Alumni Spotlight

Jack Yao ’95: From Robotics Gameshow Contestant to CEO

In 1994, Jack Yao ’95 was part of a team of 10 UC Davis students that competed in a “techno-soccer challenge” in Osaka, Japan. The competition, which was nationally televised in Japan, challenged teams to build robots to autonomously navigate an obstacle course while dribbling, and eventually shooting, a soccer ball towards a goal. 

Alumni Robert and Carolyn Caligiuri Establish Professor Amiya Mukherjee Memorial Fellowship in Materials Science

Alumni Robert ’73 and Carolyn Caligiuri ’74 have given a $1.27 million endowment to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UC Davis to establish the Amiya Mukherjee Memorial Fellowship in honor of Robert Caligiuri’s first mentor. The gift will support competitive doctoral students and boost the department's stature.

Eye on the Sky: Sarahi Granados '21

The path from passionate second-grader to James Webb Telescope engineer wasn’t an easy one for Sarahi Granados '21, especially as a first-generation Latina woman in engineering, but she’s incredibly grateful for the education, resources and connections at UC Davis that helped her get there.

Alumni Spotlight: Mingwei Zhang, Ph.D. '21

Mingwei Zhang, Ph.D. '21, now a postdoctoral scholar at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, used his time at UC Davis to grow his research career and plans to pay forward the generosity and mentorship he received from the materials science and engineering department. 

Making my mark as a first-generation Latina in a STEM world

Choosing to pursue electrical engineering was one of the best decisions Vanessa Liera '22 ever made because even though it brought big challenges, it brought her to amazing people, new experiences and a better future. In this blog, she explains, "I stopped letting fear get in the way of me chasing my dreams, and my life has turned out better than I could’ve imagined."

Alumni Spotlight: Linda Finley '81

Linda Finley ’81, mechanical engineering, has paved the way for countless women in engineering. When Linda came to UC Davis in 1979 to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, she quickly joined the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). At the time, SWE was struggling. It was important to Linda that the student chapter thrive, and she served as president for two years. Some of the events established under her leadership, including the popular “Night with Industry,” still happen today.

Alumni Spotlight: Christopher Pribilo

Christopher Pribilo ’20, aerospace engineering, knew he wanted to study aviation from a young age. His grandfather was a pilot, and Chris was always fascinated by the controls and buttons in his small Cessna plane. Following an internship at United Airlines, Chris got a job at Boeing, where he currently works as a multi-discipline engineer doing stress analysis and service engineering for the 737 Max.

Alumni Spotlight: Shason Briscoe

Growing up in Houston, Shason Briscoe ’19, computer engineering, always had an affinity for the tech field. He watched the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conferences and tech-related YouTube videos in high school. He even toured several startup headquarters in and around the Bay area during a trip with his parents to San Francisco.

Leading the Lab

When Kim Budil, Ph.D. ’94, first joined the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a graduate student in 1987, she never anticipated that she would become its first female director 34 years later. She began her new role on March 2.