By Bill Kisliuk
The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science honored accomplished alumni, faculty and students at the school’s annual awards dinner on Nov. 21.
Risk sciences pioneer B. John Garrick MS ’62, PhD ’68 wasnamed UCLA Engineering Alumnus of the Year, and longtime electrical engineering professor Chand Viswanathan MS ’59, PhD ’64 won the Lifetime Contribution Award. The Hon. Heidi Shyu MS ’81, Eng ’82, assistant secretary of the U.S. Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, won the Alumni Professional Achievement Award.
More than 400 people attended the gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. In addition to the alumni awards, the school honored two faculty members and three members of the Class of 2014.
The 2014 Engineering Awards winners:
• Alumnus of the Year: B. John Garrick is a pioneer in the risk sciences. He is a former chair of the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board who was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest honors in the engineering profession, in 1993. In October, Garrick and his wife Amelia committed $9 million to launch the B. John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences at UCLA Engineering. In his acceptance speech, Garrick addressed his decades of involvement with UCLA, including 12 years on the UCLA Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council. “Now I have the opportunity through this new institute to keep serving this great university,” Garrick said.
• Lifetime Contribution Award: Chand Viswanathan served on UCLA Engineering faculty from 1962 to 2005 and chaired the Electrical Engineering Department from 1979 to 1985. His contributions include establishing solid state electronics as a major field of study, developing strong ties between the school and partners in industry, serving on the University of California Academic Senate, and serving as a faculty representative on the UC Board of Regents. Viswanathan’s wife and daughters all attended UCLA, and in his acceptance speech he said he hopes his granddaughter, who is less than a year old, also goes to UCLA. Upon receiving the award, he said, “UCLA will always be my love, my life, my destiny.”
• Alumni Professional Achievement: The Hon. Heidi Shyu is assistant secretary of the U.S. Army for acquisition, logistics and technology. In that role she oversees a $2.4 billion science and technology budget. Before she was appointed to her post in 2012, Shyu spent more than 30 years as an engineer, project manager and executive at Southern California firms including Hughes Aircraft, Litton Industries and Raytheon. In accepting the award, she thanked her many friends and mentors in attendance, described her appreciation for UCLA and her respect for U.S. soldiers. “It is the engineering mind that allows us to be the pre-eminent army in the world,” she said.
• The Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award: Alexander Sherstov is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department. He joined the school in 2011, and teaches and performs research in the areas of theoretical computer science, complexity theory and quantum computing.
• The Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Award: Izhak Rubin is a distinguished professor in the Electrical Engineering Department. He joined the faculty in 1970, has developed and taught core electrical engineering curriculum for decades and has supervised nearly 40 Ph.D. graduates.
• Edward K. Rice Outstanding Doctoral Student: Elias Bareinboim PhD ’14. Bareinboim’s innovations in artificial intelligence have earned him numerous accolades. His faculty advisor was Computer Science Professor Judea Pearl, and Bareinboim is currently a post-doctoral scholar under Pearl’s supervision.
• Edward K. Rice Outstanding Master’s Student: Helen Durand ’11, MS ’14. Durand worked full-time as an engineer at Aerojet Rocketdyne while earning her master’s degree. She is seeking her Ph.D. from UCLA Engineering under the guidance of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Panagiotis Christofides.
• Edward K. Rice Outstanding Bachelor’s Student: Shannon Wongvibulsin ’14. Wongvibulsin majored in bioengineering and minored in biomedical research, earning a 4.0 GPA and numerous academic honors. She is enrolled in the Ph.D./M.D. program at Johns Hopkins University.
The master of ceremonies for the evening was television personality Suzanne Sena. Awards presenters included UCLA Engineering Dean Vijay K. Dhir, associate deans Jane P. Chang, Richard Wesel and Jenn-Ming Yang, and UCLA Engineering Alumni Association member Robert Green ’72, JD ‘75.
Sponsors of the awards dinner include Ralph Crump ’50 and family; Benton ’45 and Wanlyn Bejach; Lawrence ’59, MS ’61 and Carol Tannas (parents, ’85, MS ’88); Edward K. and Linda Rice; Raytheon; Boeing; Northrop Grumman; Symantec; Aerospace Corp.; Broadcom; Intel; Lockheed Martin; RAND; SanDisk; Schneider Electric; TMX Engineering and Manufacturing; and Xerox.