Pumped up by “Pomp and Circumstance”: UC Davis 2016 Ph.D. and M.S. Graduates

Hats off—literally—-to the UC Davis masters and doctoral transportation graduates!

The enthusiasm and sense of pride following the June 9 commencement ceremony couldn’t be contained, with faculty members Dan Sperling, Susan Handy, John Harvey and Joan Ogden on hand to honor and congratulate the new graduates.

From the Transportation Technology and Policy graduate program, the 2016 class includes: Jeff Kessler, Ph.D., Kalaivani Ramea Kubendran, Ph.D., Julie Schiffman, M.S., Sydney Vergis, Ph.D., and Hang Zhou, M.S.

The Civil and Environmental Engineering transportation 2016 graduates are Yuan He, Ph.D., Erik Maroney, M.S., Jose Fabian Paniagua Fernandez, M.S., Julio Cesar Paniagua Fernandez, M.S., and David Phong, M.S.

Each graduate had a unique story to tell about the journey they took to their degree.

Jeff Kessler remarked that he was an “empty book” when he arrived at UC Davis, with fairly limited knowledge about transportation and environmental issues. He credited ITS-Davis Director Dan Sperling for being a great mentor and teacher.

Julie Schiffman related how she did the program “very differently than most everybody else”— married and with a husband and two daughters, aged six and eight. “There were a lot of things to balance,” she said. Every night, she got her daughters to bed at the same time, “regardless of whether there was a test the next day.”

Loved ones, family and friends who were on hand made the ceremony truly special for the graduates.

Twin brothers Jose and Julio Paniagua Fernandez paid special tribute to a family member who wasn’t there, their Dad, who passed away earlier this year. “To complete our goals, we had to overcome a lot to be here today,” said Julio. The brothers will now pursue their Ph.D. degrees in transportation here at UC Davis.