College of Science & Engineering Alumni Newsletter

Spring 2000

News from Your Classmates

If you want to be featured here, please contact Lannie Nguyen-Tang.

    With more than 15 years of progressive engineering and network management experience, Scott Akrie (BS ’87, Electrical Engineering) was named vice president of network operations for Clearwire Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of wireless local access solutions in February, 2000. He will develop, implement and manage the process required to rapidly deploy and operate Clearwire IP networks nationwide including overseeing coverage planning and network construction, creating a centralized 24 by 7 network administration and monitoring center, and designing responsive first tier customer service and technical support programs.
    Prior to Akrie’s appointment at Clearwire, he was director of fixed network engineering and planning at PrimeCo Personal Communications where he managed a 45 million-dollar budget and supervised a team of 26 engineers, managers and directors. Before joining PrimeCo, Akrie was director of customer service and field service engineering at Repeater Technology, Inc. where he managed the customer Service Center providing both domestic and international customer supports. Akrie also held positions as MTA director of engineering and operations at Sprint PCS and manager of personal communications service network design at AirTouch Communications.

    Woodside, California has become home to a growing organic farm business known as the International Institute for Ecological Agriculture.  Among the community, this 2-acre plot of land located in the valley oaks of Woodside is commonly referred to as “The Farm.” The founder of The Farm is David Blume (attended '73-'75, Ecology and Sytematic Biology), a self-styled permaculture designer. The Farm is a community-supported effort to produce the best selection of fresh and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. In a six-month period, 120 families use The Farm to purchase their share of harvest. The distinctive advantage of purchasing produce from The Farm is the difference in taste and freshness. Lynne Russell, a shareholder of he Farm put it simply, “It’s a wonderful place and my garden is nothing compared to it.” Customers like Russell believe that there is great difference between organic foods and pesticide sprayed foods. Vegetables and fruits are harvested that very morning and may only be a few hours old compared to the typical grocery store produce selection that involves a seven to fourteen day process from field to store.
Last year The Farm, with the help of six employees, provided 80,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, five times the output of conventional farming methods according to Blume. He has been highly successful in differentiating the farm from just any organic growing progress. More than 10,000 people have been taught the technique at the farm and abroad. On the first Saturday of every month he hosts a “Permaculture Learning Tour” to show the benefits of organic farming and self-sufficiency. To Blume, “it’s a radical social statement and every time you eat a locally grown organic carrot you’re turning back global warming.” The Farm has become evidence to the feasibility of what is called permaculture, an earth-friendly design system that encompasses forestry, architecture, conservation, ecology, and farming. Thus, David Blume, who has studied firsthand similar terracing techniques practiced in South America and China, has gone beyond simply producing food organically, he has looked at all the systems and has created a farm that serves our needs and takes care of the environment.

    Neil Gray (BA ’62, Mathematics), a retired professor of mathematics from Western Washington State University, and his brother, Peter Gray (BA ’66, Mathematics), are authors of the Math-Science Adventure Series, which has been listed with the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education (ENC). Peter and Neil wrote the five book series of hands-on lesson plans for elementary teachers in 1996. The Clearinghouse told them in January, 2000 that “These titles have been chosen after receiving an excellent review in Teaching Children Mathematics.” A magazine published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
    Since his retirement, Neil is taking a long deserved vacation.
    Peter attended the Second International Conference On Mathematics Education in Hangzhou, China, from May 10-14, 2000. The agenda covers: "Bridging the Gap between Research and Practice K - 12 through International Collaboration." Peter's presentation addressed a 'new' direction that curriculum development for grades K-8 should take. Also he was proposing that the standard Math-Ed courses for elementary and middle school pre-service teachers be dropped, and in their place, teacher colleges should spend at least two years teaching this new curriculum to the pre-service teachers. "We should teach it to them just the way we want them to teach it to their own students. We (university professors) must become a new role model for our pre-service teachers."
    The 'new' curriculum is not really new, but rather a twist on what we already know. We know that most children entering the third grade list mathematics as one of their favorite subjects. But when they graduate from high school most of them want nothing to do with mathematics. We know that children learn best from immersion in purposeful work. The curriculum Peter is proposing integrates mathematics with simple science experiments, reading and writing, history, geography, the collection of data, and playground activities. The philosophy behind this approach is summed up in a Chinese Proverb, “Tell me and I will forget, Show me and I may remember, Involve me and I will understand.”  Peter may be reached at: or (360) 671-2253.

Back to Newsletters

SFSU  :  College of Science & Engineering  :  Featured Sites  :  Home

Updated by Lannie Nguyen-Tang on August 3rd, 2000