Student Spotlights

Students at the UC Davis College of Engineering impact a wide-ranging field of areas in energy, aerospace, transportation, computer science, medicine and more. Through leadership and involvement in hands-on engineering experiences, our outstanding Aggie Engineers are changing the world.

Meet some of the students, clubs and teams that make up our diverse community. Learn more about their current projects, achievements and aspirations.

Student Spotlights

Space and Satellite Systems Club at UC Davis Reaches for the Stars

After nearly six years and the contributions of more than 300 undergraduate students in the Space and Satellite Systems (SSS) Club at UC Davis, the university’s first student-built satellite will be going to space for proof-of-concept experiments as part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative.

Club Spotlight: Quantum Computing at Davis

Quantum Computing at Davis (QCD) is a student research group that aims to educate undergraduate and graduate students in quantum information sciences by providing them with hands-on projects and workshops. They foster the quantum community at UC Davis through collaborations between faculty and students and facilitating the transition from top-quality coursework to publishable work. 

Club Spotlight: Women in Computer Science (WiCS)

The Women in Computer Science (WiCS) club aims to provide women pursuing computer science at UC Davis an empowering space by providing opportunities to meet like-minded individuals, hosting workshops to facilitate success in the major and bringing in mentors to encourage and coach WiCS members.

Women Machinists' Club at UC Davis Aims to Make Engineering Machine Shops More Inclusive

A new student organization at UC Davis is working to give everyone an equal opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an engineering machine shop. The Women Machinists’ Club at UC Davis (WMC) is a place for women and gender minorities to learn technical skills and develop the support network they need to succeed in a traditionally male-dominated shop environment.

Senior Spotlight: Derek Lee

Our next #SeniorSpotlight is Derek Lee, a computer engineering major and Class of 2020 graduate!

One of Derek’s favorite memories from his time at UC Davis was working with the College of Engineering and his professors to sponsor SacHacks, the first major intercollegiate hackathon in the Sacramento area, as that made him feel closer to the faculty.

Derek starts his software engineering job in January and his advice to incoming engineering students is to focus on extracurricular activities if you do not plan on going to grad school.

Senior Spotlight: Zoren Habana

Our first #SeniorSpotlight is Zoren Habana, a mechanical and aerospace engineering Class of 2020 graduate! Some of Zoren’s favorite memories were made in the Bainer Hall computer lab, where he solidified many friendships with fellow engineers.

“I would spend nights at the computer lab finishing up homework and projects, but it wasn't so bad since I was around my friends and colleagues,” said Zoren. “I cherish the memories I made in the computer lab because of how much time I spent there struggling with my colleagues to get work done. Misery definitely loves company.”

Senior Spotlight: Tomoya Otsuka

Tomoya Otsuka is a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at UC Davis. After graduation, he plans to attend graduate school either in Sweden or Switzerland to focus on developing fast and efficient railway systems and learn more about sustainable engineering.

As someone who has seen much of the world after living in Japan and Australia for 15 years before coming to the U.S., Tomoya will always remember the memories he made at UC Davis.

Senior Spotlight: Reiko Yoshizawa

Reiko Yoshizawa is finishing her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at UC Davis. After graduating, she will start a full-time job as a manufacturing engineer at the medical device company Penumbra.

One of her favorite memories from her time at the College of Engineering was building a gearbox that could carry a couple of textbooks up a ramp in her mechanical design class. Reiko and her friends faced a myriad of challenges when manufacturing and assembling the components, but she enjoyed the work and it was rewarding to see the final project in action.

Senior Spotlight: Reca M. Caballero

Reca M. Caballero is a biomedical engineering student at UC Davis and is our 2020 M.S. Ghausi Medal award winner. The award, named for former College of Engineering dean, Mohammed S. Ghausi, is the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating senior in engineering.

Some of Reca’s favorite memories from the College of Engineering was representing the Biomedical Engineering Society and volunteering at Decision Day.

Senior Spotlight: Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson is graduating with degrees in mechanical engineering and design. After graduation, she plans to start working in either design consulting or STEM education, ideally at a job where she can use both of her degrees, before returning to higher education to get her master’s.

Senior Spotlight: Louie Zhong

Louie Zhong is a fourth-year materials science and engineering student at UC Davis and plans to continue his research as he pursues his M.S. in materials science and engineering at Stanford University after graduation.

A big part of Louie’s UC Davis experience was being an undergraduate researcher in assistant professor Roopali Kukreja’s lab, where he studied how materials behave on ultrafast timescales as short as a picosecond. Their research and materials can potentially be used for next-generation memory devices, which will have a major impact on computing down the line.

Senior Spotlight: Kyle Sager

Kyle Sager is graduating from UC Davis with a degree in mechanical engineering and will be moving on to work for Phillips 66 in Rodeo, as a project engineer. Some of the best advice Kyle received as an engineering student was to not shy away from a challenging problem.

“Engineering is all about problem solving and the best way to do this is actively trying to solve it. With the proper amount of interest and dedication to the subject at hand, it is impressive what you can learn and achieve,” said Kyle.

Senior Spotlight: Ian Phillips

Ian Phillips is a fourth-year materials science and engineering student finishing his undergraduate degree at UC Davis.

Becoming an engineer was a natural choice for Ian. He grew up working on cars with his dad, giving him a love of hands-on work and problem solving that he’s taken with him throughout his time at UC Davis, from studying semiconductors and ceramics at UC Davis and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to teaching shop tools at the UC Davis D-Lab.