Class Notes


Ayanna Howard, Ph.D. EE ’99, received the 2016 A. Nico Habermann Award for her sustained commitment to increasing diversity, combined with her distinction in research. Currently a professor at Georgia Tech — where she has provided research opportunities to dozens of undergraduates, over 75 percent of whom are underrepresented minorities or women — she was recently recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by “Business Insider” and was named to The Root 2015, a list of 100 African-Americans responsible for the year’s most significant moments, movements and ideas.


Walter H. Singer, B.S. EE ’82, founded ACT Environmental Services, which was recently recognized by the “Environmental Business Journal” with a Business Achievement Award for its 2015 performance. The company also ranked 19th on “Fortune’s” inaugural “100 Best Workplaces for Women” list; made the Inc. 5000 for the sixth straight year; and was named a “Best Place to Work” by the “Los Angeles Business Journal.”


Jason Jackson Wallace, M.S. Astronautical Engineering ’14, joined Phase Four, a Los Angeles-based space technology startup, as its head of business operations. Phase Four is building the next generation of satellite plasma propulsion technology to advance space development through unprecedented innovation and cost-effectiveness.

Christopher Jacobs

Ph.D. ’71, graduated from USC Viterbi with a degree in biomedical engineering. After leaving the automotive aftermarket industry, Jacobs developed Genteel, a painless lancing device that enables blood draws not just from fingers, but anywhere else on the body, easily and comfortably.

Glenn R. Tanner

PE, ’77, and his firm, Maximum Energy
Professionals, were named national 2016 Energy Star Service Provider of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Suzanne Barnes

M.S. SM ’80, worked for the Department of Army for 17 years and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon for six years. Currently, Barnes lives in downtown San Jose, California, and stays busy volunteering, walking, and trying to keep up with her grandchildren.

Charles Ray

ISSM ’81, retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2012 after 30 years, having served twice as U.S. ambassador to both Cambodia and Zimbabwe, and as deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs. Ray is now a lecturer at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins University; he has published more than 60 books.

George J. Chambers

ISSM ’86, recently published his fourth history book, a two-volume, 900-page history titled: “World War II as Seen Through the Eyes of United States Navy Cruisers: An Integrated, Chronological History of Cruiser Operations During the War Against the Axis Powers 1939-1945.”

David Wang

B.S. EE ’87, M.S. EE ’90, has joined Mayer Brown’s Palo Alto, California, law offices as a partner in their Intellectual Property practice. He will focus on complex patent litigation matters on behalf of companies in the U.S. and Asia, particularly on matters involving electrical engineering and high technology.

Russell Cummings

Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering ’88, was elected as a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest aerospace professional society.

Michael Sexton

B.S. ISE ’89, is the chief commercial officer for Orange EV, which has introduced the first commercially available electric terminal truck approved for sale in the state of California as a heavy-duty electric vehicle.

Chetan Goyal

M.S. EE ’05, moved to India and started Oakwoods Academy, an early childhood education center. Goyal plans to expand the school to include a K-12 program.

Karan Sheth

M.S. CS ’07, co-founded a DIY cloud platform that allows users to design and build an event app for free to engage attendees, exhibitors and sponsors for a 365-networking experience.

Jay Porterfield

B.S. BME ’13, M.S. BME ’15, is a project coordinator for the USC Center for Body Computing (CBC). In his role at the CBC, Porterfield combines his background in athletics and engineering to conceptualize, design and execute creative studies that integrate non-invasive, biomedical sensors into athletic training to improve performance and resiliency.

Mohamed Mustafa Khimani

M.S. CS ’15, is currently working as a software development engineer at

Boqing Gong

Ph.D. CS ’15, is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Center for Research in Computer Vision at the University of Central Florida. His research lies at the intersection of machine learning and computer vision, and has been focusing on domain adaptation, zero-shot/transfer learning, and visual analytics of objects, attributes and human activities.

We welcome your class notes at: 

IN MEMORIAM : Judith Love Cohen


B.S. EE ’57, M.S. EE ’62, died July 25 after a short battle with cancer. Cohen worked in the Southern California aerospace industry, mostly at TRW, on a variety of projects, including the guidance computer for the Minuteman missile, the Pioneer spacecraft, the Abort-Guidance System in the Lunar Excursion Module for the Apollo space program, the Tracking Data and Relay Satellite System, and the ground science system for the Hubble Space Telescope, among others. During the Apollo program, it was her Abort-Guidance System that helped bring the Apollo 13 astronauts home safely after disaster struck on their way to the moon.


Later, she founded Cascade Pass, a children’s book publishing company, with her husband, David Katz. Her first book, “You Can Be a Woman Engineer,”was written to encourage young girls to consider careers in engineering. Cohen went on to author a series of similar books to encourage girls to enter the fields of engineering and science, selling more than 100,000 copies, and in doing so, inspiring thousands of young women.

She is survived by her husband of 35 years, David Katz; by her children, USC Viterbi faculty member and alumnus Neil Siegel, Rachel Siegel, and Thomas Black; by her daughters-in-law Robyn Friend and Tanya Haden; and by her three grandchildren, Sonya Siegel-Chanen, Sammy Black and Tommy Black.