Logo: University of Southern California

2014 OCEC Banquet Recognizes Best of Engineering In Southern California

USC Viterbi professor wins top honor For iPodia initiative, long-term contributions to profession
By: James E. Moore
March 04, 2014 —


USC Viterbi School of Engineering faculty, students and alumni were front and center during the 2014 Orange County Engineering Council (OCEC) Honors and Awards Banquet on Feb. 22 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Costa Mesa.

The evening’s top recognition went to Stephen C.-Y. Lu, professor in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, who holds the Packard Chair in Manufacturing. The OCEC President’s Award recognized Lu for outstanding long-term contributions to the engineering profession. Among his achievements, Lu is director of the USC Viterbi School’s iPodia initiative and serves as organizer of the iPodia Alliance, a global learning hub that uses iPodia to bring together students and faculty from nine leading universities worldwide, creating virtual joint classrooms that can share educational resources. Lu was accompanied by his spouse, Sharon Lu.

Professor Kristian Jessen of the USC Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science was recognized with the OCEC Outstanding Engineering Educator Award for his work as a dedicated scientist and teacher. Jessen inspires engineering students to pursue enhanced oil recovery and to develop unconventional resource projects that consider carbon sequestration, as well as reaching out to Hawthorne High School students to engage them in STEM education. Jessen was accompanied by his spouse, Professor Athina Markopoulou, a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the UC Irvine Samueli School of Engineering.

Zelong Wang and Soham Punjabi, both master's in petroleum engineering students in the USC Mork Family Department, received OCEC Outstanding Engineering Student awards for their academic excellence and their work with the USC student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.  Zhang helped organize the first-ever Cross-Generational Softskill Workshop with the SPE Los Angeles Basin section. Punjabi motivates his peers to participate in SPE and has organized several USC student chapter visits to local middle schools.

Petroleum engineering student, Xiaoyan Zhang (MSPE 2014), and USC Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering alumnus, Kyle Patterson (BSCE 2009, MSCE 2010), were both recognized with OCEC Young Engineer Awards. A full-time programmer in USC’s Center for Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies (CiSoft), Zhang is completing the last course for her M.S. degree in petroleum engineering.  She focuses on design and operation of digital oilfields and has just accepted a full-time position with Chevron.

Patterson, a project engineer with J.L. Patterson & Associates, Inc., is a registered civil engineer specializing in design of railroad and rail transit projects. The progressive degree program alumnus made the awards banquet a Trojan family affair. He was accompanied by his sister, recent alumna Janelle Patterson (BSCE 2012); their parents Jacqueline (Jackie) Patterson and Marc Cañas, a recent USC Marshall School alumnus (EMBA 2013); and their friend and colleague Gabrielle LaPorte, an alumna who completed her BSCE in 2010. Jackie Patterson is president of J.L. Patterson & Associates, Inc. and a lecturer in the Astani Department, delivering a graduate course in railroad engineering.

The Orange County Engineering Council is an umbrella organization for professional engineering and scientific societies, engineering and scientific businesses, educational institutions and individuals in or near Orange County. OCEC promotes the engineering profession to improve the image of engineers and scientists, attract talent to the field, and recognize excellence. A National Engineers' Week tradition, the OCEC banquet attracted more than 200 local leaders from universities, engineering firms, public agencies and professional societies to recognize the best regional examples engineering talent, scholarship, achievement and projects. 


Dr. James E. Moore is a Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Public Policy and Management, and Civil Engineering. He serves as USC Viterbi's Vice Dean for Academic Programs.