At the 2019 George R. Brown School of Engineering Alumni Celebration in November, the school will honor eight alumni for their achievements in the engineering profession. The event is sponsored by Rice Engineering and the Rice Engineering Alumni (REA), the oldest alumni affinity group at Rice University. The REA supports the school, alumni and students.
Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award
Wanda Gass received a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1978 and went on to earn a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Duke University in 1980. That same year she went to work for Texas Instruments where she helped develop the first marketable digital signal processor. She was promoted to the position of technical fellow, the equivalent of a vice president at the company and retired from Texas Instruments in 2012. Currently, she serves as president of Design Connect Create, a non-profit encouraging young women’s participation in STEM fields.
Outstanding Engineering Alumni Awards
Keith A. Baggerly earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in statistics in 1990, 1993 and 1994, respectively. Since 1999 he has worked for the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he is a professor of bioinformatics and computational biology.
James A. Kahle graduated with a B.S. in mathematical sciences, computer science and electrical engineering in 1983. He has worked for more than 35 years at IBM, holding many managerial and technical positions, and is an IBM Fellow and CTO and chief architect for converged cognitive systems.
Jorge Nocedal earned his Ph.D. in mathematical sciences in 1978. He is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University and director of the Center for Optimization and Statistical Learning.
Varun Mehta earned a master’s degree in computer engineering in 1988. He is the vice president of product strategy for the storage division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Inc. (HPE). Previously he founded Nimble Storage and served as its vice president of engineering. He also has held management positions with NetApp, FastForward Networks, Panasas and Sun Microsystems.
Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni Awards
Allison Heath earned her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science in 2004, 2007 and 2010, respectively. She is director of data technology and innovation at the Center for Data-Driven Discovery in Biomedicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Clement Pang earned a B.S. in computer science and in electrical and computer engineering in 2007. Since 2013 he has been chief architect and co-founder of Wavefront Inc. in Palo Alto, Calif.
Distinguished Service Medal
James W. Crownover earned a B.S. in chemical engineering in 1966. He worked for 30 years for McKinsey & Company, Inc., and retired as its director in 1998. He served two four-year terms as chairman of the Rice University Board of Trustees.