About Us

The Engineering Student Startup Center (ESSC) at UC Davis, located in Bainer Hall 1122, is an on-campus space where UC Davis students can prototype ideas and collaborate on technology ventures. The space was designed as a creativity hub for learners and young entrepreneurs, and is equipped with resources to empower students at the earliest stages of their startup ideas. These include materials and software for the creation of prototypes, a 3D printer for generating physical prototypes, a 3D scanner for digitizing 3D physical models, and a CNC device for milling and machining of plastics, wood, and aluminum. Since its launch in October 2013, this unique flexible space has served as a classroom, meeting space, event venue, makerspace and student startup incubator for over 850 students on campus.


Current Staff


Liz Tang

Director of Engineering Student Startup Center, UC Davis

Liz Tang, Director

For the last two years, Liz has run operations of a rapidly growing technology consulting firm. Prior to that, she co-owned and operated a granite countertop company in Northern Virginia. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from University of Virginia Darden School of Business.


Student Managers



The Student Managers


Azeba Bajwa


Azeba Bajwa, Student Manager

Azeba Bajwa is currently a fifth year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis in Medical Devices, coupled with a minor in Computer Science. When deciding on this combination, she knew that she wanted to tie Medicine, 3D Modeling, and Engineering together. When intertwined, she believes, there is so much potential for innovation with these three similar ideas. For her, engineering is a connection of science paired with the ingenuity of science fiction in order to make the impossible, possible. Her undergraduate career has been focused on not just taking classes, but becoming involved in organizations, such as the Engineering Student Startup Center, that are dedicated to helping young minds succeed. In her free time, you can find her playing a pickup soccer game, traveling to new places, or running through the greenbelt.



Bruno Matsui

Bruno Matsui, Student Manager

Bruno Matsui, a third year Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering major has been surrounded by entrepreneurship his entire life. Most of his family support themselves by running their own businesses, including his father, who emigrated from Brazil to form a successful startup in digital marketing. They have inspired him and he hopes to one day follow in their footsteps and start an engineering firm of his own. Bruno has also been lucky enough to have access to 3d printing equipment from a fairly young age, and has many years of experience working with these machines, though he is still fascinated by how they work.




Jake Parkhurst

Jake Parkhurst, Student Manager

Jake Parkhurst is fifth year majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. He can help you develop a business plan and figure out how to get support to build your product. He is learning Arduino and is excited to teach Arduino workshops at the ESSC to help students prototype electronics. He is interested in technology that makes life easier and enjoyable for more people: things that excite him include tiny homes, rocket mass heaters, and businesses that improve the communities they serve. He also likes partner dancing, gardening, and backpacking





Michaela Poblete

Michaela Poblete is a sophomore computer science major and managerial economics minor particularly interested in web development. She loves creating new things like webpages using art and technology and chose computer science as a vehicle to help reach her goal in founding a startup.



Former Student Managers


Christopher Antoun

Christopher Antoun, Student Manager

Christopher Antoun, Student Manager

Christopher Antoun was a third year Mechanical Engineering student at UC Davis. He has extensive experience on consumer grade 3D printers and helped to head 3D printing efforts on the UC Davis Formula Racing Team. He is interested in additive manufacturing techniques and the benefits they bring to prototyping and design realization. His hobbies include wrenching on his car, 3D printing and playing saxophone. In addition, he has a passion for helping others, and hopes to help fellow students turn their ideas into reality as a student manager at the ESSC.





Nate Szumowski


Nate Szumowski, Student Manager

Nate Szumowski was a Mechanical Engineering Major. He enjoys designing different devices and understanding how things work. He also likes to come up with unique ways to solve engineering problems. Whenever he isn’t working or studying, Nate plays on the UC Davis ice hockey team as well as enjoys working out at the ARC and bowling at the MU. As a student manager at ESSC, he hopes to further develop his engineering skills as well as help others turn their ideas into prototypes.






Kendall Lui


Kendall Lui, Student Manager

Kendall Lui was a Mechanical Engineering Major at the University of California, Davis. A maker at heart he is a supported of the “Maker” Movement and loves Maker culture. Kendall specializes in additive manufacturing, specifically Hobbyist FDM 3D printing and is excited to see how the technology will develop. Some of his interests include, Machine Learning, Mechatronics, Computer Graphics, Digital Fabrication, Manufacturing, CNC Design, Additive Manufacturing, Web Services, and the IOT.  See what Kendall is up to at thekendall.io.





Joseph McGee


Joseph McGee, Student Manager

Joseph McGee was a Computer Science & Engineering Major.  He knows many different programming languages and has a great deal of general experience with computer systems.  He has a broader range of experience, however.  As he likes to understand how things work, he often reads articles on varied subjects in his free time.  Outside of school, he is currently working on several programming projects, one of which is a start-up.  Feel free to run ideas by him.





Virgil Zhang


Virgil Zhang, Student Manager

Virgil Zhang was an undergraduate majoring in Computer Engineering. He founded a software company and now serves as the CEO of this early startup. He also has a strong background in software engineering and algorithm design. Please feel free to talk with him about entrepreneurship and computer software & hardware. Virgil is also very interested in playing soccer and reading books.





Estella Wong


Estella Wong Student Manager

Estella Wong was an undergraduate majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She works in the Engineering Fabrication Laboratory as a student assistant, and brought machine shop knowledge to the Engineering Student Startup Center. Whenever she isn’t studying or working, you will most likely find her out on the water with the Davis Sailing Team or out and about taking pictures. Fun fact: Estella can make a 3 leaf clover with her tongue!




Natalie Qabazard


Natalie Qabazard, Student Manager

Natalie Qabazard was a Computer Science major at UC Davis. She is interested in so many different things that she has a hard time trying to focus on just one. Among her passions is the world of technology and the devices that are being made in the future. Thus, she is using her academic years to become skilled in writing computer programs, so she can understand how the gadgets used by consumers work. A fun fact about her: when she was a freshman in high school, she memorized 310 digits of Pi. She’s the former president of the Engineering and Technology Entrepreneurship Club at UC Davis, a group that is focused on catalyzing the entrepreneurship potential of students on campus. When she has free time, she spends it in the kitchen, cooking for her friends and family and making delicious food from recipes by her favorite cook, Ina Garten.



Jake Wang

Jake Wang, Student Manager

Jake Wang, Student Manager

Jake Wang was a Mechanical Engineering major with emphases in Mechanical Design, Product Design and Technology Management. He taught students about ideation, creativity, and prototyping. Jake considered concept generation the most exciting part of creating a product, because students have limitless freedom to explore new things. Jake taught design thinking to students, helping them learn to come up with innovative solutions to tackle complex problems. He had experience with developing products from initial concepts/pencil sketches, to form-factor making, to CAD drawing, to 3-D rapid prototyping or machining, to mechanical and electrical testing, to production and manufacturing, to marketing, and finally to selling the product. This is a repetitive, but rewarding process every product design company must go through. Jake is familiar with numerous manufacturing businesses in Sacramento, and helped many students during the process of producing and testing products. With the advent of more advanced CAD tools, 3-D scanner, and 3-D printer, taking an idea and making it into a reality is only in a matter of seconds. One of Jake’s goals was to be in the forefront of this Product Design movement, and also influence and educate more students on the way.

Kimmy Mengyingzi Dai

Kimmy Mengyingzi Dai, Student Manager

Kimmy Mengyingzi Dai, Student Manager

Kimmy is a senior majoring in Computer Science Engineering (2017). She is an amateur data scientist, Coursera heavy user and foil fencer.She loves programing most and enjoys to be an engineer.Before moving to Davis, she gathered lots of business experience running a summer tutoring school, advertisement company and a graduation souvenirs company. She will try anything new and she love making ideas happen.






Erick Campos

Erick Campos, Student Manager

Erick Campos was a Mechanical Engineering Major. His interest in startups and entrepreneurship developed from watching his father’s business grow. He spends some of his free time reading articles on the newest gadgets and concept vehicles. He also enjoys running and loves playing and watching soccer. Erick’s engineering interests lie in motorcycles and the ability to simplify everyday life through innovative designs. This past summer he studied abroad in Rome and has become passionate about traveling. He hopes to spend his life traveling the world and helping underdeveloped communities everywhere.





Scott Kresie


Scott Kresie, Student Manager

Scott Kresie was an undergraduate majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in materials science. He is always trying to find a balance between work and play. He enjoys playing pick-up basketball at the ARC and is always down to throw a frisbee around. He also enjoys playing piano whether its a popular Disney song or something improvised. As a student manager at the ESSC, he enjoys helping others’ designs as well as working on his own using SolidWorks. In his future career he would like to work on original, creative projects that help humankind.




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