Class Notes: Undergraduate Alumni

Oct 14 2020

Immanuel Lichtenstein (IEOR) writes: “Pleased to say that I am working, howbeit at reduced pace. The activity is importing industrial minerals from Turkish mines for which I had done field work.”

John Durso (Elec E) writes: “At my age (94), my main accomplishment for 2019 was to still be alive and kicking at year's end. I would love to know if any of my classmates are still around. Brief history: still married and celebrated 70 years this past year, have five children, 11 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. To keep busy, I still volunteer at the Norwalk, Connecticut Aquarium as a docent.”

Robert Schaffer (Mech E) writes: “I was in the Navy V-12 program and earned a BS in mechanical engineering almost 75 years ago. After our graduation (the war having ended), we were mustered out. On rejoining civil life, I earned a Doctor of Education degree at Teachers College and went into management consulting, which permitted me to exploit many of my engineering insights and perspectives. After several years of apprenticeship in various jobs, I formed a consulting firm which has just celebrated its 60th birthday. My colleagues and I published eight books and about 200 articles, including 15 articles in the Harvard Business Review. In addition to having pride in all my professional work and in my sons, daughter, and grandchildren, if forced, I would have to admit to being very proud of finishing fifth over 50 in the New York City marathon in 1977. One disappointment in life: I was never able to complete the lettering exercises in freshman drafting to my own satisfaction. Do you still have to do that in the computer age?”

Jack B. Freeman (APAM) writes: “I'm still working as a material scientist. Accumet is the fourth successful start-up company I've formed. We provide several specialized products, including metal single crystals other than silicon. After many years of study, crystals of gold, aluminum, and tungsten are being used commercially.”

Bruce Matzner MS’62 (Mech E) writes: “In 1955, I had the honor to be the first Queens College student to graduate from the Columbia University School of Engineering combined program, which conferred a BS from each school after five years of study. This program was a major force in my professional development. Other landmarks in my education were my graduations in 1958 from Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology and in 1962 with an MS in mechanical engineering from Columbia. Career highlights include ten years at Columbia’s engineering research laboratories, where we studied the thermalhydraulics of simulated nuclear reactor fuel, and 28 years at GE Nuclear Energy, where I managed the world’s largest boiling water reactor heat transfer test facility. While at GE, I conceived a fuel rod spacer design that was used in nuclear reactors worldwide. I also was awarded 44 US patents and authored many technical society papers. My deceased wife Phyllis and I had two children. I live in Los Gatos, California. I’ve had a lifelong passion for chess and even won a game against former world champion Dr. Max Euwe.”

Luigi Giamundo (Chem E) writes: “After working for six years in New Jersey, I moved to Italy to start my own company—today known as ATP Composites—where I am still involved as president and CEO. Last August, I returned to the Columbia campus and went to visit the new engineering department. What a change!!! I became homesick and went to sit for a while on the steps of Alma Mater, holding in my hand a photograph taken under the snow there in my first winter in the USA; I had never experienced snow before, having been living in southern Italy!”

Gordon Silverman (Elec E) writes: “I’m co-authoring the fourth edition of Cognitive Science: An Introduction to Study of Mind and serving on the advisory board of a rehabilitation instrument manufacturer. The product is based on concepts that I introduced 30 years ago. I also serve on the Technical Advisory Board of City Technical College (part of City University). And I enjoy participating in the Columbia Alumni Representative Community (ARC) program. I have also been providing engineering advisement for students at the Martin Van Buren High School in Queens. My wife and I enjoy summer traveling, mainly in Italy. (You may also find my comments from time to time in the New York Times.)”

Alan Broadwin (Mech E) writes: “Starting work in 1959, I was employed by companies in the industrial, medical, and aerospace fields for 35 years. I was retired by Pfizer in January 1994. I started a new career as a medical devices and aerospace auditor. I have been continuously employed as an auditor and quality systems consultant for the last 26 years. I will be 85 next April and have been asked to continue working for one of my aerospace clients. The tools that Columbia gave me have enabled me to do this.”

Taylor Thompson (Elec E) writes: “Check out Our freeze-dryers keep getting larger and more automated. My sons are now running the company, so I can just relax and admire them. Can't wait to see the new Engineering building!!”

Allen Raab (Civil E) retired in 2017 after 26 years as a senior program officer with the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies in Washington, DC, and after working in the Boston area for 28 years for a number of engineering firms. Al and his wife, Fran, have three married daughters and seven grandchildren. They live in Bethesda, MD and enjoy traveling and volunteering. Al is a consumer advocate with Call For Action (WJLA, Channel 7), a national network of hotlines that empower consumers by giving them a voice larger than their own. Fran recruits speakers for OASIS, a national education and service organization that brings people together to enrich lives and strengthen communities.”

Matthew Sobel (IEOR) writes: “After several years in business, government, and graduate education, I was in the professoriate at Yale, Georgia Tech, SUNY Stony Brook, and Case Western Reserve University, where I became emeritus five years ago. I’m still immersed in research, which continues to garner awards. Recreationally, I bicycle and cross-country ski—more slowly, but my wife and I continue these activities enthusiastically. Recreational activities during the past two years include visiting children and grandchildren, participating in numerous road bicycling centuries and bicycling events in the US, Canada, and Italy, and attending my 60th reunion at Columbia College. Starting this winter, I will no longer cross-country ski on terrain that is narrow, winding, and icy. I hope to reconnect with classmates at the 60th reunion of our class in June.”

Joseph Feig (Chem E) writes: “For two years now, my wife and I have been living in Leisure Village in Camarillo, CA. There, I have participated in many activities, including performing in Village shows such as Guys and Dolls. I am still an active member of a Pasadena, CA investment banking and consulting group. It is a vintage group of successful experienced engineers and general businessmen who assist company founders seeking an optimum exit strategy.”

Mark Herman (Chem E) writes: “Ronnie and I have almost fully adapted to life in Nashville, although the summers are way too hot. It is fun watching the granddaughters grow up: Charley is in the 10th grade taking pre-calculus, among other courses, Lucy is in kindergarten, and Josie is in preschool. We are still translating operas.

Carl Jakobsson (Civil E) writes: “I am retired from my engineering career, but in retirement I am serving as chairman of the political action committee in my local branch of the NAACP out here in Bremerton, WA (right across Puget Sound from Seattle). We put together a big event to mark the 55th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March in Selma, AL. The name of the event will be Mission Outreach Day, and it will be a day to focus on voter registration, voter education, and voter mobilization. The event got its name from the acronym MOD because it is an annual commemoration of several special occasions in the history of the modern day church, in which the church took part in successful actions to protect the basic human rights of people who were under attack. Those occasions had to do with the civil rights movement here in the US, the antiapartheid revolution in South Africa and Namibia, and the People Power Revolution in the Philippines.”

Stephen Rosen (Mech E) writes: “I continue to work part-time for AKRF Inc., in their NYC office, of which I was one of the founders, and spend the rest of my time enjoying myself at my homes in Singer Island, FL and Westport, CT with my wife Tanya and Havenese Ivy.”

Tom Magnani (Elec E) writes: “I'm writing this shortly after the beginning of the new year and wish everyone and their families the best for the coming year and onwards. At this year's reunion, Sam Fredman '64, '67 (IEOR), Arthur Epley III '64 (APAM), Dan Lehrfeld '64, '75 (Mechanical Engineering), Ron Salzman '64, '65 (Mechanical Engineering), and I got together to attend the combined Class of 1964 dinner, where our own Larry Kuznetz '64, '65 (IEOR) spoke about his design work for the Apollo spacesuits. I also am pleased to inform all of you that the Class of 1964 Scholarship Fund ended the year at over $252,000 (and that is after a donation for a student's scholarship!). On the personal side, one of my high school-aged grandchildren is taking an interest in mathematics, and I'm working with my grandson to assemble a component-based AM/FM radio kit.”

Neil Marmor (Elec E) writes: “Another year! Almost for sure, all the faculty who worked to educate me have gone elsewhere. More and more frequently, my age cohort is seeing more and more doctors more and more often, including myself. So far, I'm no worse than a car with 75,000 miles on it: well broken in, the new car luster long gone, and an increasing number of dings and even dents, but my compression is still pretty good (though my acceleration is slowing). Fundamentally, I've been fortunate to enjoy good health, have money for the rent, and have sufficient remaining IQ to read to little kids, help some homeless people get back on their feet, and remember where my car is after I've parked it. What's to complain? With warm regards to all who may recall me, I wish my fellow CU alumni a happy new year.”


Taylor Thompson '57

Ed Sable (Elec E) writes: “I'm greatly enjoying my family, which now numbers 11: Sharon and me, our daughter, son, and their spouses, and five grandchildren ranging from elementary school to college age. Following a 36-year career at Bell Labs/AT&T, I've been president of Macrosoft (not Microsoft!), a software design, development, and consulting company for the past 15 years. In addition to studying engineering, I started playing bridge at Columbia and continue to be an avid bridge player.”


Ed Sable '66

Ta Li (EEE) writes: “Alan Silberstein '69 (APAM) and I had the privilege of visiting Newmont Mining's Carlin Gold Operations in Nevada. We saw the firm's open pit mines and associated processing facilities. This Carlin District has mined and recovered an estimated 200 million troy ounces since 1835.”

Lenny Wintfeld (Elec E) writes: “After 40 plus years in engineering (primarily digital hardware and firmware design, with some RF and analog design thrown in), I retired in 2014. I'm still doing engineering in ham radio—a lifelong interest—for my own amusement. My son, 32, who is autistic, has a place of his own and he seems to be making his way in the world with just a little help from me, my wife, and state social welfare agencies. I'm very proud of him. His accomplishments on an absolute scale are quite modest, but given the cards he was dealt, he's done great—way beyond what I thought was possible! I've had an interesting, varied, and fulfilling engineering career, and I'm happy with the way things turned out. Though I admit it was with little planning on my part!”

Ta Li '69

Linda Batty (IEOR) writes: “After graduation, I worked at Clark & Groff Engineers in Oregon before joining the Peace Corps to teach mathematics in the Gambia, where I met my civil engineering husband Peter. We have raised two daughters while living and working in the US, Samoa, and Africa. Throughout my career I have taught math and tutored in schools. From 2000 to 2010, I worked at Sheladia Associates, an international engineering company, but I retired in December 2010 when Peter started working on the Panama Canal Expansion Project. Now, he is working with Sheladia again on an elevated road project in Sri Lanka, where we celebrated our 45th anniversary last November. As most of you know, my twin sister Laurie Speight '70 (IEOR), who graduated with me, died of ALS in 2006. Now, ALS has struck my family again—my dear brother Craig. A two-part story appeared in The Portland Tribune December 17 and 19. I look forward to seeing my great friends at our 50th reunion!”

Mary McGuire (IEOR) writes: “Now in my second year as program manager of data science at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, I lead an incredibly talented and dedicated team that develops machine learning/AI and advanced analytics applications to support cancer patient care. Last April, I gave a ‘standing room only’ presentation at the 2019 INFORMS Business Analytics Conference in Austin, TX on ‘Developing Machine Learning Applications in an Agile Environment’ based on our team's experiences. And, despite the occasional short-lived storms, I really enjoy living in Houston!”

Stefano Migliuolo (APAM) writes: “On July 6th, 2019, I completed my Atlantic-to-Pacific journey on a bicycle. Traveling at roughly 10 miles per hour across eleven states gave me an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy this magnificent country, from the lilacs of Massachusetts to the wild sage and oregano of the Western states! Miraculously, I pedaled 3,320 miles in 60 days without a single puncture, ending on the Oregon coast. Every person I met had his/her story, and every conversation gave me a lift. My night camps in Wyoming and Idaho allowed me to see the glory of the Milky Way, unspoiled by city lights. As I enter the waning years of my professional career (which I still enjoy immensely), I appear to have stumbled on a new path to adventures: bicycle touring. Next summer, it will probably be the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota.”


Linda Batty '70

Mary McGuire '70

Joseph Babendreier (Chem E) writes: “I may be the only member of the 1976 class that became a Catholic priest. After working as a priest in New York City for about ten years, I got transferred to Kenya in 1992. I’m now living in Nairobi. I was ordained in 1980, so I'm preparing to celebrate my 40th anniversary.”

Charles Henager (APAM) writes: “I will be retiring from my materials scientist position at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, WA after 40 years. Although I had many activities at PNNL over the years, my major research was in the field of nuclear materials and computational materials science, where I explored both metals and ceramics for nuclear applications, including SiC/SiC composites and tungsten for fusion energy applications. I helped develop solid-state displacement reactions to produce novel radiation-resistant joints for SiC-based materials that are still being tested in-reactor. I am a member of the Advisory Editorial Board for the Journal of Nuclear Materials and a past recipient of the Roland B. Snow Award from the American Ceramics Society. My most recent activity was as the technical co-chair for the 19th International Conference on Fusion Reactor Materials (ICFRM-19) held in La Jolla, CA in 2019. I will return as Emeritus Scientist at PNNL with some traveling and volunteer work.”

Bob McDonald (Civil E) writes: “I am a professor in the area of marketing in the Rawls College of Business and am serving as chair of the Texas Tech University Teaching Academy Executive Council this academic year.”


Charles Henager '76

Peggy Hill (IEOR) writes: “In June 2018, I transitioned from my corporate strategy, marketing, and program management roles to start a fitness/wellness venture in the NYC Metro Area: Yoga with Peggy H. I'm grateful for all that I learned and contributed to in my former life. And I'm also excited about this opportunity as I bring hope and values to adults actively looking to improve or transition to a healthier lifestyle. The journey has been extremely fulfilling to know from client feedback that Yoga with Peggy H is making dramatic improvements in their daily lives. Check out a feature story from the AARP Foundation: ‘Peggy - Bringing Hope and Value through Yoga.’ ‘Early retirement’ for me is more rewarding than I ever expected. As my cousin, Bob Simon, reminded me: Find your passion and execute perfectly what's financially rewarding.

Yosef Melman (Civil E) is the owner of Y. Melman Engineering Services Ltd., which manages, coordinates, and supervises civil engineering projects. He is married and currently lives in Israel.”

Jason Makansi (Chem E) writes: “My latest book of non-fiction released last year, Carbon IRA & YouTility: How to Address Climate Change & Reward Carbon Reduction Before It's Too Late, explains the unique concept of rewarding an individual's carbon footprint reductions by converting the avoided carbon into funds deposited into a retirement account or other long-term financial obligation. Also recently released was Knowledge Management In the Digital Age, co-written with Dr. Robert Mayfield, a guidebook for energy facility personnel transforming their control and automation systems into comprehensive knowledge management platforms.”

Shane Sammon (Elec E) is in the Los Angeles area (Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley) and working in the field of navigation technology (gyroscopes and accelerometers) for Northrop Grumman. He has been with the company for 38 years and started there when it was still known as Litton. He will likely retire in 2020. He has recently become engaged and is enjoying the Southern California lifestyle.

Bruce Terris (APAM) was named an IEEE fellow for ‘contributions to high density magnetic recording and spintronic materials.’ He had previously been named a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and is currently director of non-volatile memory materials research at Western Digital in San Jose, CA.”

Jinko Gotoh (APAM) writes: “2019 was a very busy year. I produced The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and Klaus, the first original animated feature for Netflix. I'm also living in NYC and working on my next animated feature.”


Yosef Melman '78

Jason Makansi '78

Paxton Louis (Elec E) writes: “I wish everyone a great year. Both my wife and I successfully battled cancer in 2019. Yes, we both had cancer in the same year. We are both looking forward to a great 2020. All my best.”

Lolita Mancheno-Smoak (IEOR) writes: “A warm hello to the class of '81 from your class VP now living in sunny Florida! After residing in Virginia for the past 22 years, I moved in July 2019 back to a climate that better suits my Amazonian roots. I’m currently semi-retired and focused on simply ‘being’ along with my husband and pursuing interests in the field of archaeology. Looking forward to catching up at our 2021 class reunion. If you're ever near Orange Park, FL, please reach out to me and I’ll share my coordinates. I always keep a batch of my secret family recipe sangria. Wishing all a blessed 2020.”


Lolita Mancheno-Smoak '81

K. Daniel Libby (IEOR) writes: “This year saw big changes. I married my sweetheart after a nine-year long-distance relationship. (I like to say that if it was any further, it would have been closer.) Thank you, frequent flier programs and FaceTime. Her daughter is here now and doing great in ninth grade! My son graduated from Columbia College this year, started a new job, and is doing great. My work is interesting and rewarding. I have remained very involved in alumni affairs at Columbia Engineering and have seen the direct impact of my work make a difference. I have my health, and I would have to say I’m pretty satisfied all around. Please join us for reunion 2020, and let’s toast to our youth while we still are youthful.”

David Zufall (Elec E) writes: “Since engineering school, I pursued a career in telecommunications, including returning to Columbia for an MBA in 1990. I continue to think back to my time at Columbia and appreciate the people I met and the education I received. I am now part of the DISH team creating a new nationwide 5G wireless network and hope to work with people like those from Columbia.”

Bruce Reznik (IEOR) writes: “My wife Allison and I live in Connecticut and just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in 2019. We have three great boys. One is a junior at the University of Vermont, one is a junior in high school, and one is in eighth grade. We all enjoy skiing, mountain biking, and vacationing on Mount Desert Island, Maine, most summers. My industrial engineering degree has helped me in my career to be where I am now, which is working on the data science team at MediaStorm in NYC and Norwalk, CT.”

Paul Chiu (Elec E) writes: “We need more SEAS alumni to join the Alumni Representative Committee (ARC) to interview prospective students and participate in college fairs and other admissions activities. Please join us!”

Avishay Mazor (Civil E) writes: “Barbara and I have a son, Jacob, who passed his math PhD oral exams at SUNY Stony Brook.”

Christopher Dorn (CS) writes: “I continue my career in the U.S. Foreign Service. Malisa and I will return to Washington, DC in the summer of 2020 when my three-year assignment to the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden concludes. It will be nice to live in the United States again after seven years abroad. We return with two kids under five, so while many of you are managing high schools and colleges, we recently bought a double stroller.”

Teresa Chan (IEOR) writes: “After 27 years in the insurance industry as a lawyer and business manager, I have come full circle to Columbia as the director of a new MS program in insurance management at the School of Professional Studies. I am thrilled to be in a role that combines the best of both worlds and looking forward to welcoming our first class next fall. With both of my children in college, this is the perfect time for me to pivot into academia—it's good to be back on campus!”


K. Daniel Libby '82

Shawn Kolitch (APAM) writes: “On October 1, 2019, I celebrated the one-year anniversary of my new intellectual property law firm, Kolitch Romano LLP, based in Portland, OR. My partner TJ Romano and I launched the firm after spending many years as partners with another Portland firm. We work with small and large companies around the world to obtain and enforce their IP rights and have a reputation for providing extremely high-quality service while educating our clients about complex issues in a clear and approachable way. Shortly after the firm's anniversary, I spent 10 days in China, where I was invited to give presentations about US intellectual property law to the Hangzhou IP Bureau, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and an audience of in-house attorneys at Alibaba headquarters. Although it's been a long time, studying Chinese as a Columbia undergraduate was extremely helpful!”


Shawn Kolitch '89

Gaurav Bhandari (CS) writes: “After a 26-year career at Goldman Sachs, I retired from the firm in 2016 and founded a private equity firm, Long Arc Capital, which I now manage. I live in New York City with my wife, Anjli (who I met at Columbia), and our two daughters.”

Simo Hoite (Civil E) writes: “I’m married to Johanna Hoite '91, '92 (Civil E). We have three boys: one who graduated and two who are in college, all of whom are rowers. I’m working as a crane engineer in Oakland, CA. Johanna is working as a bridge engineer. We lived in Denmark and the Netherlands for nine years.”


Gaurav Bhandari '90

Sean Blanton (APAM) is applying his Columbia degree and University of Chicago PhD in physics at a new job this year at Citadel, LLC, in Chicago. He continues to visit his wife’s native Turkey each summer for Aegean seaside family visits and vacation. He also travels for youth soccer and is active in raising money for girls’ education in rural Turkey.

Neal Feivelson (Elec E) writes: “After nine years at ADP, most recently as VP and chief intellectual property counsel, I recently joined Avaya to lead their worldwide intellectual property law group. My wife, Dina Kotkin Feivelson '91CC, '96PH, '03PH, '06PH, and I bring our twin 10-year-old girls (Sonya and Dahlia) to campus as often as we can!”

Naxin and Ed Paik (IEOR) write: “So happy to attend last fall's Homecoming Weekend, capped by the historic 44-6 football game victory! Meeting professors, alumni, and students over the weekend would make anyone excited for Columbia Engineering's bright future. We live in the New England area and look forward to being empty nesters and celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. Go Lions!”


Naxin and Ed Paik '91

Janneth (Ignacio) Marcelo (Civil E) writes: “It's been ten years since I submitted my last update! I've returned to the work force as a program manager at NIST's National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program in the Electromagnetic Compatibility and Telecommunications LAP. I continue to volunteer at church and my kids' schools when I can (while keeping my side gig as a Thirty-One Gifts independent consultant). I'm still best friends with classmate Tricia (Chin) Seyle '92 (APAM), who is the godmother of my children. Tricia and another classmate, Shalene Monahan Starr '92CC, and I (big Yankees fans during/after college) have been turned into Washington Nationals fans by our husbands, with whom we cheered the World Series victory.”


Janneth (Ignacio) Marcelo '92

Sophie (Evans) Boroditsky (Civil E) writes: “I have settled in the East Bay area near San Francisco, CA and have specialized in leading teams to build trading and portfolio management systems for financial services companies. Currently, I am leading a technical team installing a large scale portfolio management system for a well known brokerage firm. I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children doing outdoor activities like hiking and skiing in the Sierra’s, spending summers at the beach in New York, and volunteering.”

Alexis Harley (Chem E) writes: “I was so excited to reflect on the Core Curriculum with my brother, Robert Eyckmans '12CC, as we visited the Acropolis in Athens, Greece this September.”

Chris Tso (Mech E) writes: “I'm still in NYC! Happily married to a '95CC alumna, I’m the proud father of two beautiful girls: my little one is in fourth grade, and my eldest is a freshman at LaGuardia High School. Since graduation, I've been a professional engineer in the engineering consulting industry specializing in the planning and design of district energy systems. I worked on central plant and utility systems projects for the World Trade Center, LaGuardia Airport, NY Presbyterian Hospital, Brown University, Columbia University, and others. I’m also the founder of CRC Engineering, which was acquired by WSP USA Inc., in the fall of 2016 after an eight-year run. I am now serving as vice president in the power and energy group at WSP's office in NYC.”

Aaron Wininger (APAM) writes: “After 13 years in China, I've returned to the US, where I am now the director of the China intellectual property law practice at Schwegman, Lundberg and Woessner PA in their San Jose office. I help US companies protect their intellectual property (mainly patents and trademarks) in the US and China by drafting and prosecuting their US and China patent applications and coordinating their worldwide trademark strategies.”

Preeti Gupta (BME) writes: “I have served as director of youth learning and research at the American Museum of Natural History for more than eight years. Our group is responsible for engaging more than 1,500 teens from sixth grade to college in museum programming outside of school with the goal of deepening their interests in STEM and supporting the development of the next generation of STEM professionals. In this past year, we received two federal grants. The first was a grant from the National Science Foundation to research learning in middle school youth who engage in a three-week ecology and CT-integrated curriculum with the goal of understanding how to most effectively teach them computational thinking skills. The second grant came from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create a professional learning program for college students, who would then work as floor staff and have science conversations at exhibits.”


Alexis Harley '94 and Robert Eyckmans '12

David Bernad (IEOR) writes: “What an extraordinary 2019 it's been! My daughter Lucía Victoria was born on November 5th to join siblings Marco (11) and Gala (9). VINAMERICAS, the wine import company I founded in 2004, will soon end its best year ever! But the prospect of success in 2020 remains a mystery as we face new ridiculous tariffs on imported European wines. I continue based out of Miami with frequent trips to Spain (my homeland), where the rest of my family lives, and where I hope to spend most of my time in a not-so-distant future. If you are ever in South Florida or in Northern Spain, don't hesitate to reach out. Wishing you all much love, success, and time to enjoy them both.”

Meredith Mucha (Chem E) writes: “After working as a technical writer for two years, I went to medical school and have been a physician for 14 years. I'm a geriatrics and palliative medicine specialist in Columbus, OH. My goal is to enter global health.”


David Bernad '97

Edwin Cheuk (Civil E) writes: “The year 2020 is the tenth year since I started my structural engineering design firm, Grand Millennium Consulting Engineer, in NYC. I am happy we provided structural engineering design services for several residential, hotel, office, and commercial buildings built in New York City. Looking forward to growing the company in the next ten years.”


Edwin Cheuk '00

Cho-Nan Michael Tsai (CS) writes: “Four years ago, I joined Camino Financial as the chief technology officer to help build a data-driven fintech platform pioneering affordable small business loans to Latinx businesses. Today, we have deployed more than $30 million in loans, while at the same time growing monthly loan originations at 419% year-over-year. We also just raised $8 million in Series A Round. While the journey hasn't been easy, I truly appreciate the opportunity to learn along the way. We grew our headcount from four to 60 people during this time. We also just went international by opening an office in Mexico City. I also realized that one of the best North Star metrics in all of this is how happy our members are. I am grateful to be in a position where I can help empower the underbanked in the US with our credit programs. We have big plans in 2020 and beyond. However, we can't do this alone. Any like-minded alumni who have an interest in what we do, please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.”


Cho-Nan Michael Tsai '01

Tara Tsui '04

Tara Tsui (IEOR) writes: “Hi! After 15 years of leadership experience in the fashion industry in inventory management and planning, I have a newly inspired focus on sustainability. I recently completed the sustainable design entrepreneurs program at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where I studied everything from sustainable manufacturing to social responsibility. I am passionate about defining efficiency and profitability in the industry as well as minimizing waste, so I founded my consulting business, measure x IMPACT, to create partnerships with a purpose and strive for significant outcomes.”

Andrew Saxton (Mech E) and his wife Taya welcomed their second son Winston to the world. Andrew also accepted a new job with Tektronix as Director of Business Strategy, pursuing breakthroughs in microelectronics for aerospace and secure communications.”

Katie (Cizewski) Phillips (Mech E) writes: “At the core of everything that I've done since graduating in 2006 has been a desire to help people. As a mechanical engineer with Hardesty & Hanover in NYC, I helped people with their daily underlying transportation and safety needs, serving clients like the NYCDOT and Amtrak. Then, five years later, after learning to be a pastry chef at the French Culinary Institute, I found that I could give people happiness through croissants, tarts, and petit fours. But I found that I still needed more human connection. So as a solutions-driven agent of hospitality, I am happy to announce that my new, third, and final career is in real estate. Helping people find that place of comfort in a home is what I'm committed to. If you are moving to Washington or the greater Seattle area in 2020, I'm here to help.”

Foster Chen (Chem E) writes: “I finished my fellowship at Stanford and am now practicing as a joint replacement surgeon in Seattle this year. Hope everyone's doing well!”

Vik Venkatraman (BME) writes: “2019 was a banner year! My wife and I welcomed our new baby Phoenix to the family, and my book Mechanized hit Amazon. I've started a new venture aimed at creating pathways to retirement for company owners without succession plans designed to be fair, fast, and lucrative to the seller. We basically have a tech-enabled way to acquire and operate these over time. I would love to ask our SEAS community for help in sharing the mission, especially if you happen to be the owner of an engineering or manufacturing company and contemplating retirement.”


Dan Gant (APAM) married Stephanie Hao in June of 2019. In January, they'll be celebrating five years since their first date. Dan is working as an engineer at Facebook AI Research on reinforcement learning and natural language processing.”

Kabri Lehrman-Schmid (Civil E) writes: “I am honored to have been recognized with multiple awards for my work in the construction industry here in the Pacific Northwest. I have recently been featured on the cover of November's Construction Business Owner Magazine and was the recipient of the Washington Women in Trades 'Workplace Leader' award. I am a superintendent for a nation-wide general contractor and have involved myself with organizations that support women and minorities in construction, starting at the trades level, where this country has a problematic shortage. I also speak at national conferences (AGC, CMAA, SMPS) on my experience as a superintendent and how to create a culture of care on projects, fostering inclusivity and psychological safety.”

Anna Liveris (APAM) writes: “2019 was a special year. I married my long-time partner, Georgios Mol '07 (IEOR), and we welcomed our first child in September, a beautiful baby girl, Stavroula. Professionally, I have taken a position as a trauma surgeon and intensivist in the Bronx, NY.”

Jennifer Smith (Chem E) married Michael Gideon Grinnel '07CC on October 12, 2019, on a cactus farm in Nevada. Classmates Marisa Li '07CC and Anna Starshinina '07 (IEOR) served as witnesses.

Matthew DeSantis (IEOR) has been living in the Kingdom of Bhutan operating a travel company, MyBhutan, which he founded with His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, and a technology company, Beyul Labs, which serves as the nation’s only online payment gateway. As one of Bhutan's longest residing foreigners, Matt also serves as the warden to Bhutan, as appointed by the US State Department. He is also the founder and chairman of the Explorers Club, Bhutan Chapter.”

Andrew Sparn (Civil E) and Bethany Sparn '08 (Mech E) welcomed Mackenzie Fisher Sparn to planet Earth on April 13, 2019. She is loved by her older brother Jackson and her proud parents. The glimmer in her eyes suggests she will unify laws of physics, but she is currently working on mastering solid foods. Professionally, Bethany is a senior research engineer at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, CO, where she focuses on efficiency in buildings and how buildings can be more interactive with the electric grid to enable more renewable generation. In November, Bethany joined the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board at Colorado State University, where she will help to shape the direction of the department. Andrew continues to assist communities across Colorado with water and wastewater treatment and infrastructure engineering challenges as the regional manager of the growing JVA, Inc., Denver office.”


Jennifer Smith '07

Laure Michelon (Civil E) writes: “I received my MS in architectural technologies at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and have begun teaching at SCI-Arc in the architectural technologies post-graduate program.”

Connie Qiu (BME) and Nicholas Chack '11 (Civil E) got married on October 5, 2019, at Faculty House.

Amanda Tan (IEOR) writes: “Since graduating from Columbia in 2011, I have worked in the regulatory and policymaking space and completed an MPA in 2017. It is the end of 2019, and I am beginning my third year at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The last few years have pleasantly surprised me with new professional experiences working on financial sector development projects in South Asia, and I am now transitioning into a new role working on investments in private sector health and education in Asia and the Pacific. I continue to live in Manila, the Philippines, where ADB's headquarters is, and look forward to meeting alumni who live here or who pass through the region.”

Bethany Schneider (EEE) received her professional engineering license In New York State.


Connie Qiu '11

Leonard Robinson (Elec E) has recently taken a leadership position as the president of the Columbia Alumni Association in Boston.

Nicholas Savage (Mech E), mechanical engineer at the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center, graduated as a second class diver from the U.S. Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, Panama City, FL, on December 12, 2019. Savage, the lone civilian in his class, graduated alongside 26 active duty Navy personnel. The four-month course provided him the training needed to provide in-service engineering support to active duty dive lockers requiring expert assistance on US submarine SONAR systems.

Stephan Stansfield (Mech E) writes: “I just completed my first semester as a graduate student in the mechanical engineering department at MIT. I am doing research in Professor Neville Hogan's lab at the intersection of robotics, neuroscience, and human rehabilitation, continuing an interest that began as an undergrad in the robotics and rehabilitation lab at Columbia. In other news, I have become pathetically devoted to the New York Times crossword. I created a Google Sheet with a few friends that tracks and analyzes our mini crossword scores each day. I hope they're still my friends by this time next year because it's getting heated.”


Leonard Robinson '13

Matthew Sheridan (Mech E) writes: “I've been working as a project engineer at Ecosystem Energy Services for 3 years. My work has ranged from making proposals to decarbonize major universities to managing construction in public schools. This summer, my team completed a steam to hot water conversion at Mineola Public Schools alongside LED lighting and solar panels. The conversion was by far the most challenging as it involved running new pipes, replacing coils in every classroom, and installing a new boiler. I had to hire many trades, ensure they completed the job to the client's satisfaction, and sometimes get hands-on myself! It was very exciting to interact with so many people: engineers, pipefitters, custodians, teachers, superintendents, and utilities. Projects like this are truly a cooperative effort. They require many skills outside of textbook engineering and produce real results. My school has 30% fewer CO2 emissions, is comfortable for students and staff, and provides a pathway to zero CO2 emissions!”


Matthew Sheridan '16

Shin Cousens (Chem E) writes: “In 2019, I transitioned from working for Dow Chemical to DuPont as a run plant engineer. The best part of my job has been being able to apply what I learned in my chemical and mechanical engineering classes to solving real life problems in a chemical plant. Special thanks to all of my great professors at Columbia!”


Shin Cousens '18

Adeel Ahmad (Mech E) writes: “After graduating in May 2019, I interned at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where I prototyped in-situ surface sampling systems for a robotic exploration mission to Saturn's moon Enceladus. This was an incredible opportunity and I truly expanded upon the engineering principles that were taught to me at Columbia. I am now pursuing my Master of Science in mechanical engineering at Columbia and will be taking the spring semester off to intern at Apple.”

Elijah Schultz (Mech E) writes: “Since graduating this past May, I have returned back home to West Virginia, where I have earned my EI certification and am currently working for an engineering consulting firm. I spend my days designing water and wastewater collection, treatment, and distribution systems and helping small communities in Appalachia navigate bureaucratic obstacles to building and repairing these systems. This is a minor departure from my academic study, but I enjoy my work, and I look forward to spending many years improving water quality in the state that raised me. Many thanks to the faculty of the Mech E department for equipping me with the knowledge required to adapt to a new challenge, particularly Professor Sinisa Vukelic, whose fluids course has been of tremendous use in my current work.”

Blynn Shideler (BME) writes: “After graduating from Columbia with a degree in biomedical engineering, I joined a team as a research fellow at the NIH Clinical Center in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department in Bethesda, MD. I am helping conduct clinical trials and engineer components of the NIH Pediatric Robotic Exoskeleton (P.Rex) for children with cerebral palsy. I have also been accepted to medical school in Fall 2020. My dream is to become a pediatric rehabilitation physician and medical roboticist and continue developing technologies for children with motor disabilities.”

Adeel Ahmad '19

Blynn Shideler '19