Trojan Engineers as Kids

Before Einstein was on the cover of Time magazine, he was a child who didn’t speak until he was 4 years old.
Likewise, before these USC Viterbi professors bestrode Bloom Walk like modern day colossuses, they were, well … kids. See if you can guess who these kids grew up to be.

Yannis C. Yortsos

Most likely to:
• Help pioneer the Grand Challenge Scholars Program
• Coin the phrase Engineering+
• Be elected to the National Academy
of Engineering
• Serve as the seventh dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Alexander Sawchuk

Most likely to: 
• Become an expert
in optical and photonic
signal processing for networks, sensing and computing systems
• Play an integral role in
image processing
and media technology
and their use in the
internet and the web
• Become chair of the
Ming Hsieh Department
of Electrical and Computer Engineering at USC Viterbi

Gaurav Sukhatme

Most likely to: 
• Dispatch underwater robots to detect changes in the Pacific Ocean
• Work with marine biologists to fight red tide algae blooms
• Become director of the USC Robotic Embedded Systems Laboratory
• Become executive vice dean of the
USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Mahta Moghaddam

Most likely to: 
• Help NASA preserve the climate data of an ailing billion-dollar satellite
• Use microwave radar to “see” water under the soil
• Fly in a Gulfstream jet over Alaska to see how much permafrost is receding
• Be elected to the National Academy of Engineering

Terry Benzel

Most likely to: 
• Become an internationally recognized cybersecurity expert who has twice
testified before Congress
• Become director of DETERLab, an advanced cybersecurity testbed
with more than
10,000 users worldwide  
• Receive the “Cyber Is a Global Sport Award” at the 2017 DHS Cyber Security R&D Showcase

Andrea Armani

Most likely to: 
• Be an MIT Technology Review “Top 35 under 35”
• Be a Popular Science “Brilliant 10”
• Create materials and medical devices for low-resource environments
• Help pioneer the Druid Collective, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, to support tech entrepreneurship globally

Alan Willner

Most likely to: 
• Become an innovator
in the field of optics
and photonics
• Pioneer a method
of “twisted light” that
sends 2.5 terabits of
data per second
• Be elected to the
National Academy of Engineering

Mark Humayun

Most likely to: 
• Co-invent an
artificial retina that
restores partial
sight to the blind
(Argus Series)
• Co-invent a novel
stem cell scaffold
to treat macular
• Receive the National
Medal of Technology

Maja Matarić

Most likely to: 
• Pioneer the field
of socially assistive robotics (SAR)
• Be named one of the “25 Most Powerful Women Engineers in Tech”
• Receive the Anita Borg Institute Women
of Vision Award for Innovation
• Be honored by President Obama with the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring

Mike Gruntman

Most likely to: 
• Be among a half-dozen pioneers to develop a technique for mapping the interstellar boundary of the solar system
• Write several books, including “Enemy Amongst Trojans,” about a Soviet spy at USC
• Become founding chair of the USC Viterbi Department of Astro-
nautical Engineering

Alice Parker

Most likely to: 
• Be a dean’s professor in electrical engineering systems
• Become an expert in “reverse engineering the human brain”
• Lead the BioRC Project, using nanotechnology and electrical circuits to model the neurons in the human brain

Naj Meshkati

Most likely to:
• Become a global
leader on risk
reduction and complex
systems and a
fellow at Harvard
Kennedy School
• Investigate catastrophic
events, including
Fukushima and Deep-
water Horizon
• Combine engineering
and diplomacy,
including USC
Viterbi’s partnership
with the U.S.
State Department
Diplomacy Lab

Michelle Povinelli

Most likely to: 
• Be an MIT Technology Review “Top 35 under 35”
• Move nano-particles with light
• Use computer simulations to imagine more efficient solar cells
• Design thermal “skins” to keep satellites warm and prevent disrupted signals to Earth

Ellis Meng

Most likely to: 
• Create an Oreo-sized wireless drug pump to treat pediatric brain cancer
• Launch a startup, Senseer, that provides “self-aware” brain shunts for children with hydrocephalus
• Be inducted in the National Academy of Inventors
• Become the first female chair of the USC Viterbi Department of Biomedical Engineering

Kelly Sanders

Most likely to:
• Be an MIT Technology Review “Top 35 under 35”
• Reveal the exact amount
of water required to meet U.S. energy needs
• Transform USC residence life with a solar-powered aquaponics system and community garden
• Have research quoted in
a congressional bill on the energy-water nexus (introduced by Senator
Lisa Murkowski)

Len Adleman

Most likely to: 
• Co-create the RSA encryption algorithm that
is used to protect internet transactions
• Become the “father of
DNA computing”
• Receive the Turing Prize

Iraj Ershaghi

Most likely to: 
• Amass 50 years of research
in the petroleum industry
• Lead the one-of-a-kind, industry-supported Center
for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies (CiSOFT)
for 15 years
• Help create the nation’s
first and only master of
petroleum engineering in smart oilfield technology

Robert Scholtz

Most likely to: 
• Become a member of the “Magnificent 7” communications faculty at USC
• Found the UltRa Lab while chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering
• Be elected to the National Academy
of Engineering

Stacey Finley

Most likely to:
• Build mathematical
models of cancer cells
• Be named a NextGen
Star in cancer research
• Become a founding faculty
member in the
USC Michelson
Center for Convergent