Two men stand in front of a computer with a robotic vehicle in the foreground
Jackson Vaughn, left, participates in the Department of Electrical Engineering's ECExpo. (Courtesy of Vaughn)

Outstanding Senior Spotlight: Jackson Vaughn

If graduating computer engineering student Jackson Vaughn could go back in time to give his first-year self advice, he would know what to say without hesitation. 

A man stands with a UC Davis-branded stole
(Cody Duty/UC Davis)

“Go. To. Office. Hours,” Vaughn said. “UC Davis is a top institution, and almost every professor is at the top of their field. This is the time that you can learn from them, and it is silly not to take advantage of that.” 

For Vaughn, one such professor was John Owens, the Child Family Professor of Engineering and Entrepreneurship within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Owens encouraged any and all questions, cultivating a learning environment where Vaughn was able to engage deeply with class material.  

Outside of the classroom, he found his team-based senior design project particularly rewarding. He and his team built an autonomous rover capable of following people around and using real-time pose estimation as a way to interface with humans.  

“I am immensely proud of the work that my team was able to achieve within 10 weeks,” he said. “This small time constraint required us to decide what portions of the project were most important.”  

Vaughn elaborated on this thought, explaining that it was an important lesson not to let perfection get in the way of pursuing solutions to problems at hand.  

After graduation, he will begin a position as an embedded software engineer at Ciena, a networking systems and software company based in Hanover, Maryland.  

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