Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Thayer Notes

| 1940s |

Ken Kelly ’47 Th’48: Dartmouth and Thayer started me off on a great working life. I was project manager on large construction projects in Europe and the United States, including an oil terminal in Greece, airfields in England, a mountaintop antenna system in Scotland, and skyscrapers in Chicago and New York City. I saw many interesting things on my travels and met many interesting people. It was a very enjoyable career.

| 1950s |

Jerome Allyn ’59 Th’60: I am fully retired, age 82, and enjoying life with my wife of 59 years, Frances (Smith ’59). We are still living on our 10-acre place in Colchester, Vt. I am staying active by participating in our local church, town chorus, and town historical society. I continue to care for our place by doing all the yardwork on the two acres, including snow shoveling. I am still able to downhill and cross-country ski in the winter and sail in the summer.

| 1960s |

Neil Drobny ’62 Th’64: I’m planning to retire from teaching at Ohio State next May and move to Kalamazoo, Mich. We will live on a lake and I will stay engaged academically part-time at Western Michigan University. My work at Michigan is undefined, except that it will be with the college of business and relabeled to sustainability.

Bob Sauer ’66 Tu’68 Th’68: The article “Journey to Greenland” in the Spring 2019 issue of Dartmouth Engineer brought back memories of the summer of 1965 at Camp Century, a U.S. Army research base on the northern Greenland ice cap, less than 800 miles from the North Pole. 

DOC flag at Camp Century
Four researchers—including standing, from left, Steve Zeller ’66 and Bob Sauer ’66 Tu’68 Th’68—unfurled the DOC flag at Camp Century. Photograph courtesy of Bob Sauer.

The Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab on Lyme Road needed to fill 20 summer jobs in Alaska and Greenland. I spent seven weeks researching the construction properties of snow, during which time I learned the real meaning of “a cold day in July” and experienced isolation from the rest of the world. I also came to understand a real blizzard (we couldn’t see a man holding the other end of a six-foot rope) and a real whiteout (an ice fog that makes sky, horizon, and ground indistinguishable, like being inside a milk jug).

Camp Century was built in tunnels in the ice cap—barracks, mess, office space, latrine, maintenance shop—everything except our experiments. On the other hand, there was plenty of sunlight on the surface, where most of the work on our team’s experiments was done. Working through the night was no issue, but even then we needed dark sunglasses.  

The rapid escalation of the Vietnam War meant that all the jets available were ferrying troops and supplies to Southeast Asia, so our return trips at the end were on packed C-130s. There were a few other Dartmouth students working at Camp Century that summer, but Steve Zeller ’66 is the only one whose name I recall. The Greenland ice cap is a place like no other, with adventures like no others. I hate to think of the impact of climate change on it.

| 1970s |

Steve Askey ’76 Th’77: I changed careers in late 2015 from engineer at an oil company to lead guitarist in a classic rock band, the Cat. 4 Band out of Daytona Beach, Fla. I’m just happy for every day above ground! 

Steve Askey
Lead guitarist Steve Askey ’76 Th’77, second from the left, rocks out with the Cat. 4 Band. Photograph courtest of Steve Askey.

| 1990s |

Vishal Gupta Th’94: I am global chief technology officer and senior vice president of technology at Unisys. I partner closely with a team of 1,500-plus engineers in all aspects of more than 20 product releases a year. This summer we launched the first new product in Unisys in more than 20 years. It is called Cloud Navigator and it helps enable a smooth and secure journey to a multi-cloud world. We also work on a very interesting cyber-security offering called Stealth, which protects some important customers, including airports, banks, and some of the largest federal agencies. And we built an offering called Digistics, which leverages artificial intelligence and information technology to move cargo for nine of the 12 biggest airlines in the world.

| 2000s |

Kendra Tupper ’02 Th’03: After serving as the chief sustainability officer for five years for Boulder, Colo., I just joined Google to lead its sustainability operations team. My team is working to minimize the environmental impact—namely energy, water, and waste—of Google’s global portfolio of office sites. I’m still living in Boulder and enjoying all of the typical Boulder things: biking, trail running with my dog, cross-country skiing, and getting really fired up about political issues.

Laura Weyl Th’08: Anders Wood Th’08, Margaret Martei Th’08 Th’09, Andrew Herchek Th’08 Th’09, Matthew Wallach Th’08, and I got our growing families together for a weekend mini reunion on Lake Winnipesaukee in June! There were some lasting friendships made in the great halls of Thayer!

Alumni Mini-reunion
A mini-ruinion on Lake Winnepesauke with Laura Weyl, Anders Wood, Margaret Martei, Andrew Herchek, and Matthew Wallach included plenty of time in the water. Photograph courtesy of Laura Weyl.

| 2010s |

Sharang Biswas ’12 Th’13: In May I left my corporate consulting job to refocus on my art career. Since then, I published an article in University of Waterloo’s journal, First-Person Scholar, on using live-action roleplay to build a queer community (firstpersonscholar.com/queer-larp-community). Also, my game Verdure was named “Most Innovative” at the Indie Game Developers Network’s Indie Groundbreaker Awards (astrolingus.itch.io/verdure). I received a grant from the Effing Foundation to work on an anthology of roleplaying games that discuss sex and sexuality. I gave my first talk at the Games for Change Festival, on using Analogue games to promote sex positivity. And I have two interactive theater performances coming up this year in New York City: Knock Once for Yes with Nick O’Leary ’14 and Basic Principles of Esoterica with Max Seidman ’12 (wonderville.nyc/events/event-template-f7h7a). Additionally, I’m excited to teach an undergraduate course on video game design at Fordham and an MFA course at the International Center of Photography on art and interactivity this fall!

Jacob McEntire Th’15: Recently, I’ve been getting more into the gaming world. For an example, see the YouTube of me running a game for people from various other podcasts and streams at youtube.com/watch?v=Lnu5OFOHB4c, including some with 10,000-plus regular viewers. It was very exciting! 

Matt Abate ’17 Th’17: I am pursuing a doctorate in robotics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I work in the field of control theory, specifically, safety for autonomous robotics. I use math (differential equations) to figure out how to represent the physical world accurately in code. This is not easy, as many times the physical properties of robots are poorly understood. For instance, in 2018 a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a semi-trailer and it was later discovered that this was due to a modeling error in the code (in part due to the fact that the code/car misunderstood friction). The analysis we do can broadly be applied to many applications from autonomous cars to manufacturing robots to power grids.

After I am done writing up some theory, typically my work is tested on a scaled model autonomous car—we have not had one crash yet, but there is still room for improvement. I partially attribute my success at Georgia Tech to a research project I worked on at Thayer under Professor Gerngross. We were aiming to build an autonomous lawnmower. Knowing what I know now, I think that lawnmower could be made more ‘safe.’ Additionally, I’m glad I studied mechanical engineering at Thayer; many of the students who work in robotics have electrical engineering backgrounds and struggle a bit with the physics. After my doctorate I hope to enter academia as a professor of engineering. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up back at Thayer.

Russell Beckerman ’19: I am currently interning at DMC Biotechnologies in Boulder, Colo., working with a Dartmouth ’09 in downstream process development before heading into my fifth year for the BE. While here I have also taken one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done and enjoyed the distinctly Boulder tradition of Tube to Work Day, where we floated four miles to the office with lab gear in tow. (See more at youtube.com/watch?v=tXrdw0z4_rI&t=22s.) Essentially, I am designing and building customized chemical separation, purification, and analytical apparatuses to perform processes on bioreactor products (ion-exclusion chromatography, cryogenic condensation, molecular sensing, etc.). 

Russell Beckerman
Russell Beckerman enjoyed the Colorado outdoors during a summer internship with DMC Biotechnologies in Boulder. Photograph courtesy of Russell Beckerman.

Now I am using some of these instruments to draw conclusions about how to optimize product development to be low-cost and time-efficient. This has involved leveraging my coursework in chemistry and engineering as well as challenging me to adapt and come up with creative solutions. My concentration for the BE is in biotechnology/biochemical engineering. 

During this time, I plan on furthering my education by taking ENGS 160: Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering and ENGS 157: Chemical Process Design, in addition to my 89/90 capstone project. I will also be continuing my thesis research in developing nanoparticles for high-sensitivity liquid biopsy with the Zhang Research Group as a paid research assistant.

Matthew Gardner ’19: I’m currently interning at Dassault Systemes in Waltham, Mass., working as a technical customer support intern for SolidWorks. I’m coming back to Thayer to finish the fifth-year BE. I’ll have an electrical engineering concentration with an interest in integrating mechanical and electrical systems.

Wanfang Wu Th’19: I just got hired by stent maker Abbott Vascular as a divisional quality engineer. My team monitors the manufacturing processes of quality and process engineers to ensure regulatory compliance.

As an analogy, if we are an online forum, my team is like the admin who addresses gaps in the guidelines that the moderators follow. I’m based outside San Diego, Calif., and because Abbott sells internationally, we get audited by the regulators of all our target markets. On their audits, they review our internal reports on things such as what went wrong and our procedures for operators on the manufacturing floor.

Junfei Yu ’19: I have been working as a fellow at Dartmouth’s Cook Engineering Design Center (CEDC) to help bridge industry and engineering.

I source, vet, and acquire cutting-edge technology projects to build up a portfolio for CEDC, and have also built a database of 2,000-plus companies from scratch. As I wouldn’t be who I am today and where I am now without a Thayer and Dartmouth education, I believe that it is a great opportunity for me to give back to the Thayer community by coordinating with ENGS 89/ 90, the engineering capstone course, for the rising graduate class.

Second, I am passionate about technology startups and venture capital. This fellowship exposed me to more than 2,000 leading industry companies, let me be inspired by their ideas, and fostered my product management skills.

Categories: Alumni News, Thayer Notes

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