Student Overcomes His Own Doubts, Scholarships Closing Soon, Inventions That Defy Disabilities, and More!

Student Profile – Spencer Guinther

Spencer GuintherSpencer Vernon Guinther, a graduating senior from Pleasanton, California, has defied his own doubts to carve a path of determination and success in the field of engineering.

Originally uncertain about his academic direction and contemplating a business degree, Spencer doubted his intellectual capacity for STEM disciplines. However, one day Spencer’s friend recommended he just give it a try, and it soon changed his whole path. He selected Mechanical Engineering for no reason, but realized it was the right choice due to the joy he found in problem-solving and a deep love for science fiction.

With SJSU’s engaging engineering program and proximity to Silicon Valley, Spencer started his educational journey, fueled by a desire to challenge his perceived limitations. His commitment to academia was recognized by the Emma E. Legg Memorial Scholarship, easing his financial burdens and letting him immerse himself fully in his studies and extracurricular pursuits.

Throughout college, Spencer’s involvement in the Spartan Racing Baja club not only honed his engineering skills but also cultivated his leadership and organizational abilities. He found a sense of community among like-minded peers, who are hard-working, genuine, and easy to connect with.

Despite struggling with self-doubt about his mental capability at a young age, Spencer’s dedication pushes him to move forward and confront his insecurities head-on. To him, confidence isn’t everything—it’s about self-belief rather than external perceptions. He dismantled the barriers that hindered his potential, recognizing failure as an essential component of growth. His mantra—”I can do whatever I want”—became a guiding outlook, empowering him to overcome obstacles and pursue his dreams relentlessly.

Looking ahead, Spencer envisions a career focused on developing thermal systems for sustainable flight and space exploration, utilizing alternative fuel sources for environmental benefit. Ultimately, Spencer aims to take on a leadership role, combining his engineering expertise with business acumen to guide a team toward achieving this common goal.

Reflecting on his journey, Spencer emphasizes the importance of trying new things and seizing every opportunity for personal growth. There is no way of knowing what you like until you try it; don’t limit yourself just because you think, limit yourself because you know.

As Spencer gears up to enter the next chapter of his journey and become an SJSU alumnus, one thing remains certain—his resilience will continue to propel him toward new heights of achievement and innovation.

CoE Students Visit Maxar Space Systems

CoE Students Visit Maxar Space SystemsOn April 19th, students from Professor Vlad Ionescu’s Manufacturing Analysis and Management-Tech 147 class enjoyed a visit to Maxar Space Systems at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters, exploring the intricacies of advanced manufacturing processes within the aerospace industry. Spearheaded by Brett Deutscher, the Director of Assembly, Integration and Testing, the tour carefully examined production methodologies, interdisciplinary team dynamics, rigorous quality control measures, and safety protocols associated with stationary communication satellites. Additionally, students were treated to a presentation on the future of satellites by Maxar’s Vice President of Spacecraft Assembly, Integration, and Test.

Professor Ionescu highlighted key aspects such as the fixed layout of manufacturing flows, the utilization of in-house evaluation fixtures and test beds, adherence to clean room standards, and the unique quality challenges inherent in constructing and deploying communication satellites within the vast expansion of 20,000 miles in space. In the end, students were able to observe a satellite that was launched in January 2024 reach its final destination.

The visit to Maxar afforded invaluable insights into the practical applications of manufacturing principles within the aerospace domain. Students were grateful for the chance to engage with professionals at Maxar, fostering potential internship and career prospects within the esteemed organization. Witnessing the satellite assembly process firsthand left an incredible impression on the students, motivating them to work for a phenomenal company like Maxar in the future and put what they’ve learned at SJSU into the world of aerospace.

SJSU College of Engineering Aviation Students Visit Local Middle School


Recently, students from the SJSU College of Engineering (CoE) Aviation program were invited to Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara to participate in the school’s Career Day.  Senior aviation students Alex Sandy, Jayden Chow and Sierra Brannon-Young participated in the event, and gave presentations on the Aviation industry and opportunities within while also promoting the CoE Aviation Program. With the assistance of the CoE aviation students, the Cabrillo Middle School pupils had a chance to utilize simulators to get a sense of what it is like to fly airplanes.

The event was well received by the school staff who appreciated the efforts of  the CoE aviation students.  SJSU CoE aviation students and faculty are always willing to promote this program at various events throughout the year.

Diversity Theme – Disability

Technology has transformed disability assistance, introducing inventions that empower individuals with disabilities to lead more independent lives. From mobility aids to communication tools, these developments have reshaped accessibility and inclusivity. Here are some groundbreaking examples of inventions designed to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Inventions to assist those with disabilities

Standing Wheelchair:

For individuals with mobility impairments, traditional wheelchairs have long been indispensable tools for navigating the world. There are about 650 million people globally who depend on them. The traditional wheelchair was invented by Stephan Farfler in 1655, and in 1975, Valutec brought it to new heights by making the first standing wheelchair. People now can transition from a seated to a standing position with ease, offering a multitude of physical and psychological benefits. By enabling users to stand upright, it promotes better circulation, improved muscle tone, and enhanced bone density. Using this invention Dr. Ted Rummel, a surgeon who is paralyzed from the waist down, was able to perform surgery on a patient using this invention. Not only was he able to achieve his dream using the invention but it also inspired others like him to pursue their dreams.

Screen Reader/Text-to-Speech Technology:

An estimated 49.1 million people worldwide are visually impaired, and with today’s information all being online, viewed through a screen, it creates a learning barrier for those people.. Nevertheless, as technology advances, so do inventions with text-to-speech and screen readers, making information more accessible to individuals with visual or reading impairments. In 1968, Noriko Umeda invented the first English text-to-speech system, which has built a foundation for the advancement of technology we see today. Text-to-speech (TTS) technology works by converting written text into spoken language utilizing a synthesis process that interprets the text’s linguistic structure and produces corresponding audible speech. Screen readers, on the other hand, utilize TTS to convert on-screen text into speech. Screen readers interact with the graphical user interface on devices, interpreting elements such as text, buttons, and menus, and converting them into spoken output, allowing users to navigate and interact with digital interfaces through auditory feedback.

Hearing Aids:

Hearing loss can profoundly impact communication, social interaction, and overall quality of life. There are more than 1.5 billion individuals with some sort of hearing disability in the world right now. Fortunately, hearing aids have transformed their quality of life. Hearing aids work by amplifying sound vibrations and delivering them into the ear. They consist of a microphone that picks up sound, an amplifier that increases the volume of the sound, a receiver that sends the amplified sound into the ear, and sometimes a small computer chip that uses digital signal processing algorithms to filter out selective sounds and enhance speech clarity. The first electric hearing aid was invented by Miller Reese Hutchison in 1898, utilizing carbon transmitters to amplify sound for individuals with hearing impairments.

In the 1920s, more electric hearing aids were invented, which used vacuum tubes to amplify sound. However, these tubes were typically fragile and hot, making them not an ideal option.  The last ten years have seen significant advancements in hearing aid performance thanks to improvements in directional microphones which amplifies the direction of certain sounds more than others. Perhaps the biggest change in current hearing aids has been the incorporation of wireless/Bluetooth connectivity, making them capable of connecting wirelessly to cell phones, computers, televisions and other devices.

Objective-Driven AI: Optimizing for Specific Goals in a Complex World – Prof. Ahmed Banafa

Objective-Driven AIIn the world of artificial intelligence, a new paradigm has emerged that is revolutionizing the way we approach AI system design and deployment. Objective-driven AI, as it is known, represents a fundamental shift in how we conceptualize and develop intelligent systems.

Rather than pursuing the elusive goal of general artificial intelligence (GAI), objective-driven AI focuses on optimizing for specific, well-defined objectives. This approach is both practical and strategic, as the demand for AI systems that can reliably and efficiently achieve particular goals has grown exponentially.

At the heart of objective-driven AI is the principle of constrained optimization. Unlike general-purpose AI systems, objective-driven AI models are designed and trained to optimize for a specific, measurable objective, subject to a set of constraints.

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