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Thayer Notes

Dec 01, 2022   |   Dartmouth Engineer

News and notes from Dartmouth Engineering alumni around the world.

| 1950s |

Jack Woods '51 Tu'51 Th'52: During the 70 years since my graduation from Thayer, I spent only one year in an engineering position. However, I found my education at Thayer invaluable: I was taught to think, to analyze, and to prove my conclusions.

| 1960s |

Harris McKee
Harris McKee '61 Th'63 on the golf course with daughter Laura and her husband, Tom.

Harris McKee '61 Th'63: My days are absolutely filled with Dartmouth, Admiral at the Lake (the continuing care retirement community in Chicago where I live), and Unitarian Church activities. For Dartmouth I serve as a class co-head agent, digital communications manager, necrologist, and newsletter publisher. At the Admiral I schedule and often lead the audio-visual team for about a program a day, provide PC tech support to residents, lead an occasional book club session, play golf (usually with my daughter) each week during the summer, and spend some time each day with my wife, who resides in the skilled care section of our care center. When I’m asked how I got interested in computers, I relate how my first exposure was in 1960 to a Royal-McBee LGP-30 in Thayer School. We programmed it with a punched paper tape and had to keep track of every single storage location used by the program. Any correction required re-punching the entire tape; fortunately, we could copy before and after any change.

Neil Drobny '62 Th'64: I retired (partially) from Ohio State in 2020 and have settled comfortably in a lake house in Kalamazoo, Michigan. To keep my brain active, I developed a relationship with Western Michigan University to work with students studying various aspects of sustainability. Last year I co-taught a few courses. This year I am leading a new campuswide initiative that provides students with the opportunity to work in groups of three to five to brainstorm sustainable innovations. Groups work together to complete a project that addresses one or more of the United Nations' sustainable development goals.

Ward Hinman '65 Th'68: I'm retired. The only "engineering" I'm doing is minor plumbing repairs around the house and still occasionally working on the addition I built on my house 25 years ago. I used sheets of Hardie board as the exterior sheathing and the bottom edge was deteriorating. They now sell trim strips of Hardie, so I installed that, which turned out to be more difficult than I expected, then caulked and painted. Reading sci-fi, working on my genealogy, and watching my grandson play sports pretty much are the main excitement.

Mark Tuttle '65 Th'66: I recently attended a reception at well-attended Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum in San Francisco, Calif. Got to meet new (to me) Thayer Dean Alexis Abramson and Dartmouth Medical School Dean Duane Compton and converse with both and others. A fun event.

| 1970s |

Michael Onderick '73 Th'74: I’m retired after 40-plus years in various segments of the energy industry. My favorite experience was developing one of the first natural gas export pipelines from the United States to Mexico. I’m now living peacefully near my son and grandson in Wichita, Kansas, with occasional overseas jaunts to visit my expat daughter and her family!

| 1980s |

John Dzenitis '86 Adv'88 Th'88: After years leading technical projects, culminating in heading program management at a single-cell biology company (10x Genomics Inc.), I decided to make a sharp career change. I have been making custom furniture full-time for a year as Dzenitis Art and Engineering (dzenitisartandengineering.com). Beth has been a woodworker since middle school and she introduced me to woodworking in 1990, before we were even dating. I got much more serious about making things in 2015, when we set up dedicated shop space. In 2018, I realized that if I was going to get good at this physically demanding work, I needed to make a career change before I got too old. There were some milestones and succession things to work out at my "normal" job, plus getting through the brunt of the pandemic, before I could actually leave 10x Genomics in late 2021. I like a lot of different materials, but I am somewhat limited in what I use and make by what I can do in a small-ish home shop. Wood is beautiful and warm and can be used in so many diverse ways. I like using domestic hardwoods versus exotics, which don’t seem sustainable to me. Metal gives a more modern and cool feel that I like as well. With my shop limitations I mostly end up bending and welding tubing versus casting, forging, or machining. My inspiration comes from a lot of places, sort of combined in a stew and cooked until something comes out: what function the piece needs to have, even if it is just ornamental, a statement or theme that works, fabrication techniques that I either like or have been wanting to try, and some driving shape that could be geometric, nature-inspired, or just curvy.

| 1990s |

Nick Mourlas
Nick Mourlas ’92 Th’93 is the new head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

Nick Mourlas '92 Th'93: At the beginning of 2022 I took on a new role as head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, "JLABS," in San Diego, Calif., one of Johnson & Johnson's no-strings-attached biopharm incubators. Launched in 2012, JLABS @ San Diego is our flagship site within our Janssen West Coast Research Center, providing proximity to cutting-edge scientific expertise in discovery sciences, oncology, and neurosciences. I joined JLABS from the West North America regional team of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, where I supported both discovery, product development and supply for Janssen and Johnson & Johnson's medical device businesses.

| 2000s |

Seth Smith '02 Th'03: I am the operational supply chain arm of a business owned by three Dartmouth alums— myself and CEOs Clara Veinard '01 and Martinique Grigg '99—called Coro Foods (corofoods.com). We make some of the best salami in the United States. I've drawn upon my Thayer Machine Shop experience, ENGS 21 for attribute force ranking, and thermodynamics with Professor Tillman Gerngross. We are launching into Kroger grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest this fall.

Akash Shah Th'09: I am working with Koch Engineered Solutions in India as lead project manager. I work in fields of combustion engineering to improve the emissions generated by refineries. As project manager I am involved from the designing stage of a project through construction and handover to the client.

| 2010s |

Joey Anthony '12 Th'13: I've been working at a startup called Ultima Genomics with several other Thayer alumni. We just came out of stealth mode and were featured in The New York Times in October: "Can Start-Ups Significantly Lower the Cost of Gene Sequencing?" Jake Wolf '12 Th'13 and I have been working there since 2018, when there were only about 40 employees. We were some of the first mechanical engineers. More recently, we had Noah White '21 Th'21, Philip Bennet '19 Th'20, and Nolan Sankey '21 Th'22 start with internships and join full time!

Ann Baum
Sisters Maddy and Ann Baum ’12 (left) created Spillt.

Ann Baum '12: My sister, Maddy, and I have been building an app called Spillt, and we are now live in the app store. Spillt includes tools for users to save, organize, and share recipes that they find online, paired with better tools for food bloggers to monetize their recipes. Since graduating from Dartmouth I worked as an iOS software engineer at Facebook/Instagram before attending Stanford for my MBA. We're currently live for iOS and Android (in the United States and Canada) and would be delighted to have any members of the Dartmouth Engineering community check it out.

Thomas Balch '12 Th'13: I've been doing autonomous driving research with the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) out of Cambridge, Mass. Recently I've been working on rapid iterative design and testing of the TRIKart platform. In autonomous car research, the natural progression is to test things in software and simulation, then deploy on a full-scale car in a closed course, and finally test it on public roads. However, test time on the closed course is limited and valuable, so you want to make sure you are efficient with it, and simulation can't always capture the intricacies of the real world. The scale car platform is a lower-risk, lower-cost way to quickly iterate testing of a feature before moving it up to the full-scale car. It does a much better job of capturing the nuances of real-world dynamics than most simulators and is better suited for early testing of scenarios with multiple vehicles or one at the edge of control than an expensive, full-scale vehicle. I have put together the software stack running on the scale cars and have also been working on planning and control research around vehicle interactions. Lifewise, I’m living in Maine with my wife, Ashley, and our 4-month-old Freya and loving it!

Kristopher Brown '14 Th'15: After getting a PhD in chemical engineering at Stanford and doing a postdoc in theoretical computer science at the University of Florida, I recently started a job at the Topos Institute in Berkeley, Calif. Topos is an interesting institution as it is a center for cutting-edge research in mathematics and engineering that lies outside of both academia and industry, being a nonprofit with a mission of shaping technology for public good. We are funded by a mix of philanthropy and government research grants. I work on helping scientists and engineers represent their knowledge and models of the world in transparent ways that enable high-level communication and operations performed on these models via a powerful type of mathematics called category theory. This involves a fun mix of theoretical problems as well as practical engineering knowledge, as we release open-source software.

Evan Landau '15: In September I transitioned from freelance industrial design to working at Google as a product research manager for its Pixel phones and other devices. I'm helping to manage design research studies with consumers and working out of one of its NYC offices.

Scott Mitchell Th'16: I am in my third year of neurosurgery residency at Indiana University. I continue to work on my Dartmouth ENGS 21 project-turned-nongovernmental-organization Stand With Me (standwithme.org) for children with cerebral palsy. Stand With Me builds and distributes free pediatric standing frames in the developing world to help children stand up, perform weight-bearing activities, and develop more normally alongside their peers. We have distributed more than 1,600 standing frames! Also, I recently visited the Dartmouth campus and absolutely love the new engineering building!

Matt Abate '17 Th'17: In August I graduated from Georgia Tech with a PhD in robotics (and two master's degrees). I now co-run a robotic perception startup in Atlanta.

Elisabeth Schricker
Elisabeth Schricker '17 Th'18 married Matthew Hartwig this fall.

Elisabeth Schricker '17 Th'18: I'm still working as validation systems manager at Pfizer but have moved to North Carolina to be closer to home during the pandemic. I also got married this fall to Matthew Hartwig.

Ashley Sissel '17 Th'18: I'm currently in northern Virginia using my environmental engineering degree to restore degraded streams and wetlands. At Wetland Studies and Solutions Inc. in Gainesville, Va., I use concepts from fluvial geomorphology, natural channel design, and aquatic ecology to recreate functional stormwater management, animal habitat, neighborhood recreation, and prevent the transport of sediment and nutrients downstream.

Amir Sharifzadeh '18 Th'21: I'm a software developer at the Institute of Data Intensive Engineering and Science (IDIES) of the Johns Hopkins University physics department. IDIES hosts a range of scientific databases, such as galaxy surveys and ocean models, and provides consulting to researchers to fill technical skill gaps and recommend or create new tools and approaches for big data and data science needs. I am currently working on two projects: I am working on quantum materials and implementing computational and software tools with the Platform for the Accelerated Realization, Analysis, and Discovery of Interface Materials (PARADIM) team as well as working as a software developer on part of SciServer, a science platform for astronomy and beyond. In addition to my full-time position, I am taking part-time courses at Johns Hopkins toward my master's in applied physics.

Santi Correa Th'19: I’m living on the Colombian coast! I was promoted to a financial controller role for Smurfit Kappa, one of the world's largest paper-packaging manufacturers. I'm missing Hanover and good old Dartmouth.

Junfei Yu
Junfei Yu Th’19 used skills developed at Hanover Country Club to compete recently in the Wuhan Amateur Golf Tournament.

Junfei Yu Th'19: I have been a Wuhan (China) Xiaoyaoyao Pharmaceutical Technology entrepreneurship and management trainee since October 2019. There, I have conducted research about potential market opportunities and reported directly to the cofounders to help strategize the company's future. I participated in the inaugural entrepreneurship and management trainee program, rotating among the product, quality assurance, warehouse and logistics, and vendor departments.After the rotations, I launched an international trading business and a mail-order medicine service business. During the Covid-19 pandemic, as head of the Shanghai team, I led and initiated international trades for the company. In one year the international trade team set deals for more than 200 million face masks in China and more than half a million medical supplies to the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, and Germany. (I and teammate Dingyang Lu '17 also arranged for the donation of 50,000 medical masks to DHMC in the spring of 2020.) From 2020 to 2021 I led a team to develop a business of delivering essential medicine, in dosage pill packets with robots handling the packaging process, for more than 400 elderly patients living in the nursing homes in Wuhan area.

| 2020s |

Natalie Garcia '20: I am currently living in NYC and working at KKR in real estate equity.

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