DEAM recipients stand outdoors for a photo wearing medals

2023 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medalists Honored

The College of Engineering proudly recognizes alumni whose professional and personal achievements bring special honor to the college by awarding the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal. Recipients have a record of outstanding achievement in business, academia or public service, substantial contributions to the UC Davis community and at least 10 years of professional experience since college graduation. 

2023 DEAM Medal Recipients

Andy Botka
Andy Botka – Electrical Engineering ’87

Vice President of Strategic Planning, Keysight Technologies

Always dive into the deep end because time waits for no one — that is the driving tenet of Andy Botka, whose diverse accomplishments, ranging from applications engineering to Asia regional marketing management, speak to the power of this conviction in a career of more than 35 years. His commitment to going all in also extends to the College of Engineering. As a member of the Dean's Executive Committee, he worked with the college to deliver a strategic vision, mission statement and list of priorities that clarified the college's purpose and identified its unique strengths. Botka also often returns to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a representative of Keysight Technologies to foster collaboration. 

Robert Caligiuri
Robert Caligiuri – Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering ’73

Corporate VP & Principal Engineer, Exponent, Inc. 

Robert Caligiuri would not be where he is today without the late Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Amiya Mukherjee. "What I remember most about Professor Mukherjee is his ability to convey ideas with a lot of energy and enthusiasm; that's what really connected me with materials science," Caligiuri told the College of Engineering in 2022. Caligiuri earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in materials science and engineering at Stanford University and held research scientist positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and SRI International before joining the engineering and scientific consulting firm Exponent, where he is currently the corporate vice president and principal engineer. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2023.

Michael Coffey
Michael Coffey – Electrical and Computer Engineering ’84

Retired Senior Vice President of Mass Markets Product Management, AT&T  

Michael Coffey is a retired, accomplished executive who attributes his nearly 40-year career to the problem-solving skills he learned as an engineering student at UC Davis. He has held vice president and senior vice president positions at AT&T, where he most recently oversaw product development and customer experience. At UC Davis, Coffey advises engineering students through the AvenueE program, serves as a guest lecture and is an active Dean's Executive Committee member. He and his wife Jody philanthropically support the Engineering Student Design Center and the UC Davis Coffee Center, and created the first endowed fund in the Leadership in Engineering Advancement, Diversity and Retention, or LEADR, program.

Kerry Kinney
Kerry Kinney – Chemical Engineering '88, Civil and Environmental Engineering, M.S. '93, Ph.D. '96  

L.P. Gilvin Centennial Professor in Engineering and Courtesy Professor of Population Health, The University of Texas at Austin 

Kerry Kinney works to make communities stronger. As an environmental engineer, she works to understand how people become exposed to contaminants and identify the relationships between indoor exposures and the health of building occupants, particularly for underserved and underrepresented populations. Her research group was among the first to demonstrate that scientists can recover indoor pollutants from heating, ventilation and air conditioning filters — a discovery she extended to examine the distribution of COVID-19 in the built environment. In 2021, she was inducted into the Academy of Fellows of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate, where she now serves as president-elect. Through a mentoring program she launched at UT Austin, she has reached nearly 500 undergraduate women and over 1,000 students from historically underrepresented backgrounds in STEM. 

Terry C. Lowe
Terry C. Lowe – Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering ’78

Research Professor, Colorado School of Mines  

Terry Lowe's UC Davis experience showed him that significant innovations in science and engine-ering often occur at the intersections, or “edges,” of academic disciplines. Lowe received his master’s and Ph.D. from Stanford and has worked as a lecturer, adjunct professor and visiting scholar at Stanford, Brown, Clemson and Loyola Marymount Universities, to name a few. A technical leader, researcher and entrepreneur, Lowe also worked at Sandia National Labs and Los Alamos National Lab and co-founded and led Metallicum Inc. and Figure Eight LLC. He was recognized as one of the Top 100 Materials Scientists of the 21st century by Science Watch and is a visionary educator and innovator, having developed projects totaling more than $50 million in funding.  

Rick Neptune
Rick Neptune – Mechanical Engineering '91, M.S. '93, Ph.D. '96 

Professor at The University of Texas at Austin 

Rick Neptune has served as a professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin since 2001. Since then, he has published more than 160 peer-reviewed papers and been cited more than 19,000 times for his work in modeling and simulation of human movement, as well as designing and developing prosthetic and orthotic components for people with mobility issues, including veterans and stroke victims. His research has earned him numerous accolades, including a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation and the Van C. Mow Medal from the American Society of Biomechanics. He was named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2019. 

JoAnn Silverstein
JoAnn Silverstein – Civil and Environmental Engineering '77, M.S. '80, Ph.D. '82 

Professor Emerita at the University of Colorado, Boulder 

JoAnn Silverstein embraces change. Having first pursued a career in psychology, she came to engineering later in life — a reorientation that brought her joy and challenges that, she says, enriched her as an individual. She is among the first women to earn a doctoral degree in environmental engineering in the country, and is the first woman member of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. At the University of Colorado, Boulder, she developed an environmental program from scratch that is now among the nation’s best. A driving goal of Silverstein’s has been to increase the participation and leadership roles of women and underrepresented groups in engineering, a feat celebrated with a Distinguished Professorship named in her honor at the University of Michigan.

This article was originally featured in the Fall 2023 Engineering Progress Magazine. 

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