Alumni

Alexander J.-W. Brooks, BS
SS 2016 - SS 2018
University of Arizona
IBM Watson

"My name is Alex Brooks and I am an electrical and computer engineering graduate from the University of Arizona. I worked with Dr. Fink as a software engineer for two and a half years, developing algorithms for several projects including automatic anomaly detection in images, autonomous rover navigation, simulated path planning, and Lidar visualization. The last few years have been incredible! I have had the opportunity to explore many of my interests at a very deep level, publish several papers, and access job and internship opportunities that would have been otherwise unreachable. I would highly recommend the Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory to anyone interested in engineering, especially in the context of software design, robotics, image processing, and biomedical devices. The lab has a very unique breadth of projects that can help students explore a wide variety of technical interests. Most importantly, working with Dr. Fink is very fun, and he invests lots of time in his students to help them reach their maximum potential. He is very creative in his approach to research and great at what he does! I am very grateful to Dr. Fink for everything that he has done to help me shape my career path and I look forward to seeing what his lab accomplishes in the future."

Erich Schmid, PhD (Professor emeritus)
Dec 2004 - Sep 2016
University of Tübingen, Germany
Emeritus

Professor emeritus Dr. Erich Schmid is a theoretical physicist and computational physicist. He is the founder of ZDV, the University Computing Center of Tübingen, Germany. Together with I. Slaus he is the founder of the European Few-Body Physics Research Committee. Dr. Schmid is known by the text books “The Quantum Mechanical Three-Body Problem” and  “Theoretical Physics on the Personal Computer” with editions in English, German, Russian, and Japanese.

Erich Schmid, born 1931 in Munich, studied physics at the University of Munich and obtained his M.S. degree in experimental physics and his Ph.D. in theoretical physics under Walther Gerlach. After two post-doctoral years in Munich he became research associate at Florida State University and senior research physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in Munich under Werner Heisenberg. In 1965 he became full professor of theoretical atomic and nuclear physics at the University of Tübingen, Germany.

Dr. Schmid’s research started with experimental and theoretical molecular physics in Munich and changed to computational nuclear physics at Florida State University, Tallahassee. For his theoretical work he started to use computers as early as 1956. He designed mathematical models suited for computer applications (a model for extracting molecular information from Raman spectra, a Monte Carlo model for nuclear bound state calculations, the orthogonalized resonating group model for nuclear scattering calculations, the “fish-bone” model). His work includes pure mathematics (convergence-proof of the orthogonalized resonating group model) and computer applications. In 1988 he opened up a second line of research, namely computer applications in medicine, especially in ophthalmology. One of his first collaborators in this second field has been Dr. Wolfgang Fink. Dr. Schmid is first author of the above-mentioned books and of numerous refereed papers and conference contributions.

Jerri-Lynn Kincade, BS
PG&E National Competition 2014; Senior Capstone Design FS 2014 - SS 2015; NSBE
University of Arizona
FLSmidth

"My name is Jerri-Lynn Kincade; I’m a Biomedical Engineering graduate from the University of Arizona.  I originally met Dr. Fink in my sophomore year at The University Medical Center during a Biomedical Research Seminar. We sat next to each other, exchanged a few words, and then parted ways.  We then met again about a year later at a NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) event.  Dr. Fink later became the advisor of the National Society of Black Engineers and the mentor/sponsor for The Handheld Ophthalmic Device Project for the College of Engineering. I was an active member of both groups. Because Dr. Fink was such a phenomenal mentor, professor, and advisor he was able to help me grow in many areas. Dr. Fink helped me define my academic and professional goals, taught me and showed me how to successfully conduct research, provided me with advice on how to create a scientific research poster and presentation, and provided me with tips in how to improve my interviewing and public speaking skills. Dr. Fink also helped myself and other NSBE members publish a scientific article in The Journal of Pipeline Engineering (2016).  Most importantly, Dr. Fink never gave up on me, he always showed genuine interest and support in my future professional goals. His words were always empowering and positive. He was never too busy to offer his time or assistance.  Dr. Fink truly has made a huge impact in my life and I would like to thank him for everything he has done for me!"

Helena Hurbon, Undergraduate Student
Senior Research Project 2015
University of Arizona
now at Eckerd College

"My name is Helena Hurbon, and I am a current physics undergraduate at Eckerd College on the pre-engineering track, Class of 2018. Dr. Fink is an absolute pleasure to work with. I reached out to him in September of 2014 as a potential mentor for my senior research project. While Dr. Fink was teaching classes, traveling between Arizona and California, and maintaining his love for piano playing, he still had the time to take me under his wing and work with me in biomedical engineering. He mentored me during my last trimester of high school and taught me useful research techniques that I continue to use in my undergraduate education. I worked with Dr. Fink to approximate the growth of bacteria using the Runge-Kutta method and adjusted various parameters to determine the net change in growth. Dr. Fink was continually willing to give me as much time as I needed during our meetings and answer any questions I may have had. Additionally, he worked with me on my senior research oral presentation. He is always quick to respond to emails and concerns. My experiences with Dr. Fink have been invaluable. I consider it an esteemed privilege to have been able to work with him so early in my career."

Dale E. Karas, BS/BM
Undergraduate Research Project FS 2011 - SS 2012
University of Arizona
now at University of Arizona

“My name is Dale E. Karas; I’m currently completing my senior year of undergraduate studies with degrees in Optical Sciences & Engineering and Music Composition, with an emphasis on piano and organ performance and added minors in Mathematics and Chemical Engineering. I met with Dr. Fink during an outreach event in Prescott, AZ while our UA engineering colleges were promoting current topics in science and technology to the public. While maintaining event materials and remotely overseeing projects still ongoing in Tucson and Pasadena, Dr. Fink still found the time to discuss my interests in a one-on-one setting and give his input on my transition to a doctoral program – beyond conversing about my academic background influencing thoughts on compositional theory and our favored Germanic opera traditions, more importantly he relayed opportunities for biomedical and electrical engineering research available to my future career, as well as how I may strive to ameliorate my programming abilities for the demands of a graduate program. Upon returning to the University of Arizona, Dr. Fink immediately offered me a lab position in the Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory for interpreting algorithms in investigating computational visual analysis for patient ophthalmic defects; this was performed by employing Caltech's 3D Computer-Automated Threshold Amsler Grid test. I felt extremely privileged to be a part of his lab group and such an assignment, supported greatly through his ardent mentoring, and I was elated for the many opportunities I could assist in his work through my own considerations for the project roles. In part from his influence, I aspire to aid in the progression of scientific research by entering a doctoral program utilizing foundational practices from optical, electrical, biomedical, and chemical engineering, as well as the possibility of working toward a medical degree in ophthalmology. I look forward to keeping up-to-date with Dr. Fink’s research, whose lab is a model for my desired post-doctoral studies, and an exemplar for the personal research I’ll conduct in the near future.”

Cindy X. You, BS
SURF 2009
California Institute of Technology
now at Harvard Medical School

"My name is Cindy You, and I am an Applied and Computational Mathematics major at the California Institute of Technology. I worked with Dr. Fink during the summer of 2008 on determining the optimization of image processing in vision prosthesis, and during the summer of 2009 on a software package for the automated analysis of human visual field defects. My experience was rewarding in many ways; I had the opportunity to present a poster at a conference, publish two research papers, and learned much about how to conduct research. Dr. Fink's generous guidance always encouraged me explore my own ideas and provided much invaluable wisdom and expertise. I enjoyed the many meetings and discussions very much, as conversation was always interesting, enlightening, encouraging, and above all, friendly. My research experience with Dr. Fink was one of the highlights of my undergraduate education."

Anna Michalska, MS
SURF 2006
International University Bremen, Germany
now at Google, Switzerland

"My name is Anna Michalska and I am a Computer Science student from the International University in Bremen, Germany. In summer 2006 I undertook research under the guidance of Wolfgang Fink, Ph.D., a seasoned mentor at the California Institute of Technology and Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, USA. My personal project involved: 'Comprehensive Web Page Design for the General Public and Domain Experts'. From the very beginning I knew that my experience at Caltech would be unique, which was definitely a merit of my mentor - Prof. Wolfgang Fink. It was he who always provided me with an invaluable atmosphere that encouraged creativity and innovation. Our "never-ending" meetings to consult the progress of the research project were stimulating and mind-expanding. We worked hard on designing and implementing accessible templates of a web page. In the end I felt great satisfaction from the finished project under the supervision of Wolfgang Fink, Ph.D., who empowered me to take on that challenge."

Daniel Micol, PhD
SURF 2005
University of Alicante, Spain
now at Telefonica R&D, Spain

"My name is Daniel Micol, I am a Computer Science student from Spain and Wolfgang Fink was my SURF mentor in Summer 2005, on a project entitled 'SIMEYE: Computer Based Simulation of Visual Perception Under Various Eye Defects'. During the whole term of the SURF project Wolfgang Fink demonstrated to be very committed to me and my project, with several weekly meetings that could last for hours. Hence, I always felt supported and guided by him, and this was a determining factor to make our project finally successful. In fact, we presented a poster at an International Congress and have published a paper in a peer-reviewed journal, which is a tremendous success for a project that only lasted about two months. In addition, he always welcomes students not only from Caltech, but in particular also international students and from other US universities, in contrast to the majority of SURF mentors, that only accept Caltech students. Thus, I would strongly encourage any SURF applicant to consider Wolfgang Fink as his future mentor and I am sure he won't feel unattended in any moment."

Ankur Datta, PhD
SURF 2003
University of Central Florida
now at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center

"My name is Ankur Datta and I am currently a PhD student at the Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Fink during my summer internship at Caltech in 2003. Dr. Fink at that time had an idea about extracting geologically valuable features from images of rock terrain and the goal for me was to utilize my computer vision knowledge to make it a working system. During the course of 3 months that I was there, he served as a capable mentor and more importantly a really nice person to interact with. Though I was technically under a JPL project, there were numerous occasions when he traveled to Caltech to have project discussions with me, which obviously saved me the trouble of going to JPL. We had quite a fruitful collaboration with 2 conference papers published and a journal paper currently under preparation. Now that I look back, it was quite easily the most productive and fun internship that I had done during my undergraduate years. The discussions with him are always lively and his ability to create a positive outlook on the mentor-mentee relationship is quite valuable for any student. I would highly recommend Dr. Fink as a mentor."