Celebrating Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month

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As you may know, the University of Maryland celebrates Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American Heritage Month (APIDAHM) in April instead of May. Knowing May is a busy month with end-of-semester activities and commencement, the move allows us more opportunity to honor our Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American students, faculty, staff, and—specifically to the Clark School—our fellow engineers. 

The United States’ innovation and higher education ecosystems are the best in the world thanks to the strong contributions of many people. Our Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American community has made substantial contributions to these ecosystems, and we are proud to celebrate its lasting impact on our society.

The Clark School’s Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American community members are generating game-changing ideas and innovations. Along with her teammates, aerospace engineering student Akemi Takeuchi worked with our Balloon Payload Program on its launch during the recent solar eclipse. Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Sahil Shah recently earned a CAREER award for his work on technology for people with neurological conditions and sensory or motor impairments. Fire Protection Engineering Assistant Professor Shuna Ni also earned well-deserved honors for her exploration of wind and its impact on the fire dynamics of mass-timber structures. Clark Distinguished Chair in Mechanical Engineering Jay Lee’s Industrial AI Center is leading the charge on integrating AI into various industries. Min Wu, associate dean and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, serves as president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society. Recently elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Fischell Department of Bioengineering Professor Xiaoming (Shawn) He is making breakthrough progress in the treatment of advanced cancers using cryotherapy. 

As with our previous history and heritage months, we will proudly feature student, faculty, and staff stories from the Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American communities on our digital channels. You can learn more, for example, about aerospace engineering student Ankit Verghese and his involvement with the Terraformers Club. We hope you engage with and share this content. 

Many of us use the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building, and Randy Ortanez ’82 Innovation Bridge and Ortanez Family Terrace every day. The Kim Building is named after one of the Clark School’s most distinguished alums. Kim Ph.D. ’91 received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest award for technological achievement. The Innovation Bridge and Family Terrace are named after Randy Ortanez ’82, a highly respected leader and innovator in the field of telecommunications.

These facilities are an enduring reminder of the impact Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American engineers have on our school.

The diversity of the Clark School’s community, and the accomplishments that spring from that diversity, are a source of strength and inspiration to all. We are better—each of us individually, and our community as a whole—because in our humanity we strive to understand, appreciate, and value each person. As engineers, we apply these core values to our solutions, part of what positions Maryland engineers to build a better future. 

During APIDAHM, I encourage us all to appreciate the strength and inspiration we draw from our Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi American students, faculty, staff, and alums. We thank them for playing a central role in building a more inclusive Clark School community, and making us all better engineers.

Samuel Graham, Jr. (he/him/his)

Dean and Nariman Farvardin Professor

Published April 11, 2024