The Engineering, Math, Physics and Computer Science departments of Yuba College have been giving an annual “EMP Award” since 1990. The past and present faculty (Klein, Flaherty, Gaal, Syda, Chin, Thoo, Fruhling, Joksch, Heaton, Steverson, Wardlaw, Fiering, Johl, Torres, Davidson, Kovacs, Stemman, Boyes, Vanucci, and Noffsinger) in those areas have donated a little cash, then met to vote on the outstanding Sophomore(s) each year. A number of alumni have also generously joined the effort. The cash award goes to help the recipient upon transfer to a four-year institution. A perpetual plaque honoring the awardees is displayed on campus. All past recipients have gone on to distinguished academic and/or professional careers. The EMP award has surely been a worthwhile effort.
An effort has been made to contact all former EMP award winners. The list of past recipients is pasted below with a short bio from those who have responded to date. If you know the address or other information on any of the past recipients, please drop a note to John Steverson.
Anthony Beal; UC Davis-Mathematics
Jacob Groeser; CSU Chico-Civil Engineering
Stephen Mallen; CSU Chico-Civil Engineering
Photo of Dean Walter Masuda with 2018 EMP recipients Stephen Mallen, Jacob Groeser, and Anthony Beal
Jonathan Beard; CSU San Jose-Computer Engineering
Jon writes: While at Yuba College I had to decide on what major I was going to pursue. I had always enjoyed playing on the computer and my brother had transferred to Cal Poly for Computer Engineering at this point so it seemed a logical choice to attempt the same path, especially since up until High School I was basically my brother’s shadow trying to do everything he did. After my Engineering 10 course with Prof. Warwick I decided I would try to branch out on my own and go into Robotic Engineering. After some research I found there isn’t really any undergraduate programs for Robotic Eng., so I went ahead and continued with Computer Engineering, as it is one of the best feeder majors for it. After taking my first programming course with Prof. Joksch, I knew I had made the correct choice. I loved every aspect of computer programming, the more I took the more it seemed my path came into focus. My last few semesters I was lucky enough to become Professor Shaukat’s grader for Physics, where I learned the true importance of writing clearly, showing work, and labeling everything. I had a much greater appreciation for all of my professors after having graded for two semesters. At the time of writing this I am currently enrolled and waiting to start my first semester at San Jose State University, where I will be perusing my Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering.
Here is Jonathan’s bio.
Ahmad (Abraham) Bahram Abdul Jalal; UC Davis-Electrical Engineering
Abraham writes: My first year at Yuba College, I was majoring in bio-chemistry with plans to become a dentist. In order to obtain my my degree and to be eligible to transfer, I enrolled in the required courses. The classes I really enjoyed were biology mathematics, and physics. My first physics class introduced me to engineering, and I immediately knew I had found my passion. Over time my interest grew stronger in engineering and I changed my major in Spring 2015 to biomedical-engineering. My study skills and my ability to understand complex concepts were significantly challenged after taking Dr.Orton’s class for general chemistry. This chemistry course substantially improved my cognitive abilities as a student. In Fall 2016 I took Dr.Shaukat’s electromagnetism class, in which I was exposed to circuits, it led me to realization I wanted to pursue electrical engineering. In Yuba College, I was Business Director for ASYC (Associated Students of Yuba College) and also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. For the past three years I was a mathematics and physics tutor for the College Success Center. I am graduating with the following two associate degrees: mathematics and natural science. My plans are to transfer University of California Davis in Fall 2016, and obtain my bachelors degree in electrical engineering.
Emma Willard UC Davis-Chemical Engineering
Emma writes: As of the summer 2017 Emma is interning with Imerys and is close to completing her degree of Chemical Engineering at UC Davis. Since earning the EMP award she has completed an internship at General Atomics, at Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, and has actively done research under Professor Frank Osterloh. She intends to continue her pursuit in education by applying to graduate schools that have programs focused on renewable energy resources.
Sergio Banuelos Jr. Stanford University – Chemical Engineering
Sergio came to Yuba College after serving in the US Army for almost nine years, which included three combat tours. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA at Yuba College and won the Yuba College Chemistry Award in 2013. He has had intern experience at UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley, and this summer Sergio will be an working at Stanford’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
Update: Things have been going well for me so far this year. I did choose to go to Stanford and have been incredibly happy with my decision. There is such a huge sense of community here. Shortly after getting into Stanford I was accepted into the America Chemical Society Scholars Program. The program is a continuing scholarship that also includes mentor ship through the society as well as here at my school. I have been invited to two of their national conventions thus far through the Scholars program. During the summer last year I worked at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on a project working to identify chromium compounds being formed in the bodies of patients with failed Metal-on-Metal hip implants. The identification of the compounds was done with high power X-ray spectroscopy at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL). I hope to stay on track for a chemical engineering bachelors and continue with the masters program at Stanford in chemical engineering as well. Still searching for an internship for this upcoming summer and am excited for what will come in the future.
Photo of Dr. Roger Davidson with 2014 EMP recipient Sergio Banuelos
Alejandro Velazquez CSU Chico – Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Alejandro Velazquez has spent this year attending CSU Chico where he has maintained top grades as a double major in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His work has earned Alejandro membership in the international academic honor society, Tau Beta Pi. He is currently working on a “high-tech combination safe” project. After graduation he plans to pursue a Masters program in Computer Engineering, and still hopes to eventually work for Apple.
Huuduy Nguyen UC Berkeley – Mechanical Engineering/Nuclear Engineering
Huuyduy is planning to obtain a Bachelors degree, then Masters degree,
and finally a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering.
Photo of Professor Steverson, Professor Syda and Dr. Thoo with
2012 EMP recipient Huuduy Nguyen:
Close-up photo of the perpetual EMP plaque covering 2003 through 2012.
The plaque for years before 2003 is also displayed on campus.
Jose Velazquez UC Davis – Mechanical Engineering
Jose is planning to obtain a Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is interested in motorsports.
Photo of Dr. Kirk Wardlaw presenting the 2011 EMP Award to Jose:
Fateh Singh CSU Chico – Computer and Electrical Engineering
Fateh is planning to obtain Bachelor degrees in Computer and Electrical Engineering and then a Masters in Computer Science.
Photo of Dr. Kirk Wardlaw presenting the 2010 EMP Award to Fateh:
Photo of Dr. Wardlaw and Professor Heaton with
2010 EMP recipient Fateh Singh:
Stephen Cummings UC Berkeley – Bioengineering
Stephen plans to have a career in research.
Danielle Kirchmeyer UC Berkeley or UC Santa Barbara – Mechanical Engineering
Danielle’s goal is a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering and to eventually work for NASA.
2012 update: Danielle has started the Ph.D. program in engineering at U.C. Berkeley.
Photo of Dr. Roger Davidson presenting the 2009 EMP Award to Danielle and Stephen:
Photo of Dr. Davidson, Professor Syda and Professor Steverson with
2009 EMP recipient Danielle Kirchmeyer:
Mason Pelfrey UC Davis – Mathematics
Mason’s goal is a Doctorate in Mathematics, and he hopes eventually to teach at the University level.
Photo of Dr. John Thoo with the 2008 EMP recipient Mason Pelfrey:
Jason Baggett CSU Chico – Mathematics with a Computer Science minor
Update (May 2008): Jason Baggett, has spent this year attending CSU Chico where he has maintained an A average in his Mathematics coursework. Jason also earned a second Associate’s degree from Yuba this year, with a concentration in Computer Science. He plans to transfer this fall to the University of Alaska Fairbanks to continue undergraduate and graduate work in Mathematics.
Update (May 2009): Jason will begin his Master’s studies in Mathematics in the fall 2009 at the University of Alaska.
Photo of EMP presenter Lauren Syda with 2007 recipient Jason Baggett:
Peter Hall UC Irvine – Physics and Mathematics
Update (June 2010): “Peter entered UC-I with a University of California Chancellor’s Scholarship. He then graduated with honors from UC-I last year in Math. And except for three classes, has also completed all Electrical Engineering graduation requirements. In addition to Peter’s classwork, he was part of the UCI Sattelite Project team.
To further his education after UC-I, he applied to both Stanford and the University of Arizona for Ph.D. programs in Applied Math. He was accepted into both graduate programs. Stanford offered prestige while the University of Arizona offered 100% of his educational and living expenses paid. Hence, he choose UA over Stanford.
A few weeks after graduation Peter married Gissela Laurente in the LDS Temple in Oakland, CA. They settled in Tucson, AZ shortly after their marriage.”
Peter’s father Jeffery Hall, Peter, Peter’s mother RaLee Hall, Presenter Lauren Syda:
Manjinder Singh (Bains) UC Davis – Computer Engineering
Update on Manjinder in 2009: He has finished the BS degree at UC Davis and is now employed by Intel Corporation in Folsom.
Allen L. Cupples UC Santa Barbara – Mechanical Engineering and Math
Nicolaus J. Williams UC San Diego – Mechanical Engineering
Photo of presenter Kirk Wardlaw with 2004 recipient Nicolaus Williams:
Jeremiah J. Jones CSU Chico – Computer Science
Update on Jeremiah in 2009: He graduated in May of 2008 from Chico, and working for Lockheed Martin in Goodyear, Arizona. Says “It’s a blast! I’m looking to buy a house soon…..Tell everyone I said hi! I still think about my time at Yuba as one of the best times of my life.”
Raquel Lopez UOP – Mathematics
Raquel writes in 2009: “I was a recipient of the More Graduate Education at Mountain States Alliance (MGE@MSA)/Western Alliance to Expand Student Opportunities (WAESO) Fellowship when I started a Masters program in Arizona State University back in the fall of 2006, and I earned the Masters of Science in Mathematics in May 2008. I also got accepted to the Mathematics PhD program around the same time, and I began officially as a PhD student (at ASU) that summer of 2008. Currently I belong to the Mathematical, Computational & Modeling Sciences Center (MCMSC)http://mcmsc.asu.edu/ and the degree expected is a PhD in Applied Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences–sounds like a long name! Expected day of graduation should be around December 2010, but most likely May 2011. This June I will be going to Atlanta for a month to work as a mentor in the EDGE program http://www.edgeforwomen.org/.”
2012 update: Raquel has finished her Ph.D. in Mathematics at Arizona State University and is currently teaching Math at Grand Canyon University
Jesus G. Ulloa UC Davis – Chemistry/Biochemistry/Bioengineering
Update on Jesus in 2009: Finished UC Davis, Chemistry BS and Mathematics Minor – 2005
UC Irvine School of Medicine, MD candidate, started 2006, expected date of completion Spring 2010
UC Irvine, Paul Merage School of Business, MBA candidate, started fall 2009, expected date of completion Spring 2010
“I’m still not sure what residency programs I will be applying to, but am strongly considering surgery”
2012 update: Jesus has finished the M.D. and the MBA and is currently a Surgert Intern at U.C. San Francisco. Jesus was chosen at the Yuba College Alumnus of the Year for 2012.
(L to R) Presenter Lauren Syda, Jesus Ulloa, Raquel Lopez, Presenter Doug Joksch,
Presenter John Thoo, Division Dean Kevin Trutna:
Christopher K. McIntosh Cal State Chico – Computer Science
Alexis H. Bruemmer UOP – Electrical Engineering
Alexis writes (Feb. 2006): “Well, I graduated in May with a BS in Computer Engineering and figured since I was there and spending a bunch of money for school I might as well get two so I finished a second BS in Electrical Engineering in July. In August my husband, James, and I moved to Portland, OR where I started a Job with IBM’s Linux Technology Center (LTC) as a Software Engineer. So far in this new job I have been doing a lot of driver development and distro verification on IBM’s line of XSeries servers. James Is working as a heavy equipment operator and mechanic and will soon be getting his contractors license and starting his own company. Outside of work, we purchased a home just outside of Portland in a town called Hillsboro. We have had two additions to our family in the form of Vinnie (a 11 month old Boxer puppy) and Knight (a 3yr Thoroughbred off the racetrack). When I am not at work I am busy ridding horses, playing with Vinnie, and running with a group of women who run ultras– someday I will be able to keep up with them :-). James and I have also found that the Portland area is a great place for riding quads (I hobby we both got into about 2 years ago). So all in all life is good.”
Lauren Syda, Alexis Bruemmer, Steve Klein:
2002 Photo with the plaque, (L to R) Alexis’ mother, Alexis, Lauren:
Ramanjit K. Cheema UC Davis – Chemical Engineering
Adam W. Christopher UC Davis – Mechanical Engineering
David S. Kittle Walla Walla College – Engineering (possibly electrical)
Abrar Shaukat UC Davis – Computer Engineering/Physics
Lauren Syda, Adam Christopher, John Flaherty, Abrar Shaukat, David Kittle :
Photo of the 2001 group with the plaque, (L to R) Cheema, Kittle, Christopher and Shaukat:
The 1999 winner prefers to remain anonymous. She transferred to UC Santa Barbara with a major in Physics.
Quy Bui UC Davis – Math
Quy writes: “In Fall 1998, I transferred to UC Davis and finished my Bachelors degree in Math on Jun 2000, and I am doing a master degree in the same subject. Even while I have been transferring, but I am going to school just two or three days per week, so I am still working at Academic Skill Center as a Math tutor at Yuba Community College. I am also grading paper for most professors at Math department. It is great to talk with all Math professor at Yuba College and helping everyone to grade the papers. I am also enjoying helping many Yuba College students in Math. Thanks for giving this award to us each year and for everything when we were at Yuba College.”
2012 update: Quy has been working for several years as a full-time Instructional Assistant at the Yuba College Success Center and running the tutoring program for Math.
Yi-Ping Su CalPoly – Math
Pauline Dorcy CSU Chico – Civil Engineering
Balkar Johl UC Davis – Math
Balkar writes: “After Yuba College, I transfered to CSU Sacramento. I graduated with a BA in mathematics with a concentration in pure mathematics. Also I finished a minor in business administration. I really appreciated all the help from all the professors while I was at Yuba College. I hope everyone is doing well at Yuba College.”
The more recent news on Balkar is that after a number of years teaching in local schools, he returned to Yuba College and served as the Director of our MESA Program until 2011. 2012 update: Balkar is now back in school pursuing a Masters degree in Math.
Jesse Cecil UC Davis – Math/Pre-Dentistry
Jesse writes: “Thanks for giving this award out to us each year. I finished my bachelors degree in Math. I am close to finishing a masters in Computer Science. I am teaching at Mercy Catholic high school in Red bluff. I am teaching intermediate algebra, Pre-Calc, and AP Stats. I am the advisor for the Academic Challenge team on the campus. I play in many bridge tournaments including the nationals in the summer.”
2009, Jesse writes: “My masters work was completed in 2003 and in 2008 I was tenured as a full-time Computer Science Instructor at the College of the Siskiyous. My experience at Yuba College is invaluable when working with my students and understanding their goals, dreams, and aspirations. Teaching at the community college level is wonderful. It allows me to really focus on my students while having small class sizes.”
Kazuko Nagano UCLA – ComSci
Emily Hill UC Davis – Chemical Engineering
Emily writes: “Great to hear from you! I hope everyone in Yuba is doing well. I am now living in Lansdale, PA, a tiny town about an hour north of Philadelphia. I’m a Biochemical Engineer with Merck & Co. in the Vaccine Bioprocess Engineering department, Merck Research Laboratories. My current project is a pneumococcal vaccine for children less than two years old, which protects against bacteria that cause some forms of pneumonia and meningitis. I’ve also worked on our vaccine for Hepatitis B. Other departmental projects include vaccines for AIDS and HPV (cause of genital warts and cervical cancer). It has been really great exploring the East Coast and I’m really enjoying the challenge of my work. I’ve also met lots of interesting people in the graduate college at Princeton, since my boyfriend is getting his Ph.D. in chemical engineering there.”
And an update from Emily in spring 2003: “A bit of an update I’ve left engineering (gasp!) and am now in Project Management, still with Merck. It’s very different, but I love it. I get to work with many more people now and am learning about clinical science and the process of drug development, new areas for me.”
Crystal Chapin Brigham Young University – Physics
Crystal writes in 2013: “I loved my time at Yuba College, including music theory, piano, and especially the physics classes of Jon Flaherty who encouraged my drive to learn and also made me laugh. My professors and classmates (like the above Judy Gilmore, who has an amazing singing voice) all helped me feel comfortable and able to succeed- which meant a lot to me at sixteen! I went on to earn a B.S. in physics at Brigham Young University on a Goldwater math/science scholarship. Between my junior and senior years, I interned at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania- doing computational modelling of ozone atmospheric composition. After BYU, I worked as a graduate assistant in biophysics (laser denaturing of proteins) at Los Alamos National Laboratory, before coming back to do a stint in Dr. Busath’s BYU biophysics lab (electric transmissions across lipid channels).
Then the fun really began! My husband and I welcomed out first baby- a 3.5 lb son (now a looming beanpole of a sixteen-year-old with a startlingly deep voice), who turned out to mark the end of my academic/professional career (for a while) and the beginning of my adventures as a mother to six children over the next ten years. We lived in four different states and I found much joy in travel and home educating my rambunctious flock of girls (4) and boys (2). Turns out math and physics are a breeze compared to childrearing!
Things took a very unexpected when my 36 year old husband was diagnosed with a cancer that took his life within six months. I was 32.
Since then, besides focusing on my primary role of mother to rapidly growing children, I’ve earned an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, a teaching credential in secondary math, and am currently in the middle of a second Masters, this one in Software Development. It’s strange, but fun, to be working in a language that was only invented a year after I left Yuba College (Ruby)! I have taught middle school math and high school physics, and moved across the country last summer to my adopted home state of Texas (LOVE it here!) I’ve also written curriculum for university-level business and engineering-based first grade programs. Life is good and I am grateful.”
Russell Allbery Stanford University – Com Sci.
Transferred to Stanford University, where he received his B.S. (with distinction) and M.S. in Computer Science and has gone on to work for the university central computing services group as a systems administrator and systems software developer. Currently the co-maintainer of INN, a widely deployed free Usenet news server package, and actively involved in various parts of the free software community.
Judy Gilmer UC Davis – Chemical Engineering
Judy writes: “I lived in South Korea for two years, then we moved to Albq for two years (all courtesy of the USAF). Then two years ago, Dave retired and accepted a job at the Livermore National Lab and so we moved back home to Livermore….a place I said I would NEVER move to. (Now I know, never say never!). Housing costs here are insane, but Dave’s Mom sold us her home, so we could afford to live here.
When we moved to Korea, I couldn’t get any engineering jobs, so I did volunteer work for the Air Force doing Tax Returns. The nest year, they created a paid position for me so I could at least get paid for all my hard work. When we moved to NM, I got hired again to run the Tax center. During the off season, I was on unemployment for 5 months looking for ANY engineering job. Couldn’t get anything. So the next year I did taxes again. After we moved to Livermore, I wanted to wait until the baby was about 6 months before I left the house. But childcare costs here are so insane, I would have to start at $44K, just for the privilege of paying taxes and child care costs. I would have NO take home pay. I decided that it wasn’t worth it. Next year, Jamie starts school. I might try again to see if there is anything I can get at either Livermore or Sandia Lab.
So in the meantime, I decided to start my own Tax business. I took the IRS Enrolled Agent Exam and passed all four parts first time out. (Less that 35% pass the test each year, most of them NOT taking it for the first time). I just got notified this week that I passed my security background check, so I am an official Enrolled Agent (EA). Translation —- a Tax Preparer that knows a lot of details about a lot of different subjects. Lawyers have EAs prepare their returns. Good thing I took all those math classes!”
2009, Judy writes: “I am so pleased to still be part of the EMP process (and I do get to retain the bragging rights of being the first female student to receive the award). It was such an encouragement to me to receive that award as I was getting ready to take on UC Davis as a “student of non-traditional age.” I am so happy that I get to continue to give back to Yuba College which was so supportive of me when I decided to go back to school to complete my education.”
Ryan Fawkes UC Davis – Mechanical Engineering
Jeffery Miller UC Davis – Civil Engineering
Jeff writes: “After a brief stint as a civil engineer, I left engineering to pursue my dream of Interpretive Dancing. When I found that there is no money whatsoever in that profession, I became an ordinary street thug, concentrating on harassment and general menacstry. That’s been going pretty well for me. Seriously, After UCD, I went to work for Law/Crandall, a consulting firm in Sacramento. 9 months later I took a position with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Chicago as an Engineer/Cadd Manager. I passed the CA PE exam in 1997. Shortly after that, I left the Corps (and Civil Engineering) for the computer industry. I am now VP of Information Systems for a bank in Chicago. I have been doing this for almost 4 years now.”
Jatinder Pannu UC Davis – Mechanical Engr/Pre-Med.
Jat writes: “I’ve been doing very well. After YC, I went to UCDavis and completed my MSME. My specialization was in robotics and controls with an emphasis on computer engineering. After UCD, I joined IBM where I worked on a variety of projects ranging from manufacturing automation to e-Business consulting. After a bitter winter at IBM HQ in New York, I decided to leave IBM and explore other options. Currently, I’m working as a Research Program Manager for Loudcloud, Inc., a managed hosting services company. I also own my own company called Killerprojects, Inc. that specializes in professional services & development for the technology industry.”
Ryan Case UC Davis – BioSci
Ryan writes: “After Yuba College, I attended UC Davis and graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry (highest honors). I then attended UC San Francisco (UCSF) and received my Ph.D. in Biochemistry with my thesis on “Identifying The Determinants of Directionality in Kinesin and Ncd Motor Proteins.” Engineering, Math and Physics has always been close to my heart so it was no surprise that my postdoctoral work be at UC Berkeley in a Biophysics lab working on another motor protein complex: the SMC (Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes) complexes mukBEF and Xenopus 13S condensin. Basically, I am using single molecule techniques such as optical trap microscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to understand the mechanism of SMC complexes on DNA and chromatin. After two more years on my fellowship, I hope to start my own academic laboratory.”.
Ryan writes in 2006: ” Just an update, I have finally left academics and entered the work force. I am working at a small, young, privately-owned biotech company in Mountain View called Avidia. You will probably be happy to know that my position was originally for a automation engineer, but they modified it because they need someone who also can do biological experiments. With my experience in biophysics at Berkeley I turned out to be a perfect fit for the job. I have to say I absolutely love it. I get to play with robots to help with my experiments that end up increasing my throughput 10-50 fold ! They even asked me if I had any experience with computer programming and my response was, “if I tell you how much programming experience I have, are you going to make me do it all the time?” LOL! They checked seven of my professional references which all came out great and here I am. Woo hoo!!!”
Ravinder Kajley UC Davis – Electrical Engineering. Ravinder is currently employed with Intel.
Satinder Pannu UC Berkeley – Mech Engineering. Satinder is currently employed with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
This is not an official Yuba College webpage.