UCLA Engineering 2021 Award Recipients
Every year, the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering selects and recognizes outstanding achievements by a number of its alumni, faculty members and students who have excelled in various fields. These awardees are honored at a formal school ceremony. Due to the pandemic, the in-person award presentation and public recognition of the 2021 honorees were rescheduled for May 2022. Below are profiles of the recipients for the Professional Achievement Award and Rising Professional Achievement Award.
Rising Professional Achievement Award
Jamal Madni M.S. ’08, M.S. ’12
Jamal Madni has spent more than a decade in increasingly impactful roles across various fields, including biotech and diagnostics, aerospace and enterprise software.
Before joining Boeing, the world’s biggest aerospace company, Madni was a software engineer for then-startup biotech firm Fulgent Genetics, which has since become a prominent publicly traded company.
Madni hit his stride at Boeing, holding various positions with increasing responsibilities. He served as program manager for the integrated electronics suite of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, the world’s most expensive Earth imaging satellite. He also designed a classified artificial intelligence/machine learning system for “satellite disease diagnosis,” a variant of his thesis research in wireless health at UCLA, that significantly expedited root-cause corrective action in the company. As managing director of enterprise technology strategy, he spearheaded the firm’s research and development road mapping, internal boutique technology assessments and technical due diligence for corporate mergers and acquisitions.
Today, Madni is co-founder and CEO of Ingage, a company that integrates artificial intelligence and human connection by developing a behavioral signal-analytics videoconferencing platform. Madni has dubbed this type of next-generation connection platform as part of the “Internet of Us,” designed to transform the way we work and connect beyond existing smart devices and video conferencing technologies.
He is also the co-owner of the Los Angeles Football Network, Southern California’s fastest growing digital sports content platform.
Throughout his busy career, Madni has found time to support STEM education efforts, including creating a college-application preparatory program that has supported more than 50 first-generation, low-income students from underrepresented groups in STEM-based higher education.
Madni earned two master of science degrees from UCLA Samueli — electrical engineering in 2008 and bioengineering in 2012. He received an MBA from Stanford University in 2020 and is now pursuing a doctorate in organizational change and leadership at USC.
For his entrepreneurship and contributions, Madni has been recognized by the Ellis Island Honors Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers International, Space & Satellite Professionals International, Institution of Engineering and Technology, and The Engineers’ Council, among others.
Professional Achievement Award
Lisa D. Cagnolatti ’83
Over a career spanning close to 35 years, veteran utilities executive Lisa Cagnolatti ’83 has extensive experience in just about every major aspect of an electricity company’s operations — from regulatory affairs, environmental policy, and residential and business customer service to power transmission, distribution, and construction and maintenance.
She recently returned to Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the nation’s largest utilities, serving as its senior vice president of customer service. In this role, Cagnolatti oversees the company’s revenue services, and customer programs and services. This is her second stint at SCE, having previously spent 22 years in various executive roles, including as vice president of Business Customer Services for nearly nine years and as vice president of Customer Service Operations from 2016 to 2018, when she decided to retire.
She is also an executive-in residence at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, where she is a mentor and guest lecturer for its MBA program.
Cagnolatti graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and received her MBA from Pepperdine University. Over the years, she has continued to be actively involved in UCLA Samueli, serving as a member of the Dean’s Corporate Advisory Board (DCAB) since 2017. DCAB members include corporate executives from key industries aligned with UCLA Samueli’s academic offerings and help create and foster connections between industry partners and students, faculty and alumni.
She is also a member of the UCLA Samueli Standing Committee on Diversity, which was founded in 2021. The committee advises school leadership on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, with a particular focus on underrepresented populations in engineering disciplines.
Cagnolatti is a board member of the Valley of the Sun United Way and the African
American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle in Phoenix. She also serves as president of both the Alpha Alpha Iota Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., and The Desert Pearls Foundation — a nonprofit community-service organization. For the past six years, Cagnolatti and her family have provided scholarships for underrepresented UCLA Samueli students in partnership with the Council of African American Parents.