Biological and Agricultural Engineering Alumni

Alumni

Our department is proud of our alumni's many achievements. The diverse nature of the program allows our alumni access to a wide variety of opportunities. Take a look a the Career Information page to see all the different companies to which our graduates have gone.

Lydia Palma Miner, 2020 Ph.D.

  • Cofounder, BioMilitus
  • Mechanical Engineering Designer, Dr. Greenhouse, Inc.
Lydia Palma Miner is cofounder of BioMilitus, a sustainable animal feed startup company that utilizes larvae to rapidly convert agricultural residues into protein-rich insect biomass. Lydia is passionate about recycling waste and food production and received her doctorate in Biological Systems Engineering at UC Davis. Under Dr. Jean VanderGheynst, Lydia's dissertation research emphasized the environmental control for the production of black soldier fly larvae used for poultry feed. Previously, Lydia earned a M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from CSU Sacramento where she designed, built and tested a biodiesel conversion system from food waste. Currently, Lydia is a Mechanical Engineering Designer at Dr. Greenhouse, Inc., a mechanical and agricultural engineering firm in Sacramento, CA that specializes in HVAC design for greenhouses and indoor farms. She has helped design controlled environment solutions for leafy greens, microgreens, tomatoes, strawberries and cannabis.

Kia Canning, 2020 B.S.

  • Hardware Project Engineer
  • Monarch Tractor

Kia is a Hardware Project Engineer at Monarch Tractor, a bay area start-up located in Livermore, CA. Monarch is building the world's first all-electric, driver-optional compact tractor. Kia was hired after graduating with her BS in Biosystems Engineering and works on the mechanical design and build of the tractors. Her job involves a unique combination of agronomy, data science, and mechanical engineering. At UC Davis, Kia worked with LiDAR and hyperspectral imaging in Dr. Alireza Pourreza's lab. She also worked with Dr. Stavros Vougioukas on her senior design project, during which Kia and her team created a simulation of a robot to autonomously measure vineyard drip-irrigation. In her free time, Kia enjoys rock-climbing, playing the piano, running, and snowboarding.

Read Kia's alumni spotlight.

Taylor Charlesworth, 2020 B.S.

  • Systems Engineer
  • Abbott Diabetes Care

Taylor Charlesworth graduated in Spring of 2020 and works as a Systems Engineer at Abbott Diabetes Care. This medical device company focuses on continuous glucose monitors to assist with diabetes management. She started in July and has been working from home ever since. In her free time, she enjoys playing music, spending time with her dog and tending to her indoor plants.

Taylor spoke at the 2022 BAE alumni panel

Trung Duong, 2020 B.S.

  • M.S. Student
  • Engineering Management Program, Cornell University

Trung Duong is a 2020 UC Davis BSE alumnus coming from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. He is currently working at E. & J. Gallo Winery as a Winery Systems Engineering Intern and will finish his 6-month internship by the end of this month. In February, he will be transitioning and enrolled in the Master of Engineering in Engineering Management program at Cornell University. In this program, he is extremely excited to leverage his management and leadership skills and to gain more business insights to facilitate his future career goals. In his free time, he enjoys going to the gym and playing ping pong, basketball and video games.

Trung spoke at the 2022 BAE alumni panel

Jose Marquez, 2020 B.S.

  • Staff Engineer
  • Geosyntec Inc.

Jose is a Staff Engineer at Geosyntec Inc, an environmental consulting company which focuses on environmental remediation of chemical spills below the ground surface. As an engineer, Jose helps design remediation systems, perform construction oversight, and sample soil and soil vapor in the field. During his time at UC Davis, Jose was deeply involved professionally and with extracurriculars; Jose was part of a Renewable Energy Data Science Research Project under Dr. Behrsin, CALESS professional society, Aggie Studios, Sigma Delta Alpha, and countless PE classes. For his senior design project, Jose and his team designed a treatment system to disinfect water utilizing only sunlight and curcumin - a natural food grade compound. Jose has fond memories at Davis because even though he was a commuting student from Sacramento, he still found time and energy to connect with SO MANY people. Jose's advice to college students: "Don't be afraid to take risks and ask questions. College is a time to try different activities but simultaneously work hard academically. You will learn so much that it will propel you beyond your college years."

In his free time Jose enjoys making YouTube travel videos and working out.

Seerat Randhawa, 2020 B.S.

  • Automation Engineer
  • Matrix Technologies

Seerat graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor's Degree in Biosystems Engineering in the Spring of 2020. After graduating, she worked as a Supply Chain Manager at PepsiCo. She currently works as an Automation Engineer at Matrix Technologies. Matrix Technologies is a premier control system integrator in the Bay Area biotech industry. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, working out, and baking/ cooking.

Seerat spoke at the 2022 BAE alumni panel

Nashea Awais, 2019 B.S.

  • Research Associate
  • TeraPore Technologies, Inc.
Nashea is a research associate at TeraPore Technologies, a Bay Area start-up specializing in nanofiltration membrane technology located in South San Francisco, CA. In her free time, Nashea enjoys reading and learning to play the piano.

Julia Cunniffe, 2019 B.S.

  • Researcher
  • US Department of Agriculture

Julia graduated from UC Davis in 2019 with a Bachelor's in Biological Systems Engineering. She currently works as a researcher at the US Department of Agriculture in Albany, CA on a couple projects involving biodegradable plastic films and coated paper for applications such as detergent pods and milk cartons, respectively. She works in collaboration with Method who creates nontoxic, ecofriendly household products including hand soap and surface cleaning sprays. She plans to attend graduate school next Fall 2021 to continue research and pursue a PhD. One of her favorite hobbies is running. While an undergrad at Davis, she was on the cross country and track club for all 4 years! She is very excited to share her experiences with future BAEs today!

Julia spoke at the 2022 BAE alumni panel

Bradley Soares, 2019 B.S.

  • Field Engineer
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
My name is Bradley Soares and I graduated with a B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering from UC Davis in 2019. I found myself in BSE because I combined my two hobbies; learning how engineered systems function and ethnobotany. Currently, as a NRCS Field Engineer, I am able to work both indoors and outdoors, which was my number one job searching criterium. I work with private land owners to develop systems that target natural resource conservation (Soil, Water, Air, Plants, Animals, and Humans). For example, I assist in developing irrigation systems for farmers or I assist in developing livestock watering systems for ranchers. On a day-to-day basis, I am working with AutoCAD Civil 3D and ArcMap.

Akshata Mudinoor, 2018 Ph.D.

  • Scientist
  • Nanōmix Inc.
Akshata currently works as a Scientist at Nanōmix Inc, a leading developer of mobile, affordable point-of-care diagnostics. As a Scientist, Akshata leads projects developing and characterizing point of care IVD assays. She works on driving product specifications, development, verification, performance testing, and manufacturing transfer as part of the product development team. Before working at Nanōmix, Akshata worked in Dr. Jeoh's group and focused her research in the area of understanding surface interactions of Trichoderma reesei Cel7A and its variants on cellulose.

Kyle Cheung, 2018 B.S., 2020 M.S.

  • Senior Imaging Data Analyst
  • Corteva Agriscience

Kyle Cheung is a Senior Imaging Data Analyst at Corteva Agriscience and started working there in June. His role at Corteva is to couple imagery with deep learning to provide insight into disease development and pest management in plants. He graduated from the BAE program with a BS in 2018 and a MS in 2020 with Dr. Alireza Pourreza in the Digital Agriculture Lab. As an undergraduate, his emphasis was in controls and automation, leading to a year-long internship with Banks Automation in Vacaville and a mechanization project at the Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center with UC ANR. His focus is bringing practical solutions to the customer. He was on the cycling team as an undergraduate and now enjoys photography and hiking.

Kyle spoke at the 2022 BAE alumni panel

Nisha Marwaha, 2018 B.S., 2020 M.S.

  • Researcher, Sustainable Aquaculture Program
  • WorldFish

Nisha is currently a researcher in the Sustainable Aquaculture Program at WorldFish, an international nonprofit research organization that works to strengthen livelihoods and enhance food and nutrition security in developing countries by improving fisheries and aquaculture. Her academic background is in agricultural engineering and sustainable food systems, and she previously studied the dynamics between poverty and groundwater scarcity in California’s Central Valley. Nisha holds a master’s and bachelor’s in biological systems engineering with an emphasis in agricultural and natural resources engineering from UC Davis.

Watch Nisha's Global Aggies spotlight

Read Nisha's Global Aggies story

Jessica Ashkinos, 2018 B.S.

  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Medical Electronic Systems

Jessica Ashkinos is a Biomedical Engineer at Medical Electronics System, the World Leader in Automated Semen Analysis Systems & Sperm Quality Testing. She loves having the ability to help couples have children of their own. At UC Davis, Jessica worked in the Post-Harvest Lab with Dr. Irwin Donis-Gonzalez studying how to improve food storage and preparation.

For her senior design project, she worked with Dr. Stavros Vougioukas to develop optical sensors for very slow-moving platforms. Her senior design project was part of a long-term effort to develop an automated, orchard platform that achieves high fruit harvesting efficiencies.

During her time studying at UC Davis, she was a part of the Davis Volleyball Club Team, Vision Dance Troupe, SOBE, and the ASABE Robotics Team. Go Aggies!

Alex Mora, 2018 B.S.

  • Management Consulting
  • Accenture
Alex Mora graduated from UC Davis in 2018 with a degree in Biological Systems Engineering. After graduation, Alex joined Accenture’s Management Consulting practice, where she currently works with global Life Science and Healthcare clients to develop Digital Health strategies around data-driven insights. As an undergraduate, Alex was involved with Post-Harvest research in the lab of Dr. Irwin Donis-Gonzales and contributed to a study and publication on the application of hygroscopic salts as a safe and low-cost method of preserving produce. She was also an officer of the UC Davis chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and a captain of the UC Davis Concrete Canoe team. In her spare time, Alex enjoys running, trying new recipes, knitting, and reading historical fiction novels.

Ken Cunningham, 2017, B.S.

  • Principal Engineer, Prevail Therapeutics
  • Prevail Therapeutics
Ken Cunningham graduated in spring of 2017 and works as a Principal Engineer at Prevail Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly & Co. At UC Davis, Ken worked at the UCD Olive Research Center on enzymatic food processing methods. After completing his B.S. at UC Davis, Ken did an internship/co-op at Genentech in Upstream Drug Process Development. Ken then moved to New York City to work at a medical device startup, then at NYP Weill Cornell Medical Center on GMP manufacturing of CAR-T cellular therapies. Ken has now worked at Prevail Therapeutics in New York City on AAV gene therapy process development for three years. He also serves as the Chair for the Prevail LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group. 

Matt Paddock, 2017 B.S., 2019 M.S.

  • Bioengineer
  • NASA Ames Research Center

Matt Paddock is a bioengineer at the NASA Ames Research Center developing biological life-support systems. He graduated UC Davis in 2017 with his bachelors and 2019 with his masters in Biological Systems Engineering. As a student he participated in SOBE and ASABE robotics clubs and worked as an undergraduate researcher in the Biotechnical Engineering laboratory.

Matt spoke at the 2022 BAE alumni panel

Julie Meyers, 2017 B.S., 2018 M.S.

  • Civil/Agricultural Engineer
  • USDA NRCS
Julie graduated from UC Davis in 2018 with a Master’s in Biological Systems Engineering. After starting out as a Project Engineer at Davids Engineering, she moved to the USDA NRCS in 2020. During her time at Davids Engineering, she helped compile basin-scale water budgets to support groundwater sustainability efforts and set up, refined and calibrated hydrologic models. At NRCS, she’s worked on design projects for livestock watering systems, irrigation systems, and small ponds to help put natural resources conservation on the ground. She is also currently the LGBT Special Emphasis Program Manager for NRCS California. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking and backpacking as well as playing music and crafting.

Nardrapee Karuna Sanchez, 2016 Ph.D.

  • University Lecturer and Researcher
  • Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Technology, Silpakorn University
Nara is a lecturer and researcher in Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Technology at Silpakorn University, Thailand. Her researches now focus mainly on biomass conversion to fermentable sugars which can be fermented to valuable products. She is also interested in developing sugar biosensors for using in bioprocesses. Nara’s technical and leadership training from Dr. Tina Jeoh’s group prepared her to be a principle investigation for her own projects back in Thailand. In graduate school, Nara’s research focused on understanding the effects of pretreatment on biomass to enzyme accessibility during hydrolysis.

Sandon Du, 2016 B.S.

  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Nutcracker Therapeutics

My name is Sandon Du and I am a Manufacturing Engineer at Nutcracker Therapeutics, a biotech startup located in Emeryville, CA. Nutcracker is focused on the rapid development and manufacturing of mRNA-based vaccines via biochips. As a manufacturing engineer, I work on process implementation on Nutcracker’s proprietary microfluidics-based platform. Startups often have many roles to fill and hats to wear so I may occasionally help the quality assurance and validation teams. 

I was a Manufacturing Associate at Grifols Diagnostics Solutions before getting hired as a manufacturing engineer at Nutcracker. To the fresh college graduates that are struggling to find a job, sometimes you need broaden your search and take what you can get. Grifols was a good stepping stone for me to gain the experience and knowledge necessary to work as an engineer in biopharma industry (along with what I learned at UC Davis, of course!).