News

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Laura Waller balances work, life, research, and family in a feature by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

EECS Prof. Laura Waller is the subject of a feature by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative titled, “A Day in the Life of an Imaging Scientist: Laura Waller.” In it, Prof. Waller describes her day-to-day while she juggles raising a family, cultivating creativity and collaboration in her labs, and mentoring her graduate students through the pandemic. Waller is known for her work in computational imaging. In 2021, she was elected a Fellow of The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) for her work in computational microscopy. In the same year, she won the Adolph Lomb Medal presented by Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America). “I really love this field, because it’s very creative. There are new ideas and new things to think about all the time, but it’s also grounded in real applications.”

EECS alumnus Gary May, Chancellor of U.C. Davis

Gary May and Sheila Humphreys interviewed for Inside Higher Ed

EECS alumnus Gary S. May (M.S. '88/Ph.D. '91, advisor: Costas Spanos), the first Black chancellor of UC Davis, is the focus of an Inside Higher Ed story highlighting the unique bond between three Black Berkeley Engineering alumni in the 1980s, all of whom have gone on to lead top research institutions. Reggie DesRoches has become the president of Rice University, and Darryll Pines is the president of the University of Maryland, College Park. The three met at Berkeley where they studied different fields of engineering. The article describes the unique landscape of diversity in the era before Proposition 209, and interviewed EECS staff emerita, Sheila Humphreys for the story, who was then the EECS director of diversity, as well as Dean Liu who said this past academic year (2021-22) “is the first year that we ended up with a higher percentage [of undergraduate underrepresented minorities] then even before Prop 209.” In fostering the minority engineering programs (MEP) of the 1980s, Sheila attributes the "unwavering administrative support" of the late Dean Pister, and a "comprehensive, whole-student approach."

Leslie Field wins 2022 Mark Shannon Grand Challenges Award

EECS alumna Leslie Field (M.S. '88/Ph.D. 91, advisor: Richard White), the first woman to earn a doctorate from the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC), has won the 2022 Mark Shannon Grand Challenges Award.  This award recognizes "long-term contributions of members of our technical community with a vision to address humanity's pressing issues."  Field is the Founder and CEO of Bright Ice Initiative, Inc., an environmental nonprofit which aims to address the urgent need for terrestrial glacial ice preservation.  During her career, she has developed new formulations for unleaded gasoline, new silicon-glass bonding processes, and pioneered surface micromachining and microfluidic systems.  She also contributed to the development of microwave and optical cross-point switches. She turned her attention to climate change in 2006 and founded Ice911 Research (later renamed AIP) two years later.   Field received a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT prior to enrolling at Berkeley.  She is the founder and a managing member of SmallTech Consulting, LLC, where she leads a diverse collaborative team working on MEMS and nanotechnology-based challenges.  She also serves as an Adjunct Lecturer and Consulting Professor Stanford University.

Putri Karunia's Typedream allows users to build no-code websites

EECS alumna Putri Karunia (B.S. '19) who co-founded 2022 Forbes 30-Under-30 Enterprise Tech company "Typedream," is the subject of a profile titled "Putri Karunia proves that women not only belong in tech startups, but will actually make them more successful and profitable." Karunia, who was raised in Indonesia, graduated cum laude from Cal in 2019 and joined a team that included fellow EECS student Anthony Christian (B.S. '19) to found start-up Cotter, a passwordless authentication service that allows users to add a one-tap login to websites and apps in less than 15 minutes.  While developing Cotter, they came up with the idea for Typedream, a fast, user-friendly website-building tool that enables Notion (platform) customers to publish attractive websites in just 10 minutes, without prior coding experience. The design offers an intuitive text-editing interface with enriched web3 functionality, like gradients, blur navigation bars, cards, and text or buttons over images. "With a community-driven approach, our users help us prioritize the features we build and define our roadmap for the foreseeable future," said Karunia. "Listening and observing our community also led us to see glimpses of what the web could be like in the next 5-10 years."

Rediet Abebe named 2022 Carnegie Fellow

CS Assistant Prof. Rediet Abebe has been named to the 2022 class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows.  This fellowship recognizes "scholars and writers in the humanities and social sciences" who are addressing "important and enduring issues confronting our society."  Abebe’s research is in algorithms and artificial intelligence, with a focus on inequality and distributive justice concerns.  Her project, “Algorithms on Trial: Interrogating Evidentiary Statistical Software,” will shed light on the ubiquitous and improper use of software tools as evidence in the U.S. criminal legal system. "The project will use a mix of algorithmic and qualitative techniques to analyze large legal databases, with a focus on admissibility hearings. The results will coalesce in the form of a public platform containing thousands of tools, alongside known issues and resources like ready-to-file affidavits to empower public defenders."  Abebe is a co-founder and co-organizer of both the MD4SG research initiative and the nonprofit organization Black in AI, where she also sits on the board of directors and co-leads the Academic Program.  Carnegie Fellows, who each receive a $200K award, are selected by a panel of jurors based on the originality and potential impact of their proposal as well as their capacity to communicate their findings to a broad audience.

Audrey Sillers wins 2022 BSA Excellence in Management Award

Audrey Sillers, the EECS Director of Student Diversity, has won a Berkeley Staff Assembly (BSA) 2022 Excellence in Management (EIM) Award.  This award "honors exemplary non-academic managers and supervisors who have led their teams and team members to meaningful accomplishments this past year."  The 2022 theme, building and maintaining community, highlights leaders "who demonstrate and encourage flexibility, adaptiveness, supportiveness, compassion, understanding, work-life balance, and well-being." Sillers, who was nominated by her team, will be honored at a live-streamed ceremony on May 3rd. "Audrey exemplifies so many of the UC Berkeley Principles of Community, not in a self-conscious way, but just in the way that she operates in the world as a person," said one of her coworkers.  "Audrey’s passion for diversity and her openness to her staff developing their own capacities to do better work as advisors to a very diverse student population has been inspirational. Having such a supervisor makes a tremendous difference."

Colin Parris elected to the NAE

EE alumnus Colin Parris (M.S. '87, Ph.D. '94, advisor: Domenico Ferrari) has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).  After a career at IBM Systems & Technology and General Electric (GE) Research, Parris is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at GE.  He is known for his life-long commitment to "the development and enhancement of STEM programs across minority communities," and serves as a board member of the Annual Multicultural Business Youth Educational Services Embarkment (Ambyese), which prepares multicultural secondary school students for the challenges of pursuing careers in the corporate sector through self-esteem-building and exposure to successful role models in industry.  While a student Berkeley, Parris helped start the Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley (SUPERB) and was deeply involved with the group Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students (BGESS).  At GE, Parris, whose expertise spans engineering, software, and AI-driven analytics, leads teams that leverage digital technologies in the energy industry and other industrial environments.  He created and leads the Digital Twin Initiative company-wide and is currently working to "accelerate business impact and transformation by combining lean principles with digital solutions."

Black Women Matter: Arlene Cole Rhodes, Valerie Taylor and Melody Ivory

Three EECS alumnae are featured in a 150W Black Women Matter web page recognizing the legacies of Black women at Cal as part of the 2022 Black History Month celebrations.  The web page, which was put together by EECS Emerita Director of Diversity Sheila Humphreys, highlights 31 Cal pioneers whose lives spanned the past 120 years.  The EECS Department is represented by: Arlene Cole Rhodes (Ph.D. '89, advisor: S. Shankar Sastry), the first Black woman to earn an EE doctorate from Berkeley; 2020 EE Distinguished Alumna Valerie Taylor (M.S. '86 / Ph.D. '91, advisor: David G. Messerschmitt ), the first Black chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University; and Melody Ivory (M.S. '96/Ph.D. '01, advisor: Marti Hearst), the first Black woman to earn a CS doctorate in from Berkeley.

EECS Black History Month: Lee Julian Purnell (EE M.S. 1929)

Lee Julian Purnell is the first Black student who is known to have graduated from the EECS department. He was born in Washington, D.C. in 1896, graduated from Berkeley High in 1915, was a superb track athlete, and earned a B.A. from Cal in 1919.  He got his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at MIT in 1921, where he and another student were said to be the first pair of Black students to graduate from MIT in the same class together.  He received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Berkeley in 1929, and eventually settled into a career at Howard University, where he served as the Dean of Engineering for 20 years.  Learn more about Lee Purnell in the EECS Newsletter.

2022 Diversity in Tech Symposium: Advancing Climate Resilience - March 10-11th

A number of EECS faculty and students are slated to participate in the 2022 Diversity in Tech Symposium, which will be held virtually on March 10 & 11.  This year's theme is "Advancing Climate Resilience."  EECS Prof. Tsu-Jae King Liu, dean of Berkeley Engineering, will warm up the audience with a fireside chat on the symposium's topic;  EECS Prof. Costas Spanos, director of the CITRIS and Banatao Institute, will welcome participants to the second day of the event;  Adjunct Prof. Sascha von Meier will participate in the UC Berkeley-hosted panel Getting to zero: Trends in the built environment; and senior EECS major Katherine Shu will represent WiCSE in a presentation on the Career Fair.  The symposium is open to the public and anyone interested in climate innovation and action, and the advancement of women and underrepresented communities working in technology fields, is encouraged to attend.