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Windmill for June 15, 2023

By PP Mark Rogo

The meeting was called to order by our esteemed and almost-retired Past and Current President, the man, the myth, the legend, Chris Gaynor. (no relation to Mitzi Gaynor!) It was a full room today, excited to hear a craft talk from new member, Yang Shen.

New member Nanci Cohen – led our Pledge of Allegiance. PP Ron Lyster provided our “Thought for the Day,” identifying historical events that took place on this day.

·      June 15th, 1415, King John put his seal on Magna Carta, marking a major curtailment in the power of the monarchy, but later revoked by the Church.

·      June 15th, 1775 – George Washington accepted the assignment from the Continental Congress to lead continental Army.

·      June 15th, 1877 – Henry Flipper born into slavery in 1856, later became first “Negro cadet” to graduate U.S. Naval academy.

Song Meister Ed Gauld led us in the song, “You’re a Grand Old Flag” since yesterday was Flag Day.

Our President asked for guests of Rotarians and Rotary guests. PP Mark Rogo introduced Jerry Bergstein, a friend and past member of LA5 many years ago. Yang introduced his wife.

PPx2 Chris announced the Board approval of two new applicants for membership I our Club: Meir Nemetsky and Mohsen Babaeian. The Club general membership now has 15-day public comment period before final approval.

Yang Shen – Guest Speaker “For A Better Human life – An engineer’s way

Yang is currently working in Malibu at a robotics company focusing on surgery for the eyes. He’s the Director of Software, Horizontal Surgical Systems, but limited on what he can disclose about their research and focus. Yang has a PhD in robotics for stroke rehabilitation and is a teaching fellow in system engineering.

Exo skeletons are used to research stroke victims. He showed us a diagram at UCLA where they train, working with the side of the body not affected by the stroke. Yang spent five years on this project and published journals and books and conference papers on the topic.

Past Employment History

@SRI International in Menlo Park (Stanford Research Institute) but no longer doing any research with Stanford. It was a project with the U.S. Army. They are using robotics with soldiers to help them relearn to walk after war injuries. It’s used now with elderly people and stroke victims to provide a more stable posture.

@ UBTECH Robotics in Pasadena. This company is involved in different robotic products that help the elderly to function independently. Some deliver food, some go downstairs to pick up anything and bring back upstairs, and some help provide food and one acts as a wheelchair to bring people places by verbal command. UBTECH also developed a robot to sanitize hospitals.

Yang has developed 15 patents and sits on two editorial boards, among other things. He also submits academic reviews to editorial journals. His focus now has been AI robots as a smart elderly care solution for nursing homes and received the bronze medal from a trade association for his work. Quite the achiever!

@Horizontal Surgical Systems in Malibu – (current employment) - Yang cannot disclose much other than he is working on robotic cataract surgery. He is one of three top people recognized for their work in robotics.

Yang’s first exposure to Rotary was in a Hong Kong Club. Also, in 2015 he attended a lunch and learning session at the San Marino Rotary Club. In 2021 he attended a charity hike in Hong Kong.

Yang professed his desire to search for ways to be involved in his community. He started by looking at our Club and LA5 and decided to WVRC.


PP Ed Gauld asked the question on how the interface works between the verbal command and the physical movement via motors. Yang tried to answer but confessed that it was very complicated.

PP Michael Newman asked about the commercial market’s availability on these products. Yang informed all of us that they are already on the market and medical applications (such as the DaVinci surgical robot) covered by insurance in some cases.

Member-Extraordinaire Phil Gabriel asked about his life. His wife, Jiayl Li, was with us and they have been married for just over one year. (editor’s note – the day Yang sat down for his interview was also his first anniversary). His wife is getting her PhD in UCLA in department of statistics. She is also a part time trainer in Yoga.

Yang swims daily in the community center on Westwood Blvd and UCLA, collects lighthouse stamps from around the world and is a software architect. He does daily training sometimes at 5:30am swimming, but normally at 7:30am.

Sherrod Hansen asked about the AI changes coming forth; “some fundamental problems are not solvable by AI.” “I still have confidence in the human being and not compromised by AI.” Yang feels the commercialization process has a lot of hurdles, and we do not have to worry about it.

Rotaract President Huang from UCLA asked about the DaVinci surgical robotic machine, now being used in over 90% of certain cancer surgeries. The surgical robot can bring down the time of surgery substantially, and the recovery time is also shortened. It’s more mature and advanced than most other service or human robotic machines.

PP Dwight Heikkila asked a question about remote diagnostics.

In response to PP Peter More’s question, Yang replied that he became interested in this field by chance only. He is part color blind and called it a “fun fact.” This helped Yang decide to join this field.

PP Chris thanked Yang for his talk and presented him with a speaker’s gift.

Let’s Talk More”: [email protected]


  • The Demotion Party is here, and I hope you have a corny joke to tell President Chris!! There will be a Hawaiian shirt contest with one winner for the Best Shirt and one for the Funniest Shirt!! We will also have some incredibly special guests in attendance so keep those Hawaiian shirts respectful please! See you June 25th at Whiskey Red's for a fun event!!


June 22, 2023, at Persian Gulf - Pres. Chris's Swan Song

June 25th, 2023, at Whiskey Red's - Demotion Party

June 29th, 2023, DARK

  • July 6, 2023, PE Steve Day takes office and starts the new Rotary year. Meeting will be at the Persian Gulf so be sure to mark your calendars so we can send PE off to a rip-roaring start!!

  • July 6, 2023, will be President Elect Steve Day's first meeting of the year. Show your support and plan to be present to hear his goals for the Club in the new Rotary year. We thank President Elect Steve for taking on this duty for the second time as a WVRC member and wish him the best!!

  • PE Steve Day announced that another homeless clean-up is planned for July 22nd in the same area, off Cotner along the San Diego Freeway. We will all meet first at the Westwood Transitional Village on Sepulveda at 8:30am.

  • PP Michal Newman announced past WVRC Club Member Michael O'Connell passed away a week ago Sunday. Services are a week from this Saturday July 1st.

  • Westwood Village Rotary Club Board Members for 2023-2024 year are:

President: Steve Day

President-Elect &

Club Service Chair: Benjamin Fisher

Vice President: Currently Open

Secretary: PP Nancy McCready

Treasurer: Terry M. White

Past President: Chris Gaynor

Avenue of Service Chairs:

Community: David Stover

Peace: PP Marsha Hunt

Youth & Vocational: PP Diane Good

International: PP Nancy McCready

& Nevin Senkan

Membership: PP Mark Rogo

Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster

Social Media: PP Aly Shoji

Sargent at Arms: Jim Crane

Members At-Large: PP Gordon Fell

& PP Tom Barron

WVRC 2022/2023 Leadership Team

President: Chris Gaynor

President Elect: PP Steve Day

Vice President: Benjamin Fisher

Treasurer: Terry M. White

Youth/Vocational Service: Diane Good

Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt

Foundation: PP Steve Day

Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford

Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster

District Governor: Olivia Patterson Ryans

Immediate Past President: Nancy McCready

Secretary: PP Nancy McCready

Community Service: Aaron Donahue

International Service: Nevin Senkan

Director: PP Tom Barron

Membership: PP Mark Rogo

Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji

Windmill Editor: Teya McCockran