University Achievement Awards

We are proud of the accomplishments of ALL our 2024 University Achievement Award recipients.

UAA 2024

Christine Whitcraft Headshot

Dr. Christine Whitcraft, Biological Sciences

Dr. Christine Whitcraft joined the Department of Biological Sciences faculty in 2008 and was promoted to full professor in 2019.  Her research focuses on “all things wetlands,” particularly the impacts of non-native and invasive species, altered hydrology, climate change, and restoration in field sites from Baja to San Francisco.  

Since 2008, she and many of her students have published over 40 publications. Several of her recent collaborative publications highlight efforts to increase inclusive practices and representation of minoritized groups within the CSU and professional societies.  She has also been extremely successful in obtaining 32 external grants totaling approximately $3.5 million dollars since joining The Beach.  She and her students have given hundreds of presentations locally, nationally, and internationally. She also established herself as an expert in the field of wetland ecology, conservation, and serves as a key advisor and expert for California coastal resources including taking a leading role in assessing the impacts of the recent oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach and serving on boards to several local wetland conservancies.   

Beyond her research program, Dr. Whitcraft has made a major impact on our campus by serving as the Director for the Environmental Science and Policy program since 2017. She is also extremely active in the department and university levels as the chair of the Presidential Commission on Sustainability among many other activities. In 2022, she led a team that obtained a $1.75 Million College Corps Volunteers for All internship grants to benefit CSULB students.  

Dr. Whitcraft’s research and scholarly activities show her deep commitment to her field of study and to our students. Her active participation in campus governance and administration only amplifies her impact and makes her an outstanding professor for CSULB, California, and beyond. 

Submitted by Jessie Dillon 

Chris Miles Headshot

Christopher Miles, Art

A Los Angeles–based artist, Christopher Miles joined The Beach in 1998 as a part-time lecturer and was hired as a full-time lecturer in 2000. He was appointed Assistant Professor in 2003, tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 2006, and promoted to full Professor in 2011. Miles has also served as School of Art Director, interim Associate Dean, and Interim Dean for the College of the Arts. Today, he is Program Head for Ceramic Arts Studies, Co-founder, and Director of the Center for Contemporary Ceramics. 

Miles has published over 500 essays, articles, reviews, and other writings. His most current work is titled “In and Out of View: Art and the Dynamics of Circulation, Suppression, and Censorship,” which he co-edited with School of Art faculty colleagues, Catha Paquette and Karen Kleinfelder.  

Miles considers his work in higher education — teaching in the classroom, working with students and artists in support of their aspirations and amplifying their voices, participating in and facilitating dialogue with students and colleagues, serving in shared governance, advocating for the needs of students, staff, and faculty, and doing all he can to build a thriving inclusive creative community — to be aspects of a personal calling and spiritual practice. 

He also generously provides mentorship to students, faculty, and administrators. His work in all three areas of service, teaching and research, and scholarly practice set a bar for excellence that inspires his department and colleagues. 

Submitted by Laurie Gatlin 

Selena Nguyen Rodrigues Headshot

Dr. Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez, Health Sciences
Dr. Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez is a Professor of Health Science at CSULB. She joined CSULB in 2009 as an evaluator and grant writer for the Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training and became a faculty member in 2011. Growing up in Santa Ana, CA motivates her to support the education and health of underrepresented students and under-resourced communities. Her first love was psychology and while she pursued a career in public health, all of her work includes a psychosocial approach. Since she strongly believes that teaching should not be limited to the classroom, she actively engages in programs and creates opportunities that support increasing students’ hands-on research experience and professional development. She says making a difference in the lives of her students and community members is the absolute best part of her job. 

Submitted by Grace Reynolds-Fisher 

Andrea Caban Headshot

Andrea Caban, Theatre Arts

Andrea Caban is an Associate Professor, Head of Voice & Speech, Co-Director, and designated Master Teacher of Knight-Thompson Speechwork™. An award-winning academic writer, playwright and solo performer, Caban is interested in the intersection of actor-training and arts-based research methods with patient-centered care. She holds a research appointment at the UCI School of Medicine for testing her method of voice and accent modification for people living with ALS.  

Caban is also known as a professional accent and dialect coach for film and theatre. Some of her notable coaching credits include several plays at the Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory Theatre like Absurd Person Singular, Chinglish, Death of a Salesman, Madwomen in a Volvo and Peter and the Starcatcher. She is the accent expert on, demonstrating over 30 accents. She is currently collaborating with Francis Ford Coppola on his career opus film, Megalopolis.  

Professor Caban is the sole co-author in common for the two most recent Knight-Thompson Speechwork texts on speech and accent training. The first, Experiencing Speech: A Skills-based Panlingual Approach to Actor Training, was published in 2021 by Routledge Academic Publishing, and is being adopted by top drama schools internationally. Her second text, Experiencing Accents: A Knight-Thompson Speechwork Guide for Acting in Accent, was published in November of 2023. 

One of her most notable, original works on campus is The Dreamers: Aquí y Allá, a devised theatre piece in collaboration with the California-Mexico Studies Center. She traveled to Mexico with CSULB theatre arts students to interview a group of DACA students who were given permission through advance parole to return to their homeland for the first time since immigrating to the United States. The play was acclaimed “Best Play” by OC Weekly. 

Submitted by Jeff Janisheski 

David Teubner Headshot

David Teubner, Design

Associate Professor David Teubner is an educator with a rich background in various creative fields. His journey to industrial design was unconventional, taking him through ornamental horticulture, photography, film production, advertising design, and finally, industrial design. This diverse experience equipped him with the unique perspective and a wide range of skills that he brings to both his teaching and design practice. He credits his parents, who were makers and fixers, for instilling in him a love for creating and understanding how things work. He also acknowledges the significant influence of his CSULB Design professors Mike Kammermeyer and Herb Tyrnauer, who shaped his approach to design thinking and problem-solving. 

Teubner earned an AA degree and two certificates in Motion Picture Production and Advertising Design during his seven years in college. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from CSULB in 1980, he worked in various industries, including animation, marketing, and film production. After twelve years in design practice, he returned to his alma mater to pursue teaching. After teaching for several years, he completed a Master of Arts degree in Design from California State University, Fullerton in 2006. 

Finding inspiration in his own professors, Teubner is passionate about education. He emphasizes design thinking and problem-solving, skills he believes are crucial for success in any creative field. He constantly refines his teaching methods, incorporating new technologies like AI tools such as Midjourney and Vizcom into his curriculum. He strives to build upon the legacy of his mentors while keeping the curriculum relevant for future generations of designers. He is excited about the possibilities of AI in the design process and is actively exploring ways to integrate these tools effectively. His diverse background, coupled with his passion for teaching and openness to new technologies, positions him as an asset in the design field. He is dedicated to equipping his students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the ever-evolving design landscape. 

Submitted by John Kleinpeter

Neal Terrell Headshot

Neal Terrell, Computer Engineering & Computer Science

Neal Terrell has been a lecturer in the Computer Engineering & Computer Science department since 2013, after earning an M.S. in Computer Science from our department in 2012. He has taught fifteen different courses in that time at all levels of our curriculum, from introductory computer programming to electives in search engine technology, computer graphics, and software engineering. His enthusiasm for teaching resonates with students; they seek out his classes anticipating dynamic lectures, engaging assignments, and high expectations. 

Neal’s pedagogy heavily features project-based learning, especially projects inspired by his own hobbies. He strives to make classes exciting by sharing his passions for gardening, baseball, Girl Scouts, and the National Parks, getting his students invested in real-life problems and the ways computer software can assist. His is a proponent of mastery learning pedagogy, and has received grants for expanding mastery learning education in computer science, in collaboration with peers at UC Berkeley and El Camino College. Outside of the classroom, Neal has written curricula for many courses, and updated several others to keep them current with our rapidly changing industry. He recently worked with another faculty to modernize our course in Database Fundamentals, teaching newer technologies that students need to learn so they can be competitive in the jobs market. They reworked an out-of-date free textbook to align with the new course goals, to the tremendous benefit of our databases students. 

Neal is an excellent instructor who passionately cares about student learning. He is an asset to the CECS department and our campus, and I am pleased to see him recognized as a Distinguished Faculty Teacher. 

Submitted by Mehrdad Aliasgari 

Eileen Luhr Headshot

Dr. Eileen Luhr, History

Dr. Eileen Luhr has taught U.S. cultural history and history pedagogy at CSULB since 2006. She coordinates and advises the History and Social Science credential program, which issues approximately 70 initial H/SS credentials each year— making it the largest H/SS credential at a public university in California. She also serves as president of the Society for History Education, which publishes The History Teacher, a peer-reviewed journal about history pedagogy based in CSULB’s History Department.  

She was also the recipient of the Western History Association’s 2022 Arrington-Prucha Award for best article on American western religious history and, with Tim Keirn, of the American Historical Association’s 2013 Gilbert Award for the best article on teaching history. Currently, she is the Interim Director of the Single Subject Program, a university-wide program that prepares secondary teacher candidates across ten disciplines. Dr. Luhr’s research illuminates the intersection of religion, politics, and consumer culture. Her second book, Golden States: How California Religion Went from Cautionary Tale to Global Brand, draws on case studies about surfing and yoga practices, Dr. Bronner’s Soaps, the only designated “Blue Zone” in the United States, and the history of the long-term impact of alternative religions and spiritualities on Southern California’s cultural landscape. 

Submitted by Caitlin Murdock

Belinda Daughrity Headshot

Dr. Belinda Daughrity, Speech-Language Pathology

Belinda Daughrity, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is an Associate Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at CSULB. Dr. Daughrity specializes in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence as a Speech-Language Pathologist with ASHA, as well as state licensure with California. She earned her BA in English and Spanish from Spelman College, and her MA In Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from New York University (NYU). She completed her doctoral studies at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where she earned a PhD in Education with a specialization in Human Development and Psychology. She is the co-author of Autism Spectrum Disorders from Theory to Practice: Assessment and Intervention Tools Across the Lifespan. 

Submitted by Grace Reynolds-Fisher

Perla Ayala Headshot

Dr. Perla Ayala, Biomedical Engineering

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Dr. Perla Ayala, has demonstrated a significant commitment to advising and mentoring students in research projects. She served as BME Undergraduate Academic Advisor, and as a CSULB BUILD Student Training Director and Instructor. These experiences underscore her commitment to fostering the academic and personal growth of her students. 

Dr. Ayala has also mentored and supervised 60+ undergraduate students and 2 Ph.D. students in her lab. Many of these students have presented their research at local, regional, and national scientific conferences. Over 12 have since been accepted into recognized Ph.D. programs at UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Pennsylvania State University, University of Florida, Johns Hopkins University, and more. Four of her students have also been accepted to Master’s programs at USC, UC Irvine, and UC Berkeley. Two of her undergraduate students have received the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Several of her undergraduate research mentees have also been accepted to external paid research internships at U Penn, UCSF, MIT, Harvard, Purdue University, UC Irvine, UT Austin, and NASA. They have also secured job positions at various regional companies across the country. 

A considerable percentage of Dr. Ayala’s research mentees have been first generation college students or belong to underrepresented groups in science and engineering. Additionally, 50% of them have been women. Dr. Ayala has mentored several students supported through CSULB’s undergraduate research programs including the NSF Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), the Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (U-RISE) program, the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) program, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, and more recently, the Learning-Aligned Employment Program (LAEP) Program. 

To support her research program at CSULB, Dr. Ayala has received various internal and external grants and awards. These include an NIH SCORE SC2 grant and an NSF CAREER Award. She is deeply committed to mentoring students in their Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities (RSCA) involvement and development. 

Submitted by Shadnaz Asgari 

Marian Stewart headshot

Marian Stewart, Art

Marian Stewart is an illustrator, commercial artist, designer, art director, author, and teacher living in Southern California. Her illustrations have been published in 6 J. Paul Getty Trust Museum books and included in 3X3 Magazine’s New York Exhibition and the New York Society of Illustrators and Illustration West Exhibitions.   

She is the author and artist illustrator of Fundamentals of Drawing. An interactive digital book containing over 700 pages of comprehensive text, hundreds of drawings, and fifty video demonstrations illustrating the step-by step process of a variety of foundation level observation-based drawing projects. She is currently writing and illustrating Fundamentals of Life Drawing. Marian helped the Foundation Program at California State University, Long Beach, which currently serves approximately 600 SOA students per semester, grow from 1 full time faculty member to 4 and has served as the Foundation Program Head for 8 of the last 14 years.   

As the Foundation Area Specialist for Drawing and Life Drawing, since 2007, she schedules, staffs and synchronizes the curriculum, learning objectives, and pedagogy of approximately 17 sections of Foundation Drawing and 17 sections of Foundation Life Drawing per academic year.   

Marian not only teaches Foundation Drawing and Foundation Life-Drawing, she also trains graduate students how to teach these courses. To date she has mentored 34 Graduate Teaching Interns and supervised 13 Teaching Associates. At least 7 of her Graduate Teaching Associates have been hired as tenure track professors and at least 20 have been hired as adjunct professors.  

Submitted by Yulia Gasio

Shae Miller Headshot

Dr. Shae Miller, Sociology

Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology Department, Dr. Shae Miller, is a strong leader in campus efforts towards fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA). They are actively involved in promoting recruitment and retention of LGBTQIA students, staff, faculty, and administrators, showing outstanding collegiality, professionalism, and cross-cultural expertise while promoting opportunities for The Beach to become a more inclusive and diverse environment. 

Dr. Miller chairs the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual Campus Climate Committee (LGBTQIA+CCC), where their accomplishments include co-authoring CSULB’s Gender-Inclusive Language Resolution, directing LGBTQIA+CCC contributions to the Campus Climate Survey (CCS) Report, leading creation of a guide for gender-inclusive and gender-neutral language, and founding the campus’ Queer and Trans Faculty and Staff Association (QTFSA) affinity group. Dr. Miller is also Chair of the Campus Climate Committee (CCC), focusing on policy recommendations supporting marginalized students, staff, and faculty. They prioritize community-based equity strategies. As a key CCS Report contributor, a lead CCS Qualitative Team researcher, and a core Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation™ (TRHT) Toolkit group member, Dr. Miller is widely respected by colleagues in the LGBTQIA+CCC and the CCC. 

In 2020, Dr. Miller led efforts to create a campus-wide network for trans students, faculty, and staff titled the Trans Advocacy Coalition (TAC). They spearheaded TAC’s website, mentored trans and nonbinary student research assistants and interns, and oversaw TAC’s educational resources. Their research, focused on identity and power, is deeply connected to their commitment to leadership in DEIA. This is evidenced in their recent publication titled “Trans Aesthetics and Similes of Oppression: Trans-Inclusive Discourse in Queer Spaces” in Transgender Studies Quarterly, which examines how inclusive strategies informed by dominant perspectives can reproduce inequitable outcomes. 

Overall, Dr. Shae Miller has an impressive record of DEIA leadership through student mentoring, university-level service, and scholarship. These invaluable works and endeavors show that they are a champion in promoting DEIA at The Beach. 

Submitted by Pei-Fang Hung 

Heather Macias Headshot

Dr. Heather Macias, Teacher Education

Assistant Professor of secondary teacher education in the College of Education, Dr. Heather Macías, teaches a variety of courses in the single subject credential program and supervises secondary English student teachers. She was recently tasked with re-envisioning the Dual Language Development strand of the Curriculum and Instruction Masters. In her teaching, Dr. Macias integrates and explores different literacies in 21st century and interdisciplinary contexts, while also drawing from Critical Pedagogy and Culturally Responsive Pedagogical teaching practices. The connections she has made with students at the secondary and postsecondary level have helped her to better understand how content area literacy can support culturally and linguistically diverse students to feel validated, engaged, and represented in schools and curricula.  

Dr. Macías' current research examines topics related to preservice teachers, assets-based teaching, and the educational experiences of marginalized students, including: 

  • Integrating Culturally Responsive Pedagogy into higher ed. STEM courses to close racial equity gaps 
  • Exploring how teacher education programs and professional development can support the development of effective and highly qualified secondary Ethnic Studies teachers 
  • Enhancing preservice teachers' understanding and integration of students' funds of knowledge into their teaching, including how complex funds of knowledge dismantle deficit perspectives of marginalized students, families, and communities 
  • Supporting the socio-emotional and professional development of Queer and/or Trans preservice teachers 

Dr. Macias has been an integral part of serving her department, college, and the university community. Some of her extraordinary contributions to The Beach include beginning an affinity group for queer and trans future educators, organizing multiple events as part of the College of Education Black Lives Matter at Schools team, and serving as associate and interim director of the CSULB Faculty Center. Beyond our campus, she has served as the co-program chair for the American Educational Research Association’s Queer Studies Special interest group and was selected for the nationally competitive La Academia Liderazgo fellowship with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, a program designed to support rising Latine leaders in higher education.  

Submitted by Betina Hsieh 

Loretta Ramirez Headshot

Dr. Loretta Ramirez, Chicano & Latino Studies

Dr. Loretta Ramirez is Assistant Professor of Latinx rhetoric and composition in the Chicano and Latino Studies Department. She researches historical rhetorics, trauma studies, decolonial theory, archival methodology, and writing pedagogy. 

Dr. Ramirez applies these specialties in her monograph, The Wound and the Stitch: A Genealogy of the Female Body from Medieval Iberia to SoCal Chicanx Art, set for release on May 2024 in collaboration with the Rhetoric Society of America, the leading academic organization in her field. She has published in her discipline’s top journals, Rhetoric Review, College Composition and Communication, and Composition Studies. Her distinctions secured an invitation to contribute a chapter on Cultural and Indigenous Rhetorics for the esteemed volume series, The Cambridge History of Rhetoric, forthcoming in 2025.   

Her scholarship is informed by her teaching, including two course designs: Chicano and Latino Studies 411/511: Archival Quest: Reclaiming Latinx Rhetorics and Chicano and Latino Studies 412A/512A: Centralizing Latinx Narratives: Seminar in Autoethnography. Inspired by her students’ autoethnographies, she is currently drafting a second book, Get Back to Where You Once Belonged: A Chicana-Apache Professor’s Autoethnography on Racial and Rhetorical Belongings

She credits students for motivating her. In return, she commits to students within and beyond her classroom. She mentors first-generation students in the GenExcel program, advises University Honors Program thesis projects, and leads student researchers in archiving historical Chicana rhetorics. 

Her passion for diversity and inclusivity shape her service. She has performed on three search committees, once as chair. Her leadership extends to chairing the Graduation Proficiency Exam Advisory Committee and vice-chairing the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement Committee. In both roles, she advances policies informed by equitable pedagogies in writing. She also serves on the Helena Maria Viramontes lecture series, which fosters celebratory cultural spaces by hosting influential Latinx writers. 

Submitted by Loretta Ramirez

Raisa Hernandez Pacheco Headshot

Dr. Raisa Hernández Pacheco, Biological Sciences

Dr. Raisa Hernández Pacheco joined the Department of Biological Sciences in 2019. Her research focuses on animal populations, particularly the impacts of biotic and abiotic factors on individual life histories and population dynamics. 

Since 2019, she and several of her students have published 8 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 1 biostatistics laboratory manual and several training modules in statistical modeling and computer coding. Currently, 5 other papers are under review. She has also successfully obtained $895,514 in external grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation since joining The Beach. She has also been awarded with over $250,000 in CSU-wide and CSULB internal grants. She and her students have given dozens of presentations nationally and internationally. Having established herself as an expert in the field, Dr. Hernández Pacheco contributed to several special issues on primate ecology and the biodemography of aging. 

Beyond her research program, Dr. Hernández Pacheco has made a major impact on our campus by serving as the Academic Advisor of the CSULB student organization Researchers for Diverse Scientists (RDS), a student club that impacts hundreds of local K-12 students and that was nationally recognized for their efforts by the Society of Integrated and Comparative Biology (SICB). She has also served as Faculty Fellow for the College Corps Volunteers and as Faculty Mentor for the PRE-Professor Program (PREPP). 

Her research and scholarly activities show her deep commitment to her field of study. Her active participation in DEI-related campus organizations and programs also amplifies her impact, making her a wonderful example of early career excellence at CSULB. 

Submitted by Jesse Dillon 


Pei-Fang Hung Headshot

Dr. Pei-Fang Hung, Speech-Language Pathology
Pei-Fang Hung is Associate Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at the California State University Long Beach. Professor Hung is a bilingual speech-language pathologist who holds certificate and license in both the U.S. and Taiwan. She has extensive clinical experience working with people with neurogenic speech and language disorders. Her current research interests include aphasia assessment and intervention, language cognitive-communication disorders due to acquired brain injury, and language impairments associated with early dementia. Professor Hung leads Parkinson’s support group in the LifeFit Center at CSULB and aphasia support groups at Carson Stoke Center in Carson, CA. She serves on American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Multicultural Issue Board from 2017-2019 and California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA) convention program committee. She is also a frequent presenter at ASHA and CSHA conventions.

Submitted by Christine Scott Hayward 

Tom Maricich Headshot

Dr. Tom Maricich, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Tom Maricich was a faculty member from 1975-2010.  Over the years, his research has focused on the chemistry of novel alkylating agents, which were considered as potential antitumor agents. Dr. Maricich received several grants from the National Cancer Institute and his research work resulted in several publications and positive results on test mice at the NCI. He directed the research of several President’s Scholars and other award winners. Multiple former students have received Ph.D., M.S., Pharm.D., M.D., D.D.S. and D.M.D. degrees. Some are university and college professors and instructors. Dr. Maricich continued research with students until the labs were closed due to COVID in about 2019. Dr. Maricich has a registered US trademark named SNAAP for Substitution, Nucleophilic of Acids, Alcohols and Phenols. Sigma-Aldrich Chemicals listed one of his SNAAP reagents in their chemical catalog, naming it the Maricich Ethylation Reagent. 

Submitted by Lijuan Li 

Emily Marquez Headshot

Emily Marquez, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Emily Marquez is graduating this spring with a Master of Science in chemistry from the College of Natural Science and Mathematics. Under the supervision of Dr. Hadi Tavassol, Marquez’s research aims to improve the electrochemical pathways for generating hydrogen and short hydrocarbons as clean and sustainable chemical fuels. Currently, she is completing her master’s degree in Dr. Tavassol’s laboratory. 

Marquez completed her Bachelor of Science in chemistry at The Beach. A highly involved individual, she was part of NIH Bridges to the Baccalaureate, Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity Scholar (BUILD), and UCSB’s Future Leaders in Advanced Materials programs. She also presented her research at various conferences, including the American Chemical Society (ACS), Materials Research Society (MRS), and Southern California Electrochemical Society (SCECS). Her most recent achievements include receiving the CSULB Graduate Equity Fellowship and ranking as number one author for a publication in ACS Applied Energy Materials titled “Structural evolution of SFO during oxygen evolution reaction probed using electrochemical stress measurements.” 

Marquez also has experience as a Teaching Assistant for general chemistry. She enjoys training and mentoring the next generation of researchers in Dr. Tavassol’s lab. She hopes to continue her academic career and become a professor, with the vision to help other underrepresented students pursue higher education. This summer, she will move to Evanston, Illinois in pursuit of her Ph.D. in chemistry at Northwestern University. 

Submitted by Hadi Tavaassol 

Rahul Vishwakarma Headshot

Rahul Vishwakarma, Computer Engineering & Computer Science

Rahul Vishwakarma is a computer science graduate student at The Beach and a Senior Member of IEEE. During his graduate studies, he served as research assistant in the Computer Architecture, Reliability, and Security Laboratory (CARS-Lab) under the guidance of his advisor, Dr. Amin Rezaei. His research focuses on hardware security, with an emphasis on the uncertainty quantification of hardware Trojans. 

His work has been published in prestigious conferences and leading journals, including Springer Nature and IEEE Access. Notably, he has served as a trusted Technical Program Committee (TPC) member and reviewer for numerous IEEE conferences, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the field. He also established himself as a frequent and esteemed speaker for the past 5 years at SNIA Storage Developer Conference (SDC) events held in the US, EMEA, and India. He holds 50 granted U.S. patents in the domains of machine learning, data storage, persistent memory, DNA storage, and blockchain. 

Beyond his research endeavors, he is a published author, having penned the book "Conformal Prediction: An Inventor's Approach," which serves as a guiding light for aspiring inventors, offering a comprehensive roadmap for creative solutions. Moreover, he is deeply committed to fostering the next generation of AI enthusiasts and researchers. He founded the CSULB AI Research Club and now continues to serve as a dedicated mentor, inspiring and guiding students on their academic and professional journeys. 

Currently, Vishwakarma is working on his startup, which focuses on developing AI-based solutions geared towards eliminating bots and countering AI-generated profiles. With an unwavering dedication to fostering trust and safety, his primary goal is to cultivate a secure and genuine online community experience. During his leisure hours, he finds solace in the art of poetry and the tranquility of capturing the sunrise at The Beach. 

Submitted by Amin Rezaei 

Destiny Gilliland Headshot

Destiny Gilliland, Psychology

Destiny Gilliland graduated from California State University, Long Beach in December 2023 with a double major in English: Creative Writing and Psychology. During her tenure at CSULB, Destiny delved into the realm of research, joining Dr. Karissa Miller's Health, Emotions, and Attention Research Technologies (HeART) Lab as a Research Assistant in her third year. Through dedication and acumen, she earned the role of Lab Manager in the HeART lab in her fourth year, showcasing both leadership and scientific prowess. Collaborating closely with Dr. Miller, Destiny led and collaborated on various projects and scientific abstracts, which she presented at regional, national, and international conferences. Simultaneously, Destiny collaborated with Dr. Leilani Madrigal and contributed to a project focused on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) climate in higher education. Their efforts resulted in the preparation and submission of a manuscript. During her final semester at CSULB, Destiny began working as a Research Associate and Project Coordinator in Dr. Peipei Ping's Data Science in Cardiovascular Medicine Lab at UCLA. This role not only broadened Destiny’s research horizons but also solidified her expertise in leveraging data-driven approaches to unravel complex scientific inquiries. Destiny is currently preparing to attend the Biobehavioral Health PhD Program at Pennsylvania State University in August where she will be focusing on psychoneuroimmunology research such as how chronic social stressors influence immunological, psychological, and cognitive health across the lifespan.  

Submitted by Karissa Miller