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Photo by Erik Jepsen


I | Winter 2018 Newsletter

C o n t e n ts : 01

Jacobs Graduate Student Council


ACES Program


Diversity Award


Graduate Spotlight


Society of Women Engineers


Scholarship Spotlight


Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers


National Society of Black Engineers

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JGSC Jacobs Graduate Student Council By: Sinai Cota Winter was a successful quarter for JGSC. One great networking addition included Coffee Chats, where student leaders hosted industry, alumni and entrepreneurs and gave them the opportunity to network with Jacobs School of Engineering graduate students. Participation far exceeded expectations from one event to the next and left students wanting more! Research Talks also gave many students the opportunity to network with each other & practice and present their research to a captive audience. Continuing to support graduate research, JGSC has been awarding one student each month for outstanding research efforts in their field of study. We hope to keep supporting students and connecting communities across the Jacobs School of Engineering.

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Diversity Award

Our own Gennie Miranda, Director of Operations at the IDEA Engineering Student Center, was recognized with the 2017 UC San Diego Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award at a ceremony held on Thursday, March 1, 2018. The Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award recognizes faculty, staff, students, departments, and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in support of UC San Diego's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. As a University-Wide Individual Recipient, Gennie was celebrated for her work since the inception of the IDEA Center in 2010 to significantly improve and expand existing programs and services to better serve our engineering students from underrepresented groups. Under her guidance, we have made great strides at the Jacobs School of Engineering in increasing the representation of students from historically underrepresented groups and/or who are first generation, ensuring that we cultivate a sense of belonging within the Jacobs School, and that students have the academic preparation and support that they need to graduate with an engineering degree.

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Society of Women Engineers By: Leah Guenter, SWE President The Society of Women Engineers held their annual outreach event, Envision, this quarter. Over 120 high school students attended this year where they learned what it is like to be an engineer and participated in hands on activities. These activities ranged from biology to computer science to structural engineering, and utilized labs and makerspaces on campus. Both faculty and students held panels discussing the experience of women in STEM and college. Parents also participated in a program focusing on avoiding bias and supporting their students on their transition to college. Student organizations from across campus were invited to participate in a project fair to show the exciting opportunities at UC San Diego. SWE also held socials to meet new friends and create a network for women in STEM. QBBQ was a joint social with oSTEM and SWE where members from both groups gathered to eat and network.

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Society of Hispanic Professional

Engineers By: Skye Edwards, SHPE Tech Chair SHPE UCSD’s 3rd Annual Rising Engineers Advance Challenge, REACh, finished another successful competition in the last week of January 2018. 30 young engineers, split amongst 5 companies, competed to create their own new company, to create a solution to the REACh challenge, and to pitch their projects to “potential buyers” within 24 hours. The REACh challenge this year called for the engineers to develop a small scaled device to begin the cleaning of our oceans. The focus was on large waste items, such as plastic bottles, wrappers, and other plastic waste, and the competitors were asked to focus on the problem areas such as the Pacific Garbage patch. Google’s team, Clean Green, was able to successfully create a working prototype to combat the challenge of water pollution in our oceans. Clean Green implemented Google’s API and a Raspberry Pi camera to determine the difference between abiotic and biotic objects as well as having a flight response if it neared a biotic object. The premise of REACH is to integrate multiple disciplines into the overall challenge. The competition is increasing popularity, not only within UCSD, but also other neighboring colleges. All together the students, company representatives, and UCSD faculty members, made REACh 2018 another memorable hard-hack.

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National Society of Black Engineers By: Sergill Johnson, NSBE President

The NSBE 44th National Convention was hosted in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and this was some members first experience attending such a convention. The agenda was packed full of events for students of all ages: grad, undergrad, down to the high school through elementary levels. Professionals gave information about technical skills such as computer programing and career development series’. John Kim, the CEO of HomeAway app gave the audience a phenomenal speech about the impending state of science and technology and its impact on entrepreneurships and imagination. Entrepreneurs fresh out of their undergrad were able to showcase their up and coming companies. The collegiate chapter is out to spread the national mission so the spring quarter will be host to start up presentations and grad student panels. What students did was redefine our mission: to create academically excellent, professionally successful, and culturally aware black engineers at UCSD.

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Faculty Mentoring By: Jessica Baldis

Student-faculty connections foster positive learning outcomes and a cornerstone of the Academic Community for Engineering Success (ACES) Scholars Program is faculty mentorship. Twenty-two ACES Scholars were paired with faculty mentors in Fall and have been meeting with their mentors throughout the year.

sessions with Dr Cosman. She offers a lot of helpful advice about what I should be doing in college … In the fall quarter, I really struggled with ECE 15. When I talked about it with Dr. Cosman she immediately referred me to a person who could help explain the concepts in that class.” Monserrat goes on to say that, “My experience with Dr. Cosman has been a very supportive one because she is a person Dr. Pam Cosman, a professor in the Electrical and who really cares about my success here at UCSD.” Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and ACES faculty mentor explains that faculty mentor- We asked Dr. Cosman what one piece of advice ship is important for engineering students because she would give all freshman-engineering students. “Sometimes students don't know what types of jobs She said, “Engineering material keeps on buildcan follow from a particular course of engineering ing upon earlier math and engineering material, study, or which classes are useful for a particular so it's super important to not over-do things at the sub-field, or how certain activities might be valued start with too many classes or too many activities. by employers or by grad schools. So getting the per- Put in a lot of time to understand things fully and spective of a faculty member is really useful, in ad- build a solid foundation for what comes later.” dition to getting advice from more senior students.” Dr. Cosman mentors first year engineering students Monserrat Martinez and Tai Truong. We asked Monserrat and Tai what it was like having a faculty mentor. Tai explains, “I really enjoy my mentoring

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Luis Calle is mentored by Dr. Antonio Sanchez from the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department. Here is Luis’ perspective: What has your experience with your faculty mentor been like? At first, I felt very intimidated because I had never sat down with a professor and just talked one-to-one. I was surprised to see how interested Dr. Sanchez was about me and in the things I was doing in and out of class. It showed me that professors are regular people with interests as wide as their level of expertise.

What is the most useful piece of advice Dr. Sanchez has given you? That learning doesn't stop when you finish a class, especially when it comes to engineering. Dr. Sanchez showed how he uses concepts learned in math and physics classes, such as differential equations and thermodynamics, almost every day in his line of work. Because of this, I have put in a lot more effort into my STEM classes ‌ It not only made me realize the importance of what I learn but also the cool ways things can be applied.

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Dr. Tara Hutchinson mentors first year Structural Engineering students and ACES Scholars, Selena Nichols and Armando Godoy-Velasquez. We asked them to tell us about their experience, and here’s what they had to say:

Experience: Professor Hutchinson asked us to join her research team so that we could gain new skills and become more involved in the engineering community. The research that we participate in involves analyzing cripple walls for existing and retrofitted homes in California.

Experience: Having a faculty mentor like Professor Hutchinson has given me real-world engineering experience in research as a freshman. I get to take a break from constant studying and perform hands-on tasks in the lab so that I can physically see what I already learned about in class ‌ applied in a real-life situation.

Advice: The best advice that Professor Hutchinson has given to me is ‌ how important it is to work as a team. I find this piece of advice especially useful because construction and operation only goes well if there is constant communication between all of the people on the team.

Advice: Faculty mentorship is a great way for beginning engineers to get involved in projects or other activities that they would not normally have the opportunity to be a part of. I am thankful for the ACES Program's commitment to helping students and giving us a support system to utilize.

-Selena Nichols

-Armando Godoy

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Keyur Karandikar recently defended his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in UC San Diego. Keyur studied material processing and characterization of oxide ceramics for nuclear applications for his doctoral research study. Keyur has nine years of formal educational experience via undergraduate and graduate degrees related to mechanical engineering, material science, and manufacturing. Keyur has also interned at multiple electronic companies namely, Lumileds LLC (San Jose) and Waterfi LLC (San Diego) where he gained valuable professional experience working in start-up and; large-scale corporations. He has worked on varied materials like LED/ Phosphor, silicone/polymers, ceramics, metals, and composites. Keyur was also a part of a team of in-

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structors that created and taught a freshman course of ENG10: Fundamentals of Engineering Applications throught the academic year, as well as part of the IDEA Engineering Student Center’s Summer Engineering Institute. Keyur has also obtained vast leadership experience as a TA for seven different graduate/undergraduate courses related to areas of material science, design, electronics, and mathematics. He possesses strong leadership, communication, and entrepreneurship experience along with achieving multiple collaborations among the scientific and industrial community. Keyur is also professional table tennis player having played for UC San Diego at 2012 NCAA national championships in Rockford, Indiana. Keyur currently resides in San Jose, CA.


David P. Larson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California San Diego. His research focuses on enabling increased integration of intermittent renewable resources, e.g., solar, into the electric grid through the development of novel forecasting methods. While completing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California Merced, he was a University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) scholar and spent time as a visiting scholar at the University of California Berkeley through the Cal NERDS program. During his time at UC San Diego, David has regularly served as a research mentor to undergraduate and high school students through programs such as UC LEADS, the Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS), and the Mentor Assis-

By: Michelle Ferrez

tance Program (MAP). He has also contributed to outreach and diversity initiatives through the Center for Energy Research (CER) and the Inclusion Diversity Excellence Achievement (IDEA) Engineering Student Center. In recent years, he helped spearhead the development of a set of hands-on technical workshops and a new freshmen engineering design course (ENG 10: Fundamentals of Engineering Applications), both aimed at better preparing students for success within and outside UC San Diego. David was also selected to be a member of the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society for 2018, which recognizes doctoral students who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in academia.

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Scholarship Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Award In Fall 2017, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) provided 9 student awards at $1,500 for exceptional undergraduate engineering students at the Jacobs School. A faculty committee selected 9 engineering students from 34 applicants who demonstrated passion for learning and giving back to their communities through service and/or leadership for this award.

“My name is Allison Furmidge, I’m a 2nd year undergraduate in Bioengineering. Receiving the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Award was very special for me because I have heard some of the great projects LLNL has been working on and has accomplished since my older brother has been working there. LLNL has such incredibly intelligent engineers and scientists working on the newest advancements for the Department of Energy, and it would be a privilege for me to work there. I hope to use this award to optimize my education experience by taking the time to learn a greater depth of the field of Bioengineering, so that I may be able to grow in knowledge and prepare for my future work in biotechnology or biomechanics.” - Allison Furmidge

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Spotlight Award Recipients Zachary Gavin

Chemical Engineering

Allison Furmidge


Payal Singh*

Electrical Engineering

Lydia Chou*

Environmental Engineering

Jed Tadios

Aerospace Engineering

Tori Lazerson*


Emily Moreno


Anne Cardenas*


Bryn Henning

Mechanical Engineering

* Also offered a summer internsthip from LNLL

By: Gennie Miranda

“I am extremely grateful and excited to have received this award from LLNL. Thanks to the scholarship, I will also be interning this summer at the laboratory for 10 weeks and I hope to learn a lot and apply my skills to real world projects. I can't thank them enough for choosing me to be a recipient of this scholarship.” - Payal Singh

“I am so grateful for this scholarship! It makes me happy to know that such a prestigious research facility recognizes the accomplishments of the Diversity Organizations' students." - Bryn Henning

“I am honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scholarship! Receiving this award from a national research laboratory means a lot to me as a student researcher. I’ve been involved in research since my freshman year and because of my positive experience and ongoing excitement in a research environment, I have chosen to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering starting this Fall. The award has served as further motivation to continue this journey and for that I’m grateful." - Emily Moreno

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Give to the IDEA Engineering Student Center Visit for more information


IDEA Engineering Student Center UC San Diego 9500 Gilman Drive #0429 La Jolla, CA 92093 Phone: (858) 534-6105 Email:

Winter 2018 Newsletter  

Read about the latest IDEA Engineering Student Center updates!

Winter 2018 Newsletter  

Read about the latest IDEA Engineering Student Center updates!