126th Commencement Ceremony
Caltech’s 126th commencement ceremony was held virtually on Friday, June 12, 2020, honoring graduates with 454 degrees—207 earning bachelor's degrees, 101 earning master's degrees, and 146 earning PhD degrees. Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum opened the ceremony, noting the unusual circumstances of the event and emphasizing that "even in separation, community can triumph." The program kicked off with a video montage of well-wishers, including Caltech Nobel laureate Frances Arnold, Caltech faculty and staff members, and Modern Family actress Ariel Winter. The speakers congratulated the grads and anticipated successful careers filled with notable achievements. In concluding, Harry Gray, Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and founding director of the Beckman Institute, urged graduates to "have a little fun along the way." [Watch the Ceremony] [Caltech story]
Myra Cheng Receives Goldwater Scholarship
Myra Cheng, an undergraduate student in computing and mathematical sciences, has been selected to receive a Goldwater Scholarship. The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program awards scholarships to college sophomores or juniors who intend to pursue research careers in science, mathematics, and engineering. Myra works with Yisong Yue, Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and Joel Burdick, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, on optimization algorithms that can learn individual preferences based on real-time interaction with people. These algorithms can be used in wearable exoskeletons that help mobility-impaired individuals walk. "I'm interested in how machine learning interacts with humans and, more broadly, human society," she says. Cheng has also been working with Katie Bouman, Assistant Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Astronomy; Rosenberg Scholar, and Claire Ralph, Lecturer in Computing and Mathematical Sciences; Director, Career Development Center, on developing algorithms that address questions of explainability and algorithms that affect social change. [Caltech story]
ASCIT Teaching Award
Michael Mello, Teaching Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, has been chosen by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) to receive a 2019-2020 ASCIT Teaching Award. These awards recognize individuals who inspire and motivate students, are approachable, and present course material effectively and efficiently.
Daniel Neamati Receives 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Daniel Neamati is a recipient of the 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Daniel’s interests sit at the cross-section of mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, and planetary science. Daniel's research includes modern computational techniques in microfluidic analyses, and he has contributed to JPL projects such as the Europa Lander and Mars 2020. In the near future, Daniel plans to conduct a SURF at Stanford, and a senior thesis with Soon-Jo Chung, Bren Professor of Aerospace; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Research Scientist, in the Aerospace Robotics and Control Laboratory. Thereafter, Daniel plans to pursue a Ph.D. in control systems in aerospace engineering. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.
Henry Ford II Scholar Award
IRCA Best Paper Awards
Two teams of Caltech researchers have won three International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) Best Paper Awards in multiple categories along with the overall best paper award. The ICRA is the largest and most prestigious robotics conference of the year. Awards are given on the basis of technical merit, originality, potential impact on the field, clarity of the written paper, and quality of the presentation. Maegan Tucker, Ellen Novoseller, Claudia Kann, Yanan Sui, Yisong Yue, Joel Burdick, and Aaron Ames, have won the ICRA Best Conference Paper Award and the ICRA Best Paper Award on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) for their paper entitled "Preference-Based Learning for Exoskeleton Gait Optimization." Amanda Bouman, Paul Nadan, Matthew Anderson, Daniel Pastor, Jacob Izraelevitz, Joel Burdick, and Brett Kennedy, have won the ICRA Best Paper Award on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for their paper entitled "Design and Autonomous Stabilization of a Ballistically Launched Multirotor." [Virtual Award Ceremony]
Caleb Sander Receives 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Computer science student Caleb Sander, advised by Thomas Vidick, Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, is a recipient of the 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Caltech classes have introduced Caleb to surprising new interests, like the philosophical questions posed by physics and Omer Tamuz’s game theory class, which convinced him to also major in Economics. His favorite experiences at Caltech have been helping students learn by serving as a teaching assistant in five computer science courses. This summer he will work remotely as a software engineering intern at Facebook, and he will likely look for a job in the software industry. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.
Henry Ford II Scholar Award
Dessie DiMino and Niv Karthikeyan Receive James King Jr. Award
Computing and Mathematical Sciences students Dessie DiMino and Niv Karthikeyan are recipients of the 2020 James King Jr. Award. The award is given annual by the Caltech Center for Diversity to an individual who stands out as a strong supporter of diversity. One of Dessie's nominators stated, "More than anything, Dessie's always inspired me by her ability to spend one minute jumping into the battlefield and leading the charge and another minute reaching out to someone who's struggling and being a soft shoulder to lean on." A nomination for Niv stated, "It is hard for me to imagine a person more deserving of a Diversity Award than Niv," adding, "She is incredibly supportive and has been a wonderful resource for both people in her house and for undergraduates in general, helping people through crises and dealing with harassment or discrimination. Niv is an incredible ally and champion of equality on campus." [Past Winners]
James King Jr. Award