Award Winner Recognition

Alumni of Distinction Award

Jim Puzar (‘85) - Senior Operations Development Manager at Jabil

I grew up in Cupertino back when it was mostly family farms. After graduating from Cupertino High School in 1975 I joined the Marine Corps and spent 6 years in the Corps. Before leaving the Marines, I applied for admission to San Jose State and was accepted starting in the Fall of 1981. 

I wanted to join the School of Engineering; however, there was a long wait to get accepted. A counselor suggested I talk to the Dean of the Industrial Technology department, and I graduated with a degree from the School of Industrial Technology. When I graduated, manufacturing was still done locally. I’ve worked with Zycon (PCB fabrication), 3Com (manufacture of network equipment), ReSound (hearing aids), Flextronics (electronic manufacturing services), and Jabil (EMS).  

I took an Information Technology direction when I graduated, and I maintain that connection at this point in my career. 

Dean’s Service Award

Erica Lockheimer - Vice President, Software Engineering – LinkedIn Learning & Talent Solutions/Careers, Women In Tech Founder – LinkedIn WIT

Erica Lockheimer has been at LinkedIn since 2010. As Senior Director of Engineering she started the Growth Team, which is now a high performing 120-person team. In 2018, she became the VP of Engineering for the LinkedIn Learning team, formerly known as Lynda.com. 

Now Erica runs LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions/Careers team that connects members to career opportunities and helps recruiters find the best candidates for their companies.  She is also responsible for LinkedIn's Women In Tech (WIT) initiative, focused on empowering women in technical roles within the company.  Prior to LinkedIn, she worked at Good Technology as Director of Server Engineering.  She loves the challenge of starting with something nascent and carving out the right strategy, hiring the best people, and plotting a course to drive results.  

In 2014 and 2015, Erica was voted amongst the top 22 women engineers in the world by Business Insider magazine. Erica is a San Francisco Bay Area native, has 2 kids, loves to run and is a San Jose State alumna with a B.S. in Computer Engineering.

Student Awards

Donald Beall-Rockwell Award for Engineering Accomplishment

Afreen Chaus - Industrial and Systems Engineering

After completing my undergraduate degree, I was drawn to San Jose State because of the MS ISE program’s hands-on learning experience that was not only tailored to my goals but also led by talented professors. I was taught the foundation of being an “efficiency engineer” and was given opportunities to implement my knowledge in industry and research environments.

Currently, I am working on a project involving optimization of foster care children and foster care family matching using data analytics. I’m constantly amazed at how my engineering background can be applied to, and improve, all disciplines, including social sciences and healthcare.

Outside of my academic interests, I enjoy exploring trails. This year, I have hiked the five highest summits in the Bay Area. After graduation, I plan to expand my radius and continue venturing to new mountains nationwide, and one day, worldwide.

Scott T. Axline Memorial Student Award for Excellence in Service

Joshua Paul Bevis

I am a graduating Mechanical Engineer concentrating in mechatronics. I chose San Jose State as a prospective mechanical engineering student for many reasons, but chiefly it was for the hands-on experiences and industry connections from the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering. I have been able to fully enjoy those opportunities, particularly with the metrology and mechatronics labs and courses, which have already been invaluable in starting my career. 

I have enjoyed proctoring the metrology lab for the last year, and currently, I am focused on metrology systems and process improvement in industry. I will begin as a Manufacturing Process Engineer at Keysight Technologies in June. 

Beyond my university experience, I love building things, particularly robots and mechatronic systems, as well as tinkering with mechanisms or reverse engineering them. Though much of my interest and passion lies with engineering and technology, I also enjoy music composition and production.

Faculty Awards

Newnan Brothers Award for Faculty Excellence

Hiu Yung Wong - Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering

Hiu Yung Wong grew up in Hong Kong and received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. He had 12 years of experience in the semiconductor industry before joining SJSU in 2018. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers and holds 9 US patents. He received the NSF CAREER award in 2021 and is a senior member of IEEE.

Dr. Wong was attracted to San Jose State by its hard-working and diverse students. He is very impressed to see the students, who often have a socially- or economically- disadvantaged background, excel by working persistently in the course work and research. “We have published 16 peer-reviewed papers with the students as the first authors, which would not be possible if they were not San Jose State students,” said Dr. Wong. 

Currently, Dr. Wong is leading the creation of a Quantum Computing and Information specialization for the EE master program because he believes San Jose State students have tremendous potential in every aspect. In his spare time, Dr. Wong enjoys coding and playing sports with his kids.

Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching

Crystal Han - Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Crystal Han is passionate about increasing student engagement in class and improving the retention of knowledge. She uses flipped classroom, peer teaching and learning, and incremental 3-stage problem solving assignments to enhance the student learning outcomes. 

She also leads a Micro- Bio-Systems laboratory (MiBiS Lab) focused on developing microfluidic techniques for purification and detection of biomolecules. The techniques her lab develops have implications for medical diagnosis, food and water monitoring as well as bioscience research. 

The many reasons she chose San Jose State include the collegiality of her department, research collaboration opportunities, and excellent environment for developing and improving several teaching pedagogies. Most of all, she appreciates the diverse, enthusiastic, and inspirational students at San Jose State. 

Outside of work, she likes having a mini-picnic with her family in local parks. The timing of joining the San Jose State was unique in that her younger daughter was five months old. So the age of her daughter matches with her service year. Currently, she is interested in improving her physical stamina through an online group exercise class to improve weakened muscles from the prolonged quarantine.

Faculty Award for Excellence in Service

Samuel Obi - Professor and Director of Technology

The job description of my Manufacturing Systems program, California’s good climate, the family and friends my wife and I had in the area, and Silicon Valley’s high technology culture played a big role in my family’s decision to move to this valley in the fall of 1989. 

Outside the college, I am quite involved in community activities and have helped to found several programs and organizations over the years, including the Nigerian Language and Cultural Institute, Nnewi Neighborhood Association of Northern California, and Igbo Anglican Church of San Jose. I am a Christian and believe in good family values. My wife and I have been married 36 years and we have four college-educated children who are now on their own. These values have helped us to maintain a stable family and social life, raise our children, assist in community activities, and help in teaching our students. 

Currently I am participating in the faculty early retirement program (FERP) which allows me to teach during the fall semesters. While I still help the college and my department in needed areas, I spend the bulk of my time writing books.

Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship

Nima Karimian - Assistant Professor, Computer and Software Engineering

Dr. Nima Karimian received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in May 2018.  He joined San Jose State in August 2018 where he was attracted to the unique opportunity and location to combine his passion for higher education teaching with scholarly activity in the heart of Silicon Valley. 

His research interests include biometric security, Internet of Things (IoT) security, and hardware security primitives. He has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed conference proceedings and journal articles and received several best paper awards and nominations, such as the International Joint Conference on BiometricsBest Student Paper Award, the Best Technical Paper Award in 30th International Conference on VLSI Design, and the Best Poster Award from Florida Institute for Cybersecurity’s Research Conference. In 2021, Dr. Karimian received NSF Research Initiation Initiative Award. 

He is a director of the Silicon Valley Cybersecurity Institute and serves on the program committee. He serves as an associate editor for the Discover IoT Journal and guest editor of several journals. “I have been working on Biometric technology for several years to maintain security and user privacy; as well as dealing with challenges and issues involved in this era of research,” he said. “If I did not pursue higher education to become a University Professor, I would surely have been a successful beekeeper.”

Outside of work, he enjoys beekeeping, hiking, and travel to new places. He also loves spending time with his family and friends.  

Staff Excellence in Service Award

Lisa Francesca - Communications Specialist, Dean’s Office

Lisa joined the College of Engineering in 2016. She learned about the possibility of working at San Jose State while studying for her master's degree in creative nonfiction and poetry, across the campus. She has authored two published books so far: a guidebook and a biography, and more books are in the wings. 

While at San Jose State, Lisa grew readership for the student and faculty newsletters and social media, co-developed multiple speaker series, oversaw the establishment of the GO program, and managed the 75th Anniversary celebration, pivoting to virtual events and mailed gifts during the pandemic. She edited ten issues of the alumni magazine, Engineering at San Jose State, including this spring’s double issue.

A lover of travel, Lisa has read her poetry on the radio in Amsterdam, taken yoga classes in Bangalore, and watched for whales and eagles in Newfoundland. She and her (engineer) husband have recently moved to a smaller home and she enjoys exploring her new neighborhood in San Jose. A current obsession is reducing her use of single-use plastics.

Karen Tang - Financial Analyst, Dean’s Office

Prior to joining San Jose State, I worked in the finance and accounting field for 12 years at Cadence Design Systems. I took time off to raise my twins, volunteering my finance skills as Treasurer/Controller for their grade school and high school non-profit organizations.  I was attracted to San Jose State because it was a new opportunity to learn about finance and accounting in higher education and resume working alongside students and faculty.  I could continue applying my mathematical and MBA background in a different setting, now supporting university instruction and research.  

When I’m not crunching numbers, I’m supporting two “online” college freshmen, tending to my mom (who grew up in the neighborhood and recalls using the San Jose State campus as a playground), and playing with my 95 lb Doberman (whom you may see photobombing my Zoom).  I love to travel with my husband and family, especially to Disney parks, the Southwest, and Japan.  

On a personal note, it is very special to be in the College of Engineering.  My father, an electrical engineer graduate from U. of Michigan, always wanted me to major in Engineering, however I focused on Mathematics and Business.  I believe he would still be proud of me working for the College of Engineering in helping to foster future engineers, a profession he enjoyed for 37 years.

Fabiola Arellano - Administrative Analyst, Industrial & Systems Engineering

I am an alumnus of San Jose State, having graduated in 2004 with a B.S. in Business Management and a minor in Spanish.  I started my career as a student assistant, and chose to stay at San Jose State once I graduated because I saw it was a great place to work and wanted to help out students. 

Being a student myself and having been in their shoes, I wanted to be for them what was not offered to me. I wanted to be there for the less represented students and give them what I would have wanted while I was studying. I’m happy to see many students, once they are ready to graduate, come to my office and simply say a “Hello and Thank you for all your help these years” this is very rewarding!!  

I’ve been a staff member withSan Jose State for 16 years! I’m happily married to Adrian Arellano and have two amazing boys A.J. (7), Ethan (3) and currently waiting for our baby #3! In my spare time I like to go out with my family and go explore new sites around the Bay Area and vicinity cities.