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The Campaign for UC Davis

Stories of inspired gifts … stories that inspire giving

Office of University Development

UC Davis
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Davis, CA 95616-5270

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Portrait of Electric Cars

A scholarship helped Yee Shan Woo’s career in mechanical and aeronautical engineering take off.

Woo thinks her mechanical engineering career chose her.

“I’ve always loved robotics and technology,” said Woo, whose affinity for machines developed as a child when she — much to the dismay of her older brothers — took apart their toys. “And what’s better than to study what I really enjoy?”

As a mechanical and aeronautical engineering major at UC Davis, her engineering skills advanced beyond her days of deconstructing toys and her enthusiasm for the field grew. She received the UC Davis Astronaut Alumni Scholarship, established by NASA astronaut Steve Robinson ’78. She also was one of the Engineering Fabrication Laboratory’s (EFL) first student machine shop assistants and was a member of AeroBrick: UC Davis Aerodesign Team — a group of engineering students who design and build an airplane.

“I gained the educational background and built the skills I needed,” Woo said. “Without UC Davis, I would not be where I am now.”

Woo followed in Robinson’s footsteps after graduation, attending Stanford University and completing an internship at the NASA Ames Research Center. Woo is now a mechanical engineer designing electric vehicle charging equipment at Tesla Motors — a Silicon Valley company that makes high-performance electric cars.

“Getting financial support from someone who studied what I was studying was important for me because I learned more about Robinson and he definitely became someone I aspire to be,” Woo said. “I hope that some day I’ll be able to follow his example and significantly contribute back to UC Davis and its students.”