From Honors Student to Entrepreneur: David Cuccia (’03)

David Cuccia at CHP Lunch with Leadership

CHP alumnus David Cuccia shares his story with CHP students at the Fall 2018 Lunch with Leadership


The Campuswide Honors Program’s Lunch with Leadership program brings together alumni and community leaders with Campuswide Honors Program (CHP) students. In informal discussions over lunch, students have the opportunity to network, ask questions, and hear some great career tips.

Fall quarter’s Lunch with Leadership featured Campuswide Honors Program alumnus, Dr. David Cuccia B.A. ’03/Ph.D. ’06. Dr. Cuccia is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Modulating Imaging, Inc., a medical device company.

As a recognized leader in the field of Spatial Frequency Domain Imaging (SFDI), Dr. Cuccia has secured millions in funding and several patents to prevent, diagnose, and cure medical skin conditions with light based imaging devices. Students were interested to hear that Dr. Cuccia’s company was the direct result of his undergraduate research and doctoral dissertation at UC Irvine. He encourages students to “follow your research interests” and “let your drive and passion take you places.” Cuccia credits the CHP for providing breadth and depth in his education. He explained that taking challenging courses provided him the opportunity to think critically, communicate effectively, and write. These skills have been essential in grant writing and becoming the entrepreneur he is today.

Dr. Cuccia’s mentor once told him that no matter what path he pursued, he can’t “make a mistake.” This advice resonated with Lily McGrale, a first year Biomedical Engineering major, who attended Lunch with Leadership. She states “…As a student, I am beginning to question the career I want to pursue, and he [Dr. Cuccia] gave me insight in that there are many career paths, and that I can learn much from pursuing one and changing to another if I desire to.” Many honors students like Lily, are exploring the next stages of their life after graduation and realizing that their major(s) does not necessarily determine their career path.

“Alumni can have a profound impact when they come back to campus to share their wisdom and experiences with students. Students listen, as they recognize that the alum was once where they were” said Dr. Lisa Roetzel, CHP Director, Administration. CHP’s Lunch with Leadership supports the increased need for career readiness programs and the development of a career-community ecosystem, while offering alumni and community leaders a meaningful way to volunteer and assist students.

Return to the Fall 2018 Edition of Life in Honors