Engineering Progress Magazine Spring 2023

Message from the Dean

Richard Corsi

As we come to the close of another academic year at UC Davis, I am reflecting on our engineering community’s achievements and dedication. 

We have made tremendous progress on our Next Level strategic vision, and our investments in the three pillars – research, education and community – are paying off. Our college is steadily advancing in alignment with our core value of engineering a better world for all.

This May, we celebrated the grand opening of the Diane Bryant Engineering Student Design Center, or ESDC. This $22 million expansion project more than doubled the size of the previous space and, with the co-location of the Student Startup Center, established one roof under which our students can hone their engineering expertise and foster their entrepreneurial spirit. The ESDC is the hub of our college’s innovation ecosystem and a key facilitator of the inspiring, inclusive and impactful experiences inherent to our strategic education vision.

The college continues to rank among the top graduate schools that offer Ph.D. degrees in engineering. Among public institutions surveyed, all 10 of our engineering graduate programs are ranked in the top 20. Overall, notable gains were made in electrical engineering, which advanced eight spots to No. 30, and civil engineering, which rose four to No. 9. Three other programs moved up, and our biological and agricultural engineering program is ranked No. 3 in the nation.

Our faculty continue to receive national recognition. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering Jennifer Sinclair Curtis was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Randy Carney received an NSF CAREER award, to name two. At the college level, four outstanding faculty were selected for excellence in research and teaching.

We have much to look forward to in the coming year. Twelve new faculty hires, recognizing eight Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medalists at Alumni Celebration and the Coffee Center grand opening are just a few of the highlights.

During the summer months, I am hopeful that our engineering community – you included – can find time for relaxation and reflection. 

I look forward to staying in touch as we approach another ambitious academic year this September.

Go Ags! 

Richard L. Corsi

Dean, UC Davis College of Engineering

Computing on the Edge

You’re on a long road trip. You’re enjoying your favorite tunes as your self-driving car moves you down the road. Then suddenly, a driver going in the other direction swerves into oncoming traffic right at you. 

Will the artificial intelligence in the car have enough time to react and save you from a head-on crash?

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Futuristic looking car interior with blue lighting and a hand outstretched to push a self driving button
Boxes with medals inside sit on a circular table at a celebration event

2023 Distinguished Engineering Alumni

The University of California, Davis College of Engineering announced the recipients of the 2023 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal, the highest honor presented by the college to alumni. 

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Future of Engineering Alumni Engagement Begins with a Single Step

For Brian Horsfield, recognition was never a factor when he and his wife, Louanne, created the Once an Aggie Engineer, Always an Aggie Engineer Alumni Engagement Fund at UC Davis. Sitting in downtown Davis in April, Brian says it’s about showing what’s possible when someone makes the decision to give back.

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Brian Horsfield and his wife pose in front of a green wall and sign with their name
arm with temporary tattoo that displays health information

Smart Nails, Talking Tattoos and Advanced Prosthetics

Wearable technology is advancing the human body’s potential through non-invasive augmentation of our abilities, from enabling us to communicate with devices with facial gestures to keeping track of our vital signs. Here are four intelligent wearables woven into reality by researchers in the College of Engineering.

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Empowering Women in Engineering

Women have historically been underrepresented in engineering fields, but student organizations in the College of Engineering are reversing that trend. These student-run clubs provide a community and platform for Aggie Engineers of all gender identities to empower each other on their academic journeys. 

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Members of FACE pose for a group photo
People standing for a group photo

Engineering an Inclusive Future

The College of Engineering was again recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion by the American Society of Engineering Education, or ASEE, Diversity Recognition Program, achieving Bronze-level recognition for 2023 through 2025. 

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Sabbie Miller Paves the Way

When Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Sabbie Miller was a child, she talked her parents into converting their avocado farm to organic production. Since joining the College of Engineering, she has founded two separate labs to study building materials: the Engineered Sustainable Infrastructure Materials and Structural Systems and the Resilient Infrastructure Materials laboratories.

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Sabbie Miller outdoors
Tom Chunat

Alumni Spotlight: Tom Chunat '86

At age 22, chemical engineering alumnus Tom Chunat ’86 sold most of his belongings and moved to UC Davis to become an unlikely first-generation college student. Though he started out terrified and on his own, he soon fell in love with the community and used the connections, curiosity and hands-on skills he gained to become an innovative engineer and corporate leader.

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Jay Lund on the State of Water in California

When it comes to California water issues, Jay Lund is the foremost expert who is often contacted to provide context and meaning to one of the more complex issues facing the state. With numerous periods of heavy rain over the winter, Lund was called in to provide expert context and perspective on a near-daily basis. 

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Jay Lund
2023 Outstanding Faculty Award Recipients

2023 Outstanding Faculty Awards

Recognizing excellence in research and teaching, the College of Engineering celebrates its faculty members with outstanding faculty awards yearly. Departments nominate faculty members who are selected to receive the honors by the college's Faculty Awards Committee.

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Engineering Student Design Center Grand Opening

Engineering Student Design Center

UC Davis students now have expanded access to advanced engineering equipment in the expanded 23,000-square-foot Diane Bryant Engineering Student Design Center, which just opened.

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Colorful circle with words "impactful inclusive and inspired"

Strategic Education Vision 

The College of Engineering launched its new strategic vision for education. Education follows Research as the second of three pillars in our overall vision to take our college to the next level with a commitment to our core value: engineering a better world for all. 

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Alumni Celebration

November 2, 2023

Alumni and friends of the College of Engineering are invited to join us for the college's annual Alumni Celebration. Return to UC Davis to celebrate the achievements of our 2023 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal recipients, meet Dean Corsi and reconnect with faculty and fellow alumni.