Team Bios

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2023-2024 Student Team


Jasen H. Nicolas (Mechanical Engineering, 2024)

Turbine Design: Team Lead, Electronics and Controls | Linked In

Jasen Nicolas bio pictureJasen H. Nicolas is a 4th year mechanical engineering student at California Maritime Academy. Since his early years competing in the VEX Robotics Competition, he has developed an interest in all things related to solving engineering challenges: product design and development, programming, troubleshooting, etc. Further pursuing this interest, Jasen decided to attend Cal Maritime’s engineering program which offers a unique professional and academic experience. Since then, Jasen has academically excelled with a 3.822 GPA, while simultaneously growing his professional experience. He has worked as an Engine Cadet, completed an Instrumentation and Controls internship for an Engineering Consulting Firm, and completed another internship with a Nuclear Power Plant Engineering Design Firm as the Instrumentation, Controls, & Electrical Intern. Participating on various sub-teams in Cal Maritime’s Collegiate Wind Competition Team for the previous two years, Jasen plans to lead this year’s team to success as the Project Manager, while still pursuing his engineering interests on the IC&E team. 


Matthew Rizzi (International Business and Logistics, 2024)

Project Development: Team Lead| Linked In

Matt Rizzi Bio Photo








Vonne Ng-Bader (Mechanical Engineering w/ License, 2024)

Connection Creation: Team Lead
Turbine Design: Foundation | Linked In

Vonne Ng-Bader Bio PVonne is a senior mechanical engineering major who has also obtained her USCG 3rd Assistant Engineer License. With the license, she hopes to sail as an engineer on research vessels or river cruises. She is from El Cerrito, CA and attended El Cerrito High School. At El Cerrito High School, she played varsity soccer (4-time league champion) and varsity tennis, and currently is the captain of the Cal Maritime Women’s soccer team. Additionally, she has played for the Women’s and Men’s Soccer teams at Cal Maritime. She has sailed as an engine cadet on the Seaward Endeavor and Seaward Explorer and has also completed two training cruises on Training Ship Golden Bear. She was the division commander for division 4 Engine her junior year and senior cruise. She has been involved with CWC since her sophomore year of college. Throughout the years, she has enjoyed manufacturing parts and designing the turbine and foundation. Connection Creation has given her a chance to make lasting relationships with the community and introduce new people to renewable energy. 


Tobias Afdahl (Mechanical Engineering w/License, 2024)

Turbine Design: Mechanical Design | Linked In

Toby Afdahl Bio PhotoTobias Afdahl is a Senior cadet at the California Maritime Academy. He is majoring in mechanical engineering and also minoring in mathematics. His future aspirations are to sail as a marine engineer for a few years on commercial vessels, and then to use the practical knowledge and experience gained to find an industry that needs better engineering. To this end, he has had much experience sailing in the last 4 years at Cal Maritime. Much of this was aboard Training Ship Golden Bear, where he and his classmates gained valuable engineering training. This led him to cross the Pacific Ocean and visit many places including Samoa, Cabo, and Astoria. Another defining piece of his engineering experience was the time spent onboard the sub-sea construction vessel M/V Island Venture, on which he learned the real world of the industry and made life-long friends. This also was an excellent opportunity to make connections in the maritime industry. While on campus Tobias is an officer in the Corps of Cadets at Cal Maritime. Always tending to lead and take on a challenge without fear, this came naturally to him. One of his greatest interests currently is the Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC). He joined Cal Maritime’s CWC turbine design team early in his junior year and made the competition his mechanical engineering capstone project with a group of his friends who are now also his competition teammates. His main objective as the team's mechanical subteam leader is to develop a variable pitch system for the turbine’s blades to help get the team a high score in the rotor speed control category of the competition. 


Lucas Kennedy (Mechanical Engineering w/ License, 2024)

Turbine Design: Generator, Mechanical Design | Linked In


Cyrus Khaleeli (Mechanical Engineering w/ License, 2024)

Turbine Design: Electronics and Controls | Linked In

Cyrus Khaleeli Bio PhotoCyrus is a senior Mechanical Engineer pursuing a United States Coast Guard Third Assistant Engineer’s License at the California State University Maritime Academy. Originally from Rancho Palos Verdes, California, his interest in all things engineering sparked in high school. Last year he helped the turbine design team as a junior with controls and electronics, specializing in I2C communications and instrumentation. This year, he hopes to build on his prior knowledge and develop a reliable control system for the team’s turbine.


Victor Mashevsky (Mechanical Engineering w/ License, 2024)

Turbine Design: Blades Subteam Lead | Linked In

Victor Mashevsky Bio PicVictor is a senior mechanical engineering major with USCG 3rd Assistant Engineer License Option at California State University Maritime Academy. He is from Redondo Beach in southern California, where he attended El Camino College before transferring to CMA. He has sailed as an engine cadet with Military Sealift Command, and works as an engineering and math tutor on the Cal Maritme campus. Victor’s interest in engineering was inspired by his dad and brother, who are both mechanical engineers. After graduating, he hopes to put his marine engineering skills towards a worthy cause by working as a 3rd engineer on research vessels.


Kent Suzuki (Mechanical Engineering, 2024)

Turbine Design: Foundation | Linked In

Kent is a senior mechanical engineering major at California State University, Maritime Academy. He grew up in Los Angeles, CA but also spent a lot of time in his early years in Japan. In the summer of 2022, he was a reliability engineering intern at BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc’s Novato campus. This year, he hope to create a new design of foundation in the aims to reduce the weight significantly.


Nathan Witte (Mechanical Engineering w/ License, 2024)

Turbine Design: Generator, Electronics and Controls | Linked In

Nathan Witte Bio PhotoNathan  is a senior mechanical engineering student  pursuing a Coast Guard Third Engineers license, and is currently involved in Cal Maritime’s Collegiate Wind Competition team as the Generator and Controls team lead. Nathan also completed two cruises on Training Ship Golden Bear, where he got to see systems functioning in action. He performed system inspections, and maintenance on the 45 day and 60 day cruises. He also worked on the USNS Grasp on a 68 day cruise, where he was responsible for standing watch and performing maintenance for Military Sealift Command. These cruises have brought Nathan to places all over the pacific, from Cabo, to Appia Samoa, to Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii, to Seattle. His experience with small system integration, and theoretical knowledge of larger systems, like those found on ships make him uniquely suited to tackle any kind of problem. Nathan’s hobbies outside of school include disc golf, hiking, and running. Nathan plans to use his degree working in an HVAC or plant operations setting. Some employers he is looking at right now are Lockheed Martin, Tesla, Southland, and ACCO Engineering.


Faculty Bios

Principal Investigator: Dr. Thomas Nordenholz (Mechanical Engineering) | (707)654-1114 | Linked In

DNordenholz Portrait 2-28-20r. Nordenholz has been a Cal Maritime ME faculty member for 25 years.  He has taught courses mostly in the mechanics area (statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, vibrations, fluid mechanics, and material/mechanical laboratory).  He has also developed and teaches lecture and lab courses in energy engineering including theory, experiments, and issues with wind. He has conducted DOE-funded research on the design of a large scale offshore wind turbine rotor.   Dr. Nordenholz has been the PI and engineering faculty advisor for the CWC each year since its inaugural year in 2014.   



Tom Nordenholz, Professor for the Department of Mechanical Engineering