School of Engineering Honors Outstanding Students

May 26, 2016

Outstanding undergrads for 2015-16Eleven graduating seniors were recognized earlier this month for academic achievement, research participation and community service.

The outstanding students from the Classes of 2015 and 2016 were nominated by faculty from the School of Engineering. A reception was held in their honor on May 4.

The award winners are:

  • Olga Slabchak, Bioengineering (BIOE) – Nominated by Professor Ariel Escobar, Slabchak was invited to be a reader this term for BIOE 100 after receiving the highest grade in the Spring 2015 class. She has been accepted to the UC Davis School of Medicine for Fall 2016.
  • Gobind Ball, Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) – Professor Florin Rusu recognized Ball for his standing as the top student in Rusu’s database class. Ball was also involved with Noche Di Ciencias, a community service program, and mentored pupils at Grass Valley Elementary School in Oakland.
  • Zachary Canann, CSE – Canann participated in undergraduate research opportunities under Professor Alberto Cerpa and in an internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made possible by a recommendation from Professor Dong Li. He now works at PayPal in San Jose and has released a desktop app designed to make reverse engineering video games easy.
  • Marcus Chow, CSE – Professor Marcelo Kallmann nominated Chow based on his research experience. Chow participated in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at Texas State, researching middleware for the Internet of Things. He will pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science at UC Riverside in the fall, researching computer architecture.
  • Hanlin He, CSE – Awarded by Professor Dong Li, Hanlin participated in Li’s Parallel Architecture, System and Algorithms Lab. She will pursue a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Merced this fall.
  • Thomas Steffen, Environmental Engineering (ENVE) – Nominated by Professor Robert Rice, Steffen has an impressive list of accomplishments. Steffen served in the U.S. Navy as an aviation electronics technician before attending UC Merced as a transfer student from Merced College. He was hired by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last spring to work part-time in their pilot scale experiment, studying algae harvesting and sustainability in the unincorporated community of Delhi. He recently accepted a position with Herron Innovator in Rocklin as a wastewater engineer.
  • Moses Chun, Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) – Professor Christopher Viney nominated Chun for his diverse undergraduate experiences. Chun studied materials characterization techniques for a wide range of applications as an undergraduate research assistant in Professor Valerie Leppert’s lab. He was recently appointed a Yosemite Centennial Ambassador along with other community members, including Chancellor Dorothy Leland. He will work as a park ranger at Yosemite National Park after graduation.
  • Thomas Peev, MSE – Awarded by Viney, Peev worked in three different labs during his time at UC Merced and participated in internships with Eaton and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In the fall, he will begin a Ph.D. program at UC Davis in aerospace engineering.
  • Jessica Gray, Mechanical Engineering (ME) – Awarded by Professor Sachin Goyal, Gray conducted computational biology research using her mechanical engineering background and worked as an assessment analyst for Engineering Service Learning. She will work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh after graduation.
  • Derek Hollenbeck, ME – Awarded by Professor YangQuan Chen, Hollenbeck helped pioneer UC Merced’s first two appearances in the annual Design/Build/Fly competition sponsored by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. He plans to continue his education and was recently accepted into the Ph.D. program for Mechanical Engineering at UC Merced.
  • Shelby Skelton, ME – Awarded by Professor Ashlie Martini, Skelton participated in undergraduate research on solar selective coatings for a materials science lab and also worked in Martini’s lab, learning the fundamentals of tribology. Her work with Martini led to an internship with Chevron. In the fall, she will begin a full-time position with Chevron Oronite as a mechanical engineer in the Oronite Development Program.