It’s been more than three decades since Rose McCallen graduated from California State University, Chico, but in the intervening years she hasn’t forgotten her alma mater.
And just the other day, the university remembered – and honored – her.
McCallen, who graduated from Chico State in 1980 with a bachelor’s of science degree in mechanical engineering, has been named a 2017 Distinguished Alumni.
One of eight alumni recognized from across the university, McCallen was honored for her professional achievements by the university’s College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management.
Her award, a lighted glass sculpture, was presented on March 24 during a dinner attended by about 220 people at the university’s Bell Memorial Student Union building as part of a two-day celebration.
“I think it’s a real honor. There are many years and so many graduates that have passed and I’m pleased to be recognized,” said McCallen, a mechanical engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
“I’m very proud of how the college has grown and to see the caliber of the faculty and students. To be chosen by faculty members who don’t personally know me, carries even more weight to me.”
During the two-day event, McCallen made a presentation – and took questions – from 25 mechanical engineering students about making the transition from student to professional engineer.
“We talked about how the national labs are something of a middle ground between academia and industry. We also discussed project management, leadership, time management and graduate school. It was a lot of fun.”
Through the years, McCallen has remained active in assisting Chico State. For the past year, she has served on the university’s Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronic Engineering and Sustainable Manufacturing Advisory Board.
She also has participated with Chico State’s annual Alumni in the Classroom presentations and in on-campus workshops that assist students applying for government internships and fellowships.
Other Chico State University alumni honored last month included San Francisco-based ABC7 consumer reporter Michael Finney, a 1978 CSUC graduate and the host of “7 on Your Side,” and J’Anna Jacoby, a 1987 CSUC graduate and a member of the Rod Stewart Band.
In 2008, another McCallen – Rose’s husband, David – was named a CSUC Distinguished Alumni. A former LLNL employee, David now serves as an associate vice president in the University of California Office of the President. He also was recognized by the university’s College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management.
In her current position, McCallen performs program development and university relations work for the Lab’s Weapons and Complex Integration Directorate.
During her 35-year LLNL career, McCallen has held a variety of assignments.
She was a founding member and from 1998 to 2007 headed the Department of Energy’s Consortium on Heavy Vehicle Aerodynamics, which includes DOE labs, universities and NASA Ames, and conducts research on improving truck fuel efficiency. The program has been very successful in recent years and is led now by LLNL’s Kambiz Salari.
From 2002 to 2006, she was the leader for the Applied Math Group within the LLNL Center for Applied Scientific Computing for four years.
And for seven years, from 2007 to 2014, McCallen led a team of about 25 computer scientists, engineers and physicists that developed the Lab’s ALE3D computer code, a multi-physics, multi-scale code used for national security applications. ALE3D models structural mechanics, fluid dynamics and explosive chemistry.
Beyond her degree from CSUC, McCallen holds three other degrees – a bachelor’s of science in math from St. Mary’s College, plus a master’s of science and a Ph.D., both in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Davis.