April 1, 2023
Dean, USC Viterbi School of EngineeringLinkedIn
Yannis C. Yortsos is the Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the Zohrab Kaprielian Chair in Engineering, a position he holds since 2005. Prior to that he served from 2001 to 2005 as Associate Dean and then as Sr. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Yortsos served as chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and in 1995 he was appointed to the Chester Dolley Professorship. He received a BS (Diploma) degree in Chemical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and MS and PhD degrees from the California Institute of Technology, all in chemical engineering. His research area is in fluid flow, transport and reaction processes in porous media with specific application to the subsurface. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2008, where he has also served as secretary, vice-chair and chair of Section 11. Since July 2017, Yortsos serves as a member of the NAE Council. In 2011 he was awarded the distinction of honorary member of the AIME, in 2013 he was elected as Associate member of the Academy of Athens, in 2014 he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and since 2017 he holds an honorary degree from Tsinghua University.
He served on the NRC Committees for the 2017 report on a New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research as well as the 2017 report on The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities. He currently serves as a member of the NSF Engineering Advisory Committee. As dean of engineering, he articulated in 2008 the concept of Engineering+, positioning engineering as the enabling discipline of our times, and has been actively engaged in the effort to “change the conversation about engineering”.
Along with colleagues at Duke University and Olin College, he co-founded in 2009 the Global Grand Challenges Scholars Program. He organized and hosted at USC in Fall 2010 the NAE Second Grand Challenges Summit, which spurred in 2013 the Global Grand Challenges Summits. These are bi-annual meetings of the NAE, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, on the organizing committees of which he has continuously served. Between 2012 and 2017, Yortsos was the chair of the Diversity Committee of the Engineering Deans Council, in which capacity he has spearheaded an engineering diversity initiative, now adopted by more than 210 engineering deans nationwide. In recognition of these initiatives, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering received in 2017 the ASEE President’s Award.
Yortsos is the PI of the NSF I-Corps Innovation Node Los Angeles, established in 2014 as a partnership between USC, Caltech and UCLA. Between 2011 and 2017 he served on the Executive Committee of the Engineering Deans Council (2011-2017) and on the Executive Committee of the Global Engineering Deans Council (2012-2016). Following the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic he is leading, since April 2020, the National Academy of Engineering Call to Action Against COVID.
Dr. Joaquin Camacho
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State UniversityLinkedIn
Joaquin Camacho was born in East LA and raised in East LA County (Baldwin Park). His education after high school began at Mt SAC Community College where he spent three years working on engineering prerequisites while working nights at UPS. He then transferred to UC San Diego to obtain a BS in Chemical Engineering to finish a seven year journey to the Bachelors. Joaquin discovered his passion for science and engineering research from undergraduate research opportunities and industry internships during his UCSD studies. This led to a pursuit of the academic career pathway in which he eventually became a tenure-track professor in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University. Before becoming a professor, Joaquin obtained an MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University.
Introduction to Grad School
Assistant Dean, Graduate Admission
Cami oversees the graduate recruitment activities for students entering the doctoral and master's programs on campus at USC.
Grad School Tips Workshop
Assistant Director, Graduate Events and Programming
Juli organizes and plans important events and programming for master's students, and serves as the cornerstone for all initiatives that inspire and are inspired by students.
Workshop on Statement of Purpose
Elisabeth Arnold Weiss
Associate Professor of Technical Communication PracticeLinkedIn
Elisabeth Arnold Weiss teaches upper division Advanced Writing and Communication for Engineers and has taught the communication courses for Ph.D. students as well as Freshman Academies. She also teaches in the Aviation Safety and Security Program and has developed the cross-cultural and global community building components of Viterbi’s global innovation course.
Elisabeth leads a long-standing community outreach partnership with the Accelerated Charter Elementary School (ACES) and has designed ATLAS, a service-learning collective for EIS. She is a frequent faculty contributor to Viterbi K-12 STEM Center programs, such as SHINE and REACH.
With a robust mentorship track record spanning two decades, Elisabeth mentors start up teams in the USC and Viterbi entrepreneurial ecosystem and engages with industry to accelerate student pathways to professional purpose and achievement. She has initiated two programs, DREAM and “A Board of Trustees for every Student” to provide mentorship at scale across Viterbi.
MS vs Ph.D. Panel
Juan De Los Rios
Ph.D. Candidate in ChemistryLinkedIn
Juan is a bicultural and binational first–generation immigrant from Mexico. He immigrated with his family to the El Paso–Ciudad Juarez metroplex in 2008 in search for better academic and professional opportunities. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and three distinct certifications from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018 with the support from the Gates Millennium and GE–Ronald Reagan Foundation scholarships. Presently, he is a chemistry Ph.D. candidate in the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute at the University of Southern California working under the supervision of Prof. G. K. Surya Prakash. His research interests are focused on the applications of heterogeneous catalysts for the transformation of small molecules into electrochemical energy. This includes CO2 capture and conversion, alkaline fuel cells, and electrochemical sensors. He aims to finish graduate education by summer 2024 and thus focus his career endeavors in innovative technologies for energy efficiency and its applications in the transportation, aerospace, and/or agriculture sectors. Furthermore, he is an enthusiast and advocate for science communication and education and aspires to bridge these interests into his career goals. His purpose is in advancing the field of science while simultaneously educating and empowering individuals to set ablaze their scientific curiosity.
Sandra Lara Galindo
Ph.D. Biomedical EngineeringLinkedIn
Sandra is a second year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering (BME). She obtained her bachelor’s degree in BME at the Instituto Tecnológico de Merida in Mexico, her M.S degree in Bioengineering in San Diego State University (SDSU) and currently she is part of the Armani Lab at USC. Her research interests are building optical sensors for neuromodulation and electrochemical detection of neurotransmitters. She is an active member in SHPE Grad 22-23 and is the current VP of Outreach in the Viterbi Graduate Student Association (VGSA).
Jean Helder Marques Ribeiro
Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering, UCLALinkedIn
Jean is a 5th-year Ph.D. student in Aerospace Engineering at UCLA. He obtained BSc and MSc degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and UNICAMP, respectively, both in Brazil.
MS in Applied Data ScienceLinkedIn
Diana is a graduate student in Data Science, with a high interest in predictive analytics, with an extensive background and work experience in statistics/biostatistics, with programming skills in R/RStudio, Python, SQL, and SAS. She is passionate about using data science to harness the potential that data can hold to make an impact.
Edward Lopez Arevalo
MS in Astronautical EngineeringLinkedIn
Edward is currently a Master's student in Astronautical Engineering at the University of Southern California as a GEM Full-Fellow. His graduate studies are sponsored by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he will be completing internships with the Applied Space Systems group. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. Experienced in mechanical/systems design, integration & testing, RF data visualization, project management, team coordination, and mentorship
Jorge Solis Galvan
M.S. in Data ScienceLinkedIn
Jorge is a first-year MS student in Healthcare Data Science. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Software Engineering from Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas. In 2022 he was awarded a Fulbright Garcia-Robles Fellowship to study a master's degree in the United States.
What to Do During Your Journey Through Graduate School
Jocelyn Mendoza Martinez
Ph.D. in Aerospace EngineeringLinkedIn
Jocelyn is a graduate student of the aerospace engineering department of the Viterbi School - at USC. She is currently working on the Fluid-Structure Interactions Lab under the supervision of Dr. Geoffrey Spedding. She is passionate about studying the aerodynamics of small flying devices with experiments in wind tunnels and particle imagining velocimetry.
Daniel Pereira da Costa
MS in Applied Data ScienceLinkedIn
Daniel is pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Data Science. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Control and Automation Engineering from CentraleSupélec and Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.
MS in Industrial & Systems EngineeringLinkedIn
MS in Product Development EngineeringLinkedIn
Niraj is currently a Master of Science student at the University of Southern California studying Product Development Engineering. He graduated in May 2020 from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. His interests are in robotics and supply chain.
Ph.D. in Organic ChemistryLinkedIn
Rudra is a PhD student at USC studying synthetic organic chemistry in the lab of Valery Fokin. He works on synthesizing covalent inhibitors which can be used to spy on biological systems, as well as improve drug discovery, drug development, and drug efficiency. Prior to starting his PhD, he obtained his BSc in Biochemistry from Pace University.
In addition to being a PhD student at USC, Rudra is also a leading member of Biotech Connections Los Angeles (BCLA), which is an organization aiming to inspire, educate and connect emerging scientists and entrepreneurs through initiatives that focus on growth, development, and diversification of biotech in LA.
Rudra’s goal through his graduate studies and extracurricular work is to highlight translational science within the public and private sectors of STEM with hopes of contributing to the growth of innovation within the LA biotech ecosystem and to promote diversity within these fields.
Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at USCLinkedIn
Diamond is a Biomedical Engineering Doctoral student that recapitulates biological phenomena using mathematical modeling. Specifically, her current focus is on the signaling pathwq1ays that regulate hormone dependent cancer types. The goal of her research is two pronged. She interested in utilizing computational modeling to combat disabling disorders while also bridging the disparity between marginalized communities and personalized medicine.
DEIA and Women in STEM
Ph.D. in Biomedical EngineeringLinkedIn
Shahd is currently pursuing her Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering. Her research interests are in building medical devices for neurodegenerative diseases. She is also the President of the Viterbi Graduate Student Association (VGSA).
Ph.D. in Industrial & Systems EngineeringLinkedIn
Aleyeh is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California studying Industrial & Systems Engineering. She is also the Executive Vice President of the Viterbi Graduate Student Association (VGSA).
MS in Engineering ManagementLinkedIn
Natalie Fung is currently a Master of Science student at the University of Southern California studying Communications Data Science.
MS in Engineering ManagementLinkedIn
Malia is currently a Master of Science student at the University of Southern California studying Engineering Management.
Dr. Bruce Wilcox
Senior Lecturer of Industrial and Systems EngineeringLinkedIn
Dr. Wilcox is a senior analytics consultant with over 30 years years experience with top-tier consulting firms providing management and information systems consulting services to large corporate and government clients. From 2013 until 2021, he was employed full-time by the SAS Institute, a premier provider of advanced analytics software and consulting services, responsible for consulting with major SAS government clients in California on the use of advanced analytics tools and solutions.
With BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and an MBA from UCLA, Bruce earned his PhD in Engineering and Applied Mathematics from Claremont Graduate University in 2018 with thesis work in time series clustering for fixed income portfolio diversification using model-based clustering and state space analysis techniques. From January 2020 until taking a full-time faculty position in the 2021 fall semester, Bruce was a part-time lecturer at USC Viterbi College of Engineering in the MS Analytics program. Prior to that, he taught for twelve semesters as a lecturer at California State University, Long Beach and as a visiting international professor at the National Economics University, Hanoi, Vietnam, teaching two short courses in quantitative analysis to advanced finance students.
Dr. Peter Yingxiao Wang
Department Chair, Dwight C. and Hildagarde E. Baum Professor, Alfred E. Mann Dept. of Biomedical Engineering,
Dr. Wang obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanics from Peking University, Beijing, P.R. China, in 1992 and 1996, respectively. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, San Diego in 2002. He is currently a fellow of American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE), and Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). His research is on cellular and molecular engineering for live cell imaging and controllable cell-based therapy.
Dr. Soheil Soltani
Research scientist at Lawrence J Ellison Institute of Transformative Medicine of USCLinkedIn
Dr. Soltani received his PhD (2018) in Electrical Engineering (Optics and Photonics) from the University of Southern California. In 2018 He joined the department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology as a postdoctoral fellow. He Joined Lawrence J Ellison Institute of Transformative Medicine of USC in 2022 as a research scientist. He has been working on design and implementation of a variety of optical imaging systems including, SRS-Optical Coherence Tomography, Deep UV microscopy and spectroscopy systems for the purpose of label free and quantitative study of biological samples at cellular and tissue level. His work has resulted in several unique biomarkers and diagnostic stains which aid in study of various types of cancer.
Dr. Megan Fieser
Gabilan Professor of Chemistry Assistant at USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and SciencesLinkedIn
Megan Fieser received a B.A. in chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, while also playing on the softball team (Go Bears!) She went on to earn her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Irvine, working with Bill Evans on the "Spectroscopic and Computational Analysis of Rare Earth and Actinide Complexes in Unusual Coordination Environments and Oxidation States". She then moved to pursue postdoctoral studies with Prof. Bill Tolman at the University of Minnesota within the NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers. There she collaborated with Prof. Geoff Coates and Prof. Chris Cramer on mechanistic studies of the perfectly alternating copolymerization of epoxides and cyclic anhydrides with an aluminum catalyst and PPNCl co-catalyst.
Dr. Fieser started as a Gabilan Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California in 2018. Outside of the lab, Megan loves most things outdoors, such as walking/running with her dogs, biking and hiking. She is also a huge fan of brunch and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Dr. Thaiesha Wright
Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of California, Los AngelesLinkedIn
Thaiesha Wright received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Spelman College in Georgia and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Miami University in Ohio, where she was the Dissertation Scholar for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In addition to her doctoral studies at Miami, Wright founded and led the university’s Science Policy Group, which aims to advocate for science-informed policy at the university, state and national levels. Wright also earned a certificate in college teaching through the Center for Teaching Excellence. Dr. Wright combines expertise in polymer chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics. Her research interests are in the understanding of the kinetics and thermodynamics of enzyme-polymer interactions. The research has potential applications in developing agents for gene and drug delivery in the treatment of diseases, as well as in the production of industrial and consumer products. Wright is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in chemical and biological engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the NanoEngineering Department at UC San Diego. She joined UCLA Samueli in the fall of 2022.
Dr. Geena Ildefonso
Postdoctoral research fellow at the Computational Systems Biology LaboratoryLinkedIn
Dr. Ildefonso completed her undergraduate studies in Mathematics at the University of Central Florida and obtained a doctoral degree at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Chemical and Physical Biology. Dr. Ildefonso worked with Professor Vito Quaranta studying crosstalk mechanisms in cell fate decisions through mathematical modeling. She graduated in March 2022.
Consultant, Medical Devices in Orange County, CaliforniaLinkedIn
Having spent 12+ years in the industry, I’ve had the opportunity to help many start-up and large sized manufacturers, develop and commercialize medical device technologies. I am passionate about helping to bring novel medical technologies to market through close collaboration with all stakeholders. Nitin holds a Masters in Biomedical Engineering (Class of 2009) from the University of Southern California.
Diego Jácome, PE
Senior Civil Engineer at Walt Disney ImagineeringLinkedIn
Diego Jácome is a highly qualified Civil Engineer who obtained his Master of Science in Construction Management at the University of Southern California and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. His expertise lies in project engineering, planning, designing, and executing infrastructure programs, which he has honed through his years of professional experience. Diego's passion for his work has driven him to take on various technical challenges and work on multiple continents. He has a proven track record of effectively managing several design projects, including world-class theme parks such as the Shanghai Disneyland Resort in China, and noteworthy residential, cultural, and commercial developments like Saadiyat, Al Reem, and Al Ghadeer in the United Arab Emirates.
Dynamic Environments Engineer (MTS) at The Aerospace CorporationLinkedIn
Marlyn is a Dynamic Environments Engineer at The Aerospace Corporation where she evaluates shock and vibration environments for different spacecraft and launch vehicles. She studied Aerospace Engineering with an emphasis in Astronautics at Cal Poly Pomona and is currently doing her master’s in Aerospace Engineering at USC. She is a first generation Latina who attended community college and is highly involved in STEM and diversity inclusion efforts.
Paul Lu has over 40 years of experience in the aviation industry working in the global arena. His last industry position was Director Advanced Aircraft Programs at Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. He also served a five-year term as Director Customer Support Asia and was stationed in Hong Kong responsible for customer support in the Asia region. Dr. Lu worked for the Mobil Oil Corporation in the 1990s and served a four-year term in Kazakhstan where he established and managed a Flight Operations team supporting a multi-national offshore seismic operation in the Caspian Sea. Prior to joining Mobil Oil, Lu worked at Citibank and supported a fleet of corporate jets and traveled extensively in North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Dr. Lu holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University and a Master of Aeronautical Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He has been a Project Management Professional (PMP) since 1999. He recently authored three textbooks – the first is on Product Development, the second is on Project Management, and the third is on Operations Management.
Process Engineer at Atomica (formerly IMT)LinkedIn
Cell Engineer at TeslaLinkedIn
Sairaj is currently pursuing his MS Chemical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He possesses 3+ years of research experience in active battery materials and computational modeling for electrochemical systems. As a research assistant in the Loker Hydrocarbon Institute (Narayan Lab) at USC, Sairaj developed novel organic redox couples for flow batteries and built COMSOL based computational fluid models for electrodes to improve battery performance. Working as a research associate at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, he developed an empirical framework for a radiolysis of redox couples for a self-operative nuclear charged redox flow battery. Currently, Sairaj is interning as a Cell Engineer at Tesla.
Sairaj received his B-Tech in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pune, India in 2020. At USC, Sairaj serves as the Vice President (Communications) in the Viterbi Graduate Student Association (VGSA). He is deeply passionate about promoting energy sustainability and LGBTQ+ representation in STEM.