Awards Acceptance Speeches

The annual Engineers Week Awards Festival brought together leaders in our community to celebrate those who educate, create and advance the cause of engineering in the San Diego Region. Here are the acceptance speeches presented by the 2022 winners of the prestigious SDCEC Engineering Honor Awards.

Outstanding Engineer

Mahasa Zahirnia is the winner of the Outstanding Engineer Award

Mahasa has over 28 years of experience in the areas of System Engineering, Artificial Intelligence and Program Management. She has pioneered technologies that employ Artificial Intelligence that mimic human reasoning, and uses them to obtain insight into how the brain transforms that information into action. She has found when “patterns of behaviors are identified” machine learning becomes a natural outcome of the design.

Outstanding Leadership in Engineering

Jon Wade, Ph.D, is the winner of the Outstanding Leadership in Engineering Award

Professor Jon Wade has led the creation of the Systems Engineering Global Community (SEGC) project. The SEGC is designed to have the largest opportunity for global impact by building a systems engineering community that shares different perspectives and combines resources to provide the benefits of systems engineering to a much broader community.

Outstanding Engineering Service

Odesma Dalrymple, Ph.D. wins the Dr. Thomas Avolt Kanneman Outstanding Engineering Service Award

Professor Dalrymple serves as the lead faculty for the Engineering Exchange for Social Justice (ExSJ) at the University of San Diego, which facilitates partnerships among students, faculty and a wider community of local volunteers to co-create solutions to socio-technical challenges. She co-leads the Water Justice Exchange that engages people in advancing solutions to our local San Diego/Tijuana water justice challenges.

Jasmine LeFlore wins the Keith F. Glassman Outstanding Engineering Service Award

Jasmine LeFlore, Executive Director and co-founder of Greater Than Tech, is recognized for her tireless dedication to creating the next generation of technology leaders by reaching underserved students who have little hands-on experience with technology. Her Greater Than Tech programs show them how engineers succeed through a diversity of ideas.

Outstanding Engineering Educators

Natalie Mladenov, Ph.D. from San Diego State University is an Outstanding Engineering Educator

Natalie Mladenov is recognized for her commitment to engaging student success in the classroom, field and laboratory settings. Her students tackle real-world problems and new research collaborations along the US-Mexico border have led many to become involved in convergent research. Dr. Mladenov’s mentoring has also imparted professional development skills that have promoted students to obtain graduate assistantships at prestigious universities and institutions.

Ray Pathmann from San Diego City College is an Outstanding Engineering Educator

Ray Pathmann has demonstrated both a commitment and passion for student success at San Diego City College. Ray adopted new methods of teaching using software to unify design, engineering, and manufacturing into a single platform. Ray also participated in the expansion of Advanced Manufacturing programs to provide City College students with experience using the latest technologies.

Pam Pham-Barron from Rosa Parks Elementary is an Outstanding Engineering Educator

Pam Pham-Barron has been a tireless advocate for her students at Rosa Parks Elementary School, especially in STEM related activities. She is an energetic promoter of robotics for her students, knowing it would likely play a prominent role in their futures, Pam also serves as a lead elementary school STEM champion working to improve STEM education across the Hoover Cluster of schools.

Outstanding Engineering Projects

Miramar Clearwell Improvements is a winner of the Outstanding Engineering Project Award

The Miramar Clearwell Improvements Project, is an APWA Co-Sponsored SDCEC Project Award. Kleinfelder was the prime consultant for the City of San Diego to provide engineering management, design, and construction support services for this 4.5-year project to essentially replace the final portions of the original 1959 Miramar Water Treatment Plant facility.

New Frontiers in Material Characterizations is a winner of the Outstanding Engineering Project Award

New Frontiers in Material Characterizations by Nha Uyen Huynh establishes an experimental facility to characterize the dynamic behavior of impact mitigating polymers - using terahertz time-domain spectroscopy. The expected outcome of this research is transforming our fundamental understanding of impact mitigating polymers, leading to the design of better structures to resist impacts by hypervelocity projectiles.

The Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge is a winner of the Outstanding Engineering Project Award

The Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge by The Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education, supports educators and teenager’s development of good social solutions aligned to the United Nations Global Goals. All Team Challenge participants learn to actively engage in design thinking and develop an innovator’s mindset to create impactful solutions.

RoboSub Sim is a winner of the Outstanding Engineering Project Award

RoboSub Sim by Team Inspiration, a middle and high school robotics club, created a computer simulation that allows for systemic development of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles by running the simulation in a virtual underwater environment. This simulation allows for testing and improvement of underwater vehicle software before a physical sub uses it to navigate underwater.

Student Competition Winner Videos

Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge

Congratulations to the 2021 San Diego based team, "Poverty Preventers" from the 9th grader Mount Everest Academy. They won first place in the 2021 Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge (JTIC21). Their winning project was "The Space Umbrella". Please enjoy this winning video. Read more about Eric Nielson, advisor, and the team's accomplishments here.

MathCounts Video Challenge Winner

Congratulations to the San Diego based Mathletes team, "Du Sum Math" from the Elite Academic Academy Middle School. They won first place in the 2021 MathCounts. The Math Video Challenge is an innovative program under "MathCounts" involving team of students using cutting-edge technology to create videos about math problems and their associated concepts.

FIRST Robotics FRC Chairman's Award

Congratulations to the San Diego based Westview High School Robotics FIRST Robotics Competition 2021 Chairman's Award Winner FRC 3341 Team Option 16. This video is from their competition entry. To find out more:

FIRST Robotics FRC Chairman's Award

Congratulations to the San Diego based Poway High School FIRST Robotics Competition 2021 Chairman's Award Winner FRC 1622 Team Spyder. This video demonstrates their competition entry.

FIRST Global Innovation Winner

Congratulations to the San Diego based FTC 16884 Team Mechanical Advantage. They won the FIRST Global Innovation Challenge Impact Award. This video demonstrates their mission to expand STEM education and how FIRST robotics can bridge the educational divide.

STEM Book Authors

Stop by the Book Authors Engineers Week Festival Display Table on Feb 20th and get your own signed copy of your STEM book!!

What Do You Know About ... STEM! STEM inspired ABCs (ages 3-6). Author: Taylor J. Brown, an Industrial and Systems Engineering student at USD and officer in NSBE-USD

The Secret Code Menace An adventure story where the reader (ages 9-11) picks up concepts of wireless communications. Author: Dr. Pamela Cosman, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC San Diego.

Turning On The Lights! Using Learning Culture to Increase Student Success. Author: Rafael D. Alvarez, director of the San Diego City College Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program