College of Engineering Alumni Celebration

DAVIS, Calif.; Jan. 02, 2018 – Each year the UC Davis College of Engineering recognizes several of its notable graduates with the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal (DEAM).

The 2017 DEAM winners will be honored at a college alumni celebration at 6 p.m. on Friday, January 19, 2018 at the UC Davis Mondavi Center. The evening will include a cocktail hour, engineering department demonstrations and a formal dinner and awards ceremony. UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May, an electrical engineer and former dean of the largest engineering program in the nation, will also give remarks.

DEAM recipients are UC Davis engineering graduates with 15 or more years of professional experience; have a record of outstanding professional or technical achievement; have rendered distinguished service to the College of Engineering, the engineering profession or the community; and have contributed in a significant way to the reputation of UC Davis.

2017 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal Winners

Margie Evashenk
Engineering Management Consultant,, Vonzos Venture Partners, Open-Silicon
B.S. Electrical Engineering, ‘89

Margie Evashenk is a successful engineering management consultant with more than 25 years in high-tech, focusing on enterprise storage and networking, artificial intelligence, venture capital and growing new businesses. She is also the Chief Strategy Officer for, an Artificial Intelligence Consultancy, a member of the Board of Directors for Open-Silicon and an Entrepreneur in Residence for Vonzos Venture Partners. Evashenk has a wide range of industry experience, including co-founding the storage semiconductor start-up Sierra Logic and overseeing global engineering functions as a Senior Vice President and Chief Development Executive for the storage and networking company Emulex Corporation. She started her career in application-specific integrated circuit design and supply chain management at Hewlett-Packard, where she held various engineering and management positions. Evashenk graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering in 1989. She currently resides in Roseville, Calif. and enjoys cycling, running, cooking, traveling and spending time with family.

Katherine Ferrara
Distinguished Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, ‘89

Katherine Ferrara is distinguished professor of biomedical engineering at UC Davis whose research has pioneered using ultrasound to image cancer and heart disease. Her laboratory is known for early work in aspects of ultrasonics and has more recently expanded their focus to broadly investigate molecular imaging and drug delivery. Ferrara received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Sacramento State, and was a project engineer for General Electric Medical Systems, working on the development of magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound systems, before completing her doctoral degree in electrical engineering at UC Davis. Ferrara was a faculty member at Sacramento State, Cornell University and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, before returning to UC Davis in 1999 to lead the new division of biomedical engineering. In 2001, the division became a full department, with Ferrara as founding chair. She was principal investigator on a $12 million award from the Whitaker Foundation, which made the early expansion of the department possible. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2014.

Brian Horsfield
Retired Research and Development Engineer, Weyerhaeuser Company
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, ‘66, M.S. Engineering, ‘68, D.Engr., ‘71

Brian Horsfield earned his doctorate in agricultural engineering at UC Davis in 1971. During his first faculty assignment at Purdue University from 1970-74, Horsfield worked with Indiana farmers to improve manure disposal methods to meet stricter environmental standards. He also helped plan new farmstead layouts after some farms were devastated by tornadoes. He joined the UC Davis Department of Agricultural Engineering in 1974, where he led research into alternative fuels using agricultural byproducts. Horsfield was later hired by the Weyerhaeuser Company, where he became a vital member of the company’s research and development team in Tacoma, Washington. Several of his 11 patents involved the development of recyclable produce boxes to replace the traditional, non-recyclable wax-saturated boxes used for transporting certain produces. He retired from Weyerhaeuser as a senior R&D project engineer in 2008 and returned to Davis with his wife, Louanne, whom he met at UC Davis in 1966.

Francis Lee, Board Chairman, Synaptics
B.S. Electrical Engineering, ‘74

Francis Lee graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1974. In 1998, after two decades in industry, Lee became CEO of Synaptics, a position he held until 2009. Currently, Lee serves as Synaptics board chairman. During his tenure as CEO, he grew Synaptics from a small, private technology company to gain a commanding market share in interface devices in notebook computers and smartphones. Synaptics also pioneered the first clear industry capacitive touch solution in a private label Prada phone by LG Electronics and was the first technology IPO in 2002 in the NASDAQ market. Upon his retirement from management, his passions include education, healthcare, coaching and related philanthropic projects. Besides supporting the College of Engineering as a member of the Dean’s Executive Committee, he also serves on the Adesto Semiconductor and Resurge International Board. He is a member of the American Leadership Forum, the Philanthropic Workshop and a limited partner in Legacy Ventures. Lee and his wife, Evelyn, have two children, Grace and Christopher, and a 15-month-old grandson, Adrian. He resides in Milpitas, travels frequently and enjoys wine, food, golf and good company. 

Adam Steltzner
Chief Engineer: Mars 2020 Project, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, ‘90

After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1990, Adam Steltzner earned graduate degrees from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. By the time he earned his doctorate in 1999, he’d already been working for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 8 years. Early projects included Galileo, Cassini and the Mars rovers Spirit and Pathfinder. Steltzner’s current fame results from his efforts as team leader of the Mars explorer Curiosity’s Entry, Descent and Landing System: in particular, the extraordinarily unusual rocket-powered “platform” that hovered over the planet’s surface and lowered Curiosity down on a cable. The technology will also be used to land the Mars 2020 rover. Steltzner is currently serving as chief engineer for the Mars 2020 Project, and is also manager of the Planetary Entry, Descent and Landing and Small Body Access Office. Steltzner was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2016.

Tickets for this special event are $40 per person, and $25 for alumni who graduated in 2007 or later. Register and purchase tickets here. Please note the attire for this event is cocktail. Questions?

Update: Photos from this event are posted on the College of Engineering’s Flickr page.