Program Notes: Graduate Alumni

APPLIED PHYSICS AND APPLIED MATHEMATICS
Jay Shah MS’09 has founded Dynamic Medical Physics Inc., a medical physics consulting company. While planning the company’s future endeavors, he continues to practice clinically in Therapeutic Medical Physics, where his chief interest lies in stereotactic radiosurgery, a form of brain surgery for cancer treatment. Instead of using sharp instruments to cut into the brain, this procedure employs highly focused radiation beams to destroy tumors. Jay collaborates with a radiation oncologist and a neurosurgeon to create a custom treatment plan for patients that deposits radiation within a wellconstrained volume. Recently, Hollywood has come calling for his consultant services, looking for assistance in helping to create more realistic story lines in television and film. He has collaborated with writers from CBS’s Madam Secretary as well as Phantom Four Films (responsible for the Batman and Superman franchises).

Sicen Du MS’17
Sicen Du MS’17

Sicen Du MS’17 writes: “Having earned my MS in the Materials Science and Engineering program at SEAS, I will join the University of Michigan to pursue my PhD in their Materials Science and Engineering department. I’ve decided that my future career will be in the field of energy storage and conversion, developing new energy-saving technologies to ameliorate and restore polluted land.”

CIVIL ENGINEERING AND ENGINEERING MECHANICS
Roy E. Hunt MA’56 was nominated as a “Geo-Legend” by the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2016, and featured in the January/February issue of GEOSTRATA magazine, for his impact on the fields of geotechnical and geological engineering as a problem solver and educator. After serving in the U.S. Army in Japan and earning a master’s degree in soil mechanics and foundation engineering at Columbia under Professor Donald Burmister, Hunt worked on numerous projects in the US and around the world, authored several award-winning books on geology and geohazards, and taught at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Lakewood, NJ.

W. William (Bill) Podszus MS’84 recently celebrated his first-year anniversary as director, Sales Americas, for GERSTEL, Inc., the Americas Sales Division of GERSTEL GmbH.

Lauren Wilcox MS’06, PhD’13
Lauren Wilcox MS’06, PhD’13

COMPUTER SCIENCE
Lauren Wilcox MS’06, PhD’13 is an assistant professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, where she directs the Health Experience and Applications Lab (Hx Lab). Her research focuses on designing, building, and evaluating technology to support the needs of people working both individually and collectively to achieve health-related goals. Her studies related to communicating patient-centered health information have been recognized by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) through a Dissertation Award in 2012 and by the NSF through a CAREER award in 2017. After completing her MS at SEAS, and before beginning the PhD program, Lauren worked as a software engineer at IBM, where she was recognized with an Early Tenure Inventor award. Lauren currently serves on the technical program committee for ACM CHI 2018. She will be inducted into the Inaugural Class of the ACM Future of Computing Academy in 2018. Lauren lives in Atlanta with her husband, Richard Patterson.

Lev Brie ’04CC, MS’14 is back in New York after a brief sojourn in San Francisco. He is currently leading a special project at Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company with a mission to use technology to tackle the biggest challenges facing urban areas.

Jose Daniel Ramirez Soto
MS’15
writes: “Since I finished my [master’s in data science], I’ve started to work at CapitalOne as a senior data scientist. I’m working in the Customer Innovation department, using natural language processing on transcribed customer calls to try to detect complaints in the text. Thanks a lot to Columbia.”

Diego Llarrull MS’16
Diego Llarrull MS’16

Diego Llarrull MS’16 writes:
“Right after completing the MS in data science at Columbia University in September 2016, I had to return to Argentina to fulfill the requirements of the Argentine Presidential Fellowship in Science and Technology, which sponsored my studies in the US. As part of my two-year required stay, I started working in the field of precision medicine, where I develop meta-models (models that capture the behavior of other models within the same context) in order to predict the pathogenicity of genetic mutations that can come from sources like hereditary cancer and trisomies in newborns. I also assist genetic analysts with data exploration tools that enable searching for genetic mutation patterns in our population. Additionally, I’ve been acting as lecturer in several workshops that aim to bridge the gap between the fields of machine and deep learning and the world of genomics. These lectures mostly take part under the scope of research laboratories that belong to the national research agency in Argentina, CONICET, as well as public and private universities.”

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
Moshe Shweiger MS’66 writes: “Immediately after graduating, I joined the Aerospace group (General Precision) as a control engineer in Little Falls, NJ, employing Kalman Filtering techniques. Next, I worked for the IBM subsidiary Service Bureau Corporation in New York City and received an award for creating an algorithm utilized in processing the solution to a top secret project. I developed original algorithms to solve electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering problems (from Ebers Moll model in EE to a 6000 order of a stiffness matrix), and also worked for Dun and Bradstreet as director of the advanced software department and Xerox. I founded and was president of Maymod Corporation, the first company that used vectorial technology in data processing, and published several scientific papers in Computer Decisions magazine. For the last 10 years, since retiring, I’ve [immersed] myself in the beautiful intricacies of the general theory of relativity and … the concepts and the mathematics that lead to singularity, black holes, and the most fundamental concept of ‘tends to zero.’” Moshe notes that he is also the father of two.

Eyal Aklimi MS’10, PhD’16 was recently appointed as lead electrical engineer for Vium Inc., a biotech company in San Mateo, CA. At Vium, Eyal is spearheading the development of electronics for preclinical drug discovery studies. The company’s living informatics platform, a digital vivarium, incorporates sensors, automation, and algorithms to allow drug development researchers to conduct quality preclinical research studies, and he is thrilled for the opportunity to contribute to novel efforts that could result in medical breakthroughs. Prior to taking on this new role, Eyal served as lead electronics innovator for Diamond Nanotechnologies, an R&D start-up company in Boston, MA, where he worked since graduating in 2016.

Rabia Tugce Yazicigil PhD’16 is currently a postdoctoral associate at the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department (EECS) at MIT, working with Professor Anantha P. Chandrakasan. Rabia received her BS degree from Sabanci University in 2009, her MS degree from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2011, and her PhD degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University in 2016 under Professor Peter R. Kinget and co-advised by Professor John Wright. Rabia has received a number of awards for her doctoral work, including the 2016 Electrical Engineering Collaborative Research Award for her PhD research on Compressive Sampling Applications in Rapid RF Spectrum Sensing, second place at the 2015 Bell Labs Future X Days Student Research Competition, the 2015 Analog Devices Inc. outstanding student designer award, and the 2014 Millman Teaching Assistant Award at Columbia. She was selected among the top 61 female graduate students and postdoctoral scholars invited to present her research work in the 2015 MIT Rising Stars in Electrical Engineering Computer Science.

Shikhar Kwatra MS’17 writes: “I graduated from Columbia in December 2016 and have been working at IBM as an intellectual property engineer. . . . In one year at IBM, I have filed seven patent inventions (approved as part of IBM) that have been sent for filing at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as patent applications (one of the first to accomplish this in one year). I received the first invention achievement award along with the plateau achievement award for four significant inventions. My aim is to become the Youngest Master Inventor in US. Many thanks to our very own Columbia University, which gave me immense wisdom and provided me the strength to face my own challenges.”

Ke (Lisa) Lei MS’17
Ke (Lisa) Lei MS’17

Ke (Lisa) Lei MS’17 writes: “After a three-week road trip right after graduation, I started my internship with Qualcomm at San Diego as a hardware engineer. Life here has been enjoyable. The company provided us fancy apartments; I got a cool manager and a nice team to work with. While learning lots of new stuff, there was not too much pressure from work. I’m quite free outside normal working hours to have fun with many of my hobbies. This includes playing five different sports each week—surfing is one not to be missed in San Diego. As the end of my internship approaches, I’ll start the transition to Stanford graduate school.”

INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING AND OPERATIONS RESEARCH
Etienne Meriaux MS ’16 writes that since finishing the Management Science and Engineering program in December 2015, he has been working in Paris in the brand supply chain for Giorgio Armani Cosmetics. “It is my dream position,” he says, combining his passion for luxury goods and strong affinity for logistics, and an excellent opportunity to explore concepts such as the bullwhip effect, security stocks, and MRP processes in real life. “I am definitely glad to build on both my business and logistics skills, and apply and experience all the concepts I studied in the program,” he notes.

Renato Georgiadis Rosiak MS’16 writes: “It has been a year and a half since we graduated from the Management Science and Engineering MS program, and what a ride it has been! I am back in Brazil, committed to growing Uber as the ride-sharing platform of choice of all Brazilians. I started as an operations manager for the South of Brazil in January 2016 and was promoted in early 2017 to lead the Growth team in the region, which is in charge of expanding to new cities, as well as acquiring and engaging both our driver-partners and our riders base. Living in São Paulo since the beginning of 2017, I have got the chance to work on the first rider retention and satisfaction initiatives in the country, such as establishing research (NPS, focus groups, surveys) and developing recognition and loyalty programs. Besides work, I was super glad that one of my best friends at Columbia, Kushal, recently came to Brazil for a 10-day visit, which was super cool. Hope to meet more Lions sooner than later!”

Priyank Lathwal MS’17, who graduated with a degree in the Management Science and Engineering program, has been hard at work this summer before returning to the US this fall to earn his PhD. Currently, he is engaged in fieldwork in India for a Columbia University research study focusing on the state of the country’s renewables. Starting fall 2017, he will be attending Carnegie Mellon University to pursue doctoral studies in engineering and public policy on a full scholarship. He seeks to better understand the relationship between social media and economic performance in ways that can help the world’s poorest.

Zijian Xie MS’17 writes: “After graduating from Columbia, I am now working at Morgan Stanley as a quantitative analyst. I develop my knowledge and skills in the real financial market every day and enjoy the fast-paced, busy life in New York City.”

Rajiv V. Joshi EngScD’90
Rajiv V. Joshi EngScD’90

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Rajiv V. Joshi EngScD’90 recently won one of IEEE’s top awards, the Daniel E. Noble Award for Emerging Technologies, which he will receive at the 2018 IEEE International Solid- State Circuits conference in February. A research scientist at IBM and the key technical lead at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center, Joshi has invented novel materials, processes, and structures that have led to low resistance and high reliability contacts and interconnects capable of contacting smaller transistors in higher speed integrated circuits. His work created a paradigm shift in the way interconnect technology is used, enabling Moore’s Law to continue to be valid for today’s microelectronics technology. He led successfully predictive failure analytic techniques for yield prediction that have applications in VLSI memories and are now commercialized. He also developed algorithms to predict rare failure events that are orders of magnitude superfast and accurate over conventional techniques and potentially applicable in finance, health science, and other data analytics applications related to fields like cognition and the Internet of Everything (IoE). Joshi, who received his B.Tech from I.I.T. (Bombay, India) and his MS from M.I.T., is a prolific inventor with over 225 U.S. and 350 international patents. An IEEE Fellow, he received the 2013 Industrial Pioneer award from the EEE Circuits and Systems (CAS) Society and was inducted into the New Jersey Inventor Hall of Fame with Nikola Tesla in 2014. He has authored and co-authored more than 185 papers, and received the Best Editor Award from IEEE TVLSI journal. He is a recipient of the 2013 IEEE CAS Industrial Pioneer award and 2013 Mehboob Khan Award from Semiconductor Research Corporation.

Greg Kollmer MS’16, PhD candidate Aykut Aksit MS’16, Karim Abdallah MS ’16, and Troy Hodges MS’16 (Earth and Environmental Engineering) have been working on Palmos, an environmental risk monitoring startup. Palmos began as a winning entry to the SEAS Rio de Janeiro Design Challenge in spring 2016, and received its first funding from a SEAS cFUND Ignition grant. It has continued to grow with funding from Verizon and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now headquartered in Cambridge, MA, Palmos is building sensors and physical modeling to quantify hydrological risks such as landslides and flooding for cities and property insurance companies.

Sicen Du MS’17
Yutong Xue MS’16

Yutong Xue MS ’16 writes: “I graduated from Columbia in December 2015 with an MS in mechanical engineering. Then, in spring 2016, I enrolled in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University to be a PhD student and research assistant in acoustics and vibration with Professor J. Stuart Bolton. During the past year and a half, I have been successively conducting research projects including detection of printer noise sources, sponsored by HP, and modeling of acoustical and damping performance of porous material, sponsored by 3M. In June, I won the Classic Paper Competition at the Institute of Noise Control Engineering–USA 2017 Noise Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.”

Jeffrey Gunlicks MS’17 took a job as a mechanical engineer with the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Buildings Operations shortly after graduation. He is working on the planning, design, and construction of U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world.

Rui Wang MS’17 writes that he was accepted into the PhD program at Rutgers University’s Computer Science Department. “My research interest lies in AI applied in robotics, and Rutgers’ PhD program is a great match for me,” he notes. “I am looking forward to this new career. It was a wonderful journey at Columbia University, where I acquired professional skills, and I want to thank all the people who taught and helped me, especially Professor Peter Allen, who gave me an internship opportunity and a TA position that had a great impact on my PhD decision. I will also thank New York City—it was amazing to see so many brand new things, and it taught me to be yourself and dream big. I am proud to be a Columbia alumnus and will keep academic connection with Columbia researchers in my PhD life.”