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Davis, California

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Chancellor Gary May, Professor Jay Lund elected to National Academy of Engineers


May, Lund join legacy of UC Davis staff in Academy

On Feb. 7,  the National Academy of Engineers announced that it had elected UC Davis Chancellor Gary May and Jay Lund, a distinguished professor of civil and environmental engineering and the director of the university’s Center for Watershed Sciences, to join the organization. According to its website, NAE is an American, nonprofit, non-governmental organization that strives to promote engineering professions by “marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.”

To be elected, candidates must be nominated by their peers in the NAE. Becoming a member of the NAE is one of the highest professional honors that can be bestowed upon an engineer. According to a press release from the NAE, May was elected “for contributions to semiconductor manufacturing research and for innovations in educational programs for underrepresented groups in engineering.”

A press release from UC Davis included May’s response to his recent election into the NAE.

“I am honored to be included in the National Academy of Engineering Class of 2018,” May said in the press release. “It is gratifying to be recognized for my research in semiconductor manufacturing and for creating programs to encourage underrepresented groups to pursue STEM careers. All of us can play a role in inspiring people of all ages to find ways to follow their dreams.”

In the aforementioned NAE press release, it was stated that Lund was elected “for analysis of water and environmental policy issues leading to integrated water resources planning and management.”

Lund has been a professor at UC Davis for 31 years and is not only involved with civil and environmental engineering, but also with graduate education, such as the Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Group.

“This is a great place,” Lund said. “It’s got great students, good colleagues and, I guess for me, importantly, it’s close to a lot of good water problems.”

Lund described his initial reaction to the announcement of the NAE Class of 2018 as “shock.”

“I’ve done a lot of things over a long period of time,” Lund said. “And I guess people like it. This is just a great honor.”

Lund’s most recent work is primarily focused in water resources and environmental system engineering.

“I think it was a culmination [of all research done], but I think it probably helped that I’m doing a lot of work on drought and that I have a drought to work with,” Lund said. “We’ve worked a lot [on] the effects of the drought on cities, ecosystems and agriculture throughout the state and how [effective the…] state, federal and local agencies [have] been in managing water during the drought.”

Lund reflected on the impact this election into the NAE may have on his career.

“It’ll probably make me busier than I am already,” Lund said. “But it’ll probably bring some good attention to UC Davis and the students that graduate from here. Usually these things come a little bit later in your career, but it’s good that I’ll be around for a while still as a professor so that the students and the campus can benefit from it.”

Lund said that students who participate in research alongside professors often do not fully comprehend the enormity of the work that they are assisting with, and credits part of this honor to many students over his tenure at UC Davis.

“I don’t think students completely understand just how important their success is for the success of the professors and they greatly benefit from each other,” Lund said.

Lund quoted his mother when describing what motivated him throughout his many years of research and other projects he had worked on.

“I have to blame my mother because she always told me, ‘If you see something that needs to be done, do it’ and maybe I’ve done too much of that,” Lund said.“But it certainly kept me motivated throughout my whole career.”

Lund said that he attempts to impart a little of that motivation he received from his mom to his students.

“There [are] a lot of problems that we have out there and […] students are often a little meek in thinking ‘Well, I’m not very good, […] maybe there’s nothing I can do,’” Lund said. “Well, that’s actually not the case. Most students are much better than they think they are, and I think that part of the role of the university is to not only […] improve the knowledge that the students have, but also improve their level of comfort in actually working on these problems and coming to solutions.”

Lund described his eagerness to continue with his ongoing research and said he is looking forward to lengthening his tenure as a professor at UC Davis

“I’m just delighted to be here at UC Davis,” Lund said. “[I] am looking forward to being here for quite a while longer.”


Written by: Priyanka Shreedar — campus@theaggie.org


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