Alumni

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."