UCLA Samueli Awards

UCLA Samueli Announces 2021 Awards

May 17, 2021

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Every year, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science recognizes outstanding achievements by a number of its alumni, faculty members and students who have excelled in various fields.

Below is a list of the 2021 award recipients and a brief highlight of their achievements.


Tyson Tuttle

Alumnus of the Year Award

Tyson Tuttle M.S.  ’92
CEO, Silicon Labs

Tyson Tuttle serves as CEO at Silicon Labs, a leading provider of silicon, software and solutions for a smarter, more connected world. Under Tuttle’s leadership, Silicon Labs has received recognition for its strong company culture and vision to successfully develop technologies that improve lives and transform industries. He spearheaded the company’s focus on the Internet of Things (IoT), leveraging its wireless and integration expertise to become one of the industry’s most respected IoT market leaders. Tuttle joined Silicon Labs in 1997 and has since held a variety of roles in design engineering and product management, including CTO and COO, before being named CEO in 2012. Tuttle previously worked at Broadcom and Cirrus Logic. He received a B.S. degree from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.S. degree from UCLA, both in electrical engineering, and holds more than 70 patents in radio-frequency and mixed-signal integrated-circuits design. Tuttle currently serves on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Global Semiconductor Alliance, the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering and the Texas Black Legislative Caucus Foundation.

Rick Ainsworth

Lifetime Contribution Award

Rick Ainsworth
Executive Director (ret.), Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED), UCLA

Enrique “Rick” Ainsworth served as executive director of UCLA Samueli’s Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED) for 31 years before retiring in 2020. He is a well-known figure at UCLA and nationally for his leadership in diversifying STEM. Ainsworth led, or served as a principal or co-principal investigator, for projects supporting STEM retention programs at all levels of education, including undergraduate, graduate, community college and pre-college. He was an advisor for the UCLA chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Among the numerous honors he has received are the UCLA Faculty Senate Diversity Leadership Award, NSF Corporate and Foundation Alliance Recognition Award, NSBE “Golden Torch” MEP Director of the Year Award, UCLA Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Award, and the inaugural Ray Landis Award in 2018.

Lisa Cagnolatti

Professional Achievement Award

Lisa D. Cagnolatti ’83
Executive-in-Residence, Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business

Lisa Cagnolatti is the retired vice president of Customer Service Operations at Southern California Edison (SCE). Currently she serves as Executive-in-Residence at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University where she mentors and guest lectures for the full-time MBA program. Since leaving SCE, Cagnolatti has begun a new career as a consultant serving educational and community-service organizations. She is a board member of the Valley of the Sun United Way and the African American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle in Phoenix, Arizona. She also serves as president of both the Alpha Alpha Iota Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The Desert Pearls Foundation — a 501(c)(3) community-service organization. Cagnolatti earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UCLA and an MBA from Pepperdine University. She is a Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Fellow.

Jamal Madni

Rising Professional Achievement Award

Jamal Madni M.S. ’08, M.S. ’12
Co-Founder & CEO, Ingage

Jamal Madni is Co-Founder & CEO of Ingage, a company intersecting artificial intelligence and human connection by developing a behavioral signal analytics-videoconferencing platform to help individuals better read and react to the virtual boardroom, exam room and classroom. Before starting technology entrepreneurship, Madni was Managing Director of Enterprise Technology Strategy for Boeing. In this capacity, he spearheaded the company’s integrated research and development road mapping, internal boutique technology assessments and technical due diligence for corporate mergers and acquisitions. His prior roles at Boeing included program management of the radio frequency-integrated electronics payload suite for NISAR, which is the world’s most expensive Earth imaging satellite. Furthermore, as a Boeing software engineer, Madni designed and developed a machine-learning system for “spacecraft disease diagnosis,” which was a variant of his thesis work in wireless health at UCLA. For these efforts, Madni has been recognized by national and international organizations such as the Ellis Island Honor Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers International, Space & Satellite Professional International, Institute of Engineering and Technology and The Engineers’ Council. Passionate about organizational culture, Jamal founded the da Vinci Summit, named North America’s Employee Engagement Project of the Year in 2017. As a social entrepreneur, Madni created a college application preparatory program, which has helped more than 50 first-generation, low-income, underrepresented minority students pursue STEM-based higher education. In addition to his double master‘s degrees from UCLA, Madni graduated with another master’s degree in management from Stanford Graduate School of Business as a Robert Joss Scholar. 

Jane Chang

University Service Award

Jane P. Chang
Professor and the William F. Seyer Chair, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, UCLA

Professor Jane P. Chang is the William F. Seyer Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA. Her research focuses on the development of novel atomic layer-controlled thin-film deposition and patterning processes to synthesize compositionally controlled and conformal coating of complex oxides and metals. These materials — such as multiferroics, metal heterostructures and solid electrolyte — when integrated over complex 3D surface topography, have applications in nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, microsensors and energy-storage devices. She received the Faculty Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation, the Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research, the AVS Peter Mark Award, the AVS Plasma Prize, the TRW Excellence in Teaching Award and three times the Professor of the Year Award. Chang has served as the Chair of Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools (CUARS); as a member of Council on Academic Personnel (CAP); as departmental vice chair; as the school’s associate dean for research and physical resources; and as principal investigator on two major construction grants that supported the renovation of Boelter Hall and construction of Engineering VI, which created state-of-the-art research infrastructure for the expansion of the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. 

Coretta Harris

EAA Service Award

Coretta Harris ’83
Systems Engineer and Senior Principal, ManTech International

Coretta Harris has been a longtime volunteer at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and the UCLA Alumni Association. As a student, she was active in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Upon graduation, she remained active with NSBE and SWE, establishing UCLA NSBE Alumni to support current NSBE students with financial resources, and access to mentors and speakers. As a result of her involvement with NSBE, she was invited to join the Engineering Alumni Association (EAA) Board in 2000. She served on several committees and was elected the first female president of EAA in 2008 for a three-year term. In 2017, she began her second term on the EAA Board and currently serves as the chair of its Tri-Org Advisory Committee. Harris also contributes to UCLA Samueli on initiatives to increase student diversity and alumni engagement. She serves on the UCLA Samueli Diversity Council as its alumni representative, and is a frequent speaker for Women in Engineering or WE@UCLA. In 2005, she established the Coretta Harris Scholarship Fund for incoming freshman and transfer students majoring in engineering. Harris graduated from UCLA in 1983 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering.

Yousef Bozorgnia

V. M. Watanabe Excellence in Research Award

Yousef Bozorgnia
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCLA and
Director, Natural Hazards Risk and Resiliency Research Center (NHR3)

Yousef Bozorgnia is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UCLA, and director of the multidisciplinary Natural Hazards Risk and Resiliency Research Center (NHR3). Bozorgnia’s expertise includes earthquake engineering and seismic ground-motion hazard. His highly impactful research papers on seismic hazard analysis and structural earthquake engineering have been extensively published in peer-reviewed journals. Bozorgnia has been the principal investigator of the Next-Generation Attenuation (NGA) projects, a set of large multi-researcher and multi-institution projects with worldwide impacts on seismic hazard analysis and design. In addition, he is the principal investigator of numerous large multidisciplinary research projects at UCLA, including seismic risk analyses of natural gas and water infrastructure, seismic geohazard analysis of lifelines, earthquake analysis of smart cities and probabilistic fault-displacement hazard initiative. Bozorgnia received his B.S. degree from Sharif University of Technology, Iran, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from UC Berkeley. He has been a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers since 1998. In 2019, three U.S. scientific organizations — EERI, COSMOS and SSA — jointly awarded Bozorgnia with the prestigious Bruce Bolt Medal for his extensive contributions to seismic hazard analysis and earthquake engineering.

Veronica Santos

Lockheed Martin Excellence in Teaching Award

Veronica Santos
Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Faculty Affairs, UCLA

Veronica Santos is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the UCLA Biomechatronics Lab. She also currently serves as the associate dean of equity, diversity, and inclusion and faculty affairs for the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. Her research interests include hand biomechanics, human-machine systems, tactile sensing and perception, and prosthetics/robotics for grasp and manipulation. Santos earned her B.S. in mechanical engineering with a minor in music from UC Berkeley, and earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a minor in biometry from Cornell University. She was a quality and R&D engineer at Guidant Corporation. As a postdoc at the University of Southern California, she contributed to the development of a bio-inspired tactile sensor for prosthetic hands before moving to Arizona State University (ASU) as an assistant professor. Santos was selected for a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Defense Science Study Group, three engineering teaching awards, an ASU Young Investigator Award, and as a National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium participant. She was featured in the 2018 Robohub.org list of “25 women in robotics you need to know about” and her work has appeared in TechCrunch and Forbes, among others. 

Aaron Meyer

Northrop Grumman Excellence in Teaching Award

Aaron Meyer ’09
Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, UCLA

Aaron Meyer is an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering and a member of the Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Program and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA. Meyer develops computational models that direct the design of therapies targeting cancer and modulating the immune system. This work has led, for example, to new approaches for studying antibody effector response and cytokines with enhanced therapeutic potential. Meyer’s research and teaching have been recognized with the National Institutes of Health Director’s Early Independence Award and the Amgen Scholars Foundation’s “Ten to Watch.” He received a B.S. in bioengineering from UCLA and a Ph.D. in biological engineering from MIT, where he was an independent fellow at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. 

Ahmed Ibrahim

Edward K. Rice Outstanding Doctoral Student Award

Ahmed Alaa Ibrahim Ph.D. ’19
Postdoctoral scholar, UCLA

Ahmed Alaa Ibrahim conducted his graduate research in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UCLA under the supervision of Professor Mihaela van der Schaar. Ibrahim’s primary research focus is on the application of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to health care problems, with the goal of improving clinical outcomes for patients with chronic diseases and minority patients with limited access to health care services. During his graduate work, Ibrahim developed ML and AI methods to assist in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, breast and prostate cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and cystic fibrosis, in addition to devising AI tools for critical-care medicine. His doctoral work involved analyzing clinical data for millions of patients in collaboration with clinicians in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, the Netherlands and Brazil. Ibrahim served as an honorary data scientist for the National Health Services (NHS) and Public Health England (PHE), where he applied various methods from his doctoral work to predict intensive care demands across all regions in England. He has published papers in several leading machine-learning conferences including NeurIPS, ICML, ICLR and AISTATS. Ibrahim is currently a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA.

Camille Le

Edward K. Rice Outstanding Master’s Student Award

Camille H. Le ’18, M.S. ’19
Junior Development Engineer, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCLA

Camille Le is currently working as a Junior Development Engineer at the UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Her research interest centers on wastewater and stormwater reuse and designing built environment and infrastructure to achieve water sustainability. Le has an M.S. degree in water resources and environmental engineering from UCLA, where her research shows how to best design roadside green infrastructures to treat road runoff for water reuse. To date, Le has published three peer-reviewed publications on this topic. She has been serving as a Younger Member Chair at the Orange County branch of the American Society of Civil Engineering’s Environment & Water Resources Institute to promote sustainable water use in Orange and San Diego counties.

Richa Ghosh

Edward K. Rice Outstanding Bachelor’s Student Award

Richa Ghosh ’20
NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Richa Ghosh earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at UCLA. Her professional interests include catalysis for sustainable chemical and fuel production, teaching, and diversity and inclusion in STEM. During her undergraduate studies, she conducted research in the labs of Prof. Dante Simonetti, where she synthesized sorbents for the removal of hydrogen sulfide from gaseous streams, and of Prof. Carlos Morales-Guio, where she modeled transport phenomena of carbon dioxide electroreduction for renewable chemicals. She also conducted research on analytical-instrument development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was a process- engineering intern at Marathon Petroleum Corporation. Ghosh was an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) at UCLA, where she served as president, technical project lead, Chem-E-Car team member, mentorship chair and mentor. She was also a cadet in the UCLA Women in Engineering (WE@UCLA) Leadership Academy, a MentorSEAS mentor, course developer and instructor for two Engineering 96A courses — Soap Synthesis and the Design of Coffee — and a member of the UCLA Samueli 2020 Senior Class Campaign. Ghosh is currently a chemical engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studies the electrocatalytic upgrading of biomass to chemicals. She remains an active alumna through mentorship with AIChE at UCLA and involvement with the UCLA Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

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