Michael D. Lepech, Ph.D. 1997 RHS graduate After graduating summa cum laude from Rockford High School in 1997, Dr. Michael Lepech attended the University of Michigan and earned a B.S.E. in civil and environmental engineering in 2000, an M.S.E. in structural engineering in 2002, and his Ph.D. in civil engineering and material science in 2006. He went on to earn his M.B.A. in 2008 in strategy and finance from University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He also served as a research fellow and research director at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment’s Center for Sustainable Systems from 2006 through 2008. Currently, Michael is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and fellow at the Center for Sustainable Development and Global Competitiveness at Stanford University. His teaching and research focuses on the creation of new building materials for green infrastructures such as transportation networks, buildings, water infrastructure, and power transmission. He serves on numerous governmental and industry advisory committees in both the U.S. and European Union. Michael is well-published and recognized for his contribution to the development of “flexible concrete.” Apart from his academic contributions, he is a founding partner in the firm Li, Fischer, Lepech & Associates, specializing in the development and use of this unique concrete material. These engineered cementitious composites offer several advantages over conventional concrete materials. Improved durability, damage resistance, flexibility and sustainability provide new opportunities in the design and building of next generation highways, bridges, buildings and other infrastructure systems. Internationally recognized for his expertise, Michael has served as a founding director of MECC Technologies Inc., an energy infrastructure firm based in Guangzhou, China, and New China Infrastructure Technologies Inc., an infrastructure development and construction firm based in Dalian, China. He also sits on scientific advisory boards for numerous venture capital firms based in northern California.
Rockford High School Hall of Fame
Erik S. Douglas, Ph.D. 1998 RHS graduate After graduation from Rockford High School as valedictorian in 1998, Dr. Erik Douglas earned a B.S. in electrical engineering in 2002 from Purdue on a full scholarship. He earned his Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. During this time, he also studied and conducted research at Oxford, Johns Hopkins and Stanford. In graduate school, Erik distinguished himself with fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the United Nations. He is the holder of two patents and has authored numerous high-profile research publications. Erik has been active as a citizen scientist, teaching college classes to inmates at San Quentin, and advising the State of California and the National Academy of Sciences on science issues. Erik has co-founded and currently leads CellScope Inc., a company that aims to make medical diagnostic technology more accessible around the world. His work has earned him grants and awards from Intel, Vodafone and the Gates Foundation. Erik’s passion for sharing the benefits of science and engineering in developing countries is also evidenced by his international work on water quality in China and his medical diagnostics in the Congo. Erik is dedicated to academic excellence, service to community, and the pursuit of positive societal impact.
Carole Baker Carole Baker, a Rockford resident for almost 50 years, has been involved with the Rockford school district since the 1960s. She began by volunteering for the schools when her children first attended Rockford schools. She recognized the value of being an involved parent. In the early 1970s, Carole became a school aide, working with the E.M.I. Special Education students. In 1982 she started working specifically with students who were blind or had significant sight problems. To better serve these students, Carole showed her dedication by taking classes and mastering the Braille system. She continued in this role, working closely with students, until her retirement in 1999. In addition to her role in special education, in 1976 Carole accepted the responsibility of varsity cheerleading advisor when she learned there was no one available to fulfill this role. She held this position for nine years. In Carole’s retirement, she continues to volunteer at North Rockford Middle School during orientation, Valley View Elementary School, and teaching “survival swim” to Rockford fourth-graders. She supports the Rockford community by teaching “arthritis swim” to senior citizens, and participating in the Rockford Relay for Life. Carole is a lifelong supporter of the Rockford schools and community.
Following graduation from Rockford High School in 1970, Dr. Linda Johnston attended Michigan State University, earning a B.S. in dietetics in 1974 and a master’s degree in institutional administration with an emphasis in labor and industrial relation in 1976. She continued her education at George Mason University, earning her Ph.D. in conflict analysis and resolution in 2000. Johnston has done her conflict resolution work throughout the world, including the Ukraine, Republic of Georgia, Barbados, Nigeria, Egypt, Costa Rica and the United States. Her research includes racial and ethnic conflict, violence prevention programs for youth, conflict styles in the workplace, and the exploration of living in peace. She is highly published in her field and actively sought as a speaker and facilitator. Johnston is the director of the Master of Science in Conflict Management Program, the director of the Center for Conflict Management, and an associate professor of conflict management at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Ga. She is the president of the International Peace Research Association Foundation, serves on the Small Research Grants Committee, and administers the International Senesh Fellowship Program for women from developing countries. She is also on the board of Hands Along the Nile, and the On-Line Advisory Committee for the U.N. School of Peace in Costa Rica.