Asian Pacific Month
Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 6:00 pm

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month


Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month — a celebration of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The recognition started in 1979 with a seven-day observance approved by Congress and was permanently expanded to the entire month of May in 1992. May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers, who laid the tracks, were Chinese immigrants.

The College of Engineering (COE) recognizes the innumerable contributions, vibrant cultures, and rich heritage of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPIs). These communities represent a multitude of ethnicities, languages, cultures, and experiences that enrich our quest for knowledge and for solutions to society’s greatest challenges. As we celebrate the many contributions of these communities, we are also reaffirming our commitments to fostering an inclusive environment and combating any forms of discrimination.

To commemorate the month, accordingly, the COE is highlighting a handful of engineers and scientists with heritage from Asia, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands who have made or are currently making remarkable contributions to engineering and related STEM disciplines and inspiring others in the process. We believe that diversity is truly indispensable in COE and that richly varied perspectives, cultures, and lived experiences enhance creativity and innovation.

Umesh Mishra
Electrical Engineer
Umesh Mishra, a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at UCSB, was named dean of the university’s College of Engineering in March, an appointment that comes with the Richard A. Auhll Professorship and Dean’s Chair of Engineering. He assumes his new role on July 1, 2023. Mishra joined the UCSB faculty in 1990, and his research specializes in gallium nitride (GaN), a high-performance wide-bandgap semiconductor material that has been indispensable in developing an array of energy-efficient devices, such as LED, highly efficiency microwave power amplifiers for 5G connectivity and Department of Defense applications, and advanced power electronics that convert power with minimal energy waste. A co-founder of the university’s Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC), he co-founded Nitres in 1996, the first start-up to commercialize RF GaN transistors and GaN LEDs. In 2007 he co-founded Transphorm to commercialize GaN transistors for power conversion. A member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Mishra is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the National Academy of Inventors and has received the IEEE’s David Sarnoff Award and Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal, as well as the Distinguished Education Award from IEEE Microwave Theory and Technology Society. Mishra completed his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institutes of Technology Kanpur, before earning his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University and his PhD in electrical engineering from Cornell University.

Shuji Nakamura
Nobel Laureate and Inventor
Shuji Nakamura received the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for “the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which have enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.” Nakamura developed a thermal annealing technique that led to the first high-efficiency blue LED in 1994, which sparked a technical revolution after the blue LEDs were combined with fluorescent materials to realize white lights. Nakamura joined UCSB’s Materials and Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments in 2000, and he serves as research director of UCSB’s Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC) and is the Cree Chair in Solid State Lighting and Displays. An elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Nakamura is also a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the recipient of the National Academy of Sciences’s Industrial Application of Science Award, and the 2021 Queen Elizabeth Prize of Engineering. He holds more than 200 U.S. patents and nearly 175 Japanese patents. Nakamura earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degrees, and his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Tokushima in Japan.

Ram Seshadri
Materials Scientist
The director of UCSB’s Materials Research Laboratory (MRL)Ram Seshadri is a distinguished professor in the Materials Department and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as the Fred and Linda R. Wudl Professor of Materials Science. Seshadri’s work broadly addresses the topic of structure-composition-property relations in crystalline inorganic and hybrid materials, with a focus on magnetic materials and materials for energy conversion and storage. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Physical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received his PhD in solid state chemistry from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). After spending three years as an assistant professor at IISc, he joined the Materials Department at UCSB in 2006.

Henry T. Yang
UCSB Chancellor

Henry T. Yang was named UCSB’s fifth chancellor in 1994, making him the longest-serving chancellor in this university’s history and in the entire UC system. He was formerly the Neil A. Armstrong Distinguished Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Purdue University, where he also served as dean of engineering for ten years. Yang is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Society for Engineering Education, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He specializes in aerospace structures, structural dynamics, composite materials, finite elements, transonic aeroelasticity, wind and earthquake structure engineering, and intelligent manufacturing systems. He continues to teach an undergraduate course, advise graduate students, and publish papers in academic journals. Yang currently chairs the international Thirty Meter Telescope project, and serves on the Kavli Foundation Board. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from National Taiwan University, his master’s degree in structural engineering from West Virginia University, and his PhD in civil engineering from Cornell University.