Every year, the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering selects and recognizes outstanding achievements by a number of its alumni, faculty members and students who have excelled in various fields. Below are profiles of the four recipients of the 2024 Edward K. Rice Outstanding Student Award.

Following the completion of his doctorate in mechanical engineering, Wenzhong Yan has continued his academic career at UCLA as a postdoctoral scholar, working with his doctoral advisor Ankur Mehta, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. Yan’s research interests include soft and origami robotics, mechanical intelligence, smart materials and structures, computational fabrication and wearable devices. While pursuing his doctorate, Yan mentored high school, undergraduate and master’s students, with particular attention to guiding those from underrepresented groups. He has also been instrumental in driving many new collaborations, with groups both inside and outside of UCLA.

A prolific young researcher, Yan has published many research papers in notable journals such as Nature Communications, Science Advances, Soft Robotics and Advanced Materials Technology. His work has been highlighted by the National Science Foundation and Popular Science. Yan is the recipient of several awards and recognitions, including the 2022 Southern California Robotics Symposium Rising Star Talk, the 2023 UCLA Samueli Harry M. Showman Prize honoring a graduate student for excellence in communicating research and the best presentation award at the 2022 ICRA Soft Robotics workshop. Yan is pursuing a faculty position so he can continue working on impactful research and generating new knowledge.

During his time as a computer science graduate student at UCLA, Matthew Wang pursued his twin passions of programming languages and equitable computing education. He was a teaching assistant for “CS 131: Programming Languages,” where he developed new open-source course infrastructure and materials, including socio-technical content. He was also the inaugural outreach co-chair for NeurIPS 2022, a machine-learning conference for more than 200 high school students.

As a graduate student researcher, Wang worked on novel data structures and visual tools to support probabilistic programming languages under the tutelage of UCLA computer science associate professor Guy Van den Broeck and Northeastern University computer science assistant professor Steven Holtzen. He has created and continues to maintain the open-source software tools “Just the Docs” and “Stylelint” to help with coding documentation and reduce coding errors, respectively. Before getting his master’s, Wang earned dual bachelor’s degrees in computer science and mathematics/economics while earning university and school-wide honors for his service to the community. He was heavily involved in computing education, advocacy and K-12 outreach — particularly through the UCLA chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery and Bruins Encouraging Active Minds. Wang is now an assistant teaching professor of computer science at the University of Washington.

Jacqueline Lim graduated in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. During her undergraduate career, she assumed numerous roles within the UCLA chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) — first as secretary, then vice president, before becoming president her senior year. Under her leadership, the organization expanded its intern program and hosted Girl Scouts Day for Engineers Week. The UCLA chapter placed in the top third nationwide and received an honorable mention for outstanding activities. In both her years of involvement with ASCE’s Sustainable Solutions, her team won first place at the regional competition and a top-three finish at the national contest. She also served as the team lead for the ASCE’s Construction Management Mixed Use Competition team.

In addition to her involvement with ASCE, Lim was a member of the civil engineering honor society Chi Epsilon, and served on the board of MentorSEAS. At graduation, she received the UCLA Samueli Engineering Achievement in Student Welfare Award and the Outstanding Civil Engineering Student Award from the ASCE Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch. She was also named a 2023-2024 co-historian for the ASCE Los Angeles Younger Member Forum. Lim is currently working as a project engineer at DPR Construction.

Bradley Schulz graduated summa cum laude in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. He was actively involved in the UCLA chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), serving as a co-lead for the IEEE Micromouse project and a lab manager, before becoming external vice president his senior year. For three years as a club officer, Schulz taught students hands-on engineering skills, redeveloped project curricula to keep hands-on engineering experiences accessible for remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic and later helped the student organization navigate the return to in-person activities.

In his senior year, he organized IDEA Hacks — IEEE at UCLA’s annual hardware-focused hackathon — where he integrated initiatives targeting interdisciplinary learning, outreach to community colleges, merging of engineering with the arts and minimizing the event’s environmental impact. Schulz graduated a quarter early and was awarded the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department’s Outstanding B.S. in Computer Engineering Award, UCLA Samueli’s Engineering Achievement in Student Welfare Award and IEEE’s Larry K. Wilson Regional Student Activities Award. Schulz is now an electrical engineering master’s student at the University of Michigan and plans to return to Apple over the summer for a third internship in the company’s Silicon Engineering Group.