Harvey Mudd College Magazine, spring 2016

Page 1


Genetic Engineering: Who Decides? Kevin Esvelt ’04 addresses the ethical dilemmas presented by gene drives. | 26






Making It


Makerspace, Jacobs Science Building, B132 Need access to a Dremel tool? Sewing machine? Vise grip? Enter the Mudd Makerspace. Spearheaded by Sam DeRose ’16, Sherman Lam ’16 and Evan Kahn ’17, the campus’ newest workspace gives makers of all backgrounds the opportunity to pursue personal creative projects and attend “skill-swap workshops” to broaden their making skills. Generous support for the Makerspace was provided by trustees Michael Blasgen ’63, Dylan Hixon, Kevin Schofield P13 P13, Tayloe Stansbury P16 and Michael Wilson ’63; emeritus trustee Scott Fraser ’76; and alumnus Jason Fennell ’08. It is considered a prototype for a larger version to be housed in a future academic building. “They’ve asked us to use the next three years to

figure out what works and what doesn’t—anything from whiteboard paint and tables to organization and functionality,” says DeRose. Don’t think of it as another machine shop. “We want it to be a place where people don’t feel like they have to follow all the rules,” says Lam, “where there is some disorganization for creativity’s sake.” Unlike the machine shop, you’ll find no proctors here—just “organizational managers” to ensure stations stay clean and safe. “It’s awesome to know that the school wants us to explore our creative side in a place that we can make our own,” says Zakkai Davidson ’16, a computer science graduate. Makerspace allows round-the-clock access to low-hazard equipment in an

expansive workspace unstifled by rules, so users can concentrate on what’s important: creating! 1 Topped with a self-healing, gridded mat, the drafting table is the room’s central workspace. Makers are encouraged to spread out here, provided they clean up and put away projects at storage stations. 2 As a fun project over winter break, Lam fashioned this working light saber replica. An aluminum handle contains the electronics, while a polycarbonate tubing houses the LED lighting.



3 8

3 An appropriate find at the personal storage station: The Handmade Skateboard by Matt Berger, “the definitive book on building custom skate decks of all shapes and sizes.” 4 Schematics offer easy reference for chips and boards used frequently by hobbyists—for example, the Arduino Uno, a popular board for basic data processing. 5 At the electronics station, an oscilloscope can analyze electric signals to help makers work on creative endeavors like interactive light-up LED clothing. A soldering iron allows for circuit board work, while drawers house parts ranging from jumper wires to specialized high-capacity battery connectors.

6 A wraparound whiteboard wall encourages spontaneous idea generation and problem solving. 7 The Makerspace’s first skill-swap session included members of the Mudd Underground Creative Collective. They swapped sewing lessons for tutorials in circuit board schematics with engineering students. Club leaders hope to broaden attendance so that faculty and staff can share their maker skills as well as use the space. “We don’t want the space just to be for engineering and computer science student work,” says DeRose. “Engineering Professor David Money Harris used the sewing station to fashion some of his son’s Boy Scout patches!”

8 Think of it as a “person-friendly place,” say club leaders, a community space for students to chill, have a snack (away from the stations) or just lounge on the couch. Loungers: Evan Kahn ’17, Zakkai Davidson ’16, Sherman Lam ’16, Sam DeRose ’16, Senghor Joseph ’17, Elizabeth Poss ’19, Shanel Wu ’16, Isabell Lee ’16, Cassandra Burgess ’17 (front). Also shown (at drafting table): Adam Dunlap ’17 (second from left) and Alex Alves ’16 (center).


SPRING 2016 | VOLUME 14, NO. 2


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

Looking Forward to the Next Five

Director of Communications, Senior Editor Stephanie L. Graham


Art Director Janice Gilson

the usual hum of activity on campus: Alumni Weekend, Admitted Students weekend, finals and Commencement. Mudders—all of us—are incredibly busy people! This spring began my third appointment as president of this incredible College. I am grateful to the trustees for their confidence in me, for the work we’ve done together and for their continued belief in what is yet to be accomplished. When I first arrived at Harvey Mudd, the College broached a community-wide conversation about its goals and vision for a shared future. From that came HMC 2020: Envisioning the Future, our collective strategic plan. I’m proud and humbled by the progress we’ve made toward achieving our shared vision. Harvey Mudd has continued its history of innovation, leadership and impact in STEM, recognized and celebrated as an example of how colleges and universities can modernize and diversify both curriculum and community. We’ve made tremendous strides toward expanding experiential and interdisciplinary learning through collaborative faculty-student research opportunities, including our nationally recognized Clinic Program as well as our summer research program, for which nearly a quarter of students return to campus each summer. We’ve taken great steps toward increasing excellence and diversity at all levels among faculty, students and staff, and we continue to work as a community toward this critical goal. We know that advancing the latest discoveries in science and technology to address society’s issues requires a variety of voices at the table. Expansion in our Division of Student Affairs has helped us improve services and continue to nurture and develop the “whole” student. (See page 6.) Internationally, we’ve continued the Global Clinic Program first started in 2005, expanded

the number of students pursuing study abroad and partnered with institutions around the world to share best practices in science and engineering education. Also, through The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College, we continue to develop the infrastructure and resources that support our commitment to excellence and community building. Collectively, we have raised more than $133 million toward our $150 million goal. Thanks to all of you who have made donations. Moving into my third term, I’m excited that the board has asked me to focus on five critical areas: • Building on recent progress in increasing racial and socio-economic diversity and inclusiveness at all levels. • Ensuring academic departments receive focus and funding for maintaining and expanding their important roles in fulfilling our mission. • Successfully shaping a potential partnership with Claremont McKenna College in expanding access to computing concepts and tools across disciplines. • Better leveraging relationships with the other Claremont colleges—in particular ensuring the success of the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity. • Making sure that all interested constituencies are aware of the many paths to early inclusion in decision-making. We have accomplished a tremendous amount together to secure the future of Harvey Mudd College. I look forward to working with each of you in the coming months and years to ensure that generations of students continue to benefit from the amazing foundation established 60 years ago.

Writer Eric Feezell Graphic Designer Robert Vidaure Contributing Writers Amy DerBedrosian, Ashley Festa, Lia King, Allison Marin, Doug McInnis, Beverly J. Orth ’74, Anne Ryan, Neal Singer, Mara Watkins Proofreaders Eric Feezell, Kelly Lauer Contributing Photographers Seth Affoumado, Glenn Asakawa, Margarita Corporan, Shannon Cottrell, Deb Hewitt, Jeanine Hill, Kim Indresano, Anil Kapahi, Swapna Kumar, Michelle Montalbano, Charles Nelson, Cheryl Ogden, David Scavone, Tom White Vice President for Advancement Dan Macaluso Chief Communications Officer Timothy L. Hussey, APR The Harvey Mudd College Magazine (SSN 0276-0797) is published by Harvey Mudd College, Office of Communications and Marketing, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711. Nonprofit Organization Postage Paid at Claremont, CA 91711 Postmaster: Send address changes to Harvey Mudd College, Advancement Services, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711. Copyright © 2016—Harvey Mudd College. All rights reserved. Opinions expressed in the Harvey Mudd College Magazine are those of the individual authors and subjects and do not necessarily reflect the views of the College administration, faculty or students. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without the express written consent of the editor. The Harvey Mudd College Magazine staff welcomes your input: communications@hmc.edu or Harvey Mudd College Magazine Harvey Mudd College 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont, CA 91711

Join the online conversation. Maria Klawe President, Harvey Mudd College MAGAZINE.HMC.EDU


Features 20

Departments Abe Takes a Bow

David Abe ’81 mixes award-winning technical ability with a love for traditional Irish fiddle music.

















Written by Neal Singer


Breathing Room

Air quality expert Shelly Miller ’86 says small changes can foster healthy indoor environments. Written by Eric Feezell


Kevin Esvelt ’04 promotes the responsible development of genetic and ecological engineering technologies. Written by Allison Marin



Sculpting Evolution




Getting Ahead of Hardship

Researcher Katherine Perdue ’05 is part of a team using neuro-imaging to help improve cognitive outcomes for babies in Bangladesh. Written by Amy DerBedrosian


Enduring Romances

Beverly J. Orth ’74 peeks into the lives of five Mudd couples. Written by Beverly J. Orth ’74 Cover illustration by Brian Stauffer



Presidential Term Extended

Board members, community impressed with progress THE HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE

Board of Trustees at its January board meeting unanimously approved an extension of President Maria Klawe’s employment for five years, through June 2021. “The board is excited to move forward with the incredible progress we have seen during Maria’s tenure, particularly during the past five years,” says Wayne Drinkward ’73, chair of the board. “In making this decision, the board sought input from the many constituencies that make up our diverse community. We have considered

the progress and successes to date as well as the opportunity to conclude the many initiatives currently in process.” “We have accomplished much together with Maria as our president over the past 10 years, and Harvey Mudd College is a better place for that effort,” says Drinkward. “There is much yet to be done, and I look forward to working together to successfully accomplish our goals over the next five years and beyond.” In her column on page 2, President Klawe shares thoughts about where she will focus her attention.

Some accomplishments from the past five years: Raising over $133 million of the College’s $150 million comprehensive fundraising campaign goal Completion of the R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning and the Wayne and Julie Drinkward Residence Hall as well as renovations to many existing facilities Planning for thoughtful and careful enrollment growth in the near future Considerable increase in equitable gender representation in the student body, faculty and academic department leadership Significant broadening of the College’s reputation as a leader in the field of STEM education

Mudd Moment Jan. 7, President Maria Klawe welcomed Harvey S. Mudd II, who visited campus for the first time since his commencement address in 1972. Harvey is the son of Henry Mudd, founding trustee of the College, and grandson of Harvey S. Mudd, for whom the College is named. He returned to campus to deliver two items of his grandfather’s that were passed on to him: a Patek Philippe Geneve wrist watch and a silver cigarette case with a map of the island of Cyprus inlaid in copper on the lid. Klawe and Mudd are standing next to a copper oxhide ingot acquired in the 1930s by Harvey S. Mudd.



MOOC Recap Online learning

The College’s first massive open online courses (MOOCs) aimed at strengthening computer science and physics education in the nation’s schools concluded this fall. Offered free of charge via nonprofit online learning company edX.org, Harvey Mudd’s MOOCs are available in archived form (bit.ly/HMCScratch2015 and bit.ly/HMCCS4All). Two of the courses, Programming in Scratch and CS for All, will start again in June 2016 with several Harvey Mudd students serving as teaching assistants.

Course Name

Primary Instructor

Total Enrollment


MyCS – Computer Science for Beginners

Zach Dodds



Programming in Scratch (spring)

Colleen Lewis



Programming in Scratch (summer)

Colleen Lewis



CS for All (based on HMC’s CS5)

Zach Dodds



How Stuff Moves – Linear Motion

Peter Saeta



How Stuff Moves – Angular Motion

Peter Saeta



How Stuff Moves – Wave Motion

Elizabeth Connolly



*Those earning passing grades

Peer Review

Rankings about Harvey Mudd from Princeton Review’s 2016 edition of Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck

“Best Career Placement”

“Top 50 Colleges That Pay You Back”

“Top 25 Colleges That Pay You Back for Students With No Demonstrated Need”

“Top 25 Best Schools for Internships”





Care and Collaboration A responsive Division of Student Affairs heeds best practices LAST FALL, THE DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS

underwent a comprehensive program review, including a self-study and external review of the entire division, which includes Institutional Diversity, Community Engagement, Health and Wellness, Housing and Residential Life, Career Services, and Student Activities. Review team members from Olin College of Engineering, Reed College and MIT examined the division history and self-study materials and spent three days on campus in November meeting with students, faculty and staff. The reviewers concluded, “(The) DSA team is meeting and exceeding many of the ‘best practices’ in the field [following the] Principles of Good Practice in Student Affairs espoused by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.” They noted the remarkable ethic of care and overall responsiveness of DSA to students and faculty, as well as their strong collaborations with academic affairs, which the reviewers identified as a hallmark best practice in the field and an area in which Harvey Mudd particularly excels. They also acknowledged that much of DSA’s work is proactive support for individuals (and the entire student body) and provided valuable feedback and recommendations to strengthen the support network and ensure effective deployment of finite resources. “It is an honor to work with such remarkable students, and we are proud of our division’s efforts to support the College by offering programs, services and resources that help J on Jacobsen produce ethical leaders who are committed to the well-being of society and the planet,” says Jon Jacobsen, now serving a five-year term as vice president for student affairs and dean of students. He was appointed interim VP in September after the departure of Maggie Browning, who served as dean of students for six years. Jacobsen is responsible for residential life and student support programs and for overseeing the offices of Institutional Diversity, Career Services and



Community Engagement. Hired in 2002 in the Department of Mathematics, Jacobsen was promoted to full professor in 2014. As associate dean for academic affairs since 2010, he oversaw the first-year academic program and helped students make a smooth transition from high school to college.

Other recent DSA appointments and promotions: Leslie Hughes, assistant vice president for student affairs

Since Hughes joined Harvey Mudd in July 2014, she has worked to develop and define the residence life program, teaming with fellow members of the Office of Dean of Students and with proctors and mentors. Bob Cave, associate dean for academic affairs

Cave, a professor of chemistry, monitors academic workload and progress, coordinates the First-Year Advising Program and oversees the Off-Campus Major, Program of Transfer Studies and the Individual Program of Studies. Miao “Kat” Wang, international student coordinator within the Office of Health and Wellness

International students make up about 10 percent of the student population and 15 percent of the 2019 class. Wang plans, advises and supports peereducation and leadership programs for international students, in addition to supplementing current support systems available to all students on campus. She also serves as a campus liaison to International Place, the international student office of The Claremont Colleges.

20,000 Hellos

Homework Hotline milestone A high school student seeking help on his calculus homework became the 20,000th caller for the Harvey Mudd College Homework Hotline, a free, over-the-phone mathematics and science tutoring service for students in grades 4 through 12. Tutors provide support in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Tagalog. The call was answered March 2 at about 6:20 p.m. by Harvey Mudd engineering student Marianna Sbordone ’19, one of 40 tutors who take calls from local students five nights a week. “I love helping students understand new material, especially if it’s something I once struggled with,” Sbordone says. The 20,000th caller, a student at Village Academy High School in the Pomona Unified School District, says he uses the hotline regularly for help on his math and science homework. “I told a lot of people to call because [the tutors] helped me with every problem except one because it was really hard. But we figured it out!” the caller says.

Tough Row to Let Go Bacterial disease afflicts main campus feature

southern view of the Liquidambar Mall before A and after tree removal.

They once shaded numerous activities and framed magnificent views of Mount Baldy, but due to a devastating bacterial plant disease (Pierce’s Disease), the double row of Liquidambar (Sweetgum) trees is now a memory. The disease that afflicted the 60-year-old trees causes branches and trunks to become brittle, increasing their chance of collapsing. Professor of Biology Stephen Adolph shares some insight on the devastating disease. “Pierce’s Disease is caused by a bacterial species that can infect a wide variety of different plants. It devastated a lot of grapevines in the early 20th century in Southern California, where it appears to have originated. The Liquidambar trees are not native, but they were very susceptible to the bacteria for some reason. It is spread by insects that feed on the plant’s waterconducting tissues,” he says. “This bacterial species appears to be spreading. For example, olive trees in Italy experienced an epidemic during the past several years. Different strains of the bacteria seem to affect different plant species.” There is no cure, vaccine or Pierce’s Disease-resistant hybrid of the Liquidambar. The City of Claremont passed a moratorium on planting Liquidambar trees on public property, and the College decided to heed this directive on its campus. As part of its latest master plan amendment, the College worked with a landscape architect to select a replacement tree species that’s native to the area, drought tolerant, vertical in structure, resistant to known diseases and deciduous. While many species were considered, the Platanus mexicana (Mexican Sycamore) was selected and will be installed as funds are available. There will be fewer trees planted, which will keep them away from existing buildings and allow for better health of both new trees and existing Coastal Live Oaks that were once crowded by the Liquidambars.





Seriously Funny

Series highlights cartooning as social commentary Written by Lia King


story form; incendiary art that can respond quickly to the political moment; a respite in the form of a provocation; and perhaps the most welcoming way to invite people to a new series at Harvey Mudd. “Cartooning: Race, Media, the Self, and Theory of the Medium,” sponsored by the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts, kicked off on Feb. 22 with a presentation by Los Angeles-based cartoonist, writer and satirist Lalo Alcaraz, whom creative writing professor and series organizer Salvador Plascencia calls the most prolific Chicano artist of his generation. Cartoons aren’t documentaries, says Plascencia, they’re stories. “Comics were my gateway into literature and the magic of print. Not only were comics formative in my understanding of story, they informed the way I saw myself.” He remembers reading Alcaraz’s strip, La Cucaracha, in the LA Weekly as a teenager. That strip is now nationally syndicated. Alcaraz shared stories about his youth, including the injustices he saw his parents, both immigrant workers, endure. He began drawing a daily editorial cartoon as an undergrad at San Diego State and received both positive and negative feedback. “When there’s pushback against what you’re doing, you must be doing something meaningful,” Alcaraz says. He encourages artists to stand up for their work. “Your value is your work.” Alcaraz draws on Chicano art—art with a political and cultural message—and editorial cartooning in his approach to political comics. He showed the audience some of the recent work he’s done skewering Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, exposing police brutality and commenting on race issues. And though the narrative that accompanies images is often very funny, Alcaraz takes



Both Keith Knight (his cartoon, top) and Lalo Alcaraz (above photos) address current events in their editorial cartoons.

“ C omics were my gateway into literature and the magic of print. Not only were comics formative in my understanding of story, they informed the way I saw myself.


the endeavor very seriously. “Editorial cartooning is a vocation, a calling,” says Alcaraz, who’s also a writer for the TV show Bordertown and a consultant for the upcoming Pixar movie Coco. The work of Chapel Hill-based cartoonist Keith Knight, who spoke on March 7, is also informed by issues of race and identity. “When I was a junior in college, I had my first black professor,” he says. “He assigned writers like Richard Wright and Maya Angelou, and when someone asked him why we were reading all these black writers, he says, ‘You’re reading American writers.’ My work changed then, all at once. He was an activist without being an activist.” After college, Knight moved to San Francisco and launched The K Chronicles, an autobiographical strip that allowed him to put his spin on issues that cropped up in his own life, particularly those involving race. It ran initially in the SF Weekly, and during the process of pitching it to other newspapers, he got his favorite rejection letter ever. It was from the Portland Oregonian, and one line—in 20-point font—stood out: “In a family newspaper, are you kidding?” Undeterred, Knight went on to launch th(ink), a one-panel strip that allowed him

to hone in more specifically and satirically on a singular idea, like police brutality. It’s a topic that cuts across all of Knight’s strips. “I’ve been drawing cartoons about police brutality for 20 years,” Knight says. He showed a picture of a woman holding up a poster to protest the Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown that read, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit.” “That pretty much sums up my feeling about it,” Knight says. He exhorted the audience to engage in serious conversations about race, poking fun at the tendency of wellmeaning people to say, “Oh, I don’t care if someone’s purple or green or black or white.” “We cannot have a serious talk about race if people are mentioning green and purple people,” Knight says. Also speaking in the series were Vanessa Davis, a cartoonist and author of the graphic memoirs Spaniel Rage and Make Me a Woman, and Scott McCloud, a cartoonist, comic theorist and author of the seminal nonfiction book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, a 215-page comic book about the comics medium that has been translated into more than 20 languages.


“ I have found that the very best team members are good team leaders because they understand how hard it is to be a team leader. ”


Video: bit.ly/24vV7Pv

“ We’re helping police fight crime by

giving them the best state-of-the-art math models and algorithms to take the data from yesterday and today and figure out what’s happening tomorrow in the field. ” –A NDREA L. BERTOZZI, PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS, UCLA, IN HER MOODY LECTURE TALK “THE MATHEMATICS OF CRIME”

“ Leaders aren’t perfect … and that is

really important for people listening to leaders because you shouldn’t treat them like they’re infallible. ”


Video: bit.ly/1Y5Riws





Clearing the Air

Chemist seeks to understand how pollution enables climate change Written by Eric Feezell


minus a big ally in the climate change fight: Lelia Hawkins discovered atmospheric chemistry by accident. “I always had a passion for science, initially biology,” says the assistant professor of chemistry. While an undergraduate in environmental science at University of California, San Diego, Hawkins took an elective in atmospheric chemistry—and was quickly hooked. “I fell in love with the idea that interesting, complex reactions were taking place in the air and that understanding them could lead to improved quality of life.” Now, several years and one prestigious NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant later, Hawkins is examining the nature of particulate air pollution to better understand how particles interact with light—a key problem in addressing climate change. The Hawkins Lab is measuring the UV/visible absorption spectrum of smog particles to see how secondary atmospheric brown carbon forms and transforms. Studying the persistence and nature of these formations, as well as the optical and chemical changes that accompany brown carbon aging, can elucidate brown carbon’s role in atmospheric warming and ultimately help to improve climate models. To help streamline the research, the CAREER grant provided funding for an aerosol mass spectrometer, a valuable instrument that measures the chemical composition of particles locally and rapidly. “The chemical nature of secondary compounds is still very poorly understood,” says Hawkins. “Figuring out which compounds are responsible for the brown color of some particles has proven even tougher, since they represent an incredibly small, but important, fraction of material. This work will help us target those minor components by using frequent, local measurements of both composition and absorption extending over weeks to months.” As an added benefit, the spectrometer affords her students the opportunity to use state-of-the-art instrumentation commonly limited to graduate work and industry.



“Having students use this equipment to understand chemical phenomena is truly rewarding,” she says. “It’s fun seeing them get excited about increased resolution, lower detection limits, faster response times, and seeing them gain confidence in operating sophisticated chemical instrumentation.” And it’s essential training in the fight against climate change, the disastrous effects of which can be curbed, says Hawkins, but only if we act deliberately. “One of the changes scientists worry most about is the melting of polar ice, because that is not a reversible system on any kind of timescale relevant to humans,” she says. “Once the ice is gone, we’ll need much colder conditions for a very long time to get it back.” She cites extreme drought in the developing world as another irreversible effect that could devastate populations for generations to come. Beginning her sixth year at Harvey Mudd, Hawkins has worked alongside a sizable sample population of the next generation of passionate chemists and—luckily for us—believes they will rise to meet what has become an existential challenge. “Students today don’t want to just learn the chemistry, or the physics, math and biology of the problem,” she says. “They want to understand why we have the problem. Our students are deeply interested in the societal aspects of the subjects we teach, and that is going to make them far more impactful. Understanding how some pollutant

“ E veryone deserves a

healthy planet, and that includes clean water and clean air.


impacts the environment is nearly useless unless you understand how to effect change.” Hawkins credits mentor Kimberly Prather, UCSD’s distinguished chair in atmospheric chemistry, for urging her to double major in chemistry and environmental science, equipping her with a breadth of knowledge to pursue complex graduate work in atmospheric chemistry and understand its impact on an increasingly global society. Now she’s inspiring her Harvey Mudd undergraduates to do the same. “Everyone deserves a healthy planet, and that includes clean water and clean air,” says Hawkins. “The idea that one person, or one group of people, can impact the health of many motivates me to understand how air pollution forms and transforms.”

Learning to Ride a Bike A new course features a “revolutionary” idea: that bicycles and other modes of transportation can co-exist, peacefully and safely, in the urban setting. Instructed by Professor of Political Science and Environmental Policy Paul Steinberg, Bicycle Revolution (Political Studies 179) examines the challenges of creating bike-friendly cities and offers a window into the politics of social change in urban environments. Stemming from Steinberg’s Social Rules Project, it’s literally a class on wheels, with students riding into the community each week to advocate on behalf of

cyclists and meet elected officials and transportation planners. This spring, Steinberg and 15 students traveled to 10 cities by bicycle over 14 weeks, culminating in a research poster session April 21, where they shared their insights on bicycle advocacy with local community leaders and the public. Steinberg, who holds the Malcolm Lewis Chair of Sustainability and Society, researches how global societies respond to environmental problems and how social rules and institutions shape our planet and lives.

Super Model Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that afflicts millions. As global efforts to control the disease continue, the World Health Organization has called for improved predictive models to guide intervention strategies in areas where transmission dynamics are changing. To address this need, Associate Professor of Mathematics Susan Martonosi, Abhishek Goenka ’16, Cesar Orellana ’17 and UC Boulder PhD candidate Harry J. Dudley ’10 have developed a mathematical model for allocating malaria interventions across geographic regions and time, subject to budget

constraints, with the aim of minimizing the total number of person-days of malaria infection. The results have been published in Malaria Journal. The model provides a qualitative decision-making tool to weigh alternatives and guide malaria eradication efforts, says Martonosi. “A one-size-fits-all campaign is not cost effective. This model provides qualitative insights about trends in the optimal interventions as certain parameters vary. These insights can then be used to offer high-level policy recommendations.”





Tough Crowd

Chemical Cage

Hybrid human/computer database systems promise to greatly expand the usefulness of query processing by incorporating the “crowd.” But such hybrid systems raise challenging implementation issues. In a paper recently accepted to Communications of the ACM, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Beth Trushkowsky explores how to leverage human intelligence to improve the effectiveness of crowdsourced queries. In such hybrid systems, computers perform the bulk of the work quickly and automatically, then people interpret the data, thereby broadening the types of questions that can be asked. The challenge is reconciling the constrained space of a database with the open-endedness of the real world. Trushkowsky and her team are developing statistical tools to gauge query completeness and help drive crowdsourcing strategies. “Computers are good at many things, but not others, such as reasoning,” she says. “Humans are just human— they make errors. But we can take advantage of human intelligence and perception to help solve interesting problems in an open system. Our work is figuring out how to leverage the best of both worlds.”

The Vosburg Lab has developed a fascinating chemistry experiment in which students create a self-assembling iron cage in water that can be used to trap hazardous chemicals, including a potent greenhouse gas and even the chemical warfare agent white phosphorous. So fascinating, in fact, that a paper describing the experiment, co-authored by Vosburg Lab members, was the cover story of the February 2016 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education. In “Self-Assembly, Guest Capture, and NMR Spectroscopy of a Metal–Organic Cage in Water,” Associate Professor of Chemistry David Vosburg, Eun Bin Go ’15, Veerasak “Jeep” Srisuknimit ’12 and Stephanie Cheng USC ’16 describe their advanced “green organic–inorganic” laboratory experiment in which undergraduates create the selfassembling cage. Begun by Srisuknimit in fall 2010, the environmentally friendly experiment has been used in the Organic Chemistry Laboratory each fall since. Upward Bound student Kimberly Gamboa and David Vosburg

Gerbode Earns Cottrell Grant Assistant Professor of Physics Sharon Gerbode has been named one of two dozen 2016 Cottrell Scholars, a distinction given to top early career academic scientists by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. Cottrell Scholars are chosen through a stringent peer-review process based on their innovative research proposals and education programs. Gerbode has been recognized for her research project titled Interactions Between Impurities and Dislocations in Small Colloidal Crystals. She plans to measure the interactions by perturbing crystals of various sizes, ultimately to discover how these interactions change the properties of crystals. Her research could have important implications for



improving the performance of electronic devices—for example, increasing the efficiency of solar panels that produce electricity directly from sunlight. The designation comes with a $100,000 award per recipient for research and teaching, which Gerbode will use to support summer research students, including three this summer. She will work with the creators of CS5, Harvey Mudd’s highly praised introductory computer science programming course, to develop a mechanics animations course designed to encourage students to encode interactive animations of challenging physics topics. Sharon Gerbode, Jeremy Wang ’17 and Maya Martirossyan ’17

Promotions, Tenure and Appointments Effective July 1, 2016

Donaldson-Matasci Named Dewey Professor This summer, Matina Donaldson-Matasci begins a five-year appointment as the Barbara Stokes Dewey Assistant Professor of Biology. She studies how colonies of social insects coordinate group behaviors. She succeeds chemist Lelia Hawkins.

Fandell, Stoebel Earn Tenure Two Harvey Mudd College faculty members were approved for tenure by the board of trustees. Associate Professor of Art Ken Fandell has been approved for continuous tenure. Fandell, who specializes in photography, joined the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts in 2012 and holds the Michael G. and C. Jane Wilson Chair in Arts and the Humanities. Assistant Professor of Biology Dan Stoebel, who joined the Department of Biology in 2010, has been approved for promotion to associate professor with continuous tenure. He specializes in molecular genetics and is particularly interested in how molecular biology intersects with evolutionary biology.

In Memoriam: William Arce

Matina Donaldson-Matasci

Ken Fandell

Dan Stoebel

Lori Bassman

Dagan Karp

New Associate Deans Professor of Engineering Lori Bassman will serve as associate dean for academic affairs, a three-year appointment. Her duties include monitoring academic workload and progress, coordinating the First-Year Advising Program, and overseeing the Off-Campus Major, Program of Transfer Studies and the Individual Program of Studies. Associate Professor of Mathematics Dagan Karp will serve as associate dean for diversity, a three-year term. He will co-direct Summer Institute and the College’s mentoring program as well as provide input during searches for faculty positions. Karp is active in STEM diversity causes, including SACNAS and the diversity committee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute.

William Arce, founding Claremont-MuddScripps (CMS) athletic director and Stags head baseball coach, passed away March 7 at age 90. The architect of our acclaimed athletics program, Arce touched many lives during his 27-year tenure with CMS. Arce’s leadership and guidance laid the foundation for what has become one of the top NCAA Division III private college programs in the country. He was a teacher of studentathletes who had a profound impact on the direction of the department and left a lasting impression on those he coached. “Bill was as good a coach as I’d ever had—pro, amateur, didn’t matter,” says Wes Parker CMC ’62, former Los Angeles Dodger and six-time Gold Glove winner. “I played for a couple Hall of Fame managers, and Bill was as good as they were. He was thorough. He was passionate. He taught me that baseball was a mental game.” Today, CMS Athletics offers 21 varsity sports for men and women and a wide variety of physical education and intramural activities. CMS teams have won more than 260 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles.





Who Has the Right? EnviroLab Asia trip highlights land tenure issues and environmental concerns Photos by Tom White A MULTIDISCIPLINARY LENS PROVIDED AN EYE-

opening perspective for researchers from The Claremont Colleges who traveled to Singapore and Malaysian Borneo Jan. 4–13. The trip was the first for EnviroLab Asia, a five-college initiative based at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) and a laboratory for cross-disciplinary research and experiential learning about the relationships between environment, human agency and social processes in Asia. Along for the trip was a multidisciplinary group of eight students and eight faculty members from The Claremont Colleges (EnviroLab Asia Fellows), including Harvey Mudd engineering major Fernando Salud ’17 and Harvey Mudd Professor of Media Studies Rachel Mayeri. A group of 14 from Yale-NUS (a liberal arts college in Singapore and an EnviroLab Asia partner) joined the Claremont contingent in Singapore and Borneo. On the island of Borneo, the students traveled to areas outside the city of Miri, in the state of Sarawak, to investigate how deforestation policies have impacted the natural landscape and indigenous communities. “We had a fantastic, eye-opening workshop with SAVE Rivers, which is protesting against the construction of the Baram Dam,” says CMC Associate Professor of History Albert Park, an EnviroLab Asia principal investigator. “We learned about the environmental issues in Sarawak, Borneo, and heard about the connections between environmental and political issues.” There, the students worked with a local NGO, Baram Kini, to visit sites related to deforestation, oil palm and other serious environmental issues like the dam construction that could impact hundreds of villages in the Baram area. Baram Kini arranged for EnviroLab Asia Fellows to stay in villages and talk with people affected by the various issues being studied. “We visited an oil palm plantation to learn more about the industry as well as the issues faced by indigenous people who are trying to prevent the takeover of their lands by oil palm corporations,” says Park. Malaysia and Indonesia account for more



than 90 percent of global palm oil production. “I imagined Borneo to be a place of untrammeled wilderness,” says Mayeri, whose work bridges the disciplines of scientists and artists. “On our way through Sarawak, Malaysia, we drove on logging roads for five hours and still didn’t reach primary forest. The forest has been logged, burned and transformed into one crop, the palm oil plantations. We saw hardly any birds or other animals, and that was really surprising and frankly pretty depressing to see. It’s one of the most important zones of biodiversity in the world, and there’s just very little primary forest left.”

Land traditions Perhaps the greatest insight about the problems facing Southeast Asia came from the villagers who live there. One of the biggest issues faced by the Dayak people in the Baram area is that of land rights and land tenure. According to Park, the Dayak people believe in Native Customary Rights (NCR), which are traditional rights over land. “There is no documentation proving NCR because Dayak land is transferred, held and protected based on customs,” he says. “The Sarawak government and several corporations do not acknowledge NCR because it is not protected and sustained based on modern law. Hence, the government believes it can acquire the land without consent from the Dayak people in order to build a dam, that, according to many experts and NGOs, is unnecessary.” The clash of tradition versus progressive modernism over land rights seems to be at the

heart of environmental issues in the region. “In some ways, we connected the land issue to things happening in Singapore,” Park says. “For example, organic farms in Singapore have limited leases on their lands because the government always seeks to reclaim land for development and military purposes. We also learned from the people about how much they rely on the Baram River to sustain their daily lives. “We also heard from them about how they try to create movements when they have little political power to achieve their goals of protecting their land,” he continues. “They are pushing their goals in the face of a government and corporations that have a large amount of power and resources.”

Top: A logging truck in Borneo, Malaysia. Above: oil palm.

Experiential learning For students, the trip provided a new take on the subjects that many are studying. “As an engineering major with a focus on environmental sustainability, I was surprised to see such impassioned opposition to the construction of a hydroelectric dam that would generate clean energy,” says Salud. “However, once I heard the protestors’ and villagers’ stories, I began to understand that issues like this are never black and white.” Salud adds that the ongoing conversations students had with the local population, coupled with the immersive and intimate nature of the trip, opened his eyes to the many complexities involved in solving environmental issues through engineering, especially in the developing world. “The success of an engineering solution goes far beyond how well designed it is. Social, cultural, historical and economic

“ T he success of an engineering solution goes far beyond how well designed it is. Social, cultural, historical and economic factors all come into play in determining whether a particular solution is the right fit for a certain time and place.


factors all come into play in determining whether a particular solution is the right fit for a certain time and place,” Salud says. The on-the-ground experience offered lessons that cannot be found in textbooks. “You design systems in the classroom or lab, yet you never actually see how your system will affect the people who use it and live near it. Witnessing such tension and injustice surrounding the proposed dam in Baram firsthand has inspired me to become

an engineer who greatly values both environmental and social factors in the design process,” says Salud.

The EnviroLab Asia team contributed to this story.

Blog post about Fernando Salud’s Southeast Asia trip experience: bit.ly/EnviroAsia16

The trip to Singapore and Malaysian Borneo revealed the many complexities of solving environmental issues through engineering, especially in the developing world.




Growing Where Planted


three languages (English, Spanish and French) and has moved nine times. While she may now call Harvey Mudd home, she’s still on the go. “Being a President’s Scholar has inspired me to fully participate in life at Harvey Mudd,” says Martelly. The President’s Scholars Program supports outstanding students who are from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented at the College. “I always keep in mind the reason I applied for the scholarship and received it: I care about participating in and improving the community I’m in.” Born in Miami, Florida, to parents who teach internationally, Martelly lived abroad for most of her life, including in Mumbai, India, and Abuja, Nigeria, where she graduated from high school. Throughout K–12, she was involved in many activities, from art to sports to music, and thrived in small class settings. By 11th grade, Martelly was sure that she wanted to be an engineer and sought a college where she could continue to experience the personal attention, collaboration and teamwork she had enjoyed throughout her schooling. After her first visit to Harvey Mudd, she knew she had found the right place. True to her word, she’s made her mark in this new community. As part of her coursework, she’s built a phone charger and a rocket (E80) and worked for one summer in the lab of engineering Professor Nancy Lape studying how drugs pass through the skin and whether stretching the skin will change how much can pass through. “Transdermal drug transport is a great alternative to injections and oral drug administration,” says Martelly, who focused on two parts of the project. “I worked on developing a new device that can stretch the skin at a constant strain/force and also apply a sinusoidal input. This involved several hours at the machine shop building the prototype as well as a lot of time in electronics lab wiring the components of the device. Also, I worked on finding different techniques to image the surface of the skin to see how surface area changes when the skin is stretched.” Such challenges thrill Martelly, who likes to build, create and analyze contemporary problems. Doing so through lively class discussions and collaborations with classmates has made her work at Harvey Mudd exciting, she says. She especially enjoys the challenging mechanical engineering classes taught by professor and C.F. Braun & Company Fellow Philip Cha.



As much as she’s enthusiastically embraced academics, she’s also been very involved in campus and volunteer activities. An ardent foodie, Martelly shared this passion with first years during fall 2015 when she and fellow Orientation Adventure guide Alexa Le ’17 organized a food tour through Old Pasadena. She’s a supervisor for the Linde Activities Center and is a member of Mudd Advocates, a peer-led group that seeks to support sexual assault survivors at The Claremont Colleges. Because Martelly feels “strongly about increasing the access to science education in schools,” she volunteers each year for Science Day, which features interactive lessons and demos for local elementary school students. She’s also a Peer Academic Liaison (PAL), one of her most rewarding activities, she says. “I check up on students in my dorm and make sure they are getting the help they need to succeed.” Considering her extensive travels, Martelly is uniquely qualified to provide help and support. She says living in so many countries

has taught her “open-mindedness, adaptability and empathy,” as well as how to make friends quickly. “I attended school with students from various religions and cultural backgrounds and learned to accept that their opinions are valid even if they don’t align with my own,” she says. She’s learned a lot at Mudd, too, and has had her share of challenges here. But, Martelly says, “struggling is not taboo, it’s part of the process. It is okay to reach out for help. There is always somebody willing to help.” This summer, she will intern in the aerospace industry along with several other Harvey Mudd students. Recognizing it as a good opportunity to gain practical skills and insights into the professional world, Martelly is excited about her internship and for another chance to flourish in a new community.

“ I attended school with

students from various religions and cultural backgrounds and learned to accept that their opinions are valid even if they don’t align with my own. – ERICA MARTELLY ’17



So It Doesn’t Happen

Award-winning a cappella group advocates for sexual assault awareness through song The Claremont Colleges a cappella group After School Specials! is using its collective voice and considerable talent to help raise awareness about sexual assault on U.S. college campuses. The 5-C group, which includes Mudders Annalise Schweickart ’18 and Aleina Wachtel ’16, created an arrangement of the Oscar-nominated song “Til It Happens To You,” co-written by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga for The Hunting Ground, a documentary that explores sexual assault on college and university campuses. The song has become an anthem to support survivors and end the culture of silence and shame around sexual assault. Their cover of the song won the Sing for Survivors Contest, which called for online voting and then final selection from a celebrity panel of judges, including Warren, LL Cool J, Cynthia Germanotta, David Foster and Bonnie Greenberg. As the winning a cappella group, After School Specials! receives a Skype session with Platinum-selling recording artists Pentatonix as well as a video master class and discussion with eight-time Oscar nominee

Warren and 16-time Grammy winner Foster. After winning the contest in early April, the group performed at the White House as part of It’s On Us, a White House Champions of Change event. The 5-C group members were among those honored for doing extraordinary things, including helping lead the charge to stop sexual assault on college campuses. The After School Specials! also performed Nov. 11 at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles as part of the Hollywood Music in Media awards, where “Til It Happens To You” won the Best Documentary Song award. At the Feb. 6 Southwest Quarterfinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), the group won first place and members Pranay Yeturu POM ’16 and Niko Tutland POM ’17 won Best Percussionist and Best Arranger, respectively. “It’s such a surreal experience to see all our hard work and passion for what we do be recognized,” said Wachtel, a mathematics major who has been a four-year member of the After School Specials! “I feel so lucky to be a part of it!”

View the After School Specials! winning video: thehuntinggroundfilm.com/we-have-a-winner

5-C sexual assault prevention and support resources Student Health and Wellness at HMC

Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services at The Claremont Colleges

McAlister Center for Religious Activities

The Associate Dean of Student Health and Wellness, Dean Q, serves as the on-campus health and wellness counselor and consultant.

Promotes psychological wellness for all students.

Provides pastoral counseling, spiritual formation and crisis intervention/management.

EmPOWER Center: 7-C Sexual Assault Resource Center


Teal Dot Bystander Training Volunteers learn strategies and gain confidence to help prevent violent incidents.

Where Claremont Colleges students impacted by sexual violence, dating/domestic violence and stalking receive holistic support and care.

Harvey Mudd Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Project Sister Family Services

Peers trained to support fellow students.

A mobile technology service that allows users to share information directly from their smart– phones—anonymously, if they choose. All Claremont Colleges participate in the system.

For women, children and men survivors of sexual assault and abuse and their families.





Mudders Dig Deep Computing Research Awards Both musicians as well as computer scientists, Anna Ma ’17 and Alex Putman ’16 were selected as finalists from non-PhD-granting institutions for the 2015 Computing Research Association’s Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Awards. Anna Ma, a joint major in computer science and mathematics and an accomplished pianist, conducted computational biology research with Professor of Computer Science Ran Libeskind-Hadas. Her team researched phylogenetic tree reconciliation algorithms to enable the reconstruction of evolutionary histories of co-evolving species. Her results include an NP-Completeness proof and a fast approximation algorithm for a tree reconciliation problem, as well as implemented demonstrations of the algorithm’s efficiency. Her work also resulted in a paper published in the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics special issue for The 14th Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Conference 2016. Alex Putman, an oboe player for the Pomona College Orchestra, undertook computation improvisation research on Professor of Computer Science Bob Keller’s Impro-Visor program, which helps musicians learn how to improvise jazz music, allowing them to generate new improvisations based on previous works of many famous jazz artists. The team’s research paper was accepted to the International Conference on New Musical Concept, and both Keller and Putman attended the conference in Treviso, Italy, in March 2015, where Putman presented the research.



Harvey Mudd students continue to reap national awards for research efforts conducted with faculty members. Gold Standard

Jonas Kaufman

Barry Goldwater Scholarships, awards that cover up to $7,500 of college expenses, were earned by Christopher Hoyt ’18, Jonas Kaufman ’17 and Dina Sinclair ’17. The Goldwater is the most prestigious national award for undergraduate STEM researchers. Christopher Hoyt

major: Mathematics research: Hoyt worked with University of Wyoming researchers to analyze the phenotypes of maize mutants using various methods of microscopy. He also worked to develop a computational method of taking images of cells and producing an approximation of where the future division sites will occur. This summer, he’ll conduct research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program to conduct measurements of wireless propagation channels using NIST’s robotic system in order to develop standards for the next generation of wireless cellular communications systems. career goal: PhD in mathematics; conduct research and teach mathematics at a research university.

major: Physics research: As a member of engineering Professor Lori Bassman’s research team, he helped develop novel high entropy alloys. His focus is on modeling mechanical properties of these alloys through ab initio atomistic simulation. career goal: PhD in materials science and engineering; conduct computational and experimental materials research and teach at the university level. Dina Sinclair

major: Mathematics research: With mathematics Professor Rachel Levy, she studied computational fluid dynamics. Their research looked at ways in which lung surfactants are modeled so that doctors can better understand how to medicate premature babies whose lungs are surfactant deficient. career goal: PhD in operations research; conduct research in applied mathematics with a focus on public policy applications and teach at the university level.

NSF Fellowships Five Harvey Mudd students are recipients of National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, which help ensure the vitality and diversity of the nation’s base of science and engineering candidates. Reyna Hulett (studying research in algorithms and theoretical foundations) plans to intern at DropBox before attending graduate school at Stanford, Berkeley or University of Washington. Jennifer Rogers (bioinformatics) will join Microsoft as a data scientist. Madeleine Weinstein (algebra,

number theory and combinatorics) will attend UC Berkeley’s PhD program in pure mathematics. Jim Wu (physics of living systems) will pursue a graduate degree in theoretical/experimental biophysics at Princeton University. Rowan Zellers (robotics and computer vision) is considering several graduate school options. Shannon Wetzler ’16 (chemical measurement and imaging) and Matthew Dannenberg ’16 (computational and data-enabled science) each received an honorable mention.

Whetting the Learning Appetite With enticing topics like “The World’s Oldest Calculator (That You Can Take to Any Test),” “Immortality: How Do We Age, and How Can We Stop It?” and “Screenwriting 1-0-FUN,” it’s easy to see why high school students might be interested in spending a Saturday at school. One day each spring, colleges around the nation offer super-cool classes taught by undergraduates through an event called Splash. About 100 area students visited the Harvey Mudd campus Feb. 26 to take one of the 50 classes—typically ones they would not encounter in high school— taught by Claremont Colleges students, many of them Mudders. The event helps the high schoolers envision themselves as part of a college learning community, sparks interest in new subjects and develops the teaching and leadership skills of the college students.

Brenda Castro ’18, “Making Games With Scratch”

Rachael Kretsch ’18 and Anthony Romm ’18, “Fractals: Math in Art and Nature”

Patrick Babb ’19 and Jacob Roth ’18, “Rocketry: How Does It Work?”

Porter Adams ’18, “Codes and Codebreaking Through the Ages”

Jane Wu ’18, “Designing With Arduino”



Written by Neal Singer Photos by David Scavone







at the Clinton White House. The 1981 Harvey Mudd graduate quips, “The gigs paid nothing, but the food was great.” He loves Irish traditional dance music and has played a lot of it, yet, like all Mudders, he’s also of a fiercely technical turn of mind. He proves that daily as an engineer and now manager of 47 employees in the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), a premier government research-and-development lab in Washington, D.C. There, his widely recognized technical skills recently earned him the title of Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Of his day job, he says, “I love engineering. I like to see a result. I’m not a science-for-science’s-sake kind of person. I like the challenge of delving into problems to understand the physics and the actual engineering, and then of taking it beyond where other people have gone.” In his 19-year career at the NRL and (with a few stops in between) six earlier years at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a Department of Energy lab in Northern California, “I’m never bored at work. I love learning new things every day.” But the fiddle has always played a kind of private tune in his life, influencing his vacation time, his choice of friends and even his eventual life location and job. He never thought he had the talent or inner drive to make it a career, but “it was always more than just a hobby.” When he brought his childhood interest in the instrument to Harvey Mudd, he found that his college participated in the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship program. This program funds graduating seniors to spend a year abroad studying their passion, even if it’s not their intended career. Abe won a year “to study regional styles of traditional Irish fiddle music.” Abe, who is ethnically Japanese, read his formal acceptance note slightly more buoyantly as, “Let’s send the Asian kid to Ireland and see what happens.” But the Watson Fellowship was, Abe says, “life changing.” “I wanted my music to sound authentically Irish,” he says. “Though I knew the tunes, I didn’t think I had the right feel.” In Ireland, he fell in with a talented group of musicians who befriended and mentored him. Over the years, his playing “has opened an incredible number of doors” and was part of the reason he and his wife, Mary Carpenter Abe (another 1981 Harvey Mudd graduate, “I am very lucky to have met her”), and two children, Lynn and



Tom, stayed east after Abe received his engineering doctorate from the University of Maryland. “In the Washington, D.C., area,” he says, “in addition to the changing seasons—which my Midwestern-born wife loved, and I, growing up in L.A., had never experienced—there is a vibrant Irish music community I could participate in. And, compared with California, it’s a lot closer to Ireland.” Every

few years, he visits friends in Ireland, gaining “an intimate perspective” on music and culture in that country. “I would like to think that my experiences derived from my Watson year have helped make me a more effective manager by enabling me to understand and appreciate the viewpoints of others,” he says.

But that was later. Initially, the Watson Fellowship only delayed the beginning of his first full-time job as an engineer at LLNL, when the lab agreed to defer Abe’s promising engineering career to accommodate his year abroad. By this time, Abe had already proven himself as a summer intern and as a member of an LLNL-sponsored Engineering Clinic team. At LLNL, Abe began the research that, in a variety of forms, would occupy his professional career. The subject was a challenging niche field that most consumers considered passé: vacuum tubes. That term usually brings to mind the glass-envelope devices used in early digital computers and mid-20th century radios and televisions. These devices have largely been replaced in consumer electronics by smaller and cheaper solid-state transistors. However, for applications that require high frequency and power in a compact package, a tube can be the best technology for the job. A beam of electrons generated and propagated in a vacuum forms the basis of the field called vacuum electronics. By manipulating the electromagnetic fields near the electrons, the beam can be switched on and off at very high power and frequency. Also, through interaction with a circuit, electrons can be used to generate or amplify radio waves. Modern tubes are used for applications like heating plasmas of atomic particles for the huge machines attempting to create controlled nuclear fusion; in telecommunications satellites and transmitters for boosting the interplanetary communications that brought us the recent images from Pluto; and in high-power radars. These are the types of devices that Abe has spent most of his career developing. At NRL, the push has been to develop radio wave amplifiers that operate at increasingly higher frequencies. For radar, that means increased resolution of smaller objects; for telecommunications, more bandwidth and increased data rates. Higher frequency also offers alternatives to widely used transmission bands oversaturated with information from cell phones and TV signals. But higher-frequency operation requires more power to overcome atmospheric resistance to wave propagation. More power

“ I like the challenge of delving into problems to understand the physics and the actual engineering, and then of taking it beyond where other people have gone.” — D AVID ABE ’81 FELLOW, INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS

translates to higher voltages and currents that could overwhelm a transistor, or even a group of them. Among other problems, high-power transistors generate heat. Here is where vacuum electronics technology can shine: “A vacuum tube is the ultimate in keeping heat generation low: There are no collisions as the electrons propagate in literally nothing,” says Abe. Abe is leading efforts to build devices that can access the very top of the radio-frequency spectrum, approximately 100 gigahertz to one terahertz (roughly 100 to 1,000 times the frequency of your cell phone). His group has recently produced record power and bandwidths at frequencies just south of a terahertz. That’s not so easy to do, because these highfrequency devices require a lot of power to be packed into a very small volume. “You need to build things insanely small and accurately to work at those frequencies,” Abe says. “The tunnel through which to thread an electron beam in some tube applications is less than the width of a human hair.” From Abe’s point of view, that’s just another opportunity. “Traditional methods of metal machining and assembly lack the necessary precision, so it’s necessary to explore new fabrication techniques.” This wide range of multidisciplinary work, Abe says, is what he enjoys most. He praises the virtues of his broad-based engineering training

at Harvey Mudd, where his general engineering degree provided a useful background in chemistry, materials science, electrical and mechanical engineering and manufacturing technologies. There are no textbooks incorporating the advances Abe produces in his niche field. His technical papers—he has published nearly 200 and is cited over 1,000 times in the papers of others— will be the material for the textbooks of the future. And just as he has taught classes explaining vacuum electronics to upcoming engineers, he also now teaches fiddle when he visits Ireland, the country to which he first went to improve his musical art. The standing invitation, from an annual summer school for fiddlers in Donegal, “is one of the nicest affirmations of how far I’ve come in developing an authentic Northern sound to my playing.” So, from Abe, this seasoned advice: There isn’t necessarily a “best” path through life. “I could have started at Intel or HP and my life would have been very different—not better, not worse, just different.” But, he adds, “Hopefully, you can find something you love doing. Then go with that.”

To listen to Abe on fiddle, go to magazine.hmc.edu/spring-2016



Written by Eric Feezell Photo by Glenn Asakawa


routinely sent home early. In the thickly polluted Southern California of Miller’s youth, “high-ozone days” were frequent, and schools often dismissed prematurely, limiting sports and other outdoor activities. The San Gabriel Mountains that on a clear day tower above the valley could be nearly imperceptible behind the dull, smoggy haze. It made an impression. “I grew up in air quality that was terrible,” says Miller. “The fact that we struggled so much with it made me want to figure out: why?” She’s been good to her word. Now a professor of mechanical engineering at University of Colorado Boulder (CU) and an affiliate of the CU-Denver School of Public Health, Miller is researching the sources and health effects of urban air pollution.



She also studies how to control it. Her most recent project focuses on understanding climate change’s effects on indoor air quality (IAQ). She’s the principal investigator on a three-year, $1 million Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) project examining how residential weatherization— structural modification that helps optimize energy consumption and efficiency—impacts air quality in low-income Denver residences. Miller is examining the connection between IAQ and the respiratory health of families living in roughly 250 area homes. The broad goal of the project is to provide guidance on energy retrofits that promote healthy indoor environments and, in the process, raise IAQ awareness in urban housing construction. “We try to understand the conditions and the indoor air quality in the home, because it can really

influence health,” says Miller. “If we can educate residents about how to live in a healthy home, then they will be healthier as well.” There are also economic incentives. By improving overall energy efficiency, such retrofits reduce reliance on expensive utilities, resulting in crucial cost savings for low-income persons living amid scorching summers and bone-chilling winters. To study weatherization’s benefits, Miller and her CU student team employ a special blower door to measure the “tightness” of an indoor environment—that is, how well it is sealed from outside, or ambient, pollutants. Sensors in participating homes (half weatherized, half not) measure particulate matter that poses a human health risk, such as pollution released by climate events like wildfires. Results from a combination of questionnaires, lung function testing, household

walkthrough and blower door testing help Miller recommend any number of physical retrofits that can improve IAQ and energy efficiency. She cites something as simple as a functional kitchen exhaust as being surprisingly absent in many homes. “Builders don’t understand how important these things are, and residents don’t understand they should be asking for and using them,” she says. Microbial contamination in buildings is another common problem Miller knows well. A past project she worked on employed ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) within heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to discourage microbial growth, reducing heat loss and creating cleaner air at lower cost. A related project studied how UVGI can play a role in reducing infectious disease transmission in hospitals. Behind every project is the overarching question: How can we improve the technology we use to reduce exposure to pollution? On a broad scale, Miller acknowledges major steps forward in air quality. “I think slowly but surely we’ve been doing phenomenally at solving air pollution problems,” she says, citing improvements in automobile emissions technologies and the control of pollution from “point sources”—the dry cleaner and local baker to the weekend backyard burger griller. “These little things add up when there

are so many people in large urban areas like Los Angeles or Denver.” An enormous concern like pollution requires many small solutions, but Miller isn’t one to back down from a challenge. At La Sierra University, Miller burned through every mathematics course available, prompting a professor to recommend she transfer to a school that offered a much more rigorous science, engineering and math curriculum. She was subsequently accepted to Harvey Mudd as a junior mathematics major. While she loved solving differential equations with professors Bob Borrelli and Courtney Coleman in particular, she says she craved a more tangible challenge. This, coupled with those smoggy memories, led Miller into the experiential realm of engineering. After Mudd and a short but inspiring stint at aerospace/automotive firm TRW, she enrolled at UC Berkeley to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in civil and environmental engineering with a concentration in air quality studies. “Climate and air quality are common goods,” she says, recalling that undergraduate urge to take on a real-world problem. “I breathe the same air that you breathe.” Miller regularly shares the latest in air quality research with a broader audience on Twitter (@ShellyMBoulder) and on her website

(shellym80304.wordpress.com/). And, she’s imparting her wisdom to students in CU’s interdisciplinary environmental engineering program. She’s relying on her students’ generation to push the ball forward, because, she says, they are the first to grasp fully the importance of fighting climate change on a global scale. “Other countries are facing climate change just like the United States, and I think we really need to step up and help them control their air pollution with our resources and knowledge,” she says. “We’re pretty much past the tipping point, so we have to figure out how not only to reduce carbon emissions, but take carbon out of the atmosphere if we’re going to resolve this problem, which is very hard technologically.” She says global buy-in is crucial, even in small amounts. The simple act of changing over to an energy-efficient light bulb, for example, is an easy step almost anyone can take. “Even though it seems so small, it adds up,” she says. “If we can develop a world citizenry that has this kind of awareness, I think that’s what it’s going to take. “Everybody just has to do one little thing.”

Miller’s tips for a cleaner, greener, healthier home Put caulking around windows and frames to increase insulation; update weather stripping on doors.

Install carbon monoxide detectors on all floors.

Get a HEPA air cleaner for the bedroom if you have respiratory sensitivities.

Use a floor mat to prevent the tracking-in of harmful pesticides, lead and other contaminants; remove shoes indoors.

Ensure kitchen has a functional exhaust hood that filters cooking carcinogens to the outside.

Test your home for Radon and apply for mitigation assistance if levels are high.

Opt for hardwoods over carpet, “a reservoir of toxic dust and chemicals,” says Miller.

Fix any water leaks in the home to help avoid mold buildup.

Replace your furnace filter regularly with highest-efficiency filter for your system.





Sculpting Evolution Kevin Esvelt ’04 promotes the responsible development of genetic and ecological engineering technologies. Written by Allison Marin Illustrations by Brian Stauffer | Photo by Kim Indresano



altered the specific mosquito species that transmits malaria, rendering it unable to spread the disease and thereby saving the lives of 500,000 people each year. It may seem like a fantasy, but evolutionary engineer Kevin Esvelt ’04 believes that, although it’s never been tested, the technology to make this a reality already exists. In fact, he helped lay the groundwork for it. Malaria would be just the tip of the iceberg. “There are a lot of major health and environmental problems that could be addressed if we could just alter wild populations, essentially ‘sculpting’ evolution ourselves,” Esvelt says.




ow imagine if the ability to introduce genetic changes into populations in the wild—a technique called a gene drive—were released accidentally, or without the permission of affected communities. Even though most such experiments pose little if any environmental risk, the consequences for public trust in scientists could be disastrous. “Gene drives present a tremendous ethical dilemma,” Esvelt says, and it’s one that he’s carefully considering. After working hands-on with genetic engineering techniques during his postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, Esvelt recently became an assistant professor of media arts and sciences at MIT’s Media Lab, where he is helping to develop a framework for the ethical and responsible development of gene drives and other revolutionary technologies while still pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the lab. Esvelt began thinking about evolution and genetics at the impressionable age of 10, after a trip to the Galapagos Islands, the site of Darwin’s groundbreaking research on evolution. “I knew that evolution would impact what I wanted to do [for my career] by the time I was in middle school,” he says. At Harvey Mudd, Esvelt double majored in chemistry and biology, and after graduation, he went to graduate school at Harvard to work on “harnessing” evolution. “For a long time, scientists have been trying to harness evolution to solve problems where we can’t rationally design a solution, because we don’t understand what’s going on. This is especially true at the molecular level,” Esvelt explains. His graduate research focused on automating the evolution of useful proteins using a virus that infects bacteria, which earned him a PhD in biochemistry in 2010. Esvelt created a system known as PACE (phageassisted continuous evolution), which can be used to create a population of viruses that are all competing to optimize a protein of interest. After graduate school, Esvelt was interested in scaling up his efforts. “Rather than looking at individual molecules, I wondered whether it was possible to sculpt the evolution of ecosystems, and how we could use molecular tools to do that.” He moved across the river to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. There, he began to explore a transformative new gene editing system called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), which, for



the first time, allows scientists to edit the genomes of organisms, including humans, with unprecedented precision and ease. CRISPR has garnered worldwide attention, not only for its potential to revolutionize the field of biology and cure genetic diseases but also because of the possibility of misuse. But powerful as it is, on its own, CRISPR can’t propagate these genetic changes throughout an entire population, because evolution will intervene. Humanity has never managed to alter an organism in any way that is more advantageous than what is already in the wild, so the engineered change will always die out, Esvelt explains. “In many ways, that’s

the instructions for making the scalpel and telling it where to cut.” Most organisms have two copies of every gene (one from each parent), so with a gene drive, once this new DNA sequence has been inserted into an organism’s genome, it’s then going to replace the other original copy. The organism will now have two copies of the edited DNA. With two copies, all of its offspring are guaranteed to inherit one copy; editing will happen again in the next generation, and they will each have two copies, and so on … until you have edited every original copy to become the edited version you want, explains Esvelt. “What this would mean is that individual

A transformative new gene editing system called CRISPR has garnered worldwide attention, not only for its potential to revolutionize the field of biology and cure genetic diseases but also because of the possibility of misuse.

been a blessing, because we haven’t been able to mess with entire ecosystems,” he adds. Until now, that is. Esvelt realized that CRISPR could be modified to essentially circumvent evolution via gene drive, which is a common natural phenomenon. In essence, a gene drive is a mechanism to spread a genetic change through a population, even though the change doesn’t help the organisms to survive and reproduce. CRISPR is essentially a programmable scalpel that will specifically cut a particular DNA sequence and replace it with a new one, Esvelt explains. “A gene drive just goes one step further and says, along with the new, edited piece of DNA, also incorporate into the genome

laboratories would have the opportunity to unilaterally alter entire wild populations, and therefore shared ecosystems. It’s tremendously scary,” says Esvelt. The consequences of an unauthorized release of a gene drive —accidental or intentional—could be catastrophic, although more for social trust in science than the environment. Upon realizing the magnitude of the consequences gene drives could have on whole populations, Esvelt immediately brought his findings to his postdoctoral advisor, George Church (professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of PersonalGenomes.org), who suggested they speak with regulators, ethicists, other scientific colleagues and representatives

“ Once we open this box, we can never put the technology back in the box and walk away. – KEVIN ESVELT ’04

of environmental NGOs at a workshop convened for the purpose in January 2014. Feeling that it was important to set an example of how technologies like this should be developed, the group agreed with Esvelt and Church’s suggestion that the best solution would be to let the world know before running any experiments to confirm that the CRISPR gene drive would work as suspected. “We wanted to, in effect, sound the alarm and say ‘it is possible to do this.’ Because a gene drive would work the same way that CRISPR gene editing does, we are 99.9 percent confident we don’t have to test it, that it’s just going to work. It’s an engineering problem, not a science problem. We’re confident enough [of that] that we’re willing to go out on a limb and say, ‘this is something we’re going to have to deal with,’” Esvelt says. Now, it’s time for society to discuss whether, when and how we should use this, and for which interventions, he adds. “We’re going to need policy changes and regulatory changes. And we’re going to have to talk about the ethics and determine who gets to decide all of this,” he says.

After CRISPR gene drive, there will surely be other technologies with similarly profound consequences, Esvelt says. In an effort to focus more on the interdisciplinary task of creating a new model for developing technologies of this type, Esvelt began a faculty position at MIT’s Media Lab in January 2016. The MIT Media Lab is the perfect place to tackle this issue, he says, because it’s a place where science, engineering, art and design are intended to coexist outside of any one discipline. Esvelt hopes he can use CRISPR gene drive as the impetus to change the way science and technology development happens more broadly. “Once we open this box, we can never put the technology back in the box and walk away. What I’m hoping to do is to establish a way for us to look ahead a little bit and recognize when we are approaching a box and develop protocols for how we should go about opening boxes of different kinds,” he says.



Getting Ahead of Hardship

Researcher Katherine Perdue ’05 uses neuro-imaging to help improve cognitive outcomes for babies in Bangladesh. Written by Amy DerBedrosian Photos by Kim Indresano, Swapna Kumar and Charles Nelson


he babies and toddlers wear unusual headgear. Some sitting in their mothers’ laps sport a lacy cap of 128 electrodes. Others wear a band with optical sensors wrapped around their small heads. All are part of a study to measure the structure and function of their brains. Born into the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, these children face many obstacles to healthy development, including malnutrition, infection and pollution. Their early exposure to adversity can have long-term repercussions. For example, says Boston Children’s Hospital Postdoctoral Research Fellow Katherine Perdue ’05, researchers working in Bangladesh have noticed worse cognitive outcomes for children who experienced infections at a young age. Dr. Charles Nelson, Perdue’s advisor and director of the hospital’s Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience, had found similar shortcomings in the brain function of severely neglected Romanian orphans.






erdue is part of a multinational research team led by Nelson that wants to help children’s brains live up to their full potential. They’re creating a testing toolkit to determine better ways to assess cognitive development and to protect young brains from environmental stressors in Bangladesh and other developing countries. Knowing that environment shapes the developing brain, the researchers from Boston and the University of Virginia, University College London and International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh hope to identify which stressors have the greatest impact on future brainpower. They believe taking a quantitative approach rather than relying on observed behaviors will make it possible to intervene earlier if a child’s brain isn’t developing normally. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also saw promise in this thinking and funded their two-year effort to examine the connections between early adversity and brain development in more than 300 babies and toddlers in urban and rural Bangladesh. “The first few years of life are so crucial to brain development,” says Perdue. “We’re looking at ways to tease out what’s happening, especially in parts of the world where brain development can get knocked offline.” To do this, they’re using three noninvasive imaging techniques. One is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which Perdue says is considered the “gold standard” for measuring brain anatomy but scarce in the developing world. Another is electroencephalography (EEG)—that’s where the cap of electrodes comes into play—to test for memory and direct neural activity. The third technology is functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), Perdue’s area of expertise and the focus of her doctoral work in engineering at Dartmouth College. With fNIRS, a band containing light sources and detectors is placed around a baby’s head to look at brain function via oxygen levels. “This is a much more complicated and ambitious project than has been done before,” says Perdue. “Teasing out which stressors are most important is the pipedream. When a country has limited resources, you need to figure out how to maximize the ability to help kids with investments that are possible. Right now, we have a lot of information about the stressors they’re exposed to and are looking at brain function, but we haven’t yet put the two together.” Nonetheless, the Boston researchers accomplished a lot in a short time. Perdue explains,



Of her work studying the brains of children, Perdue says, “I was attracted to the focus on social impact.” Here she poses with members of the community where her study takes place.


“In one year, we set up a lab across the world, trained people, got data back and started data analysis.” It hasn’t been easy. No study like theirs had ever been done in Bangladesh. The apartment building housing the lab didn’t have appropriate electricity for the imaging equipment, which had made a perilous journey over rutted roads. The medical officers and field researchers at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Dhaka required training. Most of the Boston team members had to simultaneously work on other ongoing research projects. “The strength of the project is that we trained our collaborators in Bangladesh to collect data rather than doing it ourselves. It’s a testament to them and their hard work. Many of the people there don’t use computers in their everyday lives, but to run the study, they have to watch two different computers and a baby at the same time,”

baby with her husband, Cal Pierog ’05, was due (Leo was born Oct. 26). But she says, “I would love to go back. I found out the people of Bangladesh are wonderful and famously welcoming.” Meanwhile, the project, along with another examining the brain response and facial expressions of typically developing infants in Boston, continues to provide the professional experiences Perdue sought when she joined Nelson’s lab in 2013. After studying physics as an undergraduate and a theoretical side of engineering in graduate school, she says, “I was attracted to the focus on social impact. I wanted to work with someone who cared for children and their well-being so deeply.” Perdue hadn’t worked with children before but is enjoying the switch from adults. She says, “In some ways, adult brains are boring. They don’t change that much. I also like the technical challenge of working with children, figuring out how to get robust data from people who can’t be given instructions.”



This functional near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) cap is designed for infant brain measurement. The optical fibers are arranged in an alternating pattern of source fibers (A) and detector fibers (B) on the forehead over the prefrontal cortex. An accelerometer (C) records infant motion during an experiment. The fibers can also be positioned over the ears to measure

“ When a country has limited resources, you need to figure out how to maximize the ability to help kids with investments that are possible.”

the temporal cortex.


says Perdue, who helped set up the fNIRS testing in Dhaka and trained staff in the technology both there and in Boston. While in Bangladesh, Perdue learned that her collaborators were personally acquainted with the environmental stressors they were studying. She says, “Everyone I worked with who had a child spent a lot of time at hospitals because of illness or accidents. Having an advanced degree didn’t insulate them from hardships. Yet people in Bangladesh take the hardships in stride and have a lot of hope for their country’s future.” Perdue missed the Boston research team’s October return trip to Bangladesh because her own

The role of a researcher suits her as well. Perdue says, “I was bitten by the research bug at Mudd. I was doing experimental physics at the time, and professors [James] Eckert and [Patricia] Sparks really inspired me. I first fell in love with brain imaging at Mudd, too, when I took a biophysics class with Professor [Richard] Haskell. I had been studying cognitive science and physics, but it hadn’t occurred to me before then that I could combine them in this way. I’m happy where I am now. I get to focus on research and science and have the opportunity to work with great people on interesting projects.”



A look at Harvey Mudd alumni couples Written by Beverly J. Orth ’74


every college campus, and Harvey Mudd College is no exception. However, some endure long after graduation. Being half of a Mudd couple myself, I asked Arran McNabb ’06, assistant director of alumni and parent relations, how many alumni in each class are married to another Mudder. Not surprisingly, several classes consist of the null set. (What happened, Class of 1976?) At 19.4 percent, the Class of 1998 is likely to be the record-holder for a long time, considering that future classes will be larger as the College increases in size. I wondered how these Mudd romances began and how being Mudders had affected these relationships. I also wondered how many couples had been Seal Ponded— dunked in the Scripps College Seal Court lily pond—after their engagement became known. I wasn’t even certain whether the Seal Ponding tradition, begun in the early 1960s, remained alive!



I contacted Jerry Van Hecke, Class of 1961 and Department of Chemistry faculty member, for his take on the Seal Pond tradition. “As to the origin of the tradition, I do not know,” he says. “It certainly was in force by 1960–1961 when several of my classmates were introduced to the slime of the pond. Frankly, I have not heard that ponding has died out. If it has, [it’s] probably because the number of engagements during school is way down. The tradition of getting ‘pinned’ has all but disappeared at HMC.” Through the HMC Alumni Association group on LinkedIn, I recruited several Mudd couples to interview. Responses ranged from the Class of 1981 to the Class of 2014, but graduates from earlier classes were more elusive. I had to resort to more traditional means: I used email. Join me as I explore the history of love, Mudder style, and peek into the lives of five Mudd couples.

Beverly Orth ’74, left, observes classmates tossing Dan Kalman ’74 into the Seal Pond, May 1973. Her future husband, Tony Noe ’74, is fourth from the right.

Total Mudders Married to Mudders 35 30 25 20 15 10 5


























































Pat Barrett, engineering 1966 | Penny Barrett, engineering 1967 palo alto, california q: Let’s start at the beginning. I’d like to know where and how you met. Pat: We met in Mrs. Tapp’s sociology class when Penny was a freshman and I was a sophomore. Upon seeing her it was, “Um hmm, yep. I’d like to date her.” Penny: And I thought, “Oh, he’s too eager.” I had just broken up with my high school boyfriend. Q: How did you decide to get married? Pat: I don’t have the transfer function for that any longer. Q: Did one of you propose? Pat: Yes, I did, on the playground at Hugo Reid Elementary School in Arcadia, California.

Penny: With a Cracker Jack ring, because it was adjustable. Pat: You know, one of those little things with a great big piece of glass that looks like a diamond. Q: Sounds very playful. Was it spur of the moment or did you plan it that way? Pat: I planned it that way. I actually had a cohort help me with that one. Q: Did you get Seal Ponded? Pat: Someone who had already been Seal Ponded stood in for me at the pinning ceremony at Scripps, where Penny was living. As you recall, all the women lived at Scripps in those days. When Penny and I got pinned, I was

still in Massachusetts and so I asked [Dean of Students] Gene Hotchkiss if he would stand in for me at the dinner. Since he had already been Seal Ponded for his own wedding, he didn’t feel in any danger of being Seal Ponded for my pinning, which they did at the formal dinners that they had in those days. I had previously been Seal Ponded on account of another girlfriend, but we broke up before I met Penny. Q: So, Penny, you didn’t get Seal Ponded? Penny: No, it wasn’t done to the women then. Pat: Things were definitely unequal in those days.



Fred Streitz, physics 1983 Wendy (Duckworth) Streitz, engineering 1983 Shun Cheung, engineering 1981 Louisa Mak, mathematics 1982 mountain view, california q: Where and how did you meet? Shun: It was September 1978, before the first week of class. We saw each other outside the courtyard of Platt Campus Center. louisa: It was actually earlier! I’m from Hong Kong, so I asked for a name to ask some questions, and they gave me the name of Shun’s roommate. So I went there, and I talked to that guy and he said, “Oh, you should ask Shun!” shun: She was looking for a knapsack, and he didn’t have one, but I had one.

Shun: The whole country [of China] was about 20,000 a year. I was born in Beijing, China, so if we got married, it would be my quota and it would be a lot faster. With Hong Kong, it would take years of waiting. Louisa graduated in ’82 and we both went to UCLA to get our master’s. Then she started working and processing the green card and all that stuff. After she graduated from UCLA, she got a job in Silicon Valley. We were in a long-distance relationship for a couple of years.

q: What was your impression? Louisa: He’s too tall for me! He’s 6'1" and I’m 5'1".

q: Have you had any professional conflicts, like working for competitors? Shun: Actually, the opposite problem. Louisa finished grad school in 1984 and we got jobs at AT&T Bell Labs in New Jersey. It was good for a while, but the industry was going downhill in the late ’90s. That was the tail-end of the dot-com boom, the year 2000. It was very easy to find jobs in Silicon Valley, so we moved back.

q: How did you decide to get married? Shun: We were always going to get married after a few years, but Louisa had applied for a green card, and each country has a quota for how many people can apply. Hong Kong, as a British colony, was only 600 a year. louisa: Or 200.



parents of twin daughters, hmc class of 2013 san ramon, california q: Where and how did you meet? Wendy: We were both in North Dorm freshman year. My roommate and I were on the second floor, and Fred and his roommate were on the first floor. Fred: Directly beneath them. Wendy: Right. That’s how we met, but we didn’t actually come together until senior year. I was the South Dorm president. Fred: And I was the dormitory affairs committee chairman. The first week there was a retreat for the student government leaders, and that’s when we started dating. q: What was your earliest recollection of each other? Fred: How could I forget! She was like the most gorgeous person in the class: tall, blond, long legs and she’s still gorgeous, tall, blond, long legs. Wendy: When did you notice? Fred: What do you mean, when did I notice? Immediately. Wendy: I noticed Fred because his roommate, who I like a lot now, was really obnoxious. He used to put stuff on a long handle and bang it on our window. There were a lot, a lot of awfuls. And, as they said, the odds are good but the goods are odd.

q: When and where did you get married? Wendy: We got married three months after we graduated. Fred: We were engaged while we were still at Mudd, so we had the joy of being Seal Ponded. q: How did you decide to get married? Did one of you propose? Fred: I proposed. It was a little abrupt. Wendy: It was awfully abrupt. Fred: We’d been dating for … Wendy: For three or four months. Fred: And then we didn’t tell anybody for a while. Around spring break, we started telling people that it was true. People thought we were nuts. Several years later, friends told us that there were bets taken about how long we would last as a couple. They all lost! q: It sounds like the Seal Pond tradition was still alive. What happened? Fred: We were eating dinner and got dragged physically out. They walked us down to Scripps and lined us up together and threw us straight into the pond. It was pretty scummy in there.

Andy Roe, engineering 1993 Tonya (Fagerwold) Roe, biology 1994 lake oswego, oregon q: Where and how did you meet? andy: She hung out at West. I remember seeing her in the lounge her freshman year. Tonya: He had a big TV. So everyone came and hung out in his room. I was more interested in one of his roommates. andy: I lived in Atomic, one of the suites. Probably late ’80s through most of the ’90s, Atomic and Subatomic were two of the end suites in West. We were morally obliged to have a loud stereo system. We had constructed our room so that all of the beds and the desks were on one side and the other side had a couch and a TV and an air conditioner. q: How did you decide to get married? Did one of you propose? Tonya: Kinda! Andy and I started dating when I was a sophomore. andy: No! You were a junior. Tonya: Oh, you’re right. It was the year I lived in West. Then he graduated. We thought he was going back to Oregon, and he ended up going to grad

Travis Athougies, joint computer science and mathematics 2014

school at UC Irvine, so we moved in together for a year after college. Then he went to Los Alamos, New Mexico, for a job. We stayed connected but we weren’t dating. I was working in Ohio and couldn’t decide if I wanted to live in Chicago or move to Portland. I became really good friends with someone who lived around the corner from Andy in junior high. She said, “Oh, just live with me! You’re only here three weekends a month anyway.” We went camping; we had parties. Andy was in New Mexico, doing none of this. Then his 10-year high school reunion came along. He took me to the social night and some other girl to the formal night. andy: I was only going because she had stolen all of my friends, and I wanted to hang out with them. Tonya: I was like, “Why didn’t you take me to the formal night?” I really was sort of jealous! Right after that, we got back together. Within a couple of months it was like, alright, we’re ready. Let’s get married now.

Ileane (O’Leary) Athougies, joint computer science and mathematics 2014 mountain view, california q: Where and how did you meet? Travis: We met at a high-five before freshman year. Ileane: That’s sort of a pre-orientation Summer Institute. It started three weeks before the school year started. We met on the very first day. There were maybe 30 students. So, it’s kind of funny because we met before school even started and hit it off right away. Travis: By the end of the semester we were officially dating. q: When did you get married? Travis: We got married in San Francisco, on March 14, pi day. Ileane: And we got the extra digits, 15. q: How did you decide to get married? Did one of you propose? Ileane: Travis did! He took me to St. Peter and Paul’s. Travis’ family knows the priest there. It was over spring break, our senior year.

q: Do you know about the Seal Ponding tradition? Ileane: I don’t think it happens anymore. Maybe we were just lucky, but we weren’t dunked. Travis: We got dunked on our birthdays. Like, throw them in the shower. I don’t think engagements happen all that often. q: Do you have any advice for current Mudders who are starting a relationship with another Mudder? Travis: I think a lot of people feel that it’s hard to be in a relationship at Mudd or that it would cause added stress, but I don’t think either of us felt that it caused added stress. It kind of made things easier. Ileane: They say when you come to Mudd, you find your people.




2017 Eclipse Event Nationwide events next August

On Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will stretch across North America from the coasts of northern Oregon to South Carolina. The Alumni Association will host events in four locations along the path of totality so the HMC community can enjoy this rare and wonderful experience together: Madras, Oregon | Alliance, Nebraska Columbia, Missouri | Charleston, South Carolina An interest list is now forming: bit.ly/HMCeclipse17.

Become a Volunteer Are you interested in strengthening the HMC alumni network? Do you live in an area where you’d like to see more alumni activity? Would you like to promote Harvey Mudd to high school students? The Harvey Mudd College Alumni Association is seeking volunteers around the country to do these things and more.

Out of This World

ARE YOU LINKEDIN? Join the active LinkedIn group for the Harvey Mudd College Alumni Association. Expand your professional and personal network, hear about opportunities and contribute to the conversations. alumni.hmc.edu/linkedin_settings

Visit alumni.hmc.edu/volunteer, and let us know how you’d like to get involved.

Nearly 400 parents and family members attended Family Weekend Feb. 19–20. They visited their students and enjoyed informative, fun activities, including a bottle rocket competition.

UPCOMING EVENTS Family Weekend memories: bit.ly/FWphotos16 | bit.ly/FWvideo16

Save the date for Family Weekend 2017 (Feb. 17–18) You’ll discover fun, new ways to engage with the community and learn more about the student experience. Watch for more information at hmc.edu/parents.

June 4

Kayaking in Moss Landing

June 25

Alumni Association Board of Governors Meeting

June 26

Alumni Association Brunch in Los Angeles


ummer Send-off Parties for Incoming Students and Families S Dates and locations will be posted on hmc.edu/parents.

Aug. 12–14

Camping in the Santa Cruz Islands

April 28–30, 2017

Alumni Weekend

Contact alumni@hmc.edu for details.




accomplishments and changes throughout the past six decades, the College held festivities throughout the United States and one event in London. At each of the 30 informal gatherings hosted by HMC volunteers—many of them alumni—participants were updated on the progress and priorities of The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College and heard from faculty, staff, students and administration about some of the exciting work occurring on campus. The festivities took many forms— from bowling to skiing to beer tasting—and all of them celebrated the College’s diamond anniversary and the many facets of Mudd.

New York City, hosted by President Maria Klawe

Claremont, California, hosted by professors Jerry Van Hecke ’61 (front) and Kerry Karukstis (not shown)

Palo Alto, California, co-hosted by Penny ’67 and Pat ’66 Barrett

Rosemont, Illinois, hosted by Bob Herling ’67, left

Pasadena, California, hosted by Kylie Rosenthal ’12 (center) and Wayne Schmus ’62 (not shown)

Baltimore, Maryland, hosted by Heather O'Brien ’03




Pulp Fact Written by Douglas McInnis


researchers published the book The Myth of the Paperless Office. In it, they documented one of the great ironies of the digital era: As organizations go digital, paper consumption rises. Were it not for this fact, Karl Chan’s career might have unfolded differently. But as it happens, Chan ’89 P19 is president and chief technology officer of Laserfiche, where he helps paper-based companies digitize their operations. “If you had asked me 25 years ago, I would have said everything would have been digitized by now.” It hasn’t happened. Much of corporate America is still awash in paper. Last year, when Wired magazine looked at efforts to create the paperless office, it concluded, “We use more paper today than during the days of the Pet Rock.” In the U.S., for instance, the number of paper documents is rising by 880 billion a year, Wired reported. So Chan goes to work each day to orchestrate the creation of new products to help tame the paper monster. Under his leadership, Laserfiche has scored a string of hits, including Laserfiche for Windows. His expertise was acknowledged recently by the Los Angeles Business Journal, which gave Chan its Lifetime Achievement Award. Chan was recognized for his leadership in creating innovative technology by Journal publisher and CEO Matt Toledo, who





lauded “Karl’s creativity, passion and technical expertise.” Chan was instrumental in creating Laserfiche for Windows in 1994, Laserfiche Workflow in 1997 and Laserfiche Forms in 2011. More recently, he drove the development of both Laserfiche Connector—an easy-to-use tool that enables organizations to integrate Laserfiche with other software applications without programming—and Laserfiche Cloud. One secret of Chan’s success lies in part with his management style, which encourages teamwork among Laserfiche employees. As one of the company’s top officials, Chan could be expected to occupy a corner office. In fact, he has no office at all. “I have my desk out in the open with everyone else,” he says. At the company’s headquarters in Long Beach, California, there are no cubicles, just an open space where its software creators constantly rub elbows. “It generates a lot of impromptu meetings,” says Chan. “Someone will join the conversation and say, ‘I have an idea.’” Sometimes the idea will come from Chan himself, who started at the bottom at Laserfiche 26 years ago after earning an engineering degree from Harvey Mudd and an M.S. in computer science from California State University, Long Beach. “When I started, I was basically a programmer,”

he recalls. Over time, he moved up, becoming manager of software development, then chief engineer. He was named chief technology officer in 2005 and president in 2014. But he never left programming behind. “Even in my current position, I try to squeeze in time to write software. It’s what I love to do. But it also keeps me familiar with where software is going.” That’s critical for the company. “Ultimately the main product of the company is software.” Like many of his peers, Chan was drawn to software through computer games. But he could never beat his brother, so he hacked into gameprogram software and found loopholes that he could exploit to improve his odds. In time, his interest in computer games faded. But his interest in software remained and eventually led to his career at Laserfiche and his mission to help organizations enter the digital age. “We digitize the paper and the process so that everything is so simple that anyone can digitize their processes,” says Chan. Document filing then becomes automated and document retrieval is nearly instantaneous. Once digitized, documents can be imported from mobile devices, scanners and other sources. And as paper files and the file cabinets that held them disappear, office space is freed for other uses. Since 1987, the company has served 35,000 customers, ranging from small businesses to federal agencies and Fortune 1000 firms. When he went to work for Laserfiche, Chan used his diversified Harvey Mudd engineering training to solve multidisciplinary problems. He’s providing other Mudders with an opportunity to do the same through Laserfiche’s summer internship program, which included five Harvey Mudd students in 2015. He makes sure it’s not busywork. “When we started the internships, I wanted people to work on meaningful projects. So our interns solve real problems.” The biggest problem, of course, is the need to find solutions for organizations awash in paper and to make sure products mesh with a sector that is constantly shifting. “The landscape changes so fast when you work in technology,” says Chan. “What you work at today will probably be obsolete in a few years. It’s like building sandcastles on the beach. You work hard, but when the tide comes in, the sandcastle is gone. “We have to come back and rebuild our products over and over,” he says. “So we really have to love what we do.”

1966 | Reunion Year


In addition to being named by AABOG as a 2016 Outstanding Alumnus, Steven Barker (physics) is the recipient of two other prestigious awards. He received the Harvey W. Weiley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Innovations and Applications of Monitoring, Perfusion, Oxygenation and Ventilation group. The Society for Technology in Anesthesia honored him with the 2016 J.S. “Nik” Gravenstein Award. Former chair of anesthesiology departments at UC Irvine and University of Arizona, Steve specializes in the integration of technology in anesthesia and education of those principles. He is chief science officer at Masimo Corporation, where he works to integrate advances in aeronautical engineering into medicine.

Justin Barnes (engineering) has left Fish &

1987 Penelope Gordon (engineering) is using over

two decades of product strategy, innovation management and services delivery experience and a lifelong passion for food production to start Nutriate, a company that sells healthy food and body care items for travelers. Kits can be shipped wherever the travelers are headed (currently U.S. destinations only), and 5 percent of each purchase goes to nonprofits (one of which is Harvey Mudd). nutriate.com

1988 Ray Grainger was featured in the March 23

PCMag.com article “Mavenlink’s Adventurous CEO Sets His Sights on the East.” The story chronicles the journey of the Harvey Mudd trustee and engineering graduate from Antarctica to Harvey Mudd to successful software company. bit.ly/GraingerPCmag

1996 | Reunion Year Matt Evans (physics), assistant professor at MIT,

spoke on campus April 26 about the first direct detection of gravitational waves, minute distortions in space-time caused by cataclysmic events far away in the universe. He described the source of the signal detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, the physics behind the detectors and prospects for the future of this emerging field.

Richardson and now works at Troutman Sanders LLP. Sarah Jacobson (engineering) was promoted to

the position of associate professor with tenure at Williams College. She teaches courses on microeconomics and environmental and resource economics, both at the undergraduate level and in the master’s program at Williams’ Center for Development Economics. She earned her M.A. and PhD in economics from Georgia State University.

2002 Jennifer Lindsay

(mathematics) continues to doggedly pursue a second career as a professional opera singer. She is relieved that three years of hard work have finally begun to pay off this year. In January, she was an award winner in the National Opera Association’s Vocal Competition, and last spring she was a resident artist at Opera Naples in Florida. In April, she made her debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella recital series, and over the summer she will be one of only 15 singers chosen from among several hundred applicants to participate in the Bel Canto Young Artist program at the Caramoor International Music Festival. More info at JenniferLindsayMusic.com.

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Prior to Cairn, Rob worked as an operations engineer at Lockheed Martin and spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Latin America. He enjoys backpacking, skiing, biking and paddle boarding with friends, his wife Betsey, and their Cairn terrier, Rocco. Darkest Night designer Jeremy Lennert (computer science) has created Hunt: The Unknown Quarry, a deductive combat game. “One player is secretly the monster, and their goal is to cripple all of the other players in order to escape the mansion. The other player—the human bounty hunter—must discover and kill the monster before they are hunted down by the creature.” According to his Quicksilver Software bio, Jeremy’s passion for game design “can be traced back to his earliest memory as a child: designing mazes at about five years old.”

2007 Amanda Hickman (chemistry) and Neil Schweitzer

welcomed their first child, Xander Neil HickmanSchweitzer, Sept. 20, 2015. On a mission to combine engineering and athletics, Scott Mahr (engineering) founded and is CEO of FORM Lifting. His team developed the FORM Collar, a smart device that measures barbell lifts to help improve both form and performance.


2003 Erin Koos (engineering), who attended high school

in Lebanon, Oregon, was inducted in the Lebanon High School Hall of Fame. After Harvey Mudd, she earned a master’s degree in aeronautics and a PhD in mechanical engineering, both at Caltech. Erin studies the structure and mechanical properties of suspensions at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. She plans on moving to Belgium in October.

2006 | Reunion Year In 2014, Rob Little (engineering) founded outdoor subscription box service Cairn, winner of the 2015 Oregon Entrepreneurs Network Entrepreneurship Award. The idea for Cairn was hatched while he and co-founder Jared Peterson were classmates at the

Logan Gordon (mathematics) and Adriana Kovashka POM ’08 were married May 30, 2015, at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mudders in attendance were James Osburn ’07, Michael Maindi ’07, John-Andrew Kouzelos ’07, Greg Sandstrom ’07, Max Pflueger ’07, Micah Lamdin ’07, Stephen Yu ’07 and Steven Von der Porten ’07. Also in attendance were Nikolay Nikolov POM ’08, Valerie Peterson-Brandt PZ ’07 and Greg Morse PZ ’07, as well as Slavi Slavov, a former associate professor of economics at Pomona.




“ I absolutely love research. ALUMNI PROFILE

Toward Aliveness Written by Stephanie L. Graham Photo by Michelle Montalbano

So when I found Somatic Experiencing and the NeuroAffective Relational Model, I knew I had found something really important.


lab at Princeton, missing her Harvey Mudd humanities and social sciences classes, wondering if she was doing the right thing. “It was an overwhelming thought at the time, because I’d been on this path since grade school,” says Gruber, who graduated from Mudd with a chemistry degree and was seeking a graduate degree in the field. “At the time, I actually considered jumping into psychology [her minor field], because I just wasn’t sure what I wanted.” But Gruber quelled the thought, went on to earn her master’s degree in chemistry and landed a great job at a well-funded startup doing cutting-edge drug discovery research in a fast-paced, energetic environment. She went on to work in the biotech industry—doing research, overseeing operations and then consulting—for more than a decade. But when she got a look inside of “big pharma,” that unsettled feeling returned. She decided it was time to do something that could affect people’s lives in a more immediate way. Time for a career, she says, that “fit the deeper me.” “I love science. I absolutely love research. So when I found Somatic Experiencing and the NeuroAffective Relational Model, I knew I had found something really important,” says Gruber. She returned to school and earned a master’s degree in psychology, became a Somatic Experiencing practitioner and trained in the NeuroAffective Relational Model. Somatic Experiencing psychobiological trauma resolution is considered a potent method for resolving trauma symptoms and relieving chronic stress. The method, developed and applied by Dr. Peter A. Levine, involves a multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices and medical biophysics. Gruber says that Levine developed Somatic Experiencing as a way for people to work through the fight-flight-freeze response in order to resolve



trauma. “We’re wired to survive. That is the body’s first priority. So when we experience a life threat, we go into fight, flight or freeze. This reaction is meant to be a time-limited process so that when the threat goes away, we get up and we shake it off. But there are many, many reasons why that survival energy instead gets stored in the body, and it ends up looking like chronic muscle tension or stress, including post-traumatic stress disorder.” Somatic Experiencing, along with Dr. Laurence Heller’s NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM), forms the basis of Gruber’s private practice. NARM emphasizes self-regulation and working in the present moment, and Heller defines it as a “resource-oriented, non-regressive model [that] emphasizes helping clients establish connection to the parts of self that are organized, coherent and functional.” According to Gruber, “Both modalities help people resolve trauma. I decided to get trained in both because I believe in the underlying theory behind them and also because they helped me tremendously in resolving my own remaining imprints from my upbringing,” says Gruber, an only child whose father suffered from mental illness. “Dr. Heller figured out that if we work with both the body and the belief around the importance of the relationships with our caregivers, we can unlock aliveness. The modality he created helps people feel confident and safe pursuing what they most love.” Gruber’s clients include individuals seeking healthier relationships or looking to advance in their careers. “I help them look at what’s in the way of them really experiencing their personal power and moving toward what they most want.” In her small office in Sebastopol, California, or via Skype, Gruber helps clients explore their feelings and track any experiences they’re having in their body, “so it’s not just ideas, because the

body has a lot to say about what’s going on.” It’s why she prefers not to have sessions by phone; face-to-face conversations help her track a client’s body language, note subtle shifts in pulse, breathing and posture, and include any observations in discussions. “The most important piece here is that we’re all physiologically wired to move toward aliveness. So I really encourage everyone to keep listening to that inner voice and trust that you can overcome any limitation you encounter and to find people who can help, because we’re out there,” Gruber says. Listening to her own inner voice ultimately helped Gruber find a fulfilling career. “I’ve had people ask me, ‘You got a degree in chemistry, what are you doing?’” Gruber says. “A Harvey Mudd education is so much bigger than that. It almost doesn’t matter what you major in. For me the more important aspect to the education has to do with critical thinking and the ability to communicate and express. It’s so clear to me how much I learned back then.” She’s now passing this knowledge, and what she’s learned since, along to others. “You don’t have to know what the outcome is going to look like or even the exact path. It’s just one foot in front of the other and trusting that basic aliveness.”

Wine lovers will enjoy the Feb. 18 Food & Wine article “12 Career-Changing Wines from Chicago’s Diana Hawkins” (bit.ly/DianaFW). Diana (engineering) left a career in technical sales in the manufacturing industry to become a sommelier. She’s now beverage director at Chicago’s Lula Café.

Harvey Mudd alumni recipients of National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships

2012 Renee Gittins (engineering) is CEO and creative director

of Stumbling Cat, a Seattle-based indie game studio that she founded two years ago. She’s developed a game called Potions: A Curious Tale, which follows a clever young witch on her path to master potion brewing. “I resolved to make a game that would highlight a young girl who earns her way through her struggles, not just by battles, but by her resourcefulness, creativity, wit and passion,” she says. Renee sits on the Seattle chapter board of IGDA (the International Game Developers Association), and she mentors students in programming and game development at Foundry10. She’s also a freelance journalist for the website Broken Joysticks, covering issues of diversity and equity within games and the industry. Renee was selected by the Diversity in Games Alliance for a scholarship to attend their Amplifying New Voices event and by Intel for a sponsorship to attend the prestigious D.I.C.E. Summit. Read the Feb. 26 VentureBeat article about Renee: bit.ly/VBReneeG.


Research Area of Study

Graduate School

Daniel Goodwin ’09


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Matthew McDermott ’14

Applied Mathematics

UC Berkeley

Peter Orme ’15

Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering

Vanderbilt University

Alexandra Schofield ’13

Natural Language Processing

Cornell University

Sophia Williams ’15

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Stanford University

Suzannah Beeler ’15

Systems and Molecular Biology

California Institute of Technology

Madison Hansen ’15

Evolutionary Biology

Richard Gilder Graduate School

Jaron Kent-Dobias ’14

Condensed Matter Physics

Cornell University

Mary May ’15


Harvard University

Natasha Parikh ’14

Cognitive Neuroscience

Duke University

Michelle Vick ’14

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cornell University

Nicole Wein ’15

Algorithms and Theoretical Foundations

Stanford University

Lauren Winkler ’14

Systems and Molecular Biology

Yale University

Honorable Mentions

Kevin Riley (computer science) has designed a board

game—“a cooperative deck-building game of postapocalyptic fantasy survival”—called Aeon’s End. He describes it as a cooperative game “that explores the deck-building genre with a number of innovative mechanisms, including a variable turn order system that simulates the chaos of an attack and deck management rules that invite careful planning of every discarded card.” Kevin, who has created eight projects for Action Phase Games, has developed several innovations in deckbuilding. More information at his Kickstarter: bit.ly/KR12Aeon. Kiley Sobel (individual program of studies), a PhD

candidate in Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington, spoke on campus in April. A National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, she’s interested in inclusive design, interaction design and children, child-computer interaction and assistive technology. She’s working on a project to investigate the role of interactive technology during inclusive play, or play between children with and without disabilities. Her outreach efforts include introducing high school students to the user-centered design process.

In Memoriam Irving Hawley ’64 (engineering) died on April 6 in his home town of Bellingham, Washington, after a month-long battle with adult respiratory distress syndrome. Irv was universally liked in the HMC community and active in support of the College through his personal gifts to the school and as manager of R & D at the Networks Measurements Division of Hewlett-Packard/Agilent. He arranged the donation of Hewlett-Packard equipment for the HMC engineering program and HP’s participation in the Clinic Program, and he facilitated the hiring of many HMC graduates into the company. Irv also served on the HMC Alumni Board and as an alumni trustee. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Joan, and the couple’s two children and four grandchildren. His family requests any donations in his honor be made to the Harvey Mudd College Class of 1964 Endowed Scholarship Fund, Office of Advancement, 301 Platt Blvd., Claremont, CA 91711, or online via hmc.edu/give.




Hall Pass

The notorious VW prank on Jan. 18, 1964, was merely a precursor to an even bigger one. As told by Gary Jahns ’66 and Charlie Brown ’66 Photos by Charlie Brown ’66


were a creative art form at Harvey Mudd, the kind of release to be expected from such an incredible concentration of brainpower, stress and loosely supervised youth. A true [prank] had to have a victim, and in the case of the VW in the East Dorm breezeway, the victim was Gary Jahns ’66, whom Terry Needham ’66 described as “a good sport and a very nice guy … also gullible, (with) a car that could move around in mysterious ways.” gary: It was a Friday or Saturday night in my sophomore year, and I had a date. After having dinner (or going to a movie, or bowling, I don’t really remember), we went back to my dorm room in East Hall. We were having a terrific philosophical discussion when my phone rang. The caller was another East resident (I wish I could remember who), and he said, “I thought you’d like to know that your car just went by my room.” After making sure my date had a relevant philosophy book to keep her occupied, I streaked down the stairs and found that the gang in the famous photo had rolled my 1954 VW bug from the parking lot to the breezeway (don’t ask me how). Apparently, they decided that when I had a woman in my room was a great time to re-park my car. They wanted to eventually embarrass me in front of my date, but the phone call thwarted their plans. I don’t remember how I was able to get in the car, but I did. Charlie Brown took the picture, and then I gunned the car forward, out of the breezeway and down the lawn to the driveway. charlie: I think this [prank] came about due to the first law of thermodynamics (or was it the second, or the nth?—I could never get them straight), where objects just need to settle into their natural resting positions. (Or was it increase or decrease their entropy or enthalpy? This King James stuff is still confusing to me.) Translating into basic English, the VW just needed to come to rest in that precise, immovable position in that hallway to be at peace with the world.



So some of us helped speed up that physical reaction. Anyway, I am innocent, as I was never the instigator of any of the pranks that occurred during our occupancy. I was only along to photograph what happened (although I may have offered a few suggestions). I would look to Dennis [Rich ’66] or Wolfgang [Pflaum ’66] as the usual ones who excelled in creating unique solutions to difficult problems.

The issue of how to get the VW into the hallway was simple—just drive it in (there was just enough clearance to do so). But how does the driver get out, as there is not any clearance to open the door? Turns out this VW had a roof hatch that fully opened, and the driver could easily get out and slide the hatch closed. But then Gary (the owner), if he examined the situation in enough depth, would discover that he could simply slide the hatch open, get in and drive out. Not good. We needed a way to drive in, get out and lock the car securely. The intuitively obvious solution as I remember was that we somehow “borrowed” Gary’s keys, drove the car most of the way into the hallway up to the door (or possibly just took the car out of gear and pushed it all the way to the hallway), then the driver set the brake, got out and locked the car. Finally, since VWs were fairly light, we enlisted several other helpers to lift the car and carry it fully into the hallway. Even though Gary had his keys, there was no way he could get inside the car to start and move it. After much pondering, Gary was able to find others to carry the car to safety! By the way, this same group placed the same VW into the tree planter area of Platt Center. And stole the dean’s door. The only reason this group took such actions was due to the motivation speech we as freshmen received during Orientation week in the dining hall at Claremont Men’s. The spokesman (maybe [Dean of Students Eugene] Hotchkiss) told us about [pranks] and to think of creative things to do that were original, reversible and not harmful—such as his example of stealing the town’s barber pole. We later applied that principle to stealing the dean’s door, for which we were charged with “conduct unbecoming a Harvey Mudd gentleman.” And for which we were found “not guilty” (of course) by the Student Judiciary Board.

Dennis Rich ’66, Gary Jahns ’66 and Wolfgang Pflaum '66 pose with the elusive VW.

You’ll find more on the dean’s door prank (officially called “The Open Door Policy”), including a slew of incriminating photos, on the magazine website, magazine.hmc.edu.

Physics research with Professor Greg Lyzenga ’75

Biology research with Professor Jae Hur

Alumni Help Amplify an Important Area: Summer Research

While experiential learning comes in many forms at Harvey Mudd, it finds its locus in the research opportunities our students undertake with faculty during summer. Opportunities occur across all departments and involve nearly 200 students working directly with faculty on current, relevant research. However, because grant funding for faculty/student research fluctuates, being able to offer opportunities for all interested and capable students has been challenging. That’s why a top fundraising priority for The Campaign for Harvey Mudd College is to increase permanent funding for the Summer Research Program. Thankfully, our alumni know firsthand the value of these experiences and have chosen to invest in this powerful element of a Harvey Mudd education. As an example, two current trustees of the College, Mike Angiulo ’93 and Michael Schubmehl ’02, each generously created permanent, named endowments that provide perpetual support to students and faculty engaged in the College’s Summer Research Program. In 2015, engineering alumnus Mike Angiulo and his wife, Sarah, established the Angiulo Family Summer Research Endowment, used annually to support experiential learning for Harvey Mudd students engaging in summer research. A 23-year veteran of Microsoft who started as an intern, Angiulo has held numerous executive roles and is currently the corporate vice president, Microsoft Office. He says early research opportunities like the ones provided through the Angiulo Endowment

instill a versatile approach to problem solving— something that enabled his own career. “Part of the Mudd magic is nurturing a generation of scientists and engineers within the context of the humanities and the practical world,” says Angiulo. “That’s what makes Mudders so impactful. Experiences like summer research are essential to developing leaders who understand both the ‘how’ of research and why it matters. This experiential learning shouldn’t have to end in the spring.” Michael Schubmehl ’02 and his wife, Stephanie, created the Tom Donnelly Summer Experiential Learning Fund to provide a new generation of students with opportunities to tackle and solve open problems early in their academic careers. The fund is named in honor of physics Professor Tom Donnelly, in whose lab Schubmehl worked to produce and measure micron-scale water droplets for use in laser fusion experiments. It’s a surprisingly common background for researchers at Jump Trading, where Schubmehl now develops quantitative trading strategies. He has worked to strengthen Mudd’s relationship with the industry by serving as a Clinic liaison, delivering guest lectures and recruiting on campus, focusing especially on students with research experience. “The challenges of research go beyond hard problem sets and exams,” says Schubmehl. “Leaders in academia and industry have to ask good questions and work with colleagues to find

ways to answer them. They test their ideas against reality, refine them and present clear results to their peers. Summer research offers Mudd students an exceptional chance to hone those skills early and showcase them for employers and grad schools.” Experiential learning is in our DNA. Thanks to generous support from many individuals, foundations and corporations, summer research will continue to be a cornerstone of the Harvey Mudd experience. And with additional permanent funding—like that provided by our alumni—we can help guarantee that opportunities for summer research continue. To find out how you can personally invest in the future of experiential learning at Harvey Mudd College, contact Dan Macaluso, vice president for advancement, at 909.621.8335 or dan_macaluso@hmc.edu.

is on a mission


The world needs Harvey Mudd. And Harvey Mudd needs you. hmc.edu/campaign/how-to-give/annual-mudd-fundd

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

The night sky looms large over Kilometre 15, a protest site and blockade against the proposed Baram Dam in Borneo, Malaysia. A multidisciplinary group of students and faculty members from The Claremont Colleges (EnviroLab Asia Fellows) traveled there in January to learn how government policies have impacted the natural landscape and the indigenous communities. Engineering student Fernando Salud ’17 says the trip opened his eyes to the many complexities involved in solving environmental issues through engineering. Read more on page 14.

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