Friday, February 5, 2016

#ILookLikeAnEngineer: Paul Epperson

Meet the next student with our campaign who hopes the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer will inspire peace of mind and positive change.

Name: Paul Epperson
Major: Computer Science
Graduation Date: June 2018




Why did you choose engineering at UC San Diego?
I chose engineering at UC San Diego because I wanted to be able to make real things. As someone with an interest in computer science, I had a desire to be able to design and create practical code that would provide useful solutions to applicable problems.


What are your career goals?
My career goals are to help design and implement software solutions for hard, science-based problems. The closer to outer space and robots, the better.


Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
"As I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown . . . I sort of realize there’s a fundamental truth to our nature: Man must explore . . . and this is exploration at its greatest." - Dave Scott, becoming the 7th person to step on the moon.




What are three things that are unique about you?
I actively study calculus and linear algebra because I find the subjects really enjoyable. I fantasize about controlling robot swarms in space. I composed and improvise on some of my own musical piano themes.


What does this campaign mean to you?
I appreciate efforts by groups of people to shift social perspectives away from otherwise inordinate stereotypes. I support actions to better define what it means to be a certain individual in a world where there are many distinct definitions, accurate or inaccurate. Hopefully this gives a wide spread of people peace of mind, confidence and inner strength to enact positive change.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Still connected after all these years

When he doesn't bodysurf, S. Gill Williamson focuses on providing free educational materials for CSE 20 and CSE 21. The former chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, now in his 70s and an emeritus, was profiled in This Week @ UC San Diego as part of a feature about faculty members who have been connected to the campus for 50 years or more.

Williamson joined UC San Diego as a professor of mathematics in 1965 and then became the chair of the computer science department in 1991.  He retired in 2004.

Here are some of the things he had to say:

On why he decided to provide free educational materials:

 “From 1965 to 1991, I was a mathematics professor. I taught many calculus classes large and small during this period. In 1991, I transferred to Computer Science and Engineering—so my calculus teaching days were over. But in cleaning out files I came across handouts that I used to give to students who wanted to tutor for my integral calculus classes. I had fun rereading this ‘tutors’ guide,’ so I decided to bring it up to date with respect to online resources now regularly used by students.”

On why he stayed at UC San Diego for so long:

“The main change in higher education for me,” said Gill Williamson, “was the increasing number of students in my classes and less opportunity to talk with them personally about the subjects I was teaching. A student can ace every exam but, under questioning in person, show little imagination or curiosity. This important type of information about students was missing for me in later years.”
On being chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering:

"Although I had had little experience in administrative work, the change worked out well for me. CSE had hired many talented young people who were willing to tell me about their research. I learned a lot from them. Also, CSE had an excellent and talented staff.”

On higher education and research:

“The main change in higher education for me,” said Gill Williamson, “was the increasing number of students in my classes and less opportunity to talk with them personally about the subjects I was teaching. A student can ace every exam but, under questioning in person, show little imagination or curiosity. This important type of information about students was missing for me in later years.”
Read the full story here

Monday, February 1, 2016

Product that Jacobs School seniors helped design set to hit store shelves

San Diego entrepreneur Karen Kart, in the facility where her tantrum-proof plate is being manufactured.


A tantrum-proof plate for toddlers that Jacobs School students helped design and develop is now being manufactured and is set to hit store shelves in April. The plate, named Adi, is the brainchild of San Diego attorney and entrepreneur Karen Kart. 

Kart reached out to Teaching Professor Nate Delson first in 2009 and then again in 2012. Delson assigned teams of seniors to work with Kart both times. The four students who worked with her in 2009 now have their name on a patent for the plate’s suction base and quick-release tab technology. 

The 2012 team worked on a retail-ready prototype. Students tried various versions of a lid design before landing on one that would stay put. In all, Adi went through 11 rounds of 3D-printed prototypes.
In addition to staying put while a toddler throws a tantrum, the Adi plate is also equipped with a quick-release tab that’s toddler-proof but easy to use for any adult.  The plate has three different food compartments and a snap-on lid for adventures. The Adi plate is BPA-free, phthalate-free and PVC-free; made from safe materials that have been FDA-approved for use by young children; and will be manufactured in the United States.

For more info on the Adi page: http://www.prodigikids.com/

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#ILookLikeAnEngineer: Elsie Varela

Meet our next student Elsie, who refers to herself as a "social-justice oriented, tree-hugging, feminist engineer."

Name: Elsie Varela
Major: Environmental Engineering
Estimated graduation date: June 2017




Why did you choose engineering at UC San Diego?
I chose engineering at UC San Diego because I had been familiar with its engineering focus -  how it offered various opportunities for engineers, including research and internships. It was also one of the few schools that had Environmental Engineering, so I knew it would be a good choice for me.


What are your career goals?
I don't know exactly how, but I want my work to connect environmental engineering to public health and to bring light to the idea that the poorest people are disproportionately affected by environmental issues. I also want to center my career on ending disparities of minorities in engineering and higher education in general, particularly women, and women of color.





Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
One of my favorites is, "If I can ease one life the aching or cool one pain...I shall not live in vain."


What are some things that are unique about you?
1. I am a social-justice oriented, tree-hugging, feminist engineer.
2. 20 and can't drive.
3. I interned at a law firm when I was 15.


What does this campaign mean to you?
I’d always heard the negative statistics about minorities in higher education and women in engineering, but I didn't fully understand until I got to college. Feeling out of place in engineering orientation as a woman, and then even more so as a Latina, set the tone for how I continuously feel as an engineering major at UC San Diego. It is a constant internal battle to be a double minority - feeling like I don’t belong, feeling like I’m not smart enough, feeling unheard and afraid to ask questions for the fear of proving right the negative stereotypes about both my race and my gender. This campaign means that my experiences and those of other minorities are being recognized and valued. It means that I am not the only one that feels this way and it gives me a greater sense of belonging on this campus.

Friday, January 22, 2016

#ILookLikeAnEngineer: Akanksha Kevalramani

Here is the next profile of our campaign! Akanksha is an international student at UC San Diego, with a focus on coding and a passion for equal representation STEM.


Name: Akanksha Kevalramani
Major: Computer Science
Estimated graduation date: June, 2018



Why did you choose engineering at UC San Diego?
I chose engineering at UC San Diego because I was really impressed by how far this university had come in such a short time, and I could see this university growing a lot in the years to come in terms of education, infrastructure and research opportunities. Other factors that mattered to me and impressed me were the attitude and enthusiasm of the student body, the living conditions, the location and the weather.


What are your career goals?
I want to be involved in something that really makes a difference in the field of Computer Science, and in the process of doing that, I'd also love to be able to affect the way women are represented in STEM fields.


Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
This is a tough question because there are so many, but out of hundreds of quotes that I like and also believe in, one of my favorites is ‘Live & Let Live.’





What are three things that make you your own individual?
  1. I'm always the quiet one in the group who's usually listening and observing.
  2. I'm kind of a perfectionist and always prefer having things done my way.
  3. I try my best to not be hesitant and to stand up for any unfair treatment I see around me.


What does this campaign mean to you?
I've been really lucky to be surrounded by people who've always supported and believed in me, but I've seen so many people being told what they can and cannot do based on their gender, body shape, skin color and race, among other things. I truly believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to prove that there’s more than what meets the eye. I believe that no one should be judged or mistreated based on another’s assumptions. I believe this campaign is an excellent way to raise awareness about that, and the fact that people here care about things like these makes me even more proud of UC San Diego.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nanoengineers win $1 million grant to develop wearables that decontaminate chem-bio agents from skin

Nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang, lead PI
Nanoengineering professor Liangfang Zhang, co-PI
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency has awarded a $1 million grant to researchers at the Jacobs School to develop new skin-wearable systems that can rapidly and efficiently detect and remove chemical and biological agents.

The proposed wearable epidermal sensors will also be equipped with therapeutic agents that are released upon detection of the chemical and biological threats.

The project, led by nanoengineering professors Joseph Wang (director of the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors) and Liangfang Zhang (faculty affiliate of the UC San Diego Institute of Engineering in Medicine), is titled "Responsive Skin-Worn Detection-Treatment System." The new research aims to provide better understanding of how chem-bio agents interact with skin tissues and builds upon recent advances from Wang and Zhang's laboratories, including epidermal electrochemical biosensors (Wang Lab) and responsive drug delivery systems (Zhang Lab).

Friday, January 15, 2016

#ILookLikeAnEngineer: Michael Benjamin

Meet Michael Benjamin, a junior studying chemical engineering who believes we should never fear failure!

Name: Michael Benjamin
Major: Chemical Engineering
Graduation Date: June 2017




Why did you choose engineering at UC San Diego?
As a young individual, fresh out of high school, I was attracted to the prestige that UC San Diego carries, as well as the hunger to learn that the student population has.


What are your career goals?
My major is Chemical Engineering and I plan to work in the oil industry as soon as I graduate - after I've held an internship with a notable company that helps me challenge myself. While working, I would like to pursue a master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering.



Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
"There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."
- The Alchemist
What are three things that are unique about you?
My ability to know that failure is merely a state of mind, my confidence, and my hairstyle.






What does this campaign mean to you?
This campaign represents a voice that often goes unheard. It is breaking the boundaries of the stereotypes about what it means to be an engineer. More minorities are challenging themselves and becoming engineers, so we are already observing a paradigm shift from past times. This campaign aims to empower women, minorities and any group of individuals that encounter an obstacle such as the glass ceiling that serves as a hindrance to the path towards success. Ultimately, the campaign tells the stories of those specific individuals in the engineering community.