Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#ILookLikeAnEngineer: Emily Goble

The next featured student in our campaign is a young woman who is highly involved at UC San Diego. With her sorority Alpha Omicron Pi, internship, classes and positions as Engineering Senator on A.S. Council as well as VP External of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), she proves how engineers are not stereotypical anti-social hermits who cannot stop studying.

This is Emily, a junior bioengineering major at the UC San Diego Jacobs School.

Name: Emily Goble
Major: Bioengineering: Bioengineering
Estimated graduation date: June 2017

Why did you choose engineering at UC San Diego?
I chose UC San Diego for a variety of reasons: first, a nationally-ranked engineering program, a beautiful campus in a city I've always wanted to live in, and a large, diverse environment full of opportunities and challenges that I believe have already made me grow as a person.

What are your career goals?
For the longest time, I was determined to become a doctor. While my interests have shifted from medical school to mastering the art of engineering and design, I still want to pursue a career in improving global health and the medical industry. I am currently interning for a global biotechnology company and have found great joy in my work there. It is mentally stimulating, as well as personally meaningful and fulfilling.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
One of my favorite sayings is "bloom where you are planted." I believe that positivity, commitment to constant personal improvement, and perseverance are the most crucial mindsets a person can have.

What are three things about you that make you an individual?
I'm pretty ordinary, but I have some unique interests. I love hiking, skateboarding and making circuit boards. Also, physics is my favorite subject and I really enjoy Taco Tuesday.

What does this campaign mean to you?
This campaign underscores the importance of creating a tolerant, respectful and informed society. No one should ever be made to feel like they can't be successful in a career path because of their gender, race, appearance, sexual orientation or any other part of themselves. Reinforcing stereotypes and stigmas discourages, oppresses, and limits people and their abilities. This campaign draws attention to this fact and will hopefully reduce the use of diminishing language and actions in our society, especially in schools and workplaces.

Friday, November 20, 2015

MiPosaur robot gets to meet Spiderman creator Stan Lee

MiPosaur, a robot created by toymaker WowWee in collaboration with the UCSD Robotics group got to spend some quality time with the Real Stan Lee, creator of Spiderman and many, many other heroes from the Marvel universe.

Lee featured the robot on his blog,

We're quoting here:

The MiPosaur is a highly intelligent robotic creature with an incredible, evolving intelligence and personality. It can sense its own surroundings and environment, and Interact with them in a unique and lifelike way. MiPosaur comes with an interactive TrackBall equipped with BeaconSense™ technology; with it, the MiPosaur can chase the trackball, play with it, "smell" it like food, go for a walk, as well as alter its moods depending on the various interactions.  The MiPosaur is fully interactive with the WowWee MIP™ robot and a BLE enabled app, compatible with both iOS and Androidsmart devices, and features additional activities and games.
You can see MiPosaur in action here:

UC San Diego team takes 4th place in regional programming competition

A team of UC San Diego computer science students tied with seven other campuses for first place in the 2015 ACM Southern California Regional Programming Contest on Nov. 14.

The tie was finally resolved based on the time it took to solve problems, with the UC San Diego team landing in fourth place, after Caltech, USC and UCLA. Fourth-ranked UC San Diego Team "Phuket" comprised of Juliati Alafate, Chicheng  Zhang and Lifan Wu.

Hat tip to graduate student coaches Igors Stepanovs and Yuliang Li, as well as faculty coach Michael Taylor.

In all, UC San Diego fielded four teams during the competition. The other three teams placed 14th, 15th and 19th out of 89 teams that took place in the competition. Members of the other three teams were:

Karan Wadhera
Jason Wu
Timothy Wang

Archana Radhakrishna
Darshan Patil
Ujjwal Gulecha

Huayin Zhou
Galen Krulce
Huajie Wu

Yeyao Tao
Junxi Li
Zhiwei Jia
Sung Rim Huh

More info:
Team website:
For final standings, go to:

UC San Diego Robotics organization to compete in new season of BattleBots

We sat down with the founders of Triton Competitive Robotics (TCR), mechanical engineering major Jeffrey Wang and Mahaela Johnson to discuss their student organization.

Q: Tell us about your organization in your own words:
M: Triton Competitive Robotics provides resources to students interested in building robots to enter into competitions. Students can pitch their idea for a competition to enter and then TCR will put together a team of students to work on a robot for the competition as well as provide workshops and funding.
J: Our mission really is to build and strengthen the robotics community here by making sure there’s nothing stopping someone that wants to pursue a robotics project. We’re working hard to make sure everyone has access to resources that will help them - and one way to do this is by collaborating with other organizations. For example, samcad, a student org that focuses on 3D modeling, just put on a very successful SOLIDWORKS workshop for us.

Q: Why did you decide to start this organization?
J: I remember attending an orientation freshman year and talking with someone about the lack of robotics student orgs on campus. I’ve since discovered them (IEEE does great work, for example,) but none of them really focused on the projects I wanted to pursue. Our goal is to fill that gap.
M: I was at home watching BattleBots and I thought, UCSD has an amazing engineering program and we’re more than capable of creating our own Battlebot; we should do this. Since then, the scope of our organization's interests has expanded to all robotics competitions.

Q: What projects is your organization working on right now?
M: We currently have two projects. One is a 3 lb autonomous fighting robot that we plan on entering into next year’s Robogames competition. Our other project is our BattleBots team which is being led by Jeffrey.

Q: How can interested students get involved?
J: All of our project meetings are open to the public (you can find the times/locations on Facebook or by emailing us.) Currently, all positions are filled for the two projects but as we start building we would potentially need more team members. Keep in mind that if you and some friends have a different competition you’re passionate about, we can help you compete!

Q: Contact info?
M: Find us on Facebook! or email either of us at and

Interested in sponsoring or mentoring? Send an email to

Bioengineering undergraduate researcher receives award from diversity organization

Gladys Ornelas, a bioengineering major at the Jacobs School, has received an award for her outstanding research from the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.

Ornelas works in the research group of bioengineering professor Todd Coleman and has described some of her work in the video embedded below. She was selected for the award from nearly 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students who presented at the organization's conference Oct. 29 to Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.

Martin Arreola, who studies neuroscience at UC San Diego was also recognized.

#ILookLikeAnEngineer: Selina Valladolid

We are continuing with our #ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign with a student who continually fights stereotypes in engineering and is extremely passionate about progressing towards an equal field.

Meet Selina Valladolid, the president of the Society of Women Engineers.

Name: Selina Valladolid
Major: Physics (recently switched out of NanoEngineering)
Estimated graduation date: June 2017

Why did you choose engineering at UC San Diego?
My family is from the area. My mom went here, my dad went here. I wanted to go to Boston, but after attending Triton Day, I was like, “I could see myself here.” It hit home with me. It fit, unlike any other campus I had visited.

As for engineering and sciences, I actually took some engineering classes in high school. The engineering teacher taught my biology class, and he was always going on about the engineering projects they were doing. And I thought, “That’s rad.” I took part in the engineering club that year and then took the class. I just kind of stuck with it for all four years after that.

Why did you decide to switch from nanoengineering to physics?
So I realized over the summer that my passion truly lies in space and in the cosmos. I have always loved physics and I came to the conclusion that pursuing my undergraduate degree in physics, and perhaps focusing on engineering in graduate school, would simply be the best option for me.

What are your career goals?
I’m definitely leaning towards research right now. I’m set on going to graduate school, and my ultimate dream is to work for NASA or SpaceX. If there was ever a time I had the opportunity to go to Mars or the moon, I’d probably be down, but that isn’t my ultimate goal. What interests me is the stuff that we’re not going to reach in our lifetime, like the black holes, the supernovas, the star clusters. The really hard, deep outer space.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
I actually have a wall that I put sticky notes on. The first one is probably the most common: “Well-behaved women are never remembered in history.” I always really liked this. We have to step out of the boxes in which we’re often placed.  

What are three things about you that make you an individual?

1. I tend to be very opinionated, especially when it comes to women and any minority underrepresented minority. I am a woman, and I am Hispanic. I have a seven year old sister, and I never want her to think that she can’t do something because she isn’t a male.

2. I see myself as very independent.

3. I love to travel, read, and play sports. My very first trip was in sixth grade to northern Ireland. When I turned fifteen, instead of having a quincenera, I asked my dad to take me on a trip, so I got to go to Paris.

What does this campaign mean to you?
I love it, primarily because I remember how it started. I remember seeing all this backlash against the ad - “Get somebody that looks like an engineer,” comments read. I think the campaign is a great thing, and I hope it will teach people that being an engineer has nothing to do with gender, sexuality, race or anything.

Specifically, the campaign at UC San Diego?
As much as I want as many men to come into my own organization, Society of Women Engineers, and be a part of it, as we are about supporting and encouraging women. I don’t like that men don’t want to join, but I can understand why. I feel like it could be a lot worse here. I’m glad that it could be a lot worse.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Emerging wearable technologies presented at Center for Wearable Sensors Summit

The UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors (CWS) hosted its second bi-annual Wearable Sensors Summit on Thursday, Nov. 12. The event featured faculty talks, a student poster pitch competition, a poster session and networking. (View Summit agenda as a PDF.)

Partners from industry including executives from the Center for Wearable Sensor's newest member companies Dexcom and Sabic interacted with UC San Diego faculty and students. Attendees learned about some of the latest exciting research projects in the Center for Wearable Sensors ranging from skin-like electronics to smartphone-based biosensors for portable and personalized healthcare.

Faculty Presentations

One of the speakers at the event was Professor Sheng Xu, who joined the faculty in the Department of NanoEngineering this past summer. Xu spoke about his research on developing new “soft” inorganic materials for advanced electronic sensors that can be comfortably worn on the skin. Faculty talks also featured presentations from computer science and engineering professor Tajana Rosing, nanoengineering professor Darren Lipomi, and electrical engineering professor Drew Hall.

Student Posters and Research

Student researchers showed off their latest work at the Center for Wearable Sensors (CWS) Summit. During the poster pitch competition, 12 students were each given 90 seconds to pitch their research to the audience and were evaluated by judges. The first and second place awards went to Timothy O’Connor and Kirtana Rajan, respectively.

L-R: CWS Associate Director Patrick Mercier; Peter Simpson from Dexcom, a CWS member company; graduate student Timothy O'Connor, the poster-pitch competition first-place winner; Joseph Wang CWS Director; and Manish Nandi from Sabic, a CWS member company. 

L-R: CWS Associate Director Patrick Mercier; Manish Nandi from Sabic, a CWS member company; graduate student Kirtana Rajan, the poster-pitch competition second-place winner; Joseph Wang CWS Director; and Peter Simpson from Dexcom, a CWS member company. 
O’Connor pitched his research on ultra lightweight wearable solar cells, and Rajan pitched her research on electronic hand sensors that wirelessly translate American Sign Language gestures to text on a computer. Both students are members of Professor Lipomi’s research group.

Attendees had a chance to learn more about these projects and others at the afternoon student poster session.

Afternoon poster session
Jiwoong Park (electrical and computer engineering)
Christine Chan (electrical and computer engineering)
Chul Kim (bioengineering)
Alex Sun (electrical and computer engineering)
Jayoung Kim (nanoengineering)
Kirtana Rajan (nanoengineering)
Timothy O'Connor (nanoengineering)

Osaka University visits von Liebig Center for 2-week Commercialization Program

On Oct. 26, the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center welcomed Osaka University’s second cohort of students to participate in a two week workshop developed by Osaka University, the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center and Global Connect. Nine Osaka University students arrived from Japan, ready to pitch their ideas for innovative new science and technologies at UC San Diego. For two weeks, these students were immersed in Q&A sessions with guest speakers, customer interviews and classes on customer development, marketing, intellectual property and potential partnerships. At the end of the program, they gained new knowledge to further their projects, build connections to begin their companies and presented their perfected pitches to a panel of venture capital fund managers.

This cohort included eight Masters’ students and one post-doctorate student from Osaka University. Of the nine presentations, three exciting discoveries were selected for the 2-week Commercialization Program – noise simulator, ultraviolet lens and disease algorithm.

One team, led by Masataka Kikuchi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Genome Informatics, had an algorithm to detect diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, using messenger RNA, instead of DNA. Messenger RNA is more effective than DNA because it recognizes both inherited and lifestyle diseases. He believes it is valuable to learn about the business side of his research, including patents, business models and who is the customer in order to transfer research to address social needs.

Dr. Kikuchi said that he came to San Diego thinking that middle aged people were his customers, but the von Liebig Program taught him that pharmaceutical companies are his actual customers and that was a big revelation. Dr. Kikuchi plans to use what he learned from the program in his consulting work in Japan.

“The product didn’t change, but the business strategy changed dramatically,” Dr. Kikuchi shared.

Professor Masayuki Abe, Director of Engineering, and Associate Professor Yuki Nagano, Office for University-Industry Collaboration, accompanied the students to UC San Diego.

Osaka University has 22,000 students and 5,000 faculty members, but no entrepreneurism programs yet. Professor Abe explained that the university received funding from the Japanese government due to a recommendation from the Minister of Education. Traditionally, many Japanese students go on to work at big name companies after earning their Masters’ degrees, but in recent years, since some of those companies went bankrupt, the students recognized the need for a change. Now, the numbers are increasing; more students to pursue doctoral degrees and more students to take on jobs at small companies.

Professor Abe said, “We used to think that businesses can only be started by sophisticated people like Steve Jobs, but anyone can learn to start a business with practice. If you are trained, you can do anything you want to do.” Professor Abe also said that the von Liebig program is well-considered, especially guest speakers and joint sessions with American students.

“Students especially like the Japanese guest speakers because going to the U.S. is very risky,” Professor Abe said. “The students want to understand what is in the speaker’s background that drew them to the United States.”

Earlier in 2015, the first cohort from Osaka University including students and faculty visited UC San Diego to learn more about the San Diego Innovation Ecosystem. They were eager to collaborate on a program for Japanese students to learn how to commercialize new ideas in science and technology. The program was designed by Dr. Rosibel Ochoa, Executive Director, von Liebig Center and Mr. Nathan Owens, Director, Global Connect, and the course content is delivered by business experts. During the two weeks, students were taught different modules such as marketing, finance and patents. Tarek Fahmi, Principal of Ascenda Law Group, delivered the module on patents, as he has extensive knowledge of patent protection in both US and Japan. Marketing and Financial content was presented by Jonathan Masters, Technology and Business Adviser at the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center.

For more information about the Osaka group or other international programs, contact Dr. Lori Deaton, Project Manager, von Liebig Center,