writer Leah Gilchrist Contributing Writers Karen Bergh, Amy Derbedrosian, Lori Ferguson, Janie Fisher, Cole Kurashige ’20, John Martin, Elaine Regus Contributing Photographers Peter Buchaklian, Shannon Cottrell, Keenan Gilson, Buzz Meade, 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. Copyright © 2019—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: email@example.com or Harvey Mudd College Magazine, Harvey Mudd College, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711 Follow Us!
Departments Clearing the Air: An Interdisciplinary Approach
Air pollution expert Lelia Hawkins uses research, teaching and activism to communicate about climate change.
Written by Elaine Regus
MY MUDD LIFE
ALUMNI PROFILE: SCOTT PACE ’80
MY MUDD[SUB] LIFE 18
Bond. Carbon-Carbon Bond. When not investigating new catalytic reactions, Jessica Hoover ’04 is introducing the public to the beauty, mystery and intrigue of chemistry.
Written by Lori Ferguson Photos by Buzz Meade
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.
A Rich Life
In a community where hardships are part of daily life, the Hakims find acceptance and a purpose. Written by John Martin Illustration by Delphine Lee
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Future STEM Leaders, Here’s One of Your Biggest Fans Engineer and award-winning community leader Gina Janke ’87 inspires through education and outreach.
I enjoyed the story about the new computer science center (bit.ly/McGgbrk19), but I had a quibble with the statement that the school had no computer until 1969. I remember Malcolm Lewis ’67 and Jack Landau ’67 and maybe Ralph Lake ’67 using a computer that shared space in the same general area where I did my senior physics experiments in 1966–1967. The main system for I/O was punch cards, and I know I learned how to use the card punch machine so I could get a good start after graduation when I went to work at the Livermore Laboratory. I think HMC got into computers earlier than 1969. Charlie Westbrook ’67
Good catch, Charlie. In Harvey Mudd College, The First Twenty Years, Founding President Joseph Platt writes that the College bought its first computer, an IBM 1620, in 1962.
Written by Amy Derbedrosian Photo by Peter Buchaklian
Cover photo by Buzz Meade
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A New Building for Computer Science and Community A GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY WAS HELD
Sept. 28 for the new Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center, which will include a Makerspace, recording studios and other community resources. The new building’s three stories and 36,000 square feet should also help alleviate some of the strain placed on the school’s Department of Computer Science. The ceremony brought together alumni, board members, faculty, staff and students. The building is named for Scott A. McGregor, who, along with his wife, trustee Laurie J. Girand, was a major donor for the project. The school set a fundraising goal of $17.2 million for the project, which it reached in approximately three months. The building will cost $30 million with the remaining funds covered through debt financing. “The addition of the McGregor Center to our campus is an exciting and important step forward for the College,” President Maria Klawe said in her remarks at the groundbreaking. “We are eager for
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the buzz of activity that we will experience in our fantastic new makerspace, and we are excited that our growing computer science department will gain a new home.” Melissa O’Neill, chair of the Department of Computer Science, said, “This building comes at just the right time for this department. I liken our department’s growth to Moore’s law, with exponential growth through our history, both in the numbers of students we support and the number of faculty who provide that support. Although our space in the Olin and Beckman buildings has served us well, it is clear that we have now outgrown it. The new spaces of the McGregor center will allow us to remain a cohesive group, with office space unified on a single floor that also contains a meeting room where we can all gather,” O’Neill said. “New student labs, Clinic spaces and research spaces also help meet our needs and help support our research, teaching and Clinic endeavors. Having the new makerspaces on the ground floor of the building will also help strengthen our department’s
connection with engineering and embrace the embeddability of computing.” Students are excited about the new space. “The College is heading in a direction of further prioritizing inclusivity, community and preparedness for the next generation of students,” ASHMC President Kyle Grace ’21 said in a speech at the groundbreaking. “As a computer science major here at Mudd, I am excited to see our incredible computer science program become even larger.” Construction will last up to 18 months, with an estimated completion date in early 2021. View the progress of the McGregor Center construction on the construction webcam (hmc.edu/ campaign/academic-building-one/), which provides an updated image every 10 minutes.
This article includes excerpts from the Oct. 3, 2019 Student Life article by Liam Chalk ’23.
How to Develop a Makerspace The planning committee for the 2019 Dr. Bruce J. Nelson ’74 Distinguished Speaker Series designed a program to inspire the Harvey Mudd community to create a culture for its new makerspace that is inclusive, playful, sustainable and builds upon the College’s liberal arts environment. Speaking to the theme “Maker Cultures,” speakers invited the community to think beyond traditional makerspaces, where tools and materials are available in a dedicated space, to maker cultures that are mobile, use living materials, re-make with recycled parts and cross disciplinary boundaries. Garnet Hertz, associate professor in the faculty of Design and Dynamic Media at Emily Carr University, investigates DIY culture, electronic art and critical design practices. He is well-known for his Disobedient Electronics: Protest, a limited-edition publishing project by artists who disobey conventions, especially work that is used to highlight injustices, discrimination or abuses of power. His talk and workshop introduced a series of core techniques and ideas from critical design to think through digital technology’s capacities and potentiality both as a corrective to its uncritical embrace and as a way to redefine the digital in daily
life. At Hertz’s workshop, participants played a customdesigned card game to re-evaluate and re-invent digital technologies. Hertz embraces the term “critical making.” He says, “People who are building stuff need to be aware of what’s happening in society in general.” Ellen Jorgensen, cofounder and chief science officer at Carverr, runs a biotech startup that safeguards supply chains and promotes sustainable practices by using biomolecules and probiotics to track and trace food and other products. In 2009, she cofounded the first biomakerspace, Genspace, in Brooklyn. She says, “I think the idea of informing the public and letting the public get involved, hands-on, is really critical to the idea of shepherding some of these new technologies.” DK Osseo-Asare is cofounder and principal of architecture at integrated design studio Low Design Office (LOWDO), in Austin, Texas, and Tema, Ghana, and is an assistant professor of architecture and engineering design at Penn State. He presented lessons learned “Making in the Open” at and around the Agbogbloshie scrapyard in Accra, Ghana, as he co-developed the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform—an open-source maker tech initiative.
He says, “When you're working within a scrap yard, within a community where everything is based around repair, refurbishing, recycling, you realize that making is a spectrum, and it loops and it cycles between making and unmaking and remaking. This needs to be foundational in all of our ways of thinking about making, otherwise we fall into the trap of just consumerism by another form of name.” The co-founder and director of Digital Naturalism Laboratories, Andrew Quitmeyer, studies the intersections between wild animals and computational devices and runs a field station makerspace, Digital Naturalism Laboratories in Gamboa, Panama. Before his Nelson talk “Design for Change: Critical Technical Practice and Protest through Electronic Objects,” Quitmeyer joined media studies Professor Rachel Mayeri and art and biology students in making interactive plant robots to explore plant physiology at the Bernard Field Station.
Find talks online at bit.ly/HMCNelsonTalks19.
In Memoriam Adelaide Finkbine Hixon,
wife of HMC emeritus trustee Alec Hixon (1969–1993), died Nov. 6. The Hixons funded the Hixon Professorship in the Humanities, the Hixon Riggs Visiting Professorship, The Hixon Forum for Responsive Science and Engineering, Hixon Courtyard, the Hixon Conference Room, the Hixon Center for Sustainable Environmental Design, and scholarships for underrepresented and international students. Physicist and emeritus trustee Stephen P. Lukasik passed away Oct. 3. Lukasik actively served on the board of trustees from 1985 until 2005 and became an emeritus trustee in 2012. In addition
to providing support, intellectual leadership and wise counsel, he was an early champion of sustainability at the College, provided leadership for the Fifth-Year Program Review, served on the Clinic Advisory Committee and was a driving force on the Ad-Hoc Planning Committee, formed to identify long-term strategic opportunities for the College. Lukasik’s professional career as director of the Defense Department’s research division is detailed in an Oct. 11, 2019 New York Times obituary. To read more, see http://bit.ly/Lukasik19. Trustee Emeritus William “Bill” Robert Zimmerman died in November. He served on the board from 1982 to 2005 and was a longtime supporter of scholarships, entrepreneurship and innovation at Harvey Mudd.
Advisory trustee Howard Deshong III ’89, P21
New trustees Rachel Beda ’97, internal medicine physician Oliver Kwan, founding partner, New Wheel Capital Susan Saideman, founder and CEO, Portage Bay Limited Susan Wu, entrepreneur and co-founder, Project Include
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NOTES & QUOTES
TA L KS O N CA M PU S
“Environmental injustice and social injustice are built on a long history of broken promises.” Juan Declet-Barreto, Kendall Science Fellow for the Climate and Energy program and the Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists. “Science for Social Justice in Puerto Rico” panel, Sept. 12, organized by Alyssa Newman, 2018–2020 Hixon-Riggs Early Career Fellow, Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts
Alumni Gift Enables Paint Booth HMC HAS QUITE THE BUSTLING, HANDS-ON,
experiential culture. Courses, such as Introduction to Systems Engineering and Experimental Engineering Lab, as well as many engineering science courses and electives, now have significant hands-on components with a need for ventilated spaces for adhesives and painting. Students use cleaning solvents and coatings, such as spray paint, as well as 3-D printers and cast and cured resins, all of which require ventilation as outlined by the Materials Safety Data Sheets, which describe how to work safely with chemical products. A paint booth is planned for the new makerspace in the Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center, but the College needed a more immediate way to provide the dedicated space for laying up composites, using epoxy to attach parts and spray painting large objects such as rockets, vehicles and stage props. Bill ’62 and Karen ’77 Hartman, makers themselves, saw the project as a perfect opportunity to give back. “Karen and I wanted to fund something for the makerspace that would be useful now and also useful after the new makerspace is established in the new CS building,” says Bill. “We worked with Liz Orwin ’95 [chair, Department of Engineering], and she suggested the spray booth. We felt this was a great idea and went for it.”
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Both were active makers during their time at HMC. Bill recalls buying a small sailboat that needed painting. “I put the boat in an unused dorm room in West and painted it there. It would have been really nice to have had a spray booth.” Karen took a stained glass class at Pomona College and has since been a member of Make Ventura makerspace, where she learned to use a laser engraver, taught a glass ornament fusing class and built a plywood storage system for glass sheets she uses for fused glass. HMC’s custom-designed, industrial dry filter paint booth is located temporarily between Kingston and Keck buildings. It will be moved to a permanent space in the McGregor Center once the building is completed in 2021. Mariah Ewing ’21 is one of the machine shop proctors in charge of the paint booth. Proctors check students in and out to ensure that they know the safety procedures and wear the proper attire. She says, “The students are very excited to work in the new spray paint booth. Our fume hoods are too small to spray paint in, especially when there are other students’ components drying that one must avoid when spray painting. This new booth allows us to properly spray paint larger things in a safe manner.”
“The real conflict is not between science and God, it’s between worldviews, namely in the West, particularly the worldviews of theism and atheism … there are scientists on both sides of that conflict.” John Lennox, University of Oxford, Oct. 10 Veritas Forum: “Cosmic Chemistry: Do Science and God Mix?”
Improving K–12 Math and Science “Math for America Los Angeles: Elevating Mathematics and Computer Science Instruction through Teacher Leadership” is a collaborative effort between USC, Harvey Mudd College, school districts in the greater Los Angeles area and Math for America Los Angeles. Launched in 2018 with funding from the National Science Foundation, the project supports 34 master teaching fellows who are creating an improvement plan for their respective schools’ mathematics and/ or computer science instructional needs. The fellows participate in summer computer science training, academic team teaching and monthly professional development meetings, one of which was held on campus Oct. 5. The grant is co-led by mathematics professor Darryl Yong ’96, computer science professors Colleen Lewis and Zachary Dodds, and Karen Symms Gallagher (USC).
Building a Curriculum Around Data Science THE CLAREMONT COLLEGES’ OFFICE FOR CONSORTIAL
Academic Collaboration (OCAC) was created by the presidents and deans of the 7Cs to work on and strengthen shared academic programs and curriculum initiatives with a focus on two initiatives: justice education and data science. Data, and the knowledge we gain from it, is growing faster than ever before, and it continues to change the way we live. The working group of 7C faculty members, which includes HMC professors Susan Martonosi, Matina Donaldson-Matasci and TJ Tsai, seeks to structure curriculum, faculty expertise, research and student learning outcomes to help meet the demands of our data-driven future. Tessa Hicks Peterson, a Pitzer professor who has led OCAC’s efforts since 2018, described the work and vision of the data science working group during a workshop sponsored by the HMC Office of Computing and Information Services in collaboration with the Library of The Claremont Colleges. OCAC working group participants are examining what exists and what is needed at The Claremont Colleges with a vision to include innovative data methods and instruments into a course of study in the liberal arts tradition. “We view data literacy as a core and common competency across each of the colleges,” Peterson says. Two areas of focus for OCAC are determining how to create creative data science programs at each institution (a minor, certificate or sequence in data science in a variety of disciplines) and cultivating capacity within the faculty to teach data science. During the first year of the data science initiative, the working group identified rationales, courses and student learning outcomes for a 7C data science curriculum, surveyed data science staff and faculty and presented a Data Science Faculty Development conference. Honnold Library has created a website of data science resources. The group is studying best practices around the country and is continuing to explore how to implement different curriculum programs—minors, majors, sequences or certificate programs—on each of the campuses. A proposed curriculum includes introductory courses in coding, statistics, foundations and applications in data science, as well as data science ethics and society. In addition to the foundational courses, the OCAC working group is looking at both disciplinaryspecific course development, or tracks, as well
as systematic ways to direct students to the best courses for their disciplinary interests. There’s both a need for and growing response to incorporating data science course offerings in master’s programs (across disciplines, such as psychology, economics and politics), where specialized analytics and data interpretation are integral to the discipline. Claremont Graduate University offers the already popular master of science in data analytics, a four-plus-one program for students who complete four years at one of the undergraduate colleges and continue another year at CGU for a master’s. Peterson sees this as just one example of the 7C’s drawing on the assets and abilities of each other. “We feel that there is a great interest and need for data science from what we hear from our students,” says Peterson. For example, a fall 2019 workshop offered by HMC’s Computing Information Services, “Hands-on Machine Learning,” received 100 student signups within three days. “The presidents of each of the colleges recognize this need. They see that if we don’t have our undergraduates graduating with some level of data literacy and acumen, then we are going to be far behind.”
“ Data science is the creation, application and critique of tools and processes that enable users to extract and communicate meaningful insights from data drawn from across the disciplines. Data scientists make useful diverse types of data and data analytic tools.
–WORKING DEFINITION OF “DATA SCIENCE,” OCAC
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Annual Report, 2018–2019
By Wayne Drinkward, chair, HMC Board of Trustees As we begin 2020, we’re moving to a new format for the Harvey Mudd College annual report. I’ll touch on some of the key moments of the previous academic year, and you can find the reports from the Office of College Advancement and the Business Affairs Office online (hmc.edu/annualreport). As usual, we had a lot to celebrate over the past academic season, including continued high rankings in Princeton Review, PayScale and U.S. News and World Report and another extraordinary group of entering students (224), of which 50% are women and 10% are first-generation college students. Faculty members continued to garner attention for their outstanding teaching and service: Mohamed Omar (Henry L. Alder Award for math teaching), Lisette de Pillis (2019 MAA Southern California-Nevada Section Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics) and Kerry Karukstis (American Chemical Society Fellow). And congratulations also to President
Maria Klawe who was named a 2019 Fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics. A coral discovery in the tropics, witnessed firsthand by biology professor and coral expert Catherine McFadden, made international news. Her work in this area is well-supported by the National Science Foundation which continues to bolster the research of many other HMC faculty. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program at the Management Center of Innsbruck selected Gordon Krauss for its Austria program, an international connection that will augment his research and teaching. Among the firsts for 2018–2019: The Harvey Mudd College Division of Student Affairs created the Office of International Students and Scholars. Formed in fall 2018, the College inaugurated an expanded summer session, and a Clinic team designed a nonprofit solar panel factory—the first of its kind—in nearby Pomona. On campus, the Teaching and Learning Committee designed and conducted the Workload and Health at Mudd (WHAM) study, and the College worked with the University of Cyprus and members of the Mudd family to donate the College’s Cypriot
No. 2 for undergraduate engineering programs
2019–2020 NASPA LEAD INITIATIVE INSTITUTION
No. 6 M ost Innovative Schools
As a participating institution, HMC will seek to augment its volunteer opportunities, service-learning courses, participation in academic and student affairs professional development, participation in national recognition programs, civic learning and democratic engagement.
–U.S. News & World Report
No. 1 Highest mid-career salaries among U.S. college and
university graduates (bachelor’s degree only) –PayScale
No. 8 Most Accessible Professors & Students Study the Most –The Princeton Review
–The Princeton Review
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Annual Report 2018–2019 hmc.edu/annual-report
–U.S. News & World Report
No. 10 f or Best Science Lab Facilities
artifact collection to the university. Sustainability initiatives continue, and we were encouraged by a STARS Silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. We celebrated the lives and contributions of several community members who died this past year, including chemistry professors Philip Myhre (faculty member from 1960 to 1999) and Mits Kubota (faculty member from 1959 to 2000; chair, Department of Chemistry, 1989–1995); and professor of mathematics emeritus Robert (Robin) T. Ives (faculty member from 1958 to 1996). The new academic year began on a strong note with the successful conclusion of The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College. For more on the financial and fundraising details of academic year 2018–2019, I invite you to follow the link to view the online reports.
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Meet the College’s newest teacher/scholars. Josh Brake
Steven Santana ’06
Xanda Schofield ’13
Assistant Professor of Engineering Works on optical technologies to probe and non-invasively measure brain activity with light. Works with students to develop optical tools for biomedical diagnostics and therapies.
Assistant Professor of Engineering Designs, models and creates microfluidic devices with a focus on human health. He designed and taught a new HMC course on microfluidics and has established an active microfluidics and biomaterials research program.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Designs easy-to-use tools for largescale corpus text mining, with a focus on distributional semantic models.
Applies machine learning to artificial intelligence, working to create artificial autonomous agents that can act flexibly and competently in unknown environments.
What is the most important thing for students to know about taking a class with you? Josh: In my classes, I strive to lean into the synergy between learning theoretical concepts and seeing how they apply in practice. Not only is this an engaging and effective way to learn, it’s a really fun way, too! I also love working one-on-one with students, and I am passionate about seeing each of my students thrive as individuals. As a professor, I seek out ways to support and encourage students to push themselves to learn as they tackle challenging problems. I look forward to passing on the legacy of my mentors and advisors by mentoring my students as they develop into the next generation of engineers, scientists and mathematicians; people of strong character who are not only technically excellent but who also understand the important role they play in their communities and society. Steven: Engineers create, so there is a huge responsibility for them to strive to understand society’s needs and critique their own work, especially for any possible consequences. An engineer’s work is necessarily missional and service-oriented. Meeting needs is great, but none of it can happen without having technical excellence. When working with students, in class or otherwise, I work to communicate a mindset focused on service and technical excellence. Xanda: As much as possible, I want work in my classes to have clear connections to my students’ lives, whether it is through solving real-world problems or just having fun with memes. That works best when students share those interests with me, so my students should always feel free to ask me tangential questions offline or send me stuff slightly connected to the class. Erin: This is advice for all classes! Learning and creative problemsolving can’t be done well in a hurry. It’s hard for a busy college student to pull off (not to mention for professors!) but it’s important to spread out the work so you have time to be confused, get stuck, try an approach that doesn’t work, have a brilliant idea over a bowl of cereal, ask a question, and then to iterate until you work out the kinks. All of that is naturally part of the process and should be accounted for in your time budget.
What book(s), blog or podcast would you recommend for someone who wants to learn about your academic area?
Favorite discipline-related joke
Josh: Some of my favorite lay-accessible resources for learning about how particular optical components work are the webpages maintained by optical component distributors like Thorlabs and Edmund Optics. Wikipedia also tends to have some good introductory material about the history of optics and nice illustrations of the basic concepts. Some of my favorite books on the topic are David J. Griffiths’ Introduction to Electrodynamics, Joseph Goodman’s Fourier Optics and, for something more specific to my field of study in biophotonics, Lihong Wang’s Biomedical Optics.
Josh: A photon walks into a hotel. The desk clerk says, “Welcome to our hotel. Can we help with your luggage?” The photon says, “No thanks, I’m traveling light.”
Steven: Microfluidics is an interdisciplinary field, so HMC makes a great home for it! My work includes chemistry, cell biology, material engineering and fluid mechanics. If you’re interested in how these topics can connect in microfluidics, the blog circle.ufluidix.com/blog/ is a good place to start. Xanda: My favorite starting point for computational analysis of text is The Stone and the Shell, a blog by Prof. Ted Underwood at UIUC: tedunderwood.com. For a more in-depth how-to, Matt Jockers has a book called Text Analysis with R for Students of Literature. Lisa Rhody also has a great article called “Topic Modeling and Figurative Language” that I think is a cool example of work in this space: bit.ly/2DlPGMZ. Erin: I have to admit that I haven’t read it myself but I’ve heard good things about the recently published How Smart Machines Think by Sean Gerrish. It’s a general-audience explanation of what makes some recent AI success stories work. For a more academic resource, Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction by Richard S. Sutton and Andrew G. Barto is a technical—though impressively readable— on-ramp to my research area.
Steven: What did one engineer say to the engineer who designed a foil that produced lift but no drag? You’ve got potential! Xanda: Optimist: AI has achieved human-level performance! Realist: AI is a collection of brittle hacks that, under specific circumstances, mimic the surface appearance of intelligence. Pessimist: AI has achieved human-level performance. Erin: I know an NP-complete joke, but if you’ve heard one you’ve heard ’em all.
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Karukstis Lauded for Impact on Research and Students THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY AWARDED
Kerry Karukstis, Ray and Mary Ingwersen Professor of Chemistry, with the 2020 ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution. The award recognizes Karukstis’ participation as an undergraduate research mentor and proponent of the teacher-scholar model at Harvey Mudd since 1984 and her active engagement in the undergraduate research enterprise at the national level through her involvement with the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) since 1993. She has conducted student-faculty collaborative research with external funding provided by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, Research Corporation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and the Jonsson Foundation. The ACS award includes $5,000, and the College will receive a Research Corporation grant of $5,000.
and eagerness to try new and challenging approaches have been key to our success. A number of years ago because of my students’ mathematical background and willingness to use a Fortran program to carry out tedious three-mode factor analyses, we pioneered a novel and sensitive spectroscopic technique to characterize the complex threedimensional structures of self-assemblies of amphiphilic molecules. Our research and the work of many others have benefitted from this approach. I am deeply grateful to my undergraduate research students over the years and the opportunities that I have had to be a part of the undergraduate research community.”
On benefits to students and faculty: “Both of
these activities have been passions of mine. I have found undergraduate research to be a compelling way to meld the interests of faculty to engage in scholarly work with the needs of students for challenging experiences that lead to substantial impacts on their professional development.” On promoting research: “In my National
Science Foundation work with CUR and fellow PIs, we have assisted over 200 institutions across the country in the process of institutionalizing undergraduate research, scaffolding the elements of undergraduate research throughout the curriculum and understanding the factors necessary for transformative organizational and cultural change. The work has been both collaborative and rewarding.” On her student researchers: “There is no
question that undergraduates have propelled my research program forward. Their enthusiasm, creativity, technical expertise
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Influential Work Mentored 121 undergraduate research students to date (64% female); includes 52 senior thesis students (62% female) 65% have earned a PhD in chemistry 90% have earned advanced degrees
Published by Faculty & Students Toxics Book a Top Pick
Papers on Long-lived Particle Theory
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) will include Inevitably Toxic: Historical Perspectives on Contamination, Exposure, and Expertise—a collection of essays that consider exposure of humans to radiation, industrial waste and pesticides via toxic environments that are often invisible or appear innocuous—on its list of Outstanding Academic Titles for 2019. “The toxics we consider in the book— radiation, and chemical pollution in the air and water—are often invisible to us, and health effects can take years to develop,” says co-author Vivien Hamilton, associate professor of the history of science. Hamilton, Brinda Sarathy (Pitzer) and Janet Farrell Brodie (Claremont Graduate University) published Inevitably Toxic last year. “Our first goal is awareness. But the real power of historical work is not simply to make us more aware of these spaces but also to see that their creation is not inevitable.” The ACRL list reflects the best in scholarly titles reviewed in Choice, a publishing unit of ACRL, and recognized by the academic library community. The list contains approximately 10% of some 6,000 works reviewed in Choice each year.
When Harvey Mudd College physics professor Brian Shuve began studying long-lived particles (LLPs) six years ago, the concept was somewhat of a fringe idea. Was it possible that particle collisions within the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) were throwing off new particles that slipped unnoticed past LHC detectors and that those particles could hold answers to unsolved mysteries about the nature of the universe? Shuve says that known physics can’t yet explain why the universe contains more matter than antimatter, because we have an incomplete understanding of the nature of forces that exist. He and his colleagues suspect that answers might be hiding in plain sight within the massive data sets recorded during LHC experiments. Shuve recently published three papers on the topic. • Working with James Beacham, an experimentalist at Duke University and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Shuve co-edited
“Searching for long-lived particles beyond the Standard Model at the Large Hadron Collider,” accepted in the Journal of Physics G. • Shuve also co-edited “Long-Lived Particles at the Energy Frontier: The MATHUSLA Physics Case,” accepted to Reports on Progress in Physics. A collaboration of theorists, the work describes what theories predict the existence of long-lived particles and why those theories predict LLPs. • “Discovering True Muonium at LHCb” published in Physical Review D shows that a particle called true muonium, which is predicted by the current theory of particle physics but has not yet been discovered, can be detected as a long-lived particle at the LHCb experiment. It’s the first study showing that this can be done realistically.
Computer Science Research • “The Futility of Bias-Free Learning and Search,” by Professor George Montañez, Jonathan Hayase ’20, Julius Lauw ’20, Dominique Macias ’19, Akshay Trikha ’21 and Julia Vendemiatti ’21. Learning algorithms are machines that turn data resources into predictions. Their paper, published by ArXiv, shows that unless algorithms do this conversion in a biased way, predisposing their predictions toward predetermined outcomes, they cannot predict any more accurately than random guessing. • “Automatically Solving Deduction Games via Symbolic Execution, Model Counting, and Entropy Maximization,” by Mara Downing ’21, Chris Thompson ’21 and Professor Lucas Bang; accepted at the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Strategy Game Workshop. Downing and Thompson designed a DSL for expressing a class of puzzles called “deduction games,” implemented a symbolic execution engine for it using an automated theorem prover, and then wrote an entropy maximizer that outputs the steps of game solution.
Kuenning co-authored the paper, which appeared in the Usenix HotStorage ’19 Workshop. It presents a visualization tool that makes it easy to “zero in” on the parameters that have the most impact on performance in a chosen situation, so that an analyst can quickly find the best settings for a given environment. • The International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS) accepted three papers co-authored by Professor Jim Boerkoel with students working in his Human Experience & Agent Teamwork Lab. Presented during summer 2019 at the ICAPS conference were: “Quantifying Degrees of Controllability in Temporal Networks with Uncertainty,” written with Shyan Akmal ’19, Savana Ammons ’20, and Maggie Li ’19; “Measuring and Optimizing Durability Against Scheduling Disturbances,” written with Joon Lee ’20 and Viva Ojha ’19; and “Reducing the Computational and Communication Overhead of Robust Agent Rescheduling,” written with Jordan Abrahams ’19 and co-author Jeremy Frank.
• “Graphs Are Not Enough Using Interactive Visual Analytics in Storage Research.” Professor Geoff
FAC U LT Y NE WS
NSF Awards Bolster Research Across Majors
National Science Foundation grants are the largest share of external support for HMC faculty research.
the world’s largest collection of coral specimens. The grant supports her work at the Smithsonian and provides opportunities for HMC students’ summer research. Over four years, the project will support three summer research positions annually (including one position earmarked for a graduate of the College’s Upward Bound program) and additional student positions during each academic year. The College also will benefit from a related NSF grant to the University of Florida, which distributed a subaward to McFadden for collaboration on a large-scale biodiversity survey of the coast of Oman. The subaward will fund one summer research position at HMC annually for three years.
Biology Soft corals are indicator species whose vibrancy and health act as a gauge for the overall habitat of a coral reef. Coral reefs provide food, livelihoods and coastal protection for more than 500 million people worldwide and are among the ecosystems most threatened by climate change. Biology Professor Catherine McFadden studies soft corals, which are often 50% or more of what’s living on the reefs and really important as habitat for other organisms. But it is unknown how many species there are or how to tell them apart. To address the issue, the NSF has awarded HMC an $839,060 grant to support research by McFadden, former HMC postdoctoral researcher Andrea Quattrini and Tel Aviv University biology professor Yehuda Benayahu. Their project, “RUI: NSF-BSF: PurSUiT: The IndoPacific zooxanthellate octocorals: An integrated approach to species delimitation, phylogenetics and biogeography,” has three objectives: Combine molecular genetic analyses with high-resolution microscopy to discriminate species of soft corals collected from throughout the Indo-Pacific; examine and re-describe historical specimens housed in major museum collections to facilitate the correct assignment of names to those species; and compile the information within a publicly accessible web portal that will allow users worldwide to generate species checklists and interactive keys for identifying reef-dwelling soft corals. Quattrini is now on staff at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, home to 12
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Computer Science Ran Libeskind-Hadas, R. Michael Shanahan Professor of Computer Science, studies algorithmic issues in computational biology—in particular, the problem of phylogenetic tree reconciliation, a computational method used to reconstruct the evolutionary histories of related pairs of organisms by hypothesizing the evolutionary events that explain their incongruence. The reconciliation is a mapping of one tree onto the other that seeks to explain the evolutionary history of the pair with respect to a biological model. The NSF has awarded a grant of $498,458 for support of the project, “Finding Best Representative Phylogenetic Tree Reconciliations,” and for Libeskind-Hadas’ research and the design, analysis and empirical evaluation of algorithms leading to transformative new tools for biologists. Funding supports six research students a year for three years, beginning summer 2020, as well as travel to conferences. It will also fund the purchase of a high-performance computer to test the algorithms and perform computational experiments. Efficiency is a goal of the NSF-funded project, “CNS Core: III: Medium: Collaborative Research: Optimizing and Understanding Large Parameter Spaces in Storage Systems,” developed by computer
science professor Geoff Kuenning and Stony Brook University computer science professors Klaus Mueller and Erez Zadok. “A parameter space is a mathematical concept referring to the total number of choices available,” Kuenning says. “For example, if I have 10 shirts and 10 pairs of pants, I have 10×10 = 100 different outfits because each pair of pants can be worn with 10 different shirts. That’s great for wardrobe variety and for packing light, but terrible if you’re trying to find the best shirt/pants combination by trial and error. If you add 10 pairs of socks, 10 belts and 10 hats, you’re up to 100,000 outfits generated by only 50 pieces of clothing. That’s a parameter space, which is what we’re trying to search—preferably not by trying on all 100,000 outfits!” The team will test a combination of enhanced black box-optimization methods, machine learning and visual analytics on information systems ranging from cloud data centers to smartphones to embedded systems, such as wireless routers. Kuenning’s share of the current grant is $264,875 and includes support for two student researchers per year for four years. NSF grants are the largest share of external support for faculty research at Harvey Mudd College.
Chemistry and Physics Three professors in three fields from two colleges are celebrating an NSF grant for the acquisition of a standardized integrated toolset for photovoltaics fabrication and characterization. Hal Van Ryswyk, John Stauffer Professor of Chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry at Harvey Mudd College, and Pomona College physics professors Janice Hudgings and David Tanenbaum ’88, an HMC alumnus, each work on aspects of solar energy conversion. “This is highly interdisciplinary work: Janice is trained as an electrical engineer, David as a physicist, and I am a chemist,” says Van Rsywyk. “We each bring unique outlooks and capabilities to the problems we study. This is the modern research environment in which our graduates will work.” The $442,960 grant will fund the purchase of a fully automated photon conversion efficiency system, a programmable multiple source thermal evaporator, a high-speed optoelectronic characterization system, a suite of solar simulation lamps and calibration sensors, a probe station and sensors for a glovebox.
MY MUDD LIFE
My Mudd[Sub] Life SETH ISAACSON ’21 DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS HAVING
been “obsessed with robotics” in high school. “When I came to Mudd, I wasn’t really done with it,” he says. “I wanted to do it at a higher level.” Isaacson met Ginger Schmidt ’21 and discovered she felt the same way. “We missed the community of our high school robotics teams and that extracurricular, STEM-focused aspect of our lives,” says Schmidt. As they adjusted to their new, tightly scheduled lives at Harvey Mudd, Issacson and Schmidt couldn’t shake their desire to work on robotics, even if it meant losing what was left of their free time. “That’s where the idea for the Harvey Mudd Robotics Team (aka MuddSub) was born,” Schmidt says. Along with Diana Lin ’22, Omari Matthews ’21, Kyle Rong ’22 and Daniel Yang ’22, Isaacson and Schmidt founded the Harvey Mudd Robotics Team (aka MuddSub) in 2018. With support from the Shanahan Student-Directed Project Fund, the students designed, built and programmed an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) named Alfie, which they entered in the annual RoboNation RoboSub competition in August 2019. Team MuddSub and Alfie held their own against AUVs from teams representing schools from 14 countries and several U.S. states. They made it to the semifinals, which was as far as they could have hoped to go, given the capability of Alfie’s hardware, which is limited not by the team’s ability but by its budget. Isaacson and Schmidt estimate it will take approximately $40,000 to make Alfie competitive at the highest level. Undaunted by budgetary constraints and buoyed by their success in the competition, the team began planning for the next academic year. They recruited more members, began to develop an organizational structure for the team and got to work on improving Alfie’s software and hardware. As of fall 2019, Team MuddSub membership is close to 25 people. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm in the group,” Isaacson says, noting that he’s embraced the challenge of organizing so many people. “Getting people up to speed on the project was a challenge because there’s a lot of knowledge that goes into starting to make design decisions.” To help bridge the knowledge gap, Schmidt ran SolidWorks software workshops with all the team members. Motivating people to tackle such a large skill, especially outside of one’s regular coursework,
Seth Isaacson ’21, Ginger Schmidt ’21 and Kyle Rong ’22 check Alifie, the AUV they entered in the RoboNation RoboSub competition.
has proven to be challenging. “Usually, a tradeoff of the Mudd course load is having to give up extracurricular activities like this,” she says. But robotics is not something these students are willing to give up, for reasons beyond just their passion for the work. Both Isaacson and Schmidt say robotics experience is critical to their success after college. “I think the necessity of work like this is something that should be taken more seriously here at Mudd,” Isaacson says. “Every interview I have, this is what they ask about. This is what they want you to know.” Schmidt agrees. “Interviewers don’t really care about what classes you’ve taken because, in theory, engineering majors at all schools have taken the same classes and passed.” What potential employers are interested in, Isaacson says, is “what systems I’m working on. Am I dealing with real data? Do I have experience with building a real system that is subject to lessthan-ideal conditions? I think in terms of preparing students to do real world work, there’s nothing better than projects like this.” Indeed, MuddSub requires programming, machining and electrical design. Team members also gain understanding of more intangible concepts, like the way one element of the project relates to another. For example, Issacson, a mathematics major, says, “the team with the best software wins.” Schmidt, a mechanical engineer, says, “without a robot, none of the programming matters.” They both laugh, and Isaacson finds the truth in the middle: “Your software is way easier to write if your robot is really good.”
Organizational leadership is yet another skill required for MuddSub team members. In the early days, the founding team members set three guiding principles: Simplicity, scalability and stability. “Having defined our guiding principles early, when the team was only five people, turned out to be really helpful because it’s very well-defined and outlined. It provides a way to have a rational conversation about what to use on the robot,” Schmidt says. Guiding principles also help the team stay focused on the long-term goal of formalizing a competitive robotics team at Harvey Mudd, a logical goal, given the prevalence of robotics teams at other liberal arts, STEM-focused colleges and the popularity of MuddSub on campus. With a majority of first-year students making up the team, longevity looks possible. And recent funding news makes the goal seem even more attainable: A private donor has pledged $10,000 to the team, and MuddSub has again qualified to receive Shanahan Funds ($10,000). Looking to the future of Team Mudd Sub, Schmidt says she wants it to continue to become more organized. “I’d like us to be completely selfguided, produce our own tutorials for future teams,” she says. Isaacson also has a vision for MuddSub: “I want the team to win.”
ollow @MuddSub on Twitter. Send email to F firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on supporting Team MuddSub.
S T U D E NT N E WS
Chemistry Major is Latest Astronaut Scholar Joint chemistry and biology major Emily Shimizu ’20 is HMC’s latest Astronaut Scholar, an award given by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. The honor includes a scholarship prize of up to $10,000 and opportunities for professional development and mentoring, benefits that important to Shimizu. “The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a very encouraging and supportive community of scholars who are already helping to advise me as I apply to graduate school to pursue a PhD in chemistry.” Shimizu was nominated for the Astronaut Scholarship by David Vosburg, professor of chemistry, who has worked with her in his research group on numerous projects. Among them, Vosburg has worked with Shimizu to create a one-step process for the anesthetic lidocaine. The procedure is commonly used in dentistry and is featured in HMC’s Organic II Laboratory course. The project is being further developed at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico, where Vosburg is working with colleagues to develop environmentally friendly methods of producing new molecules
Emily Shimizu ’20
Joint major in computer science and mathematics Mazda Moayeri ’20 knew very little about music informatics and deep learning, but that didn’t stop him from taking on a challenging new area that encompasses data-driven approaches to the production, analysis for medicinal, agrochemical, optical and educational applications. “Emily is an enthusiastic and creative problem-solver who has significant research experience in diverse areas of organic, organometallic and supramolecular chemistry at HMC, the University of South Carolina, the University of Rhode Island and The Scripps Research Institute,” says Vosburg. During summer 2019, Shimizu interned at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida. Her work in the Renata Lab focused on the chemoenzymatic synthesis of peptides (molecules) gramillin C and fellutamide A. Using enzymes in this synthesis makes the process more step-efficient, says Shimizu. When Shimizu isn’t in the lab, she’s on the dance floor. As the president of the Claremont Colleges Ballet Company, she teaches weekly ballet classes, organizes trips to see ballet performances and performs with the club.
Sub Discovery University of Malta marine archaeologists, in collaboration with the Maltese government and Harvey Mudd College engineers Russell Bingham ’20 and Eric Contee ’19, located the wreckage of the HMS Urge off the coast of Malta. When it sank in 1942, a war correspondent, 32 crew members and 11 naval personnel were aboard. Professor Chris Clark and students from HMC’s Lab for Autonomous and Intelligent Robotics (LAIR) have worked with Professor Timmy Gambin at the University of Malta every summer since 2006 on various applications of robotics to underwater archaeology. In 2017, Jeff Rutledge ’19, Jane Wu ’18, Wentao
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Yuan POM ’17 and Clark were part of a research team that discovered a Fairey Swordfish, a biplane torpedo bomber used by the Royal Navy in the 1930s and during WWII.
and retrieval of music. Moayeri’s tenacity led to his research paper being accepted to the 12th International Workshop on Machine Learning and Music in Würzburg, Germany Sept. 16. Moayeri wasn’t able to attend the workshop, so the paper “Neural Symbolic Music Genre Transfer Insights” was presented by his supervisor and mentor Gino Brunner, who joined many scholars giving papers about applications to music and machine learning. Accepted papers are published by Springer Verlag under their Lecture Notes in Computer Science series. “Imagine if you could feed your favorite classical piece to a machine and have the machine render it as a jazz piece,” says Moayeri, who wrote a 30-page thesis and combined his work with another student’s. “Specifically, I studied and developed an architecture based on autoencoders and generative adversarial networks. Additionally, I aggregated a dataset of hundreds of thousands of melody segments in a variety of genres, trained multiple genre classifiers for either isolated melodies or full multi-track musical segments and used attribution techniques to better explain the decisions of the deep networks and reveal structural patterns of each genre domain.” Moayeri began his educational odyssey by contacting Swiss computer scientist Roger Wattenhofer, a professor at ETH Zurich, about working in his lab on algorithmic and systems aspects in computer science and information technology. Acceptance to Wattenhofer’s lab paved the way for Moayeri to be admitted to the ETH Zurich program for the spring 2019 semester. He is the first Harvey Mudd student admitted to this study abroad program, which typically doesn’t accept students from colleges that do not award doctorates; Moayeri was granted an exception. He completed a five-course Coursera Deep Learning specialization and spent several more weeks intensively studying relevant literature. After the summer research ended, Moayeri said he spent several weeks “pushing my research as far as I could, ultimately culminating in the publication.” In 2017, Moayeri received an Exceptional Summer Student Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for outstanding research conducted at its National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke. Moayeri was recognized for the high-quality of his summer internship work in non-invasive detection and monitoring of multiple sclerosis disease progression and for his presentation during NIH Poster Day.
Crashing Chains, Clever Brains and Lively Refrains By Cole Kurashige ’20
Students gather around a large closet wrapped in crisscrossing chains secured with a rusting lock at the center. One fumbles with the key as the timer on the wall counts down its final 10 seconds. The lock clicks open and the chains crash to the floor. The door creaks outward and Cole Kurashige ’20 strolls out. The students scream. “Congratulations,” he says. “It was starting to get pretty toasty in there.” The startled group of Mudders is thrilled that they’ve finished the escape room with seven seconds to spare. Several student organizers swoop in and quickly rearrange the room to prepare for the next group while Kurashige takes a celebratory photo of the participants and answers questions. This escape room at Harvey Mudd—themed on “The Golden Age of Magic”—operated continuously last spring for three days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Four students forfeited a weekend, working behind the scenes to ensure its smooth operation. A little over a dozen Mudders put in hundreds of hours to make this challenging and fun experience a reality. In an escape room, a team is “locked” in a room and given a short amount of time—in this case 30 minutes—to gather clues and solve puzzles in order to escape. Escape rooms have become increasingly popular and can be found throughout the world, but HMC students say their escape rooms are different because they’re made for Mudders by Mudders and are hosted on campus. MuddEscapes started in spring 2018, when Kurashige and Owen Gillespie ’20 discussed doing an escape room the week before finals as a fun study break. In addition to Kurashige and Gillespie, escape room artists included Reem Alkhamis ’21, Matthew Calligaro ’20, Rachel Cohen ’21, Evan Johnson ’20, Professor Victoria Noquez, Julia Read ’20, Megan Robalewski SCR ’20, Jon Schallert ’20, Laurel Schy’19, Giselle Serate ’20, Iris Zhou ’20 and Jeni Zhu ’20. Working tirelessly throughout the semester, they designed, built and decorated an escape room that took up an entire suite in South Dorm. Nearly 150 students tried this escape room, and it was then reprised as one of the 2018 new student Orientation Adventures.
An entire suite in South Dorm became a challenging escape room.
Encouraged by rave reviews, the MuddEscapes team decided to build a second, and even better, escape room. Planning was well underway by the end of the summer when the team assembled, got more funding and started designing puzzles. The team decided on a theme, “The Golden Age of Magic,” and sought out inspiration for magic puzzles. One effect was inspired by a “Liquid Sand Hot Tub” video, another by the similarity between playing cards and the keycards used to access dorm rooms and a third by a magic trick that was suggested by Noquez, a visiting mathematics professor and part-time magician. “People seemed perplexed when they saw us carrying an air compressor, 10 pounds of sand and a top hat from the mailroom,” says Kurashige. “But as disparate as these items may seem, each had an important use in the escape room.” By the middle of the spring semester, everything started to come together. Using the tools in the Machine Shop, the team constructed a giant bird cage, a zen garden that liquified on command, an invisible maze and many more puzzles to awe and confound players. But more goes into an escape room than what is on the surface: underlying all of the team’s puzzles are an interconnected network of microcontrollers, electronics and monitoring equipment to ensure that the participants have an enjoyable experience. Gillespie says, “The team spent
many late nights in the Mudd Makerspace soldering together electrical components, which would allow us to remotely activate a puzzle or track when it was solved.” The day before opening the escape room in the Shanahan Center, all of the puzzles were complete, and the team mobilized to install them, some people pushing furniture in a shopping cart borrowed from East Dorm, others driving to Goodwill to purchase more books to decorate shelves and yet others arranging and decorating the room itself. They worked until 4 a.m., went to sleep and hit the ground running the next day. “Though tiring, operating the escape room is a lot of fun,” says Kurashige. “It is a wonderful feeling to hear the excitement from a team when they solve a puzzle and see the special effects we put in the room. It is also entertaining to watch the various ways in which teams get confused and, in some cases, cheat on certain puzzles.” In all, the room was run for 34 teams, about half of whom were successful. The fastest team finished within eight minutes and 44 seconds, and the slowest successful team had only two seconds left. Only one team made it through without receiving any hints.
CLEARING THE AIR: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH Air pollution expert Lelia Hawkins uses research, teaching and activism to communicate about climate change. By Elaine Regus
HEN LELIA HAWKINS WAS STUDYING
climate science in graduate school she would say that her team wasn’t saving the world, they were just very carefully documenting its demise. While that still may be the case, Hawkins, associate professor of chemistry, is sounding the clarion call to Harvey Mudd College students, no matter what their disciplines, to tackle the global threat of climate change. “We need all hands on deck at this point,” Hawkins says. “We need students to work on public engagement. We need students to work on CO2 sequestration and removal. We’ve got to get it out of the air. Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to. We need to continue to work on alternative energy. We need students to work on batteries and materials science. Every aspect that we are prepared to train students in is going to be necessary.” Hawkins is leading the way through teaching, research, global collaboration and activism. She recently organized a climate change reading group on campus to kickstart the conversation. The group met three times during the fall to discuss Andrew Hoffman’s book How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate. “Climate scientists are struggling to communicate effectively, both in terms of the seriousness of the problem and in their appeals for engagement to a diverse group of voters,” Hawkins wrote in her campus-wide invitation. “It’s a big problem, but our Mudd community is well-equipped to do something about it.” The group of about 30 students, faculty and staff discussed the role of scientists in explaining the current state of climate change, shared thoughts on how to increase science literacy, described how
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they talk about climate change with family members and more. Hawkins believes that conversations like
these help broaden crucial conversations.
Getting to the Source Hawkins’ research examines the intersection of air pollution that affects air quality and anthropogenic climate change. “We’re trying to understand what sources of pollution contribute not only to high levels of particles that we might breathe, but to the brownest or the darkest particles, aside from things like soot, whose origins we know,” she says. Students in her lab take ambient measurements of the chemical composition of particles in the air surrounding the College as well as their UV-visible absorbance. They also study particle reactions specific to clouds and cloud water and foggy conditions. Several years ago, Hawkins learned of a cloud chamber in Paris, France, that was designed to simulate those conditions and was available to researchers worldwide. In 2015, coincidentally the same year the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was signed, Hawkins took two students to Paris using a portion of a National Science Foundation grant secured by David De Haan, her postdoc advisor at UC San Diego. That experience was so rewarding that the following summer Hawkins was able to obtain funding from the Barbara Stokes Dewey Endowed Chair, the Mudd European travel fund and her own startup to take two more students with her. In 2017, she sent two recent Harvey Mudd graduates. Then, she and De Haan applied for and received a three-year collaborative International Research Experience for Students grant through NSF that enables them to take two students from Harvey Mudd and three from UC San Diego and spend one full month each summer in France. HMC student Ellie Smith’22 says working in the Paris lab was a great experience. “Not only were we working alongside French scientists, but we also had a team from the University of Helsinki,” Smith says. “It was really cool to see how our data came together as a team.” The experience also gave Smith a better understanding of how the scientific community interacts. “As scientists, our job is to improve our understanding of the world we live in, and to make a positive impact on society. Consolidating our knowledge to find the best possible solution is the best way to do that.”
Ellie Smith ’22, Lindy Conrad-Marut ’21 and Lelia Hawkins gather in Hawkins’ lab to check instruments that will help them answer questions about the sources of air pollution.
The Way to Change Hawkins came to Harvey Mudd because she believes that its students are well-equipped to tackle things like air pollution and climate change because they are learning to be interdisciplinary. Last fall, Hawkins taught Introduction to Global Climate Change, a new course for students at all levels and from all five undergraduate colleges. In spring 2019, she co-taught a course with Adam Pearson, a Pomona College psychology professor, who studies how groups can become more engaged in climate science. In addition to studying the fundamentals of physics and chemistry relating to climate science, students learned about the politics of climate change and how voters can have an impact since they select the decision makers. “A number of students said it was the best class they’d ever taken,” says Hawkins, who looks forward to teaching the class in spring 2020. “You cannot just be a chemist and work on climate change or air pollution,” Hawkins says. “You cannot just be a physicist. You can’t even just be someone who has a technical background. You’re not going to get anywhere. You might publish papers, but you aren’t going to effect change. And, my goal is to actually make things happen that are for everyone’s betterment.”
Smith works with a waveguide UV/visible spectrometer.
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BOND. CARBON-CARBON BOND. When not investigating new catalytic reactions, Jessica Hoover â€™04 is introducing the public to the beauty, mystery and intrigue of chemistry. Written by Lori Ferguson Photos by Buzz Meade
HEN JESSICA HOOVER ’04 ENTERED
Harvey Mudd College, she planned to major in engineering. “Then I took my first engineering course, and that was the end of that,” she recalls with a chuckle. Next, Hoover tried math, which didn’t feel right either. When she started doing research with chemistry Professor Adam Johnson, however, everything changed. “Chemistry clicked for me,” she says simply. “And Professor Johnson was an incredible mentor, then and now. If I hadn’t done research as an undergrad, I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing today.” Fortunately, Hoover’s career path is no longer in question. Now an associate professor of chemistry at West Virginia University, she is focused on developing and understanding new catalytic reactions and is garnering a great deal of attention for her efforts. In fact, Hoover’s recent work on a complex class of reactions called decarboxylative cross-couplings shows great promise for improving the efficiency of new medicine creation. “Our research is fundamental, not applied,” Hoover explains. “We’re not making medicine— we’re making new ways to make some of the molecules that are used in pharmaceuticals.” Coupling reactions in general are an important way to make carbon-carbon bonds (2010 Chemistry Nobel Prize), but they often use organometallic coupling partners that are very reactive, making these starting materials hard to store and transport and requiring special equipment to handle. Using these reagents as coupling partners often means more synthetic steps to make the coupling partners and then to remove the byproducts that form as a result. “Carboxylic acids are very inexpensive and stable compounds, making them great to work with, but not very reactive coupling partners,” says Hoover. “We can coax reactivity from them using a metal catalyst to form the reactive organometallic intermediate during the reaction from the decarboxylation (loss of CO2) of a carboxylic acid. This is the decarboxylative coupling reaction that we are studying and, in the ideal case, these reactions form small amounts of CO2 as the only byproduct.” Should their work prove fruitful, says Hoover, it will provide chemists with reactions that are more efficient and less wasteful. It might also provide access to new molecules. Hoover’s research group plans to use benzoic acids as a replacement for current coupling
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materials. “They’re bench stable—we don’t need any special equipment to handle them—they’re less expensive, and they offer us a way to access the same targets.” Hoover has received two, multi-year National Institutes of Health grants to study heteroarenes, substructures found in many of the biologically active molecules common in pharmaceuticals. “Chemists’ understanding and predictivity for the behaviors of heteroarenes are not very advanced,” she notes, “so our goal is to use one of our reactions as a benchmark to see if we can shed some light on their coupling reactions.” “If our methods can be applied to a variety of carboxylic acids, it will not only make it easier and less expensive for chemists to formulate new medicines, but also to make new compounds such as polymers and plastics,” says Hoover. “Anytime we’re connecting to heteroarenes, we could realize gains in efficiency and cost.”
Bonding with the Public When Hoover isn’t concentrating on making molecules more accessible to fellow chemists, she turns her attention to making chemistry more accessible to the general public through CESTA (Community Engagement in Science Through Art), a program she funded through the outreach component of her 2015 NSF CAREER award. For one month each of the past four summers, Hoover has joined forces with WVU sculpture Professor Jason Lee and engineering Professor Todd Hamrick to lead a team of six undergraduates and graduates in creating science-art installations that engage the local community in chemistry. “I started thinking about the public’s resistance to chemistry—big pharma and big oil are oftentimes viewed as villains—and I realized that resistance was emotional,” Hoover explains. “So, I decided to see if we could target that emotional component to introduce people to the beauty and mystery and intrigue of chemistry instead.” Museum exhibitions and internet videos offer excellent opportunities to explore the wonders of chemistry, Hoover says, but they require people to seek them out. “My idea was to put beautiful sculptures, inspired by chemistry, right in people’s paths.” The idea proved more challenging to implement than Hoover envisioned. “Placing works outside in public places involves a lot of red tape,” she says. “In the end, we weren’t able to display the first year’s sculpture as planned.” Hoover subsequently worked
a deal with the university’s library system, which permitted students to install their creations within the libraries’ public spaces. Apart from that initial hiccup, the project succeeded beyond Hoover’s expectations. “The participating students have been absolutely incredible,” she says. “The chemistry art pieces they’ve designed and built have been so creative. They were all big pieces, and each was interactive in some way.” This year’s installation, The Brain Complex, is no exception. “It’s a four-part sculpture, a piece for each lobe of the brain,” Hoover explains. “Each piece has a peep hole and when viewers look inside, they see a nod to the chemical processes that happen in that section of the brain. It’s fascinating and very well done.” Hoover welcomes the chance to mentor students in this way and makes a concerted effort to guide undergraduates in her lab as well. “Through my research group, I’ve worked with 27 undergraduates in seven years,” she says, smiling. “Professor Johnson had such an impact on me as an undergraduate at Harvey Mudd that I really enjoy the opportunity to pay it forward.”
–JESSICA HOOVER ’04
The 2019 CESTA installation displayed in a West Virginia University library is representative of chemistry that occurs within the brain’s four lobes. Each lobe of the sculpture contains an observation port illustrating a different chemical interaction occurring within the brain.
A Rich Life In a community where hardships are part of daily life, the Hakims find acceptance and a purpose. Written by John Martin Illustration by Delphine Lee
ENUNCIATION IS ITS OWN REWARD,
and what you give up comes back to you manifold. That’s what Rosey and Jonathan Hakim (’04 engineering and ’01 physics) found out when they decided to live and work in the slums of Asia. The couple moved to Bangkok and worked with street children and trafficked girls; for the past seven years they have been living in a slum in north India. Jonathan’s passion at school was astrobiology; his long-term plan was to be the mission astrobiologist on the first manned mission to Mars. Turns out, he was needed more on Earth. “I heard God calling me to serve others, rather than to pursue my own career,” he says. “I was moved to serve as a teacher in places that have been deprived of access to quality education.” Jonathan says they were welcomed into their new world. “From the time we first stepped into the slum, people invited us into their homes, served us chai and were excited to talk, even when our Hindi/ Urdu competency was almost non-existent. Though there was some distrust and uncertainty—some neighbors thought we must be CIA or even criminals on the run!” Rosey credits Harvey Mudd with imparting lessons that have helped in their new life. “The rigor of the academic study, on top of engagement with the communal life of the College, helps me handle challenging tasks, prioritize, be humble and live interdependently with others,” she says. “The exposure I received at the 5Cs to people of different ethnicities, religions and ideas opened me to ’the other’ and to working toward mutual understanding.” Jonathan is the lead teacher and trainer for Global Dream, a program that promotes literacy. “We’ve helped about 150 children and adults in our slum become literate, while starting dozens
of literacy projects in slums across our city and training groups in nine Indian states,” he says. Rosey also works with the literacy program and counsels trafficked and abused girls. “The stories that the girls have lived and the trauma they carry is brutal, but being able to see them reach toward hope and a new life helps keep me going,” she says. The Hakims have developed close relationships with several families, becoming “a ’big brother and big sister’ to the young men and women in those families,” Rosey says. “We’ve established a relationship of genuine trust, and along with it the respect and the obligations of family.” Family is paramount. “Families are very, very tight here, and even in the most broken families there is a degree of solidarity that is difficult to wrap your head around,” Jonathan says. At one point the Hakims, who have two children of their own—baby Sophia and foster daughter Chhaya, who is completing 12th grade—took responsibility for a young man with bipolar disorder, nurturing him for months until he recovered enough to resume teaching in the literacy program. They also have responded to emergency needs as they’ve cropped up, at times paying for life-saving medical care that families couldn’t afford on their own. “It is embarrassing because it can be such small sums for us that we’ll never even notice in our life, but lack of those small sums is the difference between life and death for them,” says Jonathan. Daily life in the slums is a hardship. This year, between late April and early June, there were 32 days that were 108 degrees or hotter; at times it hit 120 degrees. “You’re surrounded by brick and concrete that holds in every bit of heat,” says Rosey. “There’s no ventilation. So many people doing washing in close quarters ramps up the humidity, there’s no A/C, and the electricity for the fans might give out at any minute. Imagine trying to work under such conditions or care for a newborn baby. Imagine when the water stops flowing, as happens from time to time.” But the daily grind is what you make it. “Washing clothes by hand becomes space for prayer; making Indian flatbread allows me the joy of creating beautiful food,” Rosey says. Adds Jonathan, “There is significantly more social interaction than in our previous lives. We live maybe 100 meters from the road, and when I go out at least 10 people will greet me in that stretch, and two or three of them will want me to stop and talk longer.”
Jonathan says their slum is diverse, with people from different backgrounds, regions, religions, socioeconomic levels and plans for their lives. “Most are poor, yet remarkably generous. I’ve had someone stop me to discuss American politics with more insight than many of my American friends—while someone else will ask me which train goes to the American village, and how many hours does it take to get there?” Humor is essential. “Our neighbors laugh at more things than you would imagine,” he says. “It can be a coping mechanism for a difficult life: If you don’t laugh whenever possible, where will you find joy? At other times it’s a defense mechanism, a sign of discomfort when a proper response isn’t clear. And I think they might just find a lot of stuff really funny.” Many people in their community came from the countryside to find work. While better infrastructure and services would improve their current lives, “I’m beginning to think that sustainable, community-centered rural development is the healthy way forward for both people and the environment,” Jonathan says. “Slums are not inevitable,” Rosey says. “I never thought I was greedy, but we in the West don’t know that our standard of living perpetuates the unfair wages, lack of housing and increased pollution that we see our neighbors suffer from here.” Like their neighbors in the slums, they don’t give up hope. “Another way is possible,” Jonathan says. “But it will only come when we are able to understand how our lifestyles impact the lives of those on the other side of the globe and become willing to entertain the possibility of changing our own lives dramatically in order to give greater opportunity to theirs.”
Future STEM Leaders, Here’s One of Your Biggest Fans Engineer and award-winning community leader Gina Janke ’87 inspires through education and outreach. Written by Amy Derbedrosian Photo by Peter Buchaklian
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ROWING UP, GINA JANKE ’87 WAS WHAT
she calls a “Lincoln Logs and Erector Set girl.” She gravitated toward hands-on activities, like taking apart objects and working on her car. These interests and her course work at Harvey Mudd College drew Janke to mechanical engineering and eventually led her to Modine Manufacturing, a century-old maker of heat transfer products for vehicles and buildings. “My family wasn’t technically oriented. Because I didn’t have any role models, I didn’t really have a vision for myself other than to use math and science in problem-solving. Engineering was practical problem-solving,” says Janke, who began her engineering career at Rockwell International in Southern California. Marriage brought Janke to the Midwest and to Modine’s Racine, Wisconsin, global headquarters, where she started in manufacturing engineering in 1997. Her early work in the Truck Division focused on determining the best processes and practices to physically transfer vehicular products—radiators, condensers, coolers and other components designed to support customers’ performance, durability and fuel efficiency goals—from one manufacturing plant to another, whether located in Missouri, Tennessee, Mexico or Brazil. She later transitioned into quality and industrial engineering, working directly with customers and conducting time studies to understand labor costs and to optimize production. Now Janke is a principal manufacturing engineer in the Vehicular Thermal Solutions segment of the business, primarily involved with the capital investment and cost-estimating aspects of building Modine’s products. “I’ve gotten to do so many things and worked with people who gave me room to grow,” says Janke, noting that this is why she’s stayed with the company for more than two decades. These days, Janke spends most of her time in an office cubicle, though the company’s testing center located elsewhere in her building is a visible reminder of the end product of her work. There, a wind tunnel large enough to fit a big rig, simulates environments ranging from desert-like to frigid, while the vehicle’s engine races, making it possible to assess if products are heating and cooling properly. Janke is also committed to a purpose that extends beyond her work at Modine: She wants to bring more girls and women into STEM fields, particularly technical positions and engineering.
“I want to do whatever I can to bring more women into engineering and get kids out of poverty through reading education and STEM outreach. That is my mission.” –GINA JANKE ’87
At Modine, opportunities may start as an internship and progress into a full-time position. “Being raised female shouldn’t be a barrier to a career that interests you,” says Janke, who has hired a number of Modine interns, several of them women. “If there are opportunities in engineering in general, I think there are opportunities for women. It’s a matter of getting women through the pipeline and giving them a bigger presence.” She has sought to accomplish this largely through her participation in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the organization she first joined in the 1980s while attending Harvey Mudd. Janke recalls that SWE was the College’s only student organization for women at the time and that her graduating class included approximately 25 women across all majors. “We had an active group that did outreach events with girls in the area,” recalls Janke. “I thought it was a good community. We were like one big family.” She has remained involved with SWE for more than 30 years, and Janke was recognized nationally in 2018 for her service. She received the organization’s Fellow Grade Award, an honor granted to a member with at least 20 years of continuous service to SWE who has achieved professional excellence and has helped advance other women in engineering and engineering management.
Janke founded and chaired the scholarship committee for SWE’s Wisconsin Section and served as treasurer for both Wisconsin and the Midwest Region. She is particularly proud to have raised thousands of dollars to provide scholarships for women engineering students in her state, noting that the scholarship recipients include one of the several interns she has mentored at Modine. Janke is also keen to expand opportunities for young people growing up in the Racine area, where the poverty rate is high and there is a shortage of workers prepared to fill technical positions. Through her affiliation with the nonprofit United Way, Janke has been a reading tutor to students at Racine-area elementary schools for the last seven years. She also has represented SWE at Milwaukee’s annual STEMfest and worked with Milwaukee middle schools on the Future Cities Competition at which participants designed a virtual city, created a tabletop-sized model of their city incorporating recycled materials, and prepared essays and presentations about their projects. This sort of hands-on work naturally resonates with Janke. “I enjoy my work, but outreach to young people, especially in my community, is my passion,” says Janke. “I want to do whatever I can to bring more women into engineering and get kids out of poverty through reading education and STEM outreach. That is my mission.”
Gerald Van Hecke ’61
200 Meetings and a Gift ON SATURDAY, SEPT. 28, THE HARVEY MUDD
College Alumni Association Board of Governors (AABOG), the governing body of the HMC Alumni Association, held its 200th Board of Governors meeting. In celebration of the event, AABOG hosted an on-campus reception and dinner the night before the meeting. Invited attendees included current and past AABOG governors, HMC trustees and members of the college administration. Following a welcome from AABOG President Dee West ’65, P92/93, the program for the evening began with a brief history of AABOG by Professor Gerald Van Hecke ’61 that included memorable, interesting and fun events in the board’s history. The program also featured an AABOG past presidents’ panel with each past president commenting on events during their term(s). Panel members included: Penny Barrett ’67 (president: ’72–’73, ’79–’81), Pat Barrett ’66 (’90–’91), Bruce Worster ’64 (’92–’93), Jerome Jackson ’76 (’01–’03), John Lulejian ’90 (’10–’12) and David Sonner ’80 (’16–’19). Jerry Van Hecke ’61 (’86–’89, ’14–’17) also read comments from David Goodsell ’61 (’67–’68) and Sally Siemak ’72 (’99–’01).
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West announced the creation of a new endowed fund, a gift to the College commemorating the 200th AABOG Meeting. Conceived during a brainstorming session at the Executive Committee retreat last January, the AABOG Curricular Innovation Fund was created with the assistance of the Office of Advancement and funded, initially, by gifts from current and former governors. The fund supports the maintenance of academic excellence by providing grants to faculty for developing new courses, revising existing courses and exploring innovative teaching methods. Expenditures from the fund’s proceeds will be managed by faculty leadership, and the intention is for the fund to grow indefinitely through contributions from alumni and friends of the College. At press time, $75,000 has been raised, and an additional $10,000 challenge by Emeritus Governor Fred Pickel ’74 is set to be released. Echoing the sentiment of past and present members, Van Hecke said, “It has been a great source of satisfaction to me to follow the development of the AABOG and the BOG from the days of wondering what we should do, to now wondering how can we do all that we want.”
Trustee Laura Larson P20
Shake, Chatter and Roll Skate-A-Roake in Seattle
Fall events held throughout the U.S. brought alumni, parents and families together for a variety of activities, many hosted by alumni in the area. If you have suggestions for events, or if you would like to volunteer to plan activities for alumni in your area, contact the Events Committee of the Alumni Association Board of Governors (email@example.com) or email the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at alumni@hmc. edu.
Alumni and friends were on a roll in September at Southgate Roller Rink in Seattle for an event hosted by Cleo Stannard ’15.
San Andreas Fault Road Trip In October, Harvey Mudd alumni, parents and friends journeyed along the central section of the San Andreas Fault, starting in Daly City. They followed the fault southeast and ended their trek in Bakersfield.
Resume review This fall, alumni participated in several Alumni-Student Resume Review events, in partnership with the Office of Career Services. It’s a great opportunity to connect with students and help them as they prepare for career fairs and applying for jobs. Participation can be in-person or virtual, and there are more resume review events planned, including one on Jan. 29. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
SWE Anaheim Grace Hopper Conference, Orlando The Alumni Association sponsored a reception in October at Fogo de Chão restaurant with professors Colleen Lewis and Elizabeth “Z” Sweedyk (above, second from left), alumni and the computer science students who attended the Grace Hopper Conference.
Many of those attending the Society of Women Engineering Conference in Anaheim took advantage of the HMC reception at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney with professors Liz Orwin '95, Nancy Lape and Angie Lee ’05 and engineering students, who shared the latest developments in the Department of Engineering.
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE
ALUMNI WEEKEND 2020 MAY
Online registration opens Jan. 3. visit alumni.hmc.edu
• Academic and special-interest receptions • 3C wine tasting • Shakespeare performances • Super Smash Brothers Tournament • Alumni Association awards • Dinners for all reunion classes • Delta T Alumni Through the Decades Panel
Family Weekend 2020 Feb. 7–8 | hmc.edu/family-weekend
Marquis Who’s Who has presented Gary David Patterson (chemistry) with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He received a PhD in physical chemistry from Stanford University in 1972 and was honored with the first National Academy of Sciences William O. Baker Award for Initiatives in Research in 1981. A professor emeritus of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, Gary retired in 2018 after 34 years. Prior to his tenure, he was a member of the AT&T Bell Laboratories technical staff in New Jersey for 12 years. Throughout his career, Gary focused much of his research on polymer science, colloid science, chemistry and physics of liquids and complex fluids, as well as light scattering and the history and philosophy of chemistry. Renowned for his work in the application of light scattering spectroscopy to study the dynamics of polymer liquids near the glass transition, he has also studied the structure and dynamics of polymers and nanoparticles in solution. He has conducted extensive research in the history and philosophy of polymer science and has authored numerous chemistry-related articles in scholarly journals. In 1980, Dr. Patterson co-authored the book Methods of Experimental Physics: Volume 16, Polymers and, in 2007, published Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules. He has since authored several other publications, including A Prehistory of Polymer Science (2012) and Chemistry in 17th Century New England (2020).
engineering from Caltech in 1974 then became a tenured professor at UCLA. He attended medical school (M.D., 1981) and worked as an anesthesiologist for 35 years, 23 of those as a department chair. Now clinically retired, he’s consulting for the biotechnology industry. He’s combining his background in aeronautics and anesthesia, and still teaches in both fields. His favorite lecture: "Flying the Anesthesia Machine."
Bruce I. Cohen (physics) is still working part-time
Tom Brengle (physics) and his wife, Anita, celebrated
for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He finished writing and editing a book, Theoretical Plasma Physics, with Allan N. Kaufman (free download at arxiv.org) It is based on UC Berkeley Professor (retired) Allan Kaufman’s lecture notes on graduate plasma theory.
their 45th anniversary and are enjoying the eighth year of retirement in Eagle, Idaho, where they keep busy with family, hobbies and a number of volunteering and community activities.
Jim Johnson (math) is launching a SaaS business,
1959 In May, Peter Loeb (math) gave an invited talk at a special session on nonstandard probability at a meeting in Calgary of the Statistical Society of Canada.
1965 Eric I. Thorsos (physics)
“retired” in 2010 but continues to work part time at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory researching propagation and reverberation in underwater acoustics. Much of his interest has been on acoustic rough surface scattering. He just began another three-year research project supported by the Office of Naval Research. He writes, “In recent years, my wife, Terry, and I have visited China several times for meetings and collaborations with Chinese investigators. In 2018, we visited Qingdao, Guangzhou and Beijing where I gave presentations and visited with Chinese investigators who had spent a year working with our group at the Applied Physics Laboratory. I write this at our remote, water-access cabin in B.C., Canada. We have had our rustic old homestead here for 51 years now, and try to make two or three trips here each summer from our home near Seattle. We get plenty of exercise in this rustic environment.”
1967 Steve Barker (physics) received a PhD in aero
Dwight Bean (math) retired from University of San
Diego after 46 years with the math department.
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1971 actionmap.com, based on ideas rooted in his education at HMC. Find his articles on LinkedIn at http://bit.ly/Jjohnson71.
John Riley ’72/73 (engineering) volunteers two
days a week at a struggling high school helping the students learn geometry. He writes, “The high school is 98% Latino and about 10% do not speak English. Fortunately, I do speak enough Spanish to communicate mathematics. I find the one-on-one instruction to be most effective. Positive feedback makes the students believe they really can do math. Unfortunately the failure rate is around 50% primarily due to missing assignments and tests. I believe that in retirement this is an excellent way to provide help where help is needed and make the future just a little better place.” Michael Smithson (math) writes, “I haven’t quite yet
retired. My co-author and former PhD student, Dr. Yiyun Shou, and I are putting the finishing touches on our book, Generalized Linear Models for Bounded and Limited Quantitative Variables, which will be published by Sage in its Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences series.”
1973 Mark Allen ’73/74
(engineering) retired from Agilent Technologies (Spun from HP) after 45 years and now gets to play, full time. Current toys include home automation, and he’s looking into 3-D printing.
John Ogren ’74/75
(engineering) retired from NOAA in 2016 after 24 years building a global network to characterize how airborne particles affect climate (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/ gmd/aero/). He’s now working with a collaborator at the University of Puerto Rico to rebuild two field stations that were demolished by Hurricane Maria.
ALUM N I P R O F IL E
Pace on Space
Space exploration then and now By Janie Fisher
OVER TWO SWELTERING
nights in July 2019, half a million people crowded onto the National Mall to witness the transformation of the Washington Monument as an image of the Saturn V rocket that launched Apollo 11 into space was projected onto it. The event marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and another turning point in history— the space program had captured the imagination of the American public once again. A smaller but equally enthusiastic crowd packed an auditorium at Caltech a month later to see Scott Pace ’80 deliver his lecture, “Apollo to Artemis: Policy History and Promise.” Pace contrasted the goals, challenges and debates surrounding the Apollo mission with those of the Artemis program—NASA’s next venture into space, which, in his words, “is beginning in a very different global political, economic and technical environment for human space flight.”
The origins of Apollo The space race was initially seen as a competition between two ideologies: Soviet communism versus Western democracy. “In 1961, you could still think that this communism thing might work out,” said Pace. When the Soviet Union launched the first man into space, it was seen as a “symbol of post-World War II Soviet economic and technical capabilities, which was very attractive to the then decolonializing third world.” In May of 1961, President John F. Kennedy stood before a joint session of Congress and set the goal of landing a man on the moon. Why the moon? According to Pace, “Kennedy wanted dramatic results in which we could win.” It was a political question. We could have chosen to put a lab in space or orbit the moon. We chose a lunar landing because it leveled the playing field with the Soviets. “We could do a lot of these things, but it was not clear that the Soviets wouldn’t beat us because they already had quite a lead,” said Pace. “If we
Astronauts will dock the small spacecraft Orion at the Gateway where they will live and work around the Moon. The crew will take expeditions from the Gateway to the surface of the Moon in a new human landing system before returning to the orbital outpost, eventually returning to Earth aboard Orion.
started with something as dramatically hard as a lunar landing, it was an even match.” But the success of Apollo was far from assured. It faced enormous technological, political and economic obstacles. When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, it was a singular moment in human history. As Pace sees it, that very fact may be holding us back today. “Something that was done once, you think, that’s the way other space projects have to be done. ... Large national direction, big amounts of money. It all wraps up and then ends. And what comes next?”
On to Artemis Fifty years later, the Artemis program is underway with the goals of putting another man and the first woman on the moon by 2024, and to establish a long-term presence on the lunar surface, with the horizon goal of sending humans to Mars. According to Pace, Artemis will require both commercial and international partners, and will build on cooperation that began with the International Space Station. “We have relationships among thousands of people worldwide, including our Russian colleagues, whom we like and respect and work with very well, governments notwithstanding.
“Apollo was all about ‘look what I can do by myself,’ he said, “whereas today we have a much more globalized space environment, a much more democratized environment.” The 2024 deadline was, Pace said, “a bit of shock to the system.” But he sees an upside. “Yes, we have technical problems. Yes, we have budget problems. The biggest problem we have is political risk as you try to do major programs across multiple administrations and multiple congresses. ... If it’s really ambitious and difficult, but still possible to do, as Apollo was, then the bureaucracy goes, oh, I might actually be accountable for this.”
The big question “The point, in my view, of exploration,” said Pace, “is to be able to answer this question: What is the future of humans in space?” Can we live off the land, or do you have to haul everything from Earth? Can we find something economically useful to do? According to Pace, the answers to these questions are profoundly important. “Either we have a future off the planet or this is where we will always be.”
1975 Bradley Bobbs (physics) works on developing
non-contact ultrasound using one laser to generate the ultrasound and another laser to detect the internally reflected ultrasound. He writes, “Not useful on people (ouch!); but very useful for quality monitoring of metal parts during their manufacture, since there’s no need to mount conventional ultrasound contacts onto hot, moving, vibrating parts with complicated, changing shapes.”
1978 Last year, Betty (Edwards) Johnson (physics) celebrated her 40th anniversary as a geophysicist with Chevron. She is the leader of its Basin Framework Technology Team, which develops and deploys technologies to help Chevron explore basins for oil and gas throughout the world. In June this year, along with co-authors, she was awarded her first U.S. patent, and they have a few more in development. Betty returns to campus a few times a year for AABOG meetings. She also recently served on the Centennial Steering Committee for the American Geophysical Union.
1979 Joe Shanks (physics) just passed 30 years in
aerospace/defense. He leads a small San Diego office for Raytheon, focusing on atmospheric effects, modeling and simulation and algorithm development for space sensors. He writes, “Advances in EO hardware and processing keep it interesting!”
1982 Mala Arthur (physics) manages a makerspace on the
campus of Mt. San Antonio College, a very large community college in the Southern California city of Walnut. The MakerSpace has grown to over 1,500 members in less than two years and includes Mt. SAC students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members. She writes, “Many people create items for their businesses at our space. We have 21st-century equipment such as 3-D printers, vinyl cutter, heat transfer press, laser cutter/ engraver, electronics station, sewing machine
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and serger and spray paint booth. In addition, we have hand tools of all sorts, the full range of woodworking equipment and the full range of metal working equipment. Coming soon, a kiln, pottery kick wheel, sand blast cabinet, tube bending equipment and more. Many machines have CNC capability. Come by for a tour when you are in the area! Open evenings and most Saturdays except in July and August.” Kenneth Chinn (engineering) has a wife, three
kids—Abigail, Sam and Maggie (two in high school and one in middle school)—and he’s retired after 35 years with the Boeing Company.
1983 Dave Dunaetz (engineering) is an associate professor
of leadership and organizational psychology at Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, California). His research program focuses on interpersonal processes in organizations, especially Christian organizations. Some of his recent publications have focused on pastoral narcissism, emotional attachment to churches and how social media forces affect people who attend churches.
1985 Sandia National Laboratories has appointed Andrew McIlroy (chemistry) as the new associate laboratories director responsible for managing and leading Sandia’s California site in Livermore. Andrew also oversees Sandia’s Energy and Earth Systems Center, which includes staff in New Mexico, Texas and Alaska. He has primary responsibility for Sandia’s Energy and Homeland Security mission portfolio, as well as for weapon systems engineering at Sandia’s California site. He joined Sandia in 1991 as a postdoctoral researcher in chemical kinetics and laser diagnostics at the Combustion Research Facility. In 1997, after working at the Aerospace Corporation for four years, he returned to Sandia, where he has served in several leadership roles in both New Mexico and California. Since May 2017, Andrew has been the director of the Energy and Homeland Security Program Management Center, a labs-wide business unit that focuses energy and homeland security activities on threat-driven national security issues. Under his leadership, Sandia collaborated with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in developing the physical
and operational infrastructure for the Livermore Valley Open Campus, which creates a transparently accessible, common campus to foster enhanced interactions with domestic and international industrial and academic partners.
1988 Doug Green (engineering) was working as the lead
control system field engineer for the only nuclear power plants now being built in the U.S. in Georgia. He recently moved back to Houston, where he’s engineering tecnnical lead for an ethylene cracker in Ohio. “We had scheduled a cruise to Cuba, but we were trumped and just visited a few other islands. I now have permanent residency in Mexico as we have a house there.”
1989 Kaia David ’89/96 (engineering) writes, “These
days I’m managing the Extreme Environment Materials group at Boeing Research & Technology in Huntington Beach, California. We’re working on high-temperature and cryogenic thermal protection systems for programs, including NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation and Space Launch Systems, and developing ceramic matrix composite materials for commercial and defense propulsion applications.” Steve Molin (engineering) now works in the financial
world as an ops engineer for Trizic Inc. Kyle Roesler (math) retired from Lockheed Martin
in 2017, then taught English for almost a year in Casablanca. After that, he and his wife became AmeriCorps volunteers in Fairbanks, Alaska, helping the clients of the public defender agency apply for substance-use treatment and find housing. He’s still writing, and his books include Fate, Saba, Keep Austin Weird: A Lesbian Superhero Love Story for Grown-Ups and The Navel of the World, with another out soon.
1990 Bryan Marten (physics) was a physics major/
chemistry minor with three years of research in the chemistry department with professors Van Hecke and Cave. He earned a PhD from Columbia University in physical chemistry in 1995 then
worked in Big Pharma in New Jersey for a few years doing structure-based drug design with computer modeling of drug-receptor interactions to shut down a protease enzyme in Hep C virus. He writes, “Hands gave out (RSI) and switched coasts and careers to public high school science teacher! Living in East Bay with wife, Valerie, (met at Columbia playing viola in orchestra; I had been in Scripps and Pomona orchestras) and kids. Most recently, taught AP Chem and AP Physics at Lowell High School in San Francisco. Have had a few students get in to HMC over the years. Oldest daughter will be a senior in the fall, so we are about to go through that whole thing again, vicariously this time!”
1991 Jeff Brewer (engineering) is
VP, chief architect for the Small Business and SelfEmployed Group at Intuit setting technical strategy for the QuickBooks ecosystem. He was elected to the Technical Oversight Committee for the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which oversees Kubernetes among other open source projects. Jeff attended the 2019 Cloud Native Con/KubeCon European event in Barcelona. Peter Schwartzman (physics) published his first
book, The Earth is Not For Sale: A Path Out of Fossil Capitalism to the Other World That is Still Possible (World Scientific, 2019). In April 2019, he was elected to a third four-year term as Alderman in Galesburg, Illinois. In October 2019, he received the Mike Kroll Community Leadership Award.
1992 Randall Spangler (physics) has been studying the
behavior of gases at higher pressures, and optics in liquids. “In other words,” he writes, “teaching scuba diving and underwater photography. Last year, I spent 142 hours underwater. In between dives, I develop security firmware for Chromebooks at Google.”
1993 Matthew Harris (biology) has a PhD in molecular
biology from UCSD. He spent four years in the
Army’s Medical Service Corp working in an HIV vaccine group and four years at startup Nanogen working on molecular diagnostics. For 12 years, he worked at Illumina on molecular diagnostics with bead arrays and later next-generation sequencing.
For the past four years, Robert Rakowsky (engineering) has worked for the startup Echodyne. Its technology allows him to build small-cost, effective radars for autonomous and security applications for the commercial market.
Ellen Heian (engineering) just started at JPL in the
power generation group, working on thermoelectric materials for space.
1994 Craig “Gunner” Dandurand (math) lives in Melbourne,
Australia, and manages money for the Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund. He’s happily married to Alison and enjoying watching twin daughters, Nora and Clara (12), grow.
1995 Joseph Chen (biology) is a faculty member at San
Francisco State University, teaching microbiology and mentoring students in research. They are investigating bacterial factors that contribute to beneficial interactions with host organisms.
Rachel Donahue Beda (biology) has been a practicing physician for 18 years. After med school and residency at UW, she spent seven years working in Seattle’s level 1 trauma ER, followed by five years of primary care at an urban under-served community clinic. In 2015, she left that position to join a friend as co-owner of a small, adult primary care clinic. Rachel says, “We’re not happy with the current health insurance system (who is?) so we offer Direct Primary Care: patients pay their MDs directly like a gym membership on a monthly basis in exchange for unlimited primary care. We also focus on LGBTQ folks, including gender-affirming care for trans and non-binary folks. Joe Beda ’97 and I have been married 19 years and have two kids (11 and 14). Finally, I just joined the Mudd Board of Trustees!” David Hamm (CS) writes, “Crazy times on the
After a brief stint as a research assistant at Stanford and years of fun with GPUs and graphics software, Greg James (physics) now does EE, food trucks and sustainable packaging at Zume. “One day if I’m lucky, I’ll get back to my side project, Visual6502. org. If you’re ever passing through Silicon Valley, look me up!” After a few years of long-distance marriage, Adam Wells (CS), his wife, Maria, and their three kids, Mateo (16), Eva (13), and DJ (5), are now happily living together in his home town of Las Vegas. Maria is a family court attorney, and Adam just celebrated his 20-year anniversary with Apple, “which is still a great place to work,” he says. “My latest hobbies: microcontrollers and 3-D printing.”
1996 Neil Laughlin (biology) lives in San Jose “with
my Scrippsie wife and our two sons. We spend many evenings at roller hockey rinks, travel whenever possible and play a lot of board games. Professionally, I am a Silicon Valley software engineering manager. I am about to start a new role as the VP of Public Cloud Site Reliability Engineering at Salesforce in San Francisco!”
Fortnite team at Epic Games. We are hiring!” After 15 years of practicing law, Raul Martinez (engineering) recently opened a law firm specializing in intellectual property, including patent and trademark law.
1998 Josh Jones (CS) lives in Santa Monica and runs
HMC INQ. “We fund startups with Mudd alums only. Apply today at hmcinq.com/apply ... please! :)”
1999 Andrew Bernat (CS) writes, “Jenn and I have lived
in Mountain View since 2013. I’m a principal engineer at Pure Storage, focusing on reliability and upcoming hardware; Jenn is a full-time mom and part-time legal secretary, packing more work into a day than physics strictly allows. We’ve got two kids, Danny (10) and Becky (7). Life is good!”
Erika Rice-Scherpelz and Jeff Scherpelz (CS) write:
“These days, we are living just outside of Seattle. Erika works on Google Maps. Jeff stays home with our two daughters who are 5 and 2. Most of our time is taken up with those things, but we did manage a kid-free trip to Japan in April 2019, and we went to our 15-year Mudd reunion. We also host a monthly board game group. If you’re in the area, you’re welcome to come!”
Joey Kimdon (math) won four of the eight events
and captured the women’s age 40-44 title at the 2019 CrossFit Games in August. This was a third Games podium finish for Joey and a personal best, after finishing second (women 35-39) in 2017 and third (women 40-44) last year. She finished the Games with a total of 700 points and four event wins.
2001 Greg Alexander (biology) is a registered civil/
environmental engineer focused on air quality/ goods movement issues in the Los Angeles basin. He recently sold his small business to an MEP Design firm. In January 2019, Elizabeth Johansen (engineering) joined biotech start-up Vaxess Technologies which is pioneering silk technologies to enable a shelf-stable smart patch for medication delivery and a device for remote blood collection. Elizabeth looks forward to the positive impact Vaxess technologies will have in low- and middleincome countries where cold chain is expensive and impractical.
2002 Annie and Sean Kao (engineering) relocated to
Northern California for an exciting opportunity as Annie takes on a new role as vice president of engineering for Simpson Strong-Tie, a leader in the innovation, design and manufacturing of construction solutions for residential and commercial projects. Sean serves as technical director for Jariet Technologies, a startup company leading firmware and software development to enable customer solutions for custom highlyintegrated ADC/DAC solutions. They are proud parents to Isaac, Nora and Lincoln and enjoy cheering them on in all their pursuits.
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In July 2019, after presenting their research at the IWUOR conference in Nagoya, Japan, Antonio Medrano (engineering) and his PhD advisor Rick Church climbed to the top of Mt Fuji, https://www.instagram.com/p/B0Ul65Cl_DY. Daniel Pennington (biology) is a board-certified
radiation oncologist practicing in Richmond, Virginia. A current project is getting his group set up to participate in National Cancer Institute-funded cooperative group clinical trials.
2003 Markus Ong (engineering) and his wife, Rachel,
celebrated their one-year anniversary and the arrival of twins, Naomi and Matthew. They live in Spokane, Washington, near the Whitworth University campus where he is an associate professor in the Engineering and Physics department. The department has been updating the engineering curriculum to get ABET accreditation for a general engineering program, and Markus is teaching the first cohort of new upper-division engineering classes. Andrea Upton (Crofut) (biology) is an attorney,
working for a technology company in the Seattle area.
2004 Last fall, Eric Harley (math) organized Catch the Phish, an AI capture the flag event at the University of Maryland. Students competed by building machine learning models to identify email or web addresses that were part of a phishing attempt. They had participants from all over Maryland and Virginia.
Zajj Berry Daugherty (math) and Andrew Dawson Smith were married in July along the gorgeous wooded banks of the McKenzie River. Mudders in attendance included (pictured) Eric Angell ’04, Colin Jemmott ’04, Laura Angell ’06, Jamie Kunkle, Gwen Spencer, Dan Halperin ’06, Brett Bissinger ’04, Kevin Hainline ’06, Tara Martin ’04 and Dan Pederson. Jeff Jauregui (math) was recently awarded tenure
at Union College and will be promoted to associate professor of mathematics. He and his wife, Ellen Gasparovic, welcomed their first child in March. Erika Strandberg (biology) completed her PhD in
biomedical informatics at Stanford in 2017 and is now executive director of strategic research initiatives in computer science at Stanford where she leads programs that help external groups engage in academic research in AI and data science. Carl Yerger (math) is chair of the Mathematics
and Computer Science Department and assistant dean for educational policy at Davidson College in North Carolina. He is a leader of Davidson’s Posse Program and has played an increasingly active role in fostering student diversity and giving light to social justice issues in mathematics. This summer, he attended a workshop at Spelman and Morehouse colleges on teaching math for social justice. In addition to coordinating the Charlotte Math Club, he is also co-editor-in-chief of the AMC 10/12 exam.
He still plays tennis regularly and attended the 2019 Ducey Cup alumni match.
education was well tested. Our team is excited to press onward towards the next challenge of building a successful company with a great culture, during which I am sure the non-technical skills from HMC will be an asset.”
Jim Castelaz (engineering)
writes, “Evie Castelaz was born Aug. 4, 2018 and is crawling happily among her siblings (Clara, 7, Cole, 5, and Rory, 3). In an effort to be the most prolific alum, Hailey and I (married 8 years) have baby No. 5 on the way, due around Christmas.” The company Jim started, Motiv, celebrated its 10-year anniversary, and Jim hired a CEO, enabling his move into the CTO role where he is enjoying "freeing fleets from fossil fuel."
After earning a PhD in math at Utah and a postdoc in immunology at Emory University, James Moore (biology) began working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. He writes, “During that time, I’ve proposed mathematical models of autoimmune (dis)regulation, viral infection and evolution, and the immune response to vaccines. Currently, I work as part of the HIV prevention trials network modeling team synthesizing biomedical, behavioral and epidemiological data to help end the HIV epidemic in America and abroad.”
Marguerite Leeds (biology) lives in Alaska and is less
than six months from getting a master’s in nursing. Michaela Reagan
(engineering) is the PI of the Reagan Lab at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough, Maine. The lab was recently awarded an American Cancer Society Research Scholar grant to study multiple myeloma growth and evolution within the bone marrow. On May 7, Michaela and Joel welcomed their first child, Aiden Patrick Miller.
2007 Brian Kirkpatrick (engineering)
and his wife have a new kid! Harold Easton Kirkpatrick was born on June 25 and is their third child. In the meantime, Brian’s working on some fun technologies for space surveillance and satellite operations problems, including game engines for modeling and simulation, that have led to several papers and patents. In their spare time, the family enjoys the Orange County life. Scott Mahr (engineering) writes, “I just wanted
to share that we just reached our goal on our Kickstarter campaign for my company, FORM Lifting. I have been working on it for about a year, during which the technical broadness of my HMC
Katelyn Walker (biology) says, “It’s been a long and
winding road since I left HMC. I worked for a few years as a field biologist, got a master’s in landscape architecture and environmental planning, worked as a planner for the National Park Service and, most recently, completed a data science coding bootcamp and am now employed as a data scientist for Clarivate Analytics working on the algorithms that underlie every scientist’s favorite database: Web of Science! While I’m no longer working directly in the biological sciences, I have such incredible appreciation for the well-rounded STEM education I got at Mudd, which has given me the background and flexibility to pursue these varied career paths.”
2008 Greg Borish (engineering) has been strengthening
the AP Computer Science and AP Calculus AB and BC courses at Hart High School. Cassie Borish ’11 completed her PhD in biomedical engineering at USC and now works as a data scientist at Rho AI, developing a software to assess carbon reduction in early stage ventures. They are also preparing for the arrival of baby Borish in December. Julian Evans (biology) is on the faculty at Zhejiang
University where he’s researching liquid crystals and colloids. “My research is generally focused on the forces that define geometrical patterns within fluids. At some level it is very first-principals biology. I had a recent paper on the cover of Physical Review Letters describing a many-body force which organizes droplets into a rounded superstructure.”
Nathan A. Jones (physics) and Oksana Sergeeva (biology) live in Switzerland with their 5-year-old son Chase. Oksana is finishing up a post-doc in cell biology at the EPFL in Lausanne. She says, “It has been a great experience living in Europe and having a French-speaking child! We have traveled all over and enjoy spending time with my grandparents in Ukraine. In 2020, we are planning our next professional step(s) so we’ll see where that takes us!” Terence Wong (biology) worked for two years as a
research associate at Broad Institute and DFCI in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2011, he started a PhD in the biological and biomedical sciences program at Harvard and joined Levi Garraway’s laboratory at Broad Institute and DFCI. His dissertation research focused on using functional genomics to identify genetic vulnerabilities in different tumor types and characterizing the role of SOX10 dependency in melanoma. He says, “During this time, I was also very involved with the postdoc/graduate student community at Broad. In 2018, I moved to San Diego and started my current job as a clinical genomics analyst at Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, where I analyze whole genome sequencing data to make genetic diagnoses for critically ill infants.”
2010 Carolina de Freitas (engineering) led the
development of and launched a new flexible desktop platform for Berkeley Lights Inc. The Lightning Optofluidic Platform is ideal for elucidating true cell function, inventing single-cell functional assays and driving innovation. Vincent Pai ’12 (engineering) designed the platform’s seminal workflow which
allows users to identify T-cell functional signatures through direct visualizations of the phenotype and function of 100s to 1,000s of individual T cells on a single platform in just days. Josh Swanson (CS) received his PhD in mathematics
from the University of Washington in Summer 2018. He’s now in the middle of a three-year post-doc at UC San Diego where he’s busy with many research projects.
2011 Jenni Rinker (engineering) finished her PhD in
mechanical engineering from Duke University in 2016, took a post-doc in the Loads and Controls section of the Wind Energy department at Denmark Technical University and became a researcher in 2018. She works on projects, mentors M.S./ PhD students and teaches an M.S. course. She’s also a sponsored unicyclist who recently finished Kungsleden and other adventures.
investigating the link between the transcriptional regulator KDM5 and intellectual disability using Drosophila as a model. He intends to pursue a residency in neurology with an emphasis on translational neuroscience research.
2013 In May, Laura Maguire (physics) completed her PhD in biophysics from the University of Colorado Boulder. She plans to work in biotech. After graduating from Mudd, Taylor McAdam (math) started a PhD program at University of Texas at Austin and began research in the field of homogeneous dynamics under the supervision of Amir Mohammadi. After four years in Austin, she followed her advisor to UC San Diego to continue the research. She graduated from UCSD in June and moved to New Haven, Connecticut, to start an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship working with Professor Hee Oh at Yale. Taylor writes, “I am very excited for this new stage of my career, as it puts me well on my way toward achieving my goal of becoming a professional student. In the next few years, I will be making frequent trips to San Diego to visit my boyfriend, Guillermo Esparza ’13 (physics), who is in the materials science PhD program at UCSD, and our cat, Igloo, who is very small and very soft.”
island in southern Germany mingling with 30 Nobel Laureates and young scientists (from undergrad to post-doc) from around the world. She writes, “The mood was electric, with everyone growing more and more energetic and inspired as we chatted about school and life, astro and quantum. And best of all, I got to meet and talk with some of my personal heroes, like Dave Wineland, Steve Chu and Bill Phillips.” In May 2019, Natasha Parikh (biology) completed a PhD in cognitive neuroscience at Duke University. “My dissertation focused on understanding how people with varying levels of anxiety regulate the emotions evoked by negative memories, and it was funded by the DoD’s National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. I’m now completing a teaching postdoc at Harvard University, developing and teaching three new courses for the psychology department and furthering my research in affective neuroscience. In my free time, I’ve been enjoying singing in various choirs, rock climbing and fostering cats.”
Bryan Visser (biology) says,
Renee Gittins (engineering) has followed a winding career path that led her from biotech to game development. She writes, “Harvey Mudd prepared me well for my various pursuits, including my initial switch from system and design engineer to software development engineer. Five years ago I formed my own game studio, developing an adventure crafting game called Potions: A Curious Tale. I’m excited to release Potions, as I’ve seen how it inspires girls with its bold, resourceful, young witch main character.” In July, Renee was appointed executive director of the International Game Developers Association, the world’s largest non-profit membership organization representing game developers. Hayden Hatch (biology) is an MD/PhD (MSTP)
candidate at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He’s completing his PhD in the lab of Dr. Julie Secombe (Depts. of Genetics and Neuroscience),
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE
“Hopefully wrapping up my PhD in biomedical sciences at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. I’m developing a novel and simple method to measure DNA supercoiling in vivo. I’m doing this to discover patterns of supercoiling in E. coli and then relating them replication fork collapse and chromosome segregation.”
2014 Fangzhao An (physics) has spent the last five years
doing cold atom research: building a Bose-Einstein experiment from scratch and using it to model all sorts of cool lattice models from condensed matter physics. The experience has allowed her to experience the full spectrum of lab research. Recently, she got the chance to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, spending a week on a small
Joshua Vasquez (engineering) has spent the last four years working in a variety of industries, from robotics to automated lab instrumentation. He writes, “While my work rarely had a dull moment, I wanted a more personal story than the ’engineerby-day,’ so I started a journey into outfitting my garage with a few homemade machine-shop tools. The dream? To create animatronics from the comfort of my own homebrew machine shop. After a few years of this side-project, I met a professor looking to bring low-cost CNC machines to new audiences for creative work, and we joined forces. In the last year, I’ve switched gears into grad school at the University of Washington helping make that
idea a reality. Strangely, what started as a journey to create tools for myself has transformed into an academic adventure to create tools for many. As I close out our first machine, a multi-tool, 3-D printer, I am thrilled to be releasing the design into other hands as open source.” Vivian Wehner (CS) shares this update: “Mobile ad
platform for Yahoo! (RIP), indoor mapping at Apple, Google Translate iOS app, now a performance engineer at Facebook. Adopted two dogs, urban farming and broom making in my spare time. Occasionally meeting up with other Bay-area Mudders for dumplings or pie!”
2015 Travis Beckman (engineering) writes, “I have
been diving headfirst into the world of genomics at Illumina in sunny San Diego! I am a R&D engineer on a team developing new applications of microfluidics and consumable part design in order to make next-generation sequencing cheaper, faster and more robust. I work with biologists, chemists, physicists and fellow engineers on a daily basis to design, test and evaluate concepts to determine if they are ready to be passed on to product development.” Cody Crosby (engineering) is a fourth-year
PhD student in the department of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. As a member of Dr. Janet Zoldan’s research laboratory, he is helping further elucidate the effects of a stem cell’s microenvironment on the cell’s proliferation, migration and differentiation. They aim to both add to the fundamental understanding of stem cell behavior while leveraging the knowledge gained to develop new stem cell therapies for patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Cody has demonstrated that different physical properties of extracellular matrix (ECM)-mimicking biomaterials can influence the formation of a primitive capillary plexus from stem cell-derived endothelial cells. He’s continuing to work towards developing new hybrid materials that encourage vasculogenesis/ angiogenesis while faithfully reconstructing native ECM.
Priya Donti (CS) is a PhD student in computer
science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, working at the intersection of machine learning, electric power systems and climate change mitigation. She recently co-founded an initiative called Climate Change AI, a group of volunteers from academia and industry that seeks to facilitate work at the intersection of climate change and machine learning. Paul Jerger (physics) is a
graduate student at the University of Chicago, studying in the group of Prof. David Awschalom. In his research, he uses light-emitting atomic defects in diamond (nitrogen-vacancy centers) to study fundamental quantum state operations and perform quantum measurements on atomically-thin semiconductors. Emily Jerger ’17 (physics) (engineering) is a project manager at the nonprofit MxD, The Digital Manufacturing Institute, where she leads collaborative research endeavors at the intersection of industry and academia. MxD aims to improve the competitiveness of US manufacturing through the use of digital technologies. Her recent project members have included Dow, Raytheon, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. The Jergers recently celebrated their one-year anniversary! Mary May (biology) is a
graduate student at Harvard in Dan Kahne’s lab studying a protein machine that builds the outer membrane of gram negative bacteria. She writes, “Our lab is interested in studying how the outer membrane is made and how we can design and discover new inhibitors of outer membrane biogenesis to target these bacteria that are inherently resistant to many clinical antibiotics in use. I’m in my fifth year and am planning on looking for a job in industry after finishing my PhD, sometime within the next 1.5 years.” Kyle Shan (math) is working on a master’s in data
2016 Amzi Jeffs (math) has spent a great deal of time this
year organizing with the University of Washington graduate student union UAW4121 and won free transit passes for over half of UW staff and all grad students. They’ve also secured postdocs their first contract as union members. In the math department, he and other grad students have led an effort to reform the prelim system away from the timed-test format toward a smoother entry into research and to address issues of equity in the department. With advisor Isabella Novik, Amzi reports that he’s made some contributions to the field he began work on during his Mudd thesis, including a recently published paper and a couple that have been submitted to journals. Lennart Rudolph (physics) recently graduated from Georgia Tech with a master’s degree in computer science and has been working as a software developer for an idea market startup. Avi Thaker (engineering) started a new job at Zume.
2017 Yvonne Ban (physics) is a second-year PhD student
at UMass Amherst, and her first research project is modeling the lumped element kinetic inductance detectors (LeKIDs) in the TolTEC camera that’s soon to be installed at the Large Millimeter Telescope. She writes, “TolTEC has three arrays of detectors observing in wavelengths of 1.1mm, 1.4mm, and 2.1mm, comprising a total of over 7000 detectors, all fabricated using a TiN/Ti/TiN trilayer material which exhibits unusual properties when in the superconducting regime.” Jessica de la Fuente (engineering) was hired into
the Management Development Program at Bobrick Washroom Equipment. In February 2018, she transferred to their facility in Jackson, Tennessee, as a manufacturing supervisor and engineer for Privada, a high-end line, with nine people reporting to her. In November 2018, she became the TPF supervisor, with 23 people directly reporting to her.
science at Stanford. Hannah Knaack (physics) is pursuing a PhD at the
University of Colorado, Boulder, working on trapped ion quantum computing at NIST. She’s also skiing, hiking and climbing as much as she can.
Madi Pignetti (CS) (pen name,
Madi Giovina) published an anthology of visionary art and fiction, Super/Natural: Art and Fiction for the Future in November. There are 23 different artists and authors with works in the anthology, Madi included. Find more information at http://bit.ly/ GiovinaArt19. Emily Schooley (engineering) has worked at Applied
Materials in Santa Clara for the past two years. While there, she’s been the president of the Young Professionals Network at Applied Materials. She recently started a master’s of design impact in the Mechanical Engineering department at Stanford. “Oh, and I got a dog.”
mechatronics, and design (“and have managed to run into Profs Srebotnjak and Libeskind-Hadas at the d.School!”) Recently, she joined the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory under Scott Delp, a member of the interdisciplinary Bio-X institute. Their group researches athlete and pathological gait to discover how to reduce injury and improve mobility. Marissa writes, “I’m looking to contribute to sensing and interventions outside the lab (think activity-monitoring wearables and video analysis) so that we can more accurately understand and improve movement. Beyond academics, I’m involved in our American Society for Engineering Education chapter and Mechanical Engineering Women’s Group. Since graduating from Mudd, I’ve also enjoyed serving as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors. It’s been great regularly seeing so many friends from Mudd both in the Bay and back at Mudd!”
information to neuroscientists studying the brain. Outside of school, she enjoys exploring Boston with other Mudd alumni, baking bread and playing tennis. Jacob Rosalsky (biology) moved to the Bay Area
and is working at 23andMe as a site reliability engineer directly supporting both the research and therapeutics teams.
2019 Morgan Blevins (engineering) begins the first
year of a PhD program at MIT in the AeroAstro department. Her research is joint with the Woods Hole Oceanography Institute. She hopes to find a way for her work to have application in both space and ocean exploration. Giulia Castleberg (engineering) and David Olumese
Jonathan Ueki (physics) is a software engineer at
2018 After hiking the Long Trail in Vermont for three weeks with fellow alums after graduation, Duncan Crowley (engineering) settled in Pasadena, California, where he now lives and works. He enjoys biking and rollerblading around the Rose Bowl and the $3 second-run movie theater. This summer, he plans to move to the Bay Area, try something new with his career and eventually work on a master’s. Bella Lee (biology) works at early stage
biotechnology company A2 Biotherapeutics in Agoura Hills, Califorina. Its focus is on innovation of novel peptide-MHC immunotherapies for cancer as well as other immune diseases. She volunteers as a trilingual medical scribe at a free clinic, recently received a 200-hour yoga teacher certificate and teaches a yoga class weekly in her office. She has applied to MST programs (medical scientist training programs, or MD/PhD) and looks forward to returning to school in 2020 to earn a medical degree. She hopes to specialize in hematology/ oncology and earn a graduate degree in molecular immunology. Marissa Lee (engineering) has entered the second
year of her mechanical engineering PhD at Stanford, where she’s taken courses in biomechanics,
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Zayra Lobo (engineering)
works in Intel’s Internet of Things Group on a variety of robotics projects. She writes, “I’m having a blast applying what I learned at Mudd to the real world, both technical and non-technical. My E80 skills especially have come in handy, since I’ve had to do a lot of debugging under the pressure of deadlines and demos. I even got to travel to Germany this past April and help present some Intel demos at a large industrial trade show in Hanover.” This fall she began pursuing a master’s in computer science at Georgia Tech with a specialization in robotics. She hopes to degrees from Mudd and Georgia Tech to work on cutting-edge robots. Isabel Martos-Repath (engineering) is starting her
second year of graduate school at Northeastern University, where she has been working in the Analog & Mixed-Signal Integrated Circuit (AMSIC) Laboratory. Her lab is collaborating on an NIH-sponsored project to design a transceiver and implantable devices for a wireless neuronal activity monitoring system. The aim is that these implants can sense changes in magnetic fields of single or small groups of neurons and then communicate that
took a short trip up to Vancouver, BC, for a week. Giulia writes, “It was absolutely stunning! After that, I came back home to Santa Barbara and have been working full-time at FLIR Systems. I’ve spent my weekends enjoying the sunshine and beautiful California coast.” Casey Gardner (engineering) spent the summer in
Boston as part of the Northeastern-HMC Summer Research Exchange. There, he worked on a project to optimize the design of new buildings to better and more cost-effectively withstand natural hazards while also taking the time to explore the city. Kinjal Shah (CS) works as a software engineer at
Facebook on their probabilistic programming languages team. Lydia Sylla (engineering) worked during the
summer at a local escape room and went hiking and volunteered with the Appalachian Mountain Club. She moved to Boston and joined the manufacturing engineering team at Formlabs in the fall.
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Giving That Continues a Legacy The Huppes share their planned giving journey
The fall foliage of the northeast draws visitors every year to experience captivating colors of nature that embellish small towns, winding roads, iconic bridges and pristine lakes. Among the intrepid leaf peepers this year were Bob Huppe and Maggie Lewis of Seattle. Their car trip across the New England states to Canada was at once joyful, wondrous, relaxing—and healing. Just as they navigated winding roads toward Canada, the couple are finding their way through the grief of losing their son Ben Huppe ’14, who died in 2012 from injuries sustained in a car accident that occurred near their home in Seattle. Ben was co-president of the Class of 2014 for both his freshman and sophomore years. He served on the Advisory Board for the Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, was a co-founder of DrySHMC and a member of The Claremont Braineaters (the 5C Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team). As a founding member of Technology Services Corps in high school, Ben organized trips to developing countries and helped set up computer labs in Guatemala, Ecuador, India and Chile. At the time of his death, he was engaged in internships with the West Seattle Solar Project and SAFE Systems. Ben’s kindness, intelligence, patience and wisdom made him a treasured friend and a valuable colleague. During this season of their lives, Bob and Maggie have found some peace and hope for the future by continuing their son’s legacy through
Harvey Mudd College. “Ben really connected with Harvey Mudd. He was so excited by his internship and volunteer work, so alive and engaged in the work of the world,” says Bob. The couple felt that a good way to honor Ben would be to support students with similar interests. They discussed a fund to support student internships with the then vice president for student affairs. With the help of family and friends, Maggie and Bob created an internship program in honor of Ben’s passion for science and social justice. It is intentionally broad, reflecting Ben’s experiences that helped broaden his perspective and become engaged in the work of the world. The Ben Huppe ’14 Memorial Internship for a Sustainable World provides student stipends for work in renewable energy, green technologies and environmental sustainability, or work to solve the problems of underserved populations. By the spring after Ben’s death, it funded two interns, and it continues to fund multiple interns per year. Maggie says, the internship fund was “the exact right thing to do. Mudd has done what we hoped.” The couple receive annual reports about each Huppe intern describing where students work and what they learn. The couple is thrilled to meet interns and say they come away feeling like good stewards. “The students are amazing,” says Maggie. “We always learn something from them, and it makes us hopeful for the world.”
Planned Giving and the Legacy Society As part of Ben’s legacy, Maggie and Bob learned how to complement their lifetime giving by making a planned gift to the College. In doing so, they are able to maximize their giving beyond their lifetimes to ultimately support even more students. Fellow Legacy Society members have the opportunity to enter into a long-term relationship with Harvey Mudd College by making an estate, life income or other planned gift. If you have already included Harvey Mudd College in your estate plan, kindly let us know so that we can welcome you as a member of the Legacy Society. To learn more, please visit hmc.planmygift.org, which includes information about ways you can support the College today and after your lifetime. The website features easy-to-understand videos, inspiring stories about how people just like you can make a difference and interactive calculators to assist in exploring your giving options.
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Deep Dive Into Robotics Daniel Yang ’22, Ginger Schmidt ’21, Seth Isaacson ’21 and Kyle Rong ’22 are four members of HMC’s robotics team, MuddSub. During the RoboNation RoboSub competition last year, they watched like proud parents as Alfie, the autonomous underwater vehicle they built and programmed, propelled itself to a semifinal finish. This year, with a bigger team and more funding, they’re training their periscope on the final round. Read about Alfie and MuddSub on page 13.
HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE