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2017 Dean’s Medalists honored for hard work and dedication

Lyles College of Engineering recently announced Computer Engineering student, Vidya Sagar Gopala, as the 2017 graduate Dean’s Medalist and Mechanical Engineering student, Shervin Zoghi, as undergraduate Dean’s Medalist.

Gopola, Zoghi and Dr. Ram Nunna, Dean of the Lyles College of Engineering

Gopola, Zoghi and Dr. Ram Nunna, Dean of the Lyles College of Engineering

“They both demonstrated high levels of achievement and success through dedication to research, project development, leadership and service,” said. Dr. Ram Nunna, Dean of Lyles College.

Gopala, is an international student from lndia and will complete a M.S. in Engineering with a Computer Engineering option.

“Life as an international student in a faraway land can be challenging for students. The combination of being away from family and not being able to visit for long periods of time as well as learning a new way of learning and living can be daunting for anyone,” Nunna said.

As a first generation college student, Mr. Gopala relied on his faculty, peers, and other mentors to succeed.

Gopala with Dr. Reza Raeisi, Chair, Electrical & Computer Engineering Department

“I would like to thank Dr. Reza Raeisi for motivating and guiding me in every step of my success,” Gopala said. “I would also like to thank Dr. Zoulikha Mouffak and ECE department for incredible help and support.”

Gopala has a BS degree in Electronics and Communications from Bangalore, lndia. He says he didn’t want to stop at just a Bachelor’s degree and his thirst for education drove him to the land of opportunity to learn, gain and explore the latest trends in the world. He chose Fresno State for its excellence in service and commitment towards international students.

Gopala is highly regarded by his faculty and peers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  “He will go the extra mile to make sure everything is properly handled. As a leader of the group, he always encouraged his team mates to reach the goal and never give up,” Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Dr. Nan Wang said.

Mr. Gopala has served as a peer mentor to fellow graduate students, instructional student assistant, supplementary instruction leader, and research assistant. He has worked on research projects with several faculty members who are all highly complementary of his work. He has received several scholarships, including the Charles C. Buckley Engineering Scholarship in 2016. During the past four semesters, Mr. Gopala has completed many projects in the broad area of integrated circuits and systems. His research work in the areas of very large scale integrated circuits and digital systems testing and verification has resulted in 2 peer reviewed publications, and he is working on a third.

Zoghi, Gopala enjoyed lunch with past Dean's Medalists

Zoghi, Gopala enjoyed meeting with past Dean’s Medalists

He aspires to work in the semiconductor industry. “My ultimate goal is to pursue my Doctorate degree and serve the community and nation to bring out the possible new evolution’s in technology,” he said.

Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist for the Lyles College, Shervin Zoghi, will receive two degrees from Fresno State this spring – a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. in Economics. Zoghi earned a 4.0 in both majors.

“His great entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to service and community and willingness to bring people together to make an impact are all makings of an exceptional example of how a creative student can pursue and achieve more than many can imagine,” Nunna said.

It started when Zoghi, who is over six-feet-tall, wanted to develop a headrest for a car. He learned how to acquire a provisionary patent, create a business plan and learned about starting a company – he says although the headrest never made it to market that’s when he decided to pursue a career in academia, teach entrepreneurship to engineering students and develop technology start-ups.

Today, he is co-founder of three start-up companies which include 3-D printing and a not-for-profit student “think tank,” called Institute for Objective Development, co-founder of the entrepreneurship club within Lyles College and serves on the board of directors for Integrated Hybrid Technologies. Zoghi has received wide recognition and accolades for his work via the Lyles Center for lnnovation and Entrepreneurship. He also participated as a delegate at one of the Clinton Global initiative events. Other highlights include: submitting a provisional patent application, publishing 3 articles published in refereed conference proceedings, 2 articles submitted for publication in encyclopedias, receiving multiple merit scholarships throughout his education, extensive community service, and 3 poster presentations, including one at Stanford University titled “Design, Analysis and Fabrication of Low-Cost 3D Printed Prosthetics.”

“Shervin is well liked by his fellow students; he has a great personality, he is collegial, works well with others, and is focused on personal accomplishments,” Nunna said.

Dean Nunna presenting Zoghi Undergraduate Dean's Medalist Award

Dean Nunna presenting Zoghi Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist Award

“Some of my best friends are first-generation low-income students, many of whom I would never have met if I had gone to a different institution,” Zoghi said. “It is inspiring to me to see how far they have come, despite their obstacles. I am thankful that I went to Fresno State and had the opportunity to forge such amazing relationships that will last for the rest of my life.”

His faculty think highly of him and credit him for his academic and professional excellence.

Zoghi has received many scholarships throughout his career and as a Smittcamp Family Honors Scholar he brings great credit to the program by his accomplishments.  He has held several business and engineering internships – most recently with Johnson and Johnson Medical Devices.

“I am excited about the future opportunities to develop new technologies that could improve the quality of life, or pursue policy work that can advance human capital in underdeveloped areas,” he said. “I intend to pursue an MD/PhD in biomechanical engineering with an emphasis in entrepreneurship.”

Zoghi looks forward to becoming a professor and also intends to work on medical startups and policy research.

Dr. Sam Iacobellis Award of Excellence
Gopala and Zoghi were both honored with the Dr. Sam Iacobellis Award of Excellence for their hard work and dedication to their fields of study. Dr. Iacobellis graduated from Fresno State with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1952. Known as the ‘Father of the B1-B Bomber’ which helped end the Cold War, Dr. Iacobellis always stayed true to his alma mater and visited Lyles College often.