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 of the 2021 University Service Award, Engineering Alumni Association Service Award and the V.M. Watanabe Award for Excellence in Research.
Jane P. Chang
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
William Frederick Seyer Endowed Chair in Materials Electrochemistry
Jane Chang served as the associate dean for research and physical resources at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering from 2009 to 2016, a critical time of expansion for the school. In that role, Chang oversaw the administration of research-related activities and the construction, allocation and management of the school’s physical space.
She was the principal investigator on two multi-million dollar grants — a major renovation of Boelter Hall and the construction of the Engineering VI building, a 150,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility.
Today, Engineering VI houses the Computer Science Department and multiple research labs. It also includes the 250-seat William M. W. Mong Memorial Learning Center, which serves as the school’s primary venue for major lectures and large events.
Under her leadership, Boelter Hall was also transformed with renovated collaboratory spaces and additional areas for student-focused activities.
In addition to serving as an associate dean, Chang also chaired UCLA’s Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools and led the development of the holistic admission review process. She served as the vice chair of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department and is currently a member of the university’s Council on Academic Personnel.
Chang’s research focuses on the synthesis and patterning of multifunctional thin film materials for nano-electronics and micro-energy storage devices. Chang was the director of Function Accelerated nanoMaterial Engineering, a major multidisciplinary research consortium headquartered at UCLA and supported by the Semiconductor Research Corporation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. She held the deputy director position at the Center for Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Chang established the semiconductor manufacturing option for the bachelor’s degree in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, and has received multiple schoolwide and departmental teaching awards.
Engineering Alumni Association Service Award
Coretta Harris ’83
As a student at UCLA, Coretta Harris was an active member of several student organizations —the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
After graduation, Harris remained active with NSBE and SWE. She established NSBE Bruin Alumni to support current NSBE students with ﬁnancial resources, and access to mentors and speakers. In 2000, she was invited to join the Engineering Alumni Association (EAA) Board.
She served on several EAA board committees and was elected its ﬁrst female president in 2008, serving a three-year term. In 2017, she began her second term on the EAA Board, serving as the chair of its Tri-Org Advisory Committee.
Outside of the EAA Board, Harris also contributes to UCLA Samueli on initiatives to grow and foster student diversity, equity and inclusion. She serves on the UCLA Samueli Diversity Council as its alumni representative and is a frequent speaker for the Women in Engineering program, or WE@UCLA.
In 2005, she established the Coretta Harris Scholarship Fund for incoming freshman and transfer students majoring in engineering.
Harris, who received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, is a veteran senior systems engineer and project manager in the aerospace and defense industries. She also serves as a docent at the California Science Center, helping guide visitors at the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit.
V. M. Watanabe Excellence in Research Award
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director, Natural Hazards Risk and Resiliency Research Center
Yousef Bozorgnia’s research impact is broad and extensive. Many people around the world are safer during earthquakes thanks to his ground motion modeling work that has improved seismic design and made infrastructure more resilient.
Bozorgnia is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA and the director of the multidisciplinary and multi-institutional Natural Hazards Risk and Resiliency Research Center (NHR3).
Prior to joining the UCLA Samueli faculty in 2017 as a full professor, Bozorgnia was a faculty member at UC Berkeley and in a leadership position at its Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center.
For more than 18 years, he has been the principal investigator of large community-based earthquake ground motion modeling research projects, including a series of “Next Generation Attenuation” projects, developing probabilistic models that quantify how the ground moves during earthquakes. These models are then incorporated into the seismic design and risk assessment for buildings and infrastructure in the United States and around the world.
As director of NHR3, which is part of the B. John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences, Bozorgnia leads a number of high-profile research projects that examine risks from earthquakes and other natural hazards to major infrastructure — bridges, tunnels, rail lines, natural gas facilities, water transmission systems — and how to make them more resilient during and after such destructive events. His research team at UCLA includes a large group of graduate and undergraduate students, post-doctoral fellows and project scientists supported by various federal, state and local funding agencies.
Bozorgnia has received numerous national and international honors for his research that transfers scientific knowledge into best practices and policy that improve seismic safety, including the 2019 Bruce Bolt Medal, which was jointly awarded by the Seismological Society of America, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the Consortium of Strong Motion Observations Systems.