In 1965, UC Irvine’s inaugural class was tasked with selecting a mascot. The students challenged the status quo. As fans of Johnny Hart’s comic strip “B.C.,” which featured an anteater who cried “ZOT!,” they proposed the quirky, long-nosed, bushy-tailed mammal. Today Peter the Anteater symbolizes the power of being different and captures a spirit of ingenuity as embodied by the Samueli School experience. As Anteater engineers, we achieve greatness, embrace innovation, learn by doing and break boundaries.
This spring, President Barack Obama acknowledged the signiﬁcant achievements of Assistant Professor Alon Gorodetsky, who received the Presidential Early Career Award, the highest honor given by our nation to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their career. In addition, we have recruited among the world’s best engineers in materials science (Enrique Lavernia and Xiaoqing Pan); water resources (Eﬁ Foufoula-Georgiou); and systems and control (Tryphon Georgiou). As the school continues to hire enterprising researchers, adding to our already well-established faculty ranks, UCI engineering is poised to reach even greater heights.
Any university researcher knows that innovation is a crucial component of success in the laboratory. Last fall, we appointed Associate Professor Michelle Khine the inaugural director of faculty innovation, adding to the school’s myriad support for nurturing creativity. Also, two new world-class centers – Irvine Materials Research Institute, and Institute for Design and Manufacturing Innovation – will provide researchers with the most advanced capabilities on the West Coast.
The school’s emphasis on hands-on learning is attracting high-achieving students who want more than just a classroom experience. We are excited about our students who nabbed ﬁ fth out of 125 teams in SpaceX’s international Hyperloop Pod Design Competition. UCI HyperXite was the highest-placing team from California and is one of 30 moving forward to the build-test round. Our ﬁ rst year experiential learning program has engaged 745 freshmen since its inception four years ago. More than half of our undergraduates are involved in faculty-mentored research, according to a recent academic program review.
In pursuit of novel solutions, Anteater engineers are imagining the impossible. A biomedical engineer collaborated with a neurologist to create a brain-computer interface that enabled a paralyzed man to walk. The breakthrough technology allows the brain to bypass the spinal cord and send a message to the legs telling them to walk. After months of training with a volunteer paraplegic, the team video captured the moment he took his ﬁrst steps.
We enter this fall conﬁdent that our distinctive Anteater engineering education will ensure all students have the knowledge, skills and experience to tackle today’s global grand challenges. We can proudly say the value of a UCI Samueli School degree is worth more now than ever before.
Gregory Washington, Ph. D.
The Stacey Nicholas Dean of Engineering