Berkeley Engineering: The Year at a Glance 2020-21 IMPACT REPORT

The past academic year tested us in ways we never expected. Remote learning. Paused research. Finding new ways to keep our community connected. As always, at Berkeley Engineering we innovated, created, and built systems to overcome these challenges.

And while we were at it, we made major contributions to the growing field of COVID research, from prevention to diagnostics to turning sleep apnea machines into devices to help patients breathe. Read on to learn more about how Berkeley Engineering shone during a year like no other.


Clockwise from top-left: 150W Celebration; M.E.T.'s first graduating class, MDes workshop; 1970 Clean Air Car Race

Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation celebrates its five-year anniversary

“I really wanted to link the theory and the practice of engineering to the actual building of things in the real world. And coming from the ethos of Berkeley to be engaged in the community — that’s the future that we want to invent.”

- Paul Jacobs (B.S. ’84, M.S.’86, Ph.D.’89 Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences)


During my master's at UC Berkeley, I met a lot of enriching people — my co-founders, professors, other students, and future investors — with whom I'm still in contact and learning from. Being in such a vibrant environment helped my co-founders (also UC Berkeley alumni) and me dream big — beyond French or European boundaries."

- Pierre-Habté Nouvellon (MEng ’18, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research)


New faculty out of 245 total

New faculty hires were women

  • Computer pioneer David Patterson awarded the Frontiers in Knowledge award
  • EECS professor Michael Jordan named to Royal Society
  • Early-career faculty Alvin Cheung, Somayeh Sojoudi and Grace Gu named ONR Young Investigators
  • Cryptography pioneer Shafi Goldwasser received the Women in Science Award
  • Read more about faculty awards and honors

“This past academic year brought unprecedented challenges to bear on our educational and research mission. Students, faculty and staff faced new hurdles to learning and working together. But solving problems is what engineers do. We found new ways to communicate and interact, innovating solutions and engaging alumni and industry partners along the way. Today our Berkeley Engineering community is stronger than ever.”

- Tsu-Jae King Liu, College of Engineering Dean


“If you have a chance to be a mentor to someone who didn’t have the same opportunities or backgrounds that you had, please don’t close your door on them. Encourage and guide them so that they can also be the best they can be. I believe this is what represents the true Berkeley spirit and value to build an inclusive culture in the long run.”

- Andrew Yang (B.S. ’83 Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences), key donor to pilot phase of mentorship program

"It was great to get someone else's perspective that had already been where I was at, and to have them help me step back and see the bigger picture."

- Trey Riddle (B.S.22, Mechanical Engineering)

COVID-Related Support


72,627 alumni in at least 117 countries

Equity & Inclusion

“Despite the many challenges imposed by the pandemic, Berkeley Engineering has continued to make great strides — we’ll welcome our most diverse class of undergraduate and graduate students in the fall. Of the 16 new faculty hires this past year, 8 were women, and over 30% of the incoming graduate and undergraduate classes are women."

- Grace O'Connell, Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence

EMPOWER program participants (students, faculty, staff)

Inaugural Grand Challenges Scholars Program students

"At the beginning of my grad program, I felt like an outlier because I hadn't met others like me. Eventually I learned to embrace it because I know I am representing my people. I also felt inspired by seeing more Mexican-born students in higher education and Latinxs in engineering."

- Hector Gomez (MEng21, Mechanical Engineering)


Clockwise from top-left: Combining biosensors and AI software; measuring Einsteinium; the new Bakar BioEnginuity Hub; making plastic compostable; 3D-printing stronger concrete; infant-warming device

COVID Research

"I've been proud to see our community step up and play such a central role in the fight against COVID-19. Over the past year, our faculty and their teams have been developing everything from ultra-sensitive diagnostic tests to mask decontamination protocols to drugs that block infection."

- Sanjay Kumar, Department of Bioengineering Chair

“Even though I'm almost two years into my undergrad, I know that there's still a lot left for me to explore in Berkeley Engineering, and I'm so excited to see what lies ahead.”

- Cynthia Ting (B.S.23, Environmental Engineering Science)

Created By
Adam Lau


Editors: Kirsten Mickelwait, Sarah Yang | Photography & Design: Adam Lau | Video: Adam Lau, Stephen McNally, Clare Major & Roxanne Makasdjian | Additional Photography: Noah Berger, Kejul Patel, Rabaey Lab, Marilyn Sargent, Robert Becker, Anne Hansen