Award Winner Recognition

Distinguished Alumni Award

Timothy Li, Co-Founder, MaxDecisions

Timothy Li is a serial tech entrepreneur. He spent the past 20 years in financial technology focusing on banking and fintech products while building mission critical platforms for Intel Corporation and JPMorgan Chase.

He currently serves on multiple FinTech advisory boards worldwide. Tim is also a professor at the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering where he enjoys helping hundreds of students build their high tech startups.

Staff Award for Excellence in Service

Vinh-Doan Thoi, Mechanical Engineering

I initially started at SJSU as a student, and I stayed here as an employee because I simply enjoy working in education. I'm grateful for the close community of fellow staff members here in the College who are always learning from each other, and the faculty and students here have an inspiring passion that I find infectious. This inspiring atmosphere at the College, and especially at the Mechanical Engineering Department, has really transformed me as a professional, so much so that it has given me a desire to move into the technical field as a career, hopefully still in the environment of education which I've come to appreciate so much through the people here.

Outside of the College, I really love outdoor activities, whether that be cycling, running, fishing, target shooting, camping, hiking, etc. A little fun fact about myself is I'm actually mixed in roughly equal parts between Vietnamese, French, Chinese, and German, and I speak fluent French.

As of recently, I've been really captivated by my studies in Machine Technology and CNC/manual machine operation & programming at San Jose City College. The program runs a tight schedule, so whenever I'm not working, you can probably find me in the shop at SJCC!

Staff Award for Excellence in Service

Binbin Wang, Aviation and Technology

Why did you choose SJSU? I chose SJSU because I sought a change from the industry to the education field, which has a different culture, and work environment.

What do you like to do outside of the college? I enjoy traveling, trying out different restaurants, going to music concerts, hanging out with friends.

Tell us something about yourself that others would find unique or surprising? When I was young, I studied piano for 10 years, but then I stopped playing. Now, because my son practices the violin and needs piano accompaniment, I have started practicing piano again.

What is one area of interest you are currently fixated on (examples: research, technology, life skill, hobby, etc.)? I'm currently interested in learning to create short videos to record life.

Dean's Service Award

Brandi Rubino, College of Engineering Dean's Office

Brandi Rubino has 17 years experience working in the College of Engineering. After completing her studies at SJSU with a BA in Music, she began her career in Civil Engineering as an Admin, moving onto BCME (Biomedical, Chemical and Materials Engineering) and then to Computer Engineering. While in BCME she was selected to be the division manager for BIOT (biochemical Technology), a global organization hosting up to 1,000 participants from the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies,as well as professors and college students from around the world; a role she continues today. Her most recent assignment is as College Program Specialist | Event Planner for the college of Engineering, which allows her to continue to use her event planning skills as well as help the admin staff in the college. She has earned her CPTM Training Certification and continues to take on a variety of roles and responsibilities, always achieving at a high level while helping others and welcoming new challenges. She also has a cupcake business she runs out of her home!

Award for Outstanding Lecturer

Douglas Muntz, Aviation and Technology

Doug was born and raised in San Jose, and went to San Jose State before it was called a University, initially as an industrial design major with an art minor, then changing to industrial studies teaching. He paid for tuition by working as a lifeguard, foundry worker and a machinist. While he was here as an undergrad, he remembers the first Earth Day celebration at SJSU, where the students bought a new Ford Maverick, smashed it with sledgehammers and buried it on campus, and camping out overnight on Tower Hall’s lawn in order to get a good place number to register for classes.  

He graduated from SJSU in 1975, and then earned a teaching credential in 1976. He got his masters almost 30 years later. 

In his 35 years teaching at local high schools, he’s taught architecture, mechanical drawing, woodshop, metalshop, driver’s training and coached swim. He  then went on to teach at SJSU for almost 15 years, teaching in the same room where he was a student, 52 years ago. In both academic settings, over all these years, he’s still loving every day.

Doug and his wife of 45 years have two daughters, both teachers. When he’s not teaching, he might be swimming from SF to Alcatraz, a feat he’s accomplished 47 times, or camping with his wife and their senior rescue dogs.

Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship

Patrick Jurney, Biomedical Engineering

I chose SJSU because I wanted to have an impact on the students. There was (and is) enormous untapped potential at the institutional level and unmet desire to participate in cutting-edge research from students. I saw an opportunity to provide those experiences and contribute meaningfully to the lives of students who may otherwise never know the joys of knowledge discovery.

What do you like to do outside of the college? These days I am an avid husband, father, and trail runner. When I'm not devoting myself to one of those pursuits or my work, I am typically repairing/maintaining/upgrading my house, it seems.

Tell us something about yourself that others would find unique or surprising? I went to college primarily to become a professional soccer player. That did not work out, but I still enjoy watching the beautiful game with my family and friends and even playing from time-to-time.

What is one area of interest you are currently fixated on (examples: research, technology, life skill, hobby, etc.)? I am fascinated by our new microscope. We are producing wonderous images of endothelial cell mitochondria and I am enjoying a deep dive with my students to learn how we can decode our images to develop treatments for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Faculty Award for Excellence in Service

Vimal Viswanathan, Mechanical Engineering

Vimal joined San Jose State in 2016 as an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering. The location of SJSU was one of the main reasons that brought him here – the Bay Area was one of the few locations where two Ph.D.’s could pursue their dream careers. He loves to work with SJSU students in various capacities and is always thrilled to see their enthusiasm for learning new things. Outside SJSU, Vimal loves to cook, garden, draw, and do DIY projects at home. Vimal’s family’s home garden gave them every vegetable last season, and they have not purchased any produce for the last several months. He also leads the efforts of a non-profit organization to teach his native language to young children in the Bay Area by developing the curriculum and guiding a group of teachers.

Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching

Ayca Erdogan, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Ayca Erdogan is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of MS ISE and MS ISE-Operational Analytics Programs at SJSU ISE department. She joined SJSU as an Assistant Professor in 2014. She received her PhD in Operations Research from North Carolina State University, and B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Istanbul Technical University, Turkey. After receiving her PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Stanford University and visiting assistant professor at USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and finally decided to come back to the Bay Area to join SJSU.

Dr. Erdogan’s research interests are applications of optimization, simulation and predictive modeling related to design and operations of complex systems under resource limitation. Specific project areas she worked on include healthcare operations with patient and provider scheduling , and facility location optimization, public health policy decision making, supply chain optimization of subscription-based business models, wildfire suppression, and political redistricting. More recently she has started working on analytics projects that involve social good problems, including foster care placement prediction and matching, and combating modern slavery in supply chains.

At SJSU ISE department, she devotes most of her time serving students by teaching operations research, design of experiments, and analytics classes and by advising MS ISE students. Dr. Erdogan pioneered development of new analytics courses to enrich undergraduate and graduate curriculum in Big Data & Analytics. She also developed a new graduate program MS ISE-Operational Analytics which has recently been approved. She served in the College of Engineering Research Committee, Graduate Studies Committee, Sabbatical Committee and co-chaired SJSU Senate Faculty Diversity Committee. She serves as a referee for many industrial engineering, operations research, disaster preparation & response, medical and bioinformatics journals.

Dr. Erdogan enjoys reading, baking, and playing board games with her family and friends. She loves watching raptors during nesting season.

The Newnan Brothers Award for Faculty Excellence

David Parent, Electrical Engineering

I choose to stay at SJSU because every day, I can help people who need it. I see how what I teach improves the lives of students in a concrete manner.  My goal from over twenty years ago is the the same now, to create an environment my children would want to learn in.

People are surprised to find out that my father strongly encouraged me to join the Army National Guard and become an English major when I graduated high school because I was not a stellar student.  It is also interesting that the job that helped me be a professor (besides being a graduate student) was being a camp counselor.

At work, I am focused on developing an ecosystem that SJSU students and our local community college students can learn about and conduct research in semiconductor fabrication. At home, my wife and I forage for mushrooms, and we recently found and ate wild chanterelle, oyster, and coral mushrooms at Mount Madonna and Uvas Canyon County Parks and lived to tell the tale. My wife and I also obsess about every trial and tribulation of our children, who have grown up and moved out this past year.

The Scott T. Axline Memorial Student Award for Excellence in Service

Gabriela Acevedo Munares, Biomedical Engineering

I chose San Jose State University (SJSU) for its prime location in Silicon Valley and its renowned biomedical engineering program. Attracted by the university's commitment to innovation and its proximity to leading biotech companies, I saw an unparalleled opportunity to immerse myself in cutting-edge research and industry collaborations.

Outside of my academic pursuits, I am passionate about exploring the great outdoors and embracing my culture through Latin dancing. Hiking in the landscapes of the Bay Area offers a tranquil retreat and inspiration in nature's beauty. Conversely, Latin dancing offers a spirited avenue for expression and social interaction.

A unique aspect about me is that my fascination with the bioengineering world was initially sparked by the movie "Jurassic Park." The film's portrayal of genetic engineering and its potential applications captivated my imagination, leading me to explore the real-world possibilities within the field of bioengineering.

The Donald Beall Student Award for Engineering Accomplishment

Zhi Zhang, Industrial and Systems Engineering

I selected SJSU primarily due to its strategic location in the heart of Silicon Valley, coupled with its stellar academic reputation, particularly in the Human Factors and Ergonomics program. At SJSU, I've had the opportunity to refine my skills in both UX research and design, while also establishing valuable connections with alumni. Presently, my focus lies in UX research, particularly aimed at optimizing driver performance during the takeover process in automated vehicles. I find a lot of satisfaction in the process of ideation and see an idea carried out realistically on lab equipment. One of my distinctive qualities is my innate drive to create and innovate. Friends often remark on my analytical thinking and problem-solving strategies. Beyond academia, you'll often find me engaged in board game sessions with friends or find me up on the snow mountain on a green trail practicing my beginning snowboarding skills forever.