Through the Years: Short alum profiles and Class Notes

Kaskade Graphic 2

By Marcia C. Dibble

KASKADE (aka Ryan Raddon BA’95) is one of the world’s most popular DJs / electronic dance music (EDM) producers. He has scored 12 Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay Chart, created chart-topping remixes for everyone from Lady Gaga to Beyoncé, headlined at major music festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza, and performed nearly 200 other headlining shows a year for a decade. He started DJ-ing as a student at the University of Utah, where he majored in mass communication, minored in Japanese, and had a radio show on the U’s student-run radio station K-UTE, often featuring his own music.


2001 Releases his first single, “What I Say,” on Om Records


No. 1 The Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart
debut of his 2011 double album Fire & Ice


1st DJ to perform at Los Angeles’ iconic Staples Center,
which he sold out. Billboard declared that 2012 tour
“the only successful national stadium tour undertaken by a solo EDM artist.”


9 Original albums (plus compilations, remixes, and standalone singles)


2013 Release of his album Atmosphere, his first with notably Mormon-centric lyrics. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he served a mission in Japan before coming to the U.


3 Daughters with wife Naomi BA’00, a fellow snowboarder whom he met at the U


2014 Forbes names Kaskade the eighth-highest-paid DJ/EDM artist in the world, with earnings of $17 million


4 Grammy nominations


2015 Establishes a multi-year exclusive residency with Wynn Las Vegas


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Playing with Computer Magic

Colette Mullenhoff (Photo courtesy of Colette Mullenhoff

University of Utah alum Colette Mullenhoff, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony in February. (Photo courtesy Colette Mullenhoff)

Colette Mullenhoff has been interested in computer graphics for as long as she can remember. “I have an early memory of being impressed by the stained glass knight whose image in a church window comes to life in the movie Young Sherlock Holmes,” says Mullenhoff. “But seeing the T-1000 liquid metal cyborg in Terminator 2 confirmed my goal to enter the entertainment industry.” Following her instincts has paid off in her career, and this year she received an Academy Award for her work with a team of four that developed a digital shape-sculpting system. The digital-animation software system enables artists to edit the shape of characters undergoing complex animations and transformations.

Of the 59 people who received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Awards that night in early February, Mullenhoff was the only woman, according to the Hollywood trade paper Variety. She received an extended standing ovation.

“It was very emotional and encouraging, and a little surreal,” she says. The awards honor technical achievements in filmmaking and were presented a couple of weeks before the main 87th Annual Academy Awards event.

Mullenhoff MS’98 works in northern California for Industrial Light & Magic. The special effects company, started 40 years ago by filmmaker George Lucas, has created the visual effects for films including his Star Wars trilogy as well as the Star Trek movies.

She was born in Livermore, California, home to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where her father was employed as an electrical engineer. She received her bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. As a computer science graduate student at the University of Utah, she worked as a research assistant with the U’s Geometric Design and Computation Research Group, helping create software for geometric modeling, high-quality graphics, curve and surface representations and algorithms, and computer-integrated manufacturing.

After graduating with her master’s degree, she worked as a software engineer for Singletrac Studio, a video-game developer in Salt Lake City, and created 3-D modeling and animation tools for use with video games. Evans & Sutherland in Salt Lake City was her next stop, where she designed, implemented, and maintained 3-D graphics tools used for generating realistic outdoor computer-generated environments for flight-training simulations.

In early 2003, she moved to northern California to work with ESC Entertainment, where she created tools for processing 3-D models used in post-production on the films The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions. Later that year, she made the move to Industrial Light & Magic, in San Francisco. She and her husband, Patrick Tullmann MS’99, a U graduate in software engineering, now live in the Bay Area.

At Industrial Light & Magic, Mullenhoff works as a research and development engineer supporting software for the company’s Digital Model Shop artists. She currently is focusing on tools to optimize the turnaround time for digital artists. Those tools are being used in the production of Tomorrowland (Disney); Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel-Disney); The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm/Disney); and Warcraft (Legendary/Universal). “I enjoy working with artists to provide them with the tools they need,” Mullenhoff says. “It’s extremely rewarding to help them and see the results on the big screen.”

Ann Floor is an associate editor of Continuum.

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MechamRobert Mecham BS’73, a professor of medicine, pediatrics, and biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has received the Marfan Foundation’s first Distinguished Research Award. The award recognizes Mecham’s lifetime of work dedicated to understanding elastic tissue function and basic mechanisms involving connective tissue, paramount to understanding disorders such as Marfan syndrome and related diseases. Marfan syndrome is a life-threatening genetic disorder of the body’s connective tissue that affects the heart and blood vessels, the bones, and the eyes. Mecham is a national leader in the research of elastic tissue function, and his work has contributed to understanding the structure and function of fibrillin, the abnormal protein in Marfan syndrome. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Utah, Mecham obtained a doctorate in biochemistry in 1977 from Boston University School of Medicine. He began his career at Washington University that same year. His continuing research has resulted in major contributions to the understanding of how fibrillin and other elastic fiber proteins work to maintain normal tissue function and how mutations in these proteins lead to diabetes, bone disorders, and cardiovascular disease.

OlsonRandall J. Olson BA’70 MD’73, chair of University of Utah Health Care’s Department of Ophthalmology and chief executive officer of the John A. Moran Eye Center, has been awarded the Philip M. Corboy MD Memorial Award for Distinguished Service in Ophthalmology. The award is given to an ophthalmologist who “typifies a career of excellence in the service of his or her patients and peers.” Olson was recognized for his “legendary dedication and service to ophthalmology” and for the many contributions he has made to the field. He is the first and only chairman of the John A. Moran Eye Center, having started the department in 1982 with only two faculty members. It has now grown to include 57 faculty members. Olson specializes in research dealing with intraocular lens complications, teleophthalmology (delivery of eye care through digital medical equipment and telecommunications technology), and corneal transplantation techniques. He was selected as one of the 15 best cataract surgeons in the United States in a peer survey conducted by Ophthalmology Times, and Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today named Olson one of 50 international opinion leaders. He has appeared in the last three editions of Best Doctors in America.


HimonasConstandinos G. Himonas BA’86 was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court by Utah Governor Gary Herbert and confirmed unanimously by the Utah State Senate. He began in his new position in February. Himonas previously had been a trial judge for Utah’s Third District Court since 2004. He presided over complex civil, criminal, and domestic proceedings, as well as a felony drug court program, and served as the associate presiding judge for the Third District. He received a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in economics from the University of Utah and a juris doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School. From 1989 to 2004, Himonas was an attorney and shareholder at Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough, where he was involved in an array of civil litigation, and he served as an adjunct associate professor at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law from 2009 to 2013. As a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, he is the only member of Utah’s highest court who is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

VranesDanny Vranes ex’81, who played for the University of Utah’s Runnin’ Utes men’s basketball team from 1978 to 1981 and later the U.S. Olympic Team and the National Basketball Association, was inducted into the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Hall of Honor in March. One of just seven players to have his number retired by the Utes, Vranes was named an All-American in 1981. He was a fourtime All-Western Athletic Conference honoree and a member of Utah’s All-Century Team. He led the Utes to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Sweet 16s. The Utes won a Western Athletic Conference title during Vranes’s senior year and ended the season ranked 14th in the nation. Vranes also played in the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan, where he helped the United States win the gold medal. Vranes was selected as the No. 5 overall pick in the 1981 NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics. He played seven seasons and was named to the All-Defensive Team in 1985. During his NBA career, Vranes played in 510 games and scored a total of 2,613 points. His best year as a professional came during the 1983-1984 season as a member of the SuperSonics. Vranes also played basketball for four years for teams in Greece and Italy. He now lives in Salt Lake City.


RomeroCecilia Romero BA’98 JD’02, a partner with Holland & Hart LLP in Salt Lake City, has been chosen by the Hispanic National Bar Association as one of 10 lawyers across the country to receive its 2015 “Top Lawyers Under 40” award. The honor recognizes the accomplishments of association members who have distinguished themselves in the legal profession through professional excellence, integrity, leadership, commitment to the Hispanic community, and dedication to improving the legal profession. Romero’s practice focuses on employment litigation and consulting, including cases involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, class actions, wrongful terminations, harassment, and discrimination claims. Romero in 2013 received the Utah State Bar’s Raymond S. Uno Award for the Advancement of Minorities in the Legal Profession. Prior to joining Holland & Hart in 2004, Romero practiced law with the Salt Lake law firm of Ray, Quinney & Nebeker. She also was a law clerk for Judge Ted Stewart with the U.S. District Court in Utah. Romero received a bachelor’s degree from the U in English and her juris doctorate from the University’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, where she also served as president of the Native American Law Students Association.


BowlandZac Bowland BS’09, a former naval aviator and military officer who is now a business owner, deep-sea diver, and climate change educator, is embarking on a journey across eight countries in hopes of developing a new technique for diving in extreme environments. He also wants to collect data on climate change. When he started researching diving at high altitudes, he found startlingly little information. He discovered the phenomenon known as glacial lake outburst flooding, which occurs when water dammed by a glacier is suddenly released. As warming trends continue, melting glaciers form increasingly more high-altitude lakes that can potentially burst and wash out entire communities 40 to 50 miles downstream. Bowland, along with Vanguard Diving & Exploration and the Steep N’ Deep Project, intends to study the causes and effects of these glacial lake outburst floods to determine neighboring regions’ risk levels. The team will spend four years in eight countries, studying four seas, three mountain ranges, two oceans, and one active volcano. Bowland also hopes his work will educate the public on science and the importance of taking action.

HuxleyIleana Huxley (also known as Ileana Kovalskaya) HBS’08 MBA’12 has joined the cable and satellite television network Showtime’s hit comedy series Shameless in a recurring role. Huxley has two degrees in business from the University of Utah. She says she decided to put her business career on hold to pursue her love of acting. She began by performing on stage, and in 2009 she was cast in a short adventure film, Kelton, shot in Farmington, Utah. She says the experience gave her a taste for the silver screen, and she began to consider pursuing a film and television career and soon moved to Los Angeles. In Shameless, Huxley plays Nika, a Russian prostitute who adds some interesting family dynamics to the award-winning show. Her other credits include the upcoming movies The Feeding Rituals of the Desmodus Sapien in the Urban City (2015) and Code of Honor (2015), as well as the short film The Wonder Drug (2014). At the U, she received an honors bachelor’s degree in finance, with a minor in international studies, and went on to get a master’s degree in business administration.

 We want to hear from you! Please submit entries to Ann Floor. To read more alumni news, check out the “Honor Roll” column in the Alumni Association’s online newsletter, Alumni Connectionhere.

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