Student Spotlight

Spring 2020: Nihar Talele

Featured in the Student Spotlight for Spring 2020 is Nihar Talele, a 6th year Ph.D. student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of California, Santa Barbara.
Nihar is working with Katie Byl as his advisor, and his main research focuses are Robotics and Control with interests in trajectory optimization, underactuated robotics and biomechanics. On his free time, Nihar likes to cook, draw, work out, and play video games. This year he is main focuses are his research and graduation.


Click here to read more about Nihar Talele

May 27, 2020

Winter 2020: Shara Rhagha Wardhan Balakrishnan

Shara Rhagha Wardhan Balakrishnan is a second year PhD student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. His research focus is “System identification and control in synthetic biology” and he is working in the CCSP/Controls program under advisor Enoch Yeung.

Shara is originally from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India and previously attended the “Indian Institute of Technology(IIT) Madras”. When he is not working on his research he likes to run, swim, do yoga, or play chess to name a few of his hobbies.

Read more about Shara Rhagha Wardhan Balakrishnan at

March 30, 2020

Spring 2019: Douglas Allan

April 14, 2019

Winter 2019: Nathaniel Tucker

Featured in the Student Spotlight for Winter 2019 is Nathaniel Tucker, a second year Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of California, Santa Barbara. Nate’s main research focus is in Online optimization for electric transportation systems, and he would like to help our society become more efficient and reduce humanity’s negative impact on the environment. He received his B.S. in computer and Electrical Engineering in 2016, and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2017 from Santa Clara University.

Words from the department: "Nate’s work has been focused on online electricity demand management strategies that provide performance guarantees in sequential grid optimization problems facing high levels of uncertainty (e.g., unreliable forecasts of future renewable generation outputs or demand behavior). He is passionate about green energy and smart grid research and is a pleasure to work with." – Mahnoosh Alizadeh

January 14, 2019

Fall 2018: Daniel Lazar

Selected for the Student Spotlight nomination for Fall 2018 is Daniel Lazar, a dedicated 3rdyear Ph.D. student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of California, Santa Barbara. Daniel is working on mixed traffic networks under advisor Professor Ramtin Pedarsani, and his main research focus is “Control of transportation networks shared between human-driven and autonomous vehicles”. He is originally from LA and received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014, before moving to Santa Barbara to work on his Ph.D. in CSP/Controls.

Words from the department: "Transportation infrastructure is entering a stage of mixed use, where some vehicles are autonomous and the rest are human-driven. Daniel has been working on a variety of problems related to mixed traffic networks including characterizing the equilibria of such networks, designing optimal control and routing policies for autonomous vehicles to achieve a better equilibrium, and studying the impact of human-driven and autonomous vehicles' interactions on network level performance. Daniel is a very passionate and dedicated student and it has been a pleasure working with him." – Ramtin Pedarsani

October 22, 2018