2016-17 Outstanding Student Awards

2016-2017 School of Engineering Outstanding Students

The outstanding students from the Classes of 2017 were nominated by faculty from the School of Engineering. A reception was held in their honor on May 4.



The award winners are:

Mickeal Ades MSE 

Nominating Faculty Christopher Viney

Mickeal returned to school after managing a successful construction company for several years.

He participated in Lilian Davila’s lab developing new materials.

He has been admitted to the UC Merced BEST graduate program.


Landon Becker CSE

Nominating Faculty Alberto Cerpa

Landon grew up in Atwater and has been interested in computers ever since he was really young. He completed independent research in Professor Cerpa’s lab.  He enjoys coding and large scale projects.


Carter Brown ME 

Nominating Faculty Ashlie Martini

Carter worked in Professor Martini’s lab for two years and lead a successful capstone team on reuse of reverse osmosis reject water collaborating with Gallo.

He will begin graduate school fall 2017 at UC Davis to pursue a PhD Aerospace Engineering.


Jack Cronin ENVE

Nominating Faculty Josh Viers and Martha Conklin

Having grown up on his parent’s ranch in Rio Vista in California’s Delta, Jack has always expressed a keen interest in California water issues and its intersection with agriculture.

Jack has accepted a position at the University of Idaho, where he will be working as a rangeland technician.


Steven Dunn ME

Nominating Faculty Ala Qattawi

Following graduation Steve will intern for The Wine Group helping them restructure their current maintenance process for conveyor belt drives.  After the summer, he will be pursue a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering at UC Davis with a focus in manufacturing and design.


Edith Duran-Robles BIOE

Nominating Faculty Wei-Chun Chin

Edith worked as a tutor for organic chemistry, and was an undergraduate researcher in Professor Wei Chun Chin's lab.  After graduation she plans to pursue a career in the art of distilling in the UC Davis Master Brewer’s Program.  Her passion for the art began when she interned for Corbin Cash, (a distillery known for their sweet potato vodka right here in Atwater) and has grown since then.


Victor Gonzalez Garcia

Nominating Faculty Stefano Carpin

Victor volunteered in the Professor Carpin’s robotics lab and completed EECS 265 Computational Geometry a graduate level course receiving one of the highest grades.


Oscar Huang  MSE

Nominating Faculty Christopher Viney and Min Hwan Lee

Oscar worked as an undergraduate researcher under Professor Min Hwan Lee exploring processing techniques to optimize and improve the cathode performance of solid oxide fuel cells. In fall, he will begin a Ph.D. program at Texas A&M University in Materials Science & Engineering.


Joseph Kotlarek CSE

Nominating Faculty Nicola Lercari and Florin Rusu

Joseph helped to develop a custom augmented reality mobile app for visitors of parks and museums in Professor Lercari's lab under his UC President's Research Catalyst project titled At-Risk Global Heritage and digital Humanities

While at UC Merced, Joseph co-founded and lead the UCM Game Development Club, which is designed to allow students from all backgrounds and majors learn the software development process and hone their skills as programmers, designers, artists, etc.

In the fall he will be attending UC Davis to pursue a M.S. in Computer Science.


Edgar Lozano ME

Nominating Faculty Ashlie Martini
Edgar worked in Professor Martini’s lab and contributed to a paper published in the journal Tribology Transactions and an article in the professional magazine Tribology and Lubrication Technology.  He will be attending the University of Michigan for a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering.


Robynne Paldi MSE

Nominating Faculty Christopher Viney

Robynne worked in the MACES lab with Professor Jennifer Lu and participated in REU summer of 2016 at Northwestern University.  She presented a poster at the American Chemical Society conference April 2017.


Thomas Spankowski ENVE

Nominating Faculty Marc Beutel

Born in Los Banos, Thomas worked as a general laborer in construction when he graduated from Hillmar High School.  He became interested in wastewater treatment while helping his mother study for her state licensing exam.  After passing the state waste water treatment test himself, he took a job in Iraq as a wastewater technician at the Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq from 2007-2011.  His experience made him decided to return to school in hopes of bringing knowledge and training to developing countries.  After attending Merced College, he transferred to UC Merced.  At UC Merced he gained the knowledge and training necessary to design, build and help train others to operate wastewater treatment plants around the world.  "I want to be able to give back to the world which given so much to me."  Currently Thomas has a position in the Industrial Pretreatment field.