Spartan Engineers: Student Profile, Young Inventions, BMES, CMAA Club and more!

Student Profile – Aryan Gaur

Aryan GaurMeet Aryan Gaur, class of 2027 freshman who just started his journey here at San Jose State University (SJSU) as a Computer Engineering student. Growing up in San Ramon, Aryan isn’t the first in his family to pursue higher education, but he’s determined to make a significant impact with his chosen major. Inspired by his father’s experiences living in a rural Indian community that lacked healthcare resources, Aryan aims to leverage his engineering skills to bring about positive change. His goal? To develop solutions that address the pressing needs of underserved communities, like the impactful work of Zipline, a company that he admires for utilizing drone technology for medical supply distribution in Africa.

Considering SJSU College of Engineering’s reputation for excellence and affordability, Aryan’s choice was easily made. Securing a scholarship that covers his tuition has been a significant relief, allowing him to focus wholeheartedly on his studies and future aspirations, especially during his freshman year. Reflecting on his journey thus far, he emphasizes the importance of truly believing in yourself in the face of doubt. When encountering moments of uncertainty, he learned to trust his abilities and remain unwavering in his pursuit of excellence.

Aryan envisions his future career tackling global challenges, particularly for the betterment of healthcare accessibility and technology innovation. He aspires to apply the skills taught at SJSU to meaningful projects that make a tangible difference in the lives of those in need. Outside the classroom, Aryan is passionate about lacrosse and hopes he will be given a chance to play on the SJSU school team, embracing opportunities for personal growth and community engagement.

For high school seniors and incoming freshmen, Aryan offers a piece of invaluable advice through his own experiences: prioritize building meaningful connections. Recognizing the significance of collaboration and support networks, he encourages incoming students to take advantage of opportunities available to them now, connecting with peers and mentors who can inspire and support them along their academic journey. Even though his journey is just starting here at SJSU, we believe Aryan’s future will be full of success all because of his determination, resilience, and the belief that with the right mindset, anything is possible.

Diversity Theme – Young Inventions

Diversity Banner

Have you ever considered the possibility that some of the world’s most groundbreaking inventions weren’t conceived by renowned leaders or seasoned engineers, but rather by high school seniors, 15-year-olds, or even 11-year-old prodigies? These innovations bear the mark of youthful brilliance, challenging the conventional notion of who can shape our world.

11 Amazing Things Invented by Kids

10 Children Who Are Changing the World, One Invention at a Time

Inventions by young people

Braille – Louis Braille, 15

Louis Braille, a French educator who lived from 1809 to 1852, is celebrated for his invention of the Braille system, a tactile reading and writing method for the visually impaired. Braille’s blindness was caused by a childhood accident at his father’s harness shop at the age of three.

The existing system at the time, presented by Captain Charles Barbier, was used by the French military for silent communication, using twelve dots to represent sounds. However, Braille saw the potential for a simpler and more efficient method. By the age of 15, he had invented the now-famous system using just six raised dots arranged in a rectangular cell. This ingenious design allowed users to decipher letters with a single finger touch. Each combination of dots represents a different letter, number, punctuation mark, or even musical symbol. For instance, the letter “a” is represented by a single raised dot in the top left position of the cell, while “b” adds another dot below the first.

The system revolutionized literacy for blind people, empowering them to read and write independently, and opening doors to education, employment, and a more fulfilling life. Today, Braille remains the foundation of written communication for the visually impaired, with adaptations for various languages across the globe.

The Water Talkie – Richie Stachowski, 11

Richie Stachowski’s journey of innovation does not know any age limit, despite being just 11 years old. Living in Orinda, California, Richie’s fascination with underwater exploration during a family vacation sparked the idea for his groundbreaking invention, the Water Talkie. While snorkeling in Hawaii, he wanted to talk with his father about the mesmerizing marine life he encountered, but couldn’t underwater.

Recognizing the absence of such a device, Richie was determined to create one. With limited resources, Richie used 267 dollars from his savings at 11 years old to fund the whole project. He conducted research, prototypes, and tests in his family’s swimming pool, and in the end, he perfected his invention. The Water Talkie is a revolutionary tool that enables clear communication between people while underwater.  The Water Talkie operates by utilizing a combination of a snorkel mouthpiece, a plastic cone, and innovative mechanisms to prevent water infiltration and transmit sound effectively underwater. The invention was later picked up by Toys R Us and mass-produced 50,000 units in his first pitch to the company where he asked them for the purchase order, underwater.

JustinKase – Justin Rivard, 18

Justin Rivard, a senior at Somerset High School in Wisconsin, noticed a potential flaw in his school’s emergency response plan to prevent intruders from entering the classroom, instructing students and faculties to barricade the door with heavy objects. This method did not consider if the lock had been broken, the shooter could have used force to push the object out and enter the classroom. This led Rivard to conceive the idea for the JustinKase. Fueled by his passion for hands-on work and problem-solving, Rivard crafted the device in his personal workshop, guided by his tech and engineering teacher, Eric Olson. The JustinKase functions as a door-locking mechanism designed to resist intruders and keep everyone in the classroom safe. Constructed from steel plates, handles, rods, and locking knobs, the device is lightweight yet offers heavyweight resistance. When inserted beneath a door, the plates extend outward and fit securely into the door jams. Any attempt to push the door open activates the mechanism, preventing it from budging even under immense pressure. Rivard’s dedication to safety led him to produce enough JustinKase devices for every classroom and meeting room in his high school, with additional orders from neighboring school districts. Through his innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit, Rivard demonstrates that impactful inventions can originate from the inventive minds of young individuals, showcasing the potential for innovation within the next generation of engineers and inventors.

BMES conference recap

SJSU BMES group photo

Image – Left to right: Dr. Patrick Jurney, Dr. Alessandro Bellofiore, Conference President – Christian Catano, Dr. Lin Jiang, Dr. Yun Wang and Dr. Abdulmelik Mohammed

The annual Bay Area Biomedical Conference took place on April 3, 2024, at the San Jose State University Student Union.  It serves as a forum to see the latest advances in medical device technologies and regulations. When biomedical engineering (BME) student volunteers were asked why they attended they all had a different reason to go. Shweta Raghuraman wanted to see what was out there in the BME industry.  Talia Litvin thought it would be a nice chance to meet people majoring in BME and also see what is happening in the industry. Emily Harvey wanted to expand her knowledge by attending the conference.  Akshaya Snankar Ganesh hoped to explore the BME area more intently.  They also wanted to network, get a better perspective of the biomedical industry, expand their knowledge on topics such as how artificial intelligence could be used in radiotherapy for cancer and stem cell research, and see all the different career paths the industry had to offer.

Derrick Richardson, a presenter at the 2023 conference who is currently working for Alumis, a company focused on immune-mediated diseases such as lupus and Crohn’s disease, saw the conference as a way of plugging into the SJSU community.  He also loves talking to students and having them pick his brains. Mr. Richardson has another connection with SJSU– he is a lecturer for the College of Engineering.  He was asked by Dr. Guna Selvaduray and Dr. Alessandro Bellofiore to teach a class on project management, which he started doing in 2021.

Daniel Ramos, a junior biomedical student who has been more focused on his studies in previous years at SJSU, saw the conference as a good way to get more involved in campus activities. “It is important for me as a BME student to come and support the department,” he said.  “I hope to network and get a chance to meet some of the presenters.”  Daniel plans to pursue a Ph.D. , so meeting individuals like Dr. Will Lioneweber, a presenter from Stanford, to get more insight into the program and learn about other research prospects, was just the type of networking opportunity he was looking for.

He also wanted to grow his knowledge in BME fields that he currently isn’t doing research in.  “I’ve expanded my knowledge in 3D bioprinting for example, but I’m looking to grow my understanding in areas such as regenerative medicine, and there are a lot of presenters at the conference who are touching on that topic,” he added. Bioprinting leverages 3D printing technology, but instead of using plastic or something similar, the technology turns out functioning biological tissue. One presenter Daniel hoped to see at the conference was Dr. Ngan F. Huang, an Associate Professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University.  “She is doing stem cell research which is very applicable to 3D bioprinting because it can be used to grow cells to treat cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases,” Daniel said.

Don’t miss the next Biomedical Engineering conference in 2025!

The CMAA Club Makes Its College of Engineering Debut

CMAA First Meeting group photo

There is a new club at the College of Engineering focused on civil engineering, but is open to students of all majors.  The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) is now being represented at San Jose State University (SJSU). The inspiration for starting a CMAA chapter comes from Joyce Lewis, a graduate student in civil engineering who has a deep passion for making a difference in individual lives and communities. She saw the impact that CMAA events had on students from other universities and was further encouraged to start the club after receiving two scholarships from the organization. This inspired Joyce to dedicate time and effort to start the new SJSU chapter even with her demanding academic schedule.

Joyce hopes to bring a better understanding of the benefits of being a member of CMAA, which is to provide civil and other engineering students with valuable practical knowledge to elevate their understanding of the industry to a professional level. The club’s activities aim to create opportunities for career growth, and access to scholarships, and encourage collaboration with professionals within the larger construction industry. “We have Spartan alumni members within CMAA who are eager to share insights and offer mentorship, enriching the academic journey of our members,” said Joyce.

For the remainder of the Spring semester, the club will mainly focus on academic excellence and will have one very impactful volunteer opportunity for students with the non-profit organization, Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley.  This organization is well known for providing critical repairs and accessibility modifications for low-income homeowners and community centers, all at zero cost to those receiving the services.  Students interested in this rewarding community activity can email the CMAA SJSU chapter at for more information.

To find out more about CMAA visit the Northern California chapter website.

Pushing the Boundaries: AI for Creativity and Open-Ended Tasks – Prof. Ahmed Banafa

AI creativity for open ended tasksAs artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve, it has shown remarkable performance in narrow, well-defined domains such as image recognition, game-playing, and natural language processing. However, its ability to exhibit true creativity and excel at open-ended tasks remains largely unexplored. This area holds immense potential for pushing the boundaries of what AI systems can achieve. Although AI has made significant progress, the challenge of developing systems capable of open-ended creativity and versatility remains a formidable frontier. With ongoing research in AI for creativity, we can look forward to a future where AI can perform tasks previously thought impossible.

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