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Alumni News: Spotlights

Oct 02, 2023   |   Dartmouth Engineer

Spotlights on recent achievements of Dartmouth Engineering alumni.

The Energy Futurist

Rose Mutiso
Rose Mutiso ’08 Th’08

Energy technology and policy expert Rose Mutiso ’08 Th’08—research director for the Washington, DC-based think tank Energy for Growth Hub and cofounder of the Nairobi, Kenya-based Mawazo Institute—has earned the 2023 McGuire Family Prize for Societal Impact. “The thing that connects everything up for me is the power of science and innovation to solve big problems,” says Mutiso. The $100,000 prize, established through a gift from Terry McGuire Th’82 and Carolyn Carr McGuire Tu’83, recognizes members of the Dartmouth community who are making a significant positive impact on humanity, society, or the environment. “I’m hopeful the prize can help bring more attention to the issues I work on: amplifying African voices and agency in the shaping of Africa’s climate and energy future.” From Thayer, Mutiso earned her PhD in materials science and engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and pursued a postdoc through the American Institute of Physics and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, working on energy and innovation policy issues in the U.S. Senate, followed by a senior fellowship at the U.S. Department of Energy. But she never forgot her Kenyan roots. With classmate Rachel Strohm ’08, she cofounded the nonprofit Mawazo Institute, which supports early-career female researchers. Her current work at the Energy for Growth Hub centers on “using data and evidence to help solve the twin crises of climate change and energy poverty in developing countries,” she says. “This incredible honor inspires me to look forward and ask myself: What can I do with this to inspire others, in particular those with nontraditional backgrounds like me, and to further the work?” READ MORE»

"The thing that connects everything up for me is the power of science and innovation to solve big problems."

Rose Mutiso ’08 Th’08

The Deconstructionist

Matthew Kubis
Matthew Kubis Th’23

His research into cellulosic biofuels with Professor Lee Lynd’s group earned Matthew Kubis Th’23 his PhD—and some insights into more efficient industry processes. “Efficient deconstruction and conversion of inedible plant biomass, ‘lignocellulose,’ is critical to decarbonizing the energy system,” says Kubis. However, this biomass resists deconstruction, typically requiring energy- and capital-intensive thermochemical pretreatment. For his thesis, Kubis evaluated the use of a thermophilic anaerobe, Clostridium thermocellum, to deconstruct and convert lignocellulose without costly thermochemical pretreatment. In addition to characterizing the biological conversion, Kubis also developed a novel bioreactor design and assessed the economics and emissions of adding carbon capture and storage technologies to cellulosic biofuel production at an industrial scale. Next up: He is focused on making ethanol from industrial emissions as an R&D process engineer at LanzaTech.

Board Updates

Edward “Skip” Stritter ’68
Edward “Skip” Stritter ’68
Seth Pierrepont Th’07
Seth Pierrepont Th’07

The Dartmouth Engineering Board of Advisors honored one long-term member for his service while welcoming another member this summer. The board celebrated the 24 years of service of Edward “Skip” Stritter ’68 at its May meeting. A math major at Dartmouth, he went on to earn MS and PhD in computer science at Stanford before working as chief architect of the Motorola 68000, the first 16-bit microprocessor. This is the chip that powered the Apple Macintosh from its launch until the last few years and on which the workstation industry was built. He went on to found MIPS, NeTpower, and Clarity Wireless. Dean Alexis Abramson also recognized his commitment to underserved communities: “As founder of VillageTech Solutions (now Looma Education Co.), you have worked closely with our BE and MEM students to sponsor ENGS 89/90 and 390 projects for more than a decade—advising and mentoring numerous student teams on real-life projects that have improved the lives of schoolchildren in parts of the developing world, including an arsenic well-water removal project that won first prize in the National Collegiate Inventor Competition and the current Looma project that provides low-powered computer and technology devices to schools in Nepal.”

In July, the board welcomed Seth Pierrepont Th’07, a general partner at London-based ICONIQ Growth, a global growth equity platform focused on partnering with entrepreneurs and leaders from early growth stage to IPO and beyond. He previously spent almost a decade investing in early- and growth-stage technology companies across Europe and Israel as a partner at Accel. At Thayer, Pierrepont earned his MEM and BE in mechanical engineering and was co-captain of the Dartmouth Formula Racing team; he served on the Dean’s Council from 2016 to 2019.

Driving Change

After retiring as senior director at planning and analytics firm Resource Systems Group (RSG), Robert Chamberlin Th’83 Th’02 founded Chamberlin Analytics. He’s currently helping the Utah Department of Transportation implement a road usage charge (RUC) system—widely considered the successor to gasoline tax as a source of transportation funding. The biggest changes he has observed in the transportation industry involve the application of electronics and computing to mobility and planning. “On the mobility front, we have increasingly ‘smart’ highways and intersections that can detect and classify all types of users, assess tolls electronically, weigh vehicles in motion, and transmit real-time information to travelers and mobility managers,” he says. Connected systems are also making travel safer, with vehicles that can detect—and avoid—potentially conflicting paths of other vehicles and pedestrians. But conflicts remain: “The greatest transportation solution still needs broad public support,” he says. “All projects should be scrutinized for their social and environmental impact, but having narrow self-interest cloaked as the public good does not serve us well.”

The Innovator

Aditya Bhasin
Aditya Bhasin Th’96

As a graduate student at Thayer, Aditya Bhasin Th’96 felt most at home in the lab. Whether he was collaborating with fellow students or assisting Professor George Cybenko with research projects, the lab was an incubator for ideas with real-world impact. “The lab was very collaborative, very much a family-type environment, with lots of big, creative thinking but a lot of real action, too,” he says. “I think that’s a big part of what I took away from my time at Thayer—how to come up with innovative ideas that have a practical purpose.” Today, Bhasin cultivates that same spirit of applied entrepreneurship in his role as chief technology and information officer for Bank of America. The firm has been earning numerous accolades with Bhasin as CTO, including Fortune’s 2023 list of “America’s Most Innovative Companies.” —Betsy Vereckey

NSF Honors

Seven engineering students and alumni are among the 18 Dartmouth members awarded 2023 research fellowships from National Science Foundation (NSF). The program is designed to maintain a strong “human resource base of science and engineering in the United States,” and fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $37,000 along with a $12,000 allowance for tuition and fees. New fellows include biomedical engineers Carl Harris ’21, Kevin Hoffer- Hawlik ’19, and John Heggland Th’27; glaciologist Logan Mann Th’26; electrical engineers Allen Nguyen Th’27 and Charlie Reeder ’22; and environmental engineer Lucy Tantum ’19. Isabella Caruso ’17 Th’17 received an honorable mention for her work in sustainable chemistry.

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