Baskin News Beat - April 2018

Dear Baskin School of Engineering Community: 

In this email you will find the April issue of the Baskin News Beat, where you can learn what your colleagues have been up to and discover what else is happening at BSOE. Thanks to all who submitted information and stories for this issue. I invite everyone to submit items by emailing to or by filling out this Baskin News Item form.

Previous issues of the Baskin News Beat are available for those who missed or would like to revisit them.

Alexander Wolf, Dean

In Memoriam Joel Kubby

With great sadness, I shared the news of Joel Kubby's passing last week. If you missed the note, or would like to read again the wonderful memories some of his colleagues shared, please click here.  

Joel Kubby with Interns



Research Roundup

  • Carlos Maltzahn collaborates on winning $1,000,000 proposal to the NSF
    The goal of the project, Data Center Scale Programmable Storage, is to rethink storage system services and interfaces for future applications. Carlos and his collaborators will work on storage systems that are more extensible, can evolve to accommodate memory technologies that fundamentally alter the storage interface, and will take greater advantage of the state of modern high performance networking.
    Read more


  • Science Discoveries publishes summary of Holger Schmidt’s paper on optofluidics 
    Optofluidic Bioanalysis: Fundamentals and Applications, co-authored by Holger Schmidt, reviews optofluidic research, emphasizing applications in bioanalysis.

    Read the summary
    Read the paper


  • Advanced Materials publishes summary of soft robot research findings co-authored by Michael Wehner
    Michael and his fellow researchers from Harvard University have developed a platform for creating soft robots that can detect and respond to movement, pressure, touch, and temperature. In the article, New Soft Robots Can Sense World Around Them, Michael comments on what this research means for the future of soft robots.
    Read the full article
    Read a summary




  • Marc Mangel elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    Marc is recognized internationally for his contributions in mathematical biology, bringing the tools of mathematics and theoretical biology to bear on practical problems in conservation and fisheries management. 
    Read more


  • J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves named director of CITRIS UC Santa Cruz
    J.J. will join CITRIS as the Director of CITRIS UC Santa Cruz effective July 1, 2018.
    Read more


  • Marilyn Walker featured in Santa Cruz Works article
    In the article, Conversations with Robots: UCSC’s Marilyn Walker on the Future of AI, Marilyn touches upon the use of robots for both good and evil, and the challenges and opportunities that come with UCSC’s close proximity to Silicon Valley.
    Read the article


  • Bob Vitale appointed to the Information and Research Committee of PCAPPA
    The appointment, effective January 1, 2018, recognizes Bob’s valuable skills as Director of Laboratories and Facilities, and will see him working with the Pacific Coast chapter of APPA on strategic objectives, and programs, activities, and events to successfully accomplish these objectives. 
    Visit the PCAPPA website


  • Katherine Isbister quoted in Wall Street Journal fitness-data article
    The article, The Fitness-Data Revolution is Just Getting Started, features a quote from Katherine about how to make exercise more engaging.
    Read the article
    Download the PDF


  • Noah Wardrip-Fruin named a HEVGA fellow
    The Higher Education Video Game Alliance Fellows Program recognizes senior scholars in the games industry who have made significant contribution to the field. 
    Visit the HEVGA Fellows Program webpage


  • Randal Burns to be honored as BSOE Distinguished Graduate Alumnus
    Burns, who earned his PhD and MS degrees from the Computer Science department under the supervision of Professor Darrell Long, is now a Professor of Computer Science in the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He will be honored at Alumni Weekend in April.
    Read more


  • Games and Playable Media masters win Innovation Award
    Congratulations to the Games and Playable Media masters Ctrl-Shift Team and their mentors Michael John and Erin Robinson Swink for winning the Innovation Award at the 2018 Intel University Games Showcase. They were selected from a large field of games representing the top games programs from across the U.S.


  • Angela Brooks Wins Hellman Fellowship 2018-19
    The Hellman Fellows Fund supports junior faculty research on the ten campuses of the UC system and at four private institutions. Angela will use the fellowship to fund her project, "Novel therapeutic targets in lung cancer from genes with altered mRNA splicing."


  • UC Santa Cruz tops the list -- by a large margin -- of institutions doing games research
    Universities and other institutions were ranked by activity over the past 10 years in publishing at conferences and journals dedicated to games and interactive entertainment research within the field of computing (AI, HCI, graphics, etc.)
    Read more



  • Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS) selected for 2018 Google Summer of Code
    The Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS) was selected to be a mentor organization for the 2018 Google Summer of Code (GSoC). GSoC efforts align closely with CROSS's mission of being a cradle for successful OSS projects and cultivating the next generation of OSS leadership. CROSS welcomes interested UCSC faculty or PhD students who would like to be GSoC mentors to contact us. Students accepted into the program are paired with mentors to gain exposure to real-world software development. This is an exciting opportunity to cultivate the next generation of OSS leadership. 
    Learn more


  • Another successful Giving Day raises funds for 17 BSOE projects
    Congratulations to Formula Slug, UCSC’s Formula SAE Team, for raising $17,259 from 307 individual donors, winning 4th place for projects with the largest amount of donors and 7th place for largest amount of money raised. Formula Slug also won the first prize of $5,000 in the Slug Surprise Challenge, as well as winning the runner up prize of $2,500 in the Mad Dash Challenge.

    The Clean Water for Cameroon project from Engineers Without Borders raised $9,399, taking 6th place for number of donors (225). They also received the runner-up prize of $1,000 for the Mid-day Motivator Challenge. Slugbotics-UCSC’s Marine Robotics Team raised $7,750 from 125 donors, winning 10th place for most donors.

    Here's how the other Engineering projects fared:
    • Girls in Engineering raised $5,340 with 30 supporters.
    • Student-Led Cancer Research Projects raised $5,115 with 34 supporters.
    • WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) raised $4,235 with 69 supporters.
    • Rocket Team at UCSC raised $3,660 with 113 supporters.
    • UCSC IGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition) raised $3,191 with 37 supporters.
    • Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative raised $3,081 with 23 supporters.
    • The National Society of Black Engineers raised $1,780 with 23 supporters.
    • Slug Gaming raised $1,125 with 11 supporters
    • The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers raised $1,080 with 25 supporters. 
    • The Society of Women Engineers raised $1,020 with 16 supporters.
    • The Association for Computing Machinery Women raised $365 with 6 supporters.
    • Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Diversity Fellowships raised $212 with 7 supporters.
    • UCSC Hackathon raised $185 with 7 supporters.
    • UCSC IEEE Hack-Y-Thon raised $150 with 6 supporters.

      Please consider supporting one or more teams next year!  
      Learn more


Insider Information

  • UCSC eligible as a Minority Serving Institution
    UC Santa Cruz is officially recognized as an Hispanic Serving Institution, which opens up various funding opportunities meant to serve underrepresented students.
    Learn more and download the letter


  • BSOE to sponsor the 2018 Santa Cruz County Mountain Challenge
    Organized by the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club, the bike ride will take place on July 21. In exchange for offering up the start and finish venue, BSOE will receive recognition on the SCCCC website sponsor page and promotional materials. They are also offering up to 10 free registrations. If you are interested in participating in this event, send an email to
    Read more


Comings and Goings

  • Kelsey Detwiler, Development Assistant
    Kelsey grew up in Philadelphia and has been migrating west ever since. She came to California two years ago as a transfer student to UC Santa Cruz, where she worked as a Research Assistant and the Online Course Development Assistant for Online Education, and graduated with a BA in Anthropology.


  • Erin Foley, Communications Assistant
    The Baskin School of Engineering is building capacity in the area of communications so that we can raise awareness of the school and the important work that our faculty members, students and researchers are doing. Erin Foley will participate in all types of communications, including news stories, social media, web presence, newsletters, internal communications, case studies, print collateral, and more. Erin holds a BA in Literature from UC Santa Cruz. She reports to Karyn Skemp, Communications Director, and sits in BE-320.


  • Theo-Alyce Gordon, Computational Media Department Graduate Student Advisor
    Theo-Alyce will be advising students in the Computational Media MS & PhD programs, the Games and Playable Media MS program, and the Serious Games MS program (coming soon). She brings to BSOE her experience advising international students at UCSC’s Global Engagement Office. 


  • Alicia Haley, Computer Science Graduate Student Advisor
    Alicia joined BSOE after spending the last three years as an International Student & Scholar Advisor with the Global Engagement Office at UCSC. She holds an MA in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute and brings with her seven years of advising experience. We look forward to her contribution of knowledge and understanding of international student matters. 


  • Andrea Malinowski, Executive Assistant to the Dean
    Andrea grew up in Las Vegas and moved to Santa Cruz just seven months ago. She has worked as an Executive Assistant for almost 10 years for a variety of companies including Budweiser, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and Canepa, Inc. 


  • Sarah Puhl, Academic Personnel/Payroll Analyst
    Sara brings 12 years of institutional knowledge from her many administrative roles at the University Library including business services, academic personnel, timekeeping, and other payroll related activities. She joined the Baskin team on January 16, 2018. 


  • Karen Ruhleder, Research Development Specialist
    I’m very happy to announce that the Baskin School of Engineering and the Office of Research have jointly hired a new Research Development Specialist, Karen Ruhleder. While her main focus will be on large, multi-PI grants, Karen will be available to assist faculty members, postdocs and graduate students with finding funding opportunities and preparing proposals. Her start date is May 14, 2018. Additional details to follow.


  • Mel Scanagatta-Academic Personnel/Payroll Analyst
    Mel has more than 20 years of experience in personnel management in private industry, working in academic payroll on campus for the last year. She will be supporting the departments of Biomolecular Engineering (BME), Computer Engineering (CE) and Technology Management (TM). Mel joined the Baskin team on March 26, 2018.


  • Tim Gustafson
    Tim and his family are moving to Sweden for Tim’s new position as Public Sector Solutions Architect for Amazon Web Services’ Nordic region. His last day was April 13th. Tim spent more than ten years at BSOE and will be missed. We wish him all the best in his new position and location.


Faculty Recruitment

BSOE is winding up recruitments for eight faculty positions. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this year's effort, which includes the following positions:

  • Computer Science
    • Data Science - Assistant Professor x 2
    • Distributed Systems - Assistant Professor
  • Computer Engineering
    • Hardware Acceleration - Assistant Professor
    • Cyber-physical Systems - Multi-rank
  • Computational Media
    • Serious Games - Assistant Professor
    • Games and Playable Media - Assistant Professor
    • Games and Playable Media - Teaching Professor


Student News

  • Computational Media PhD student James Ryan’s “Infinite Podcast” featured in The Verge
    Ryan’s Sheldon County podcast will never sound the same twice, creating a completely new story for each listender. In the article, What an ‘Infinite’ AI-generated podcast can tell us about the future of entertainment, James discusses his vision for the podcast and the future of generative media.
    Read the article


  • MEP student awarded Barry Goldwater Scholarship
    Aviv Elor was awarded the prestigious scholarship, given to a single applicant per institution. Aviv plans to earn a PhD in Computer Engineering and eventually teach at the university level and conduct research on assistive technologies to improve the health of people and communities. 
    Read more


Bears Repeating

  • UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute Head Joins Ambitious Project To Sequence Earth’s Life
    Professor David Haussler has joined forces with an international consortium of scientists, proposing the largest genome sequencing project to date: sequencing the DNA of each known complex life form on Earth.
    Read more


  • New "Pan-Cancer" Analysis Reveals the Common Roots of Different Cancers
    In the largest study of its kind, cancer researchers analyzed and classified more than 10,000 tumors from 33 cancer types to trace connections between different cancers.
    Read more


  • UC Santa Cruz Graduate Programs Rank Among Best in Nation in U.S. News Survey
    The Computer Science Graduate Program ranked 58th and the Engineering Graduate Program ranked 86th.
    Read More


  • Silicon Valley Campus continues to grow with launching of Serious Games master’s program
    Eighteen months after opening, the UCSC Silicon Valley Campus has plenty of new programs in store, including a master’s program in Serious Games that will launch this fall.
    Read More


  • Electrical Engineering grad student John Felts “Innovator of the Year” at local awards show
    Felts, CEO and co-founder of Cruz Foam, was honored at the 2018 NEXTies at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz.
    Read More


  • UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute Receives Funding For Human Cell Atlas Projects
    The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) has announced funding for three new projects at the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute to support the Human Cell Atlas, a global effort to map every type of cell in the healthy human body as a resource for studies of health and disease.
    Read more


  • UCSC Ranked Among Top Schools For Game Design
    As in past years, UC Santa Cruz is featured on Princeton Review’s 2018 lists for top undergraduate and graduate programs in game design.
    Read More


  • Antigen Study Supports New Approach to Vaccine for Respiratory Synctyial Virus
    Assistant professor of biomolecular engineering Rebecca Dubois has published new findings that point to a promising route for designing an effective vaccine for RSV.
    Read More