Weekly Memo

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

I must begin this week’s memo with hearty congratulations for the Hajim School’s newest alumni. Commencement marks the culmination of many people’s years of hard work and sacrifice, so this past weekend’s celebrations were well deserved and a joy to watch. I look forward to hearing from each of you as you continue toward your goals.

Each year, one of the highlights of the Commencement ceremony is the formal announcement of the winners of the Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student. It is always especially exciting to consider the potential our exceptional graduate students have to become the great educators of their generation. I commend all of the 2012 honorees, including the Hajim School’s Lane Hemaspaandra, of the Computer Science Department.

I’m thrilled, as well, to name the winners of the 2012 Charles and Janet Forbes Entrepreneurial Competition. Tied for first place were Droplets, Inc., with Max Greenberg ’12; and Mono-Mano, with Travis Block ’12, Sara Hutchinson ’12, Dominic Marino ’12, David Narrow ’12, and Martin Szeto ’12. FloMaR, including Margaret Fettis ’12, Garrett Goss ’12, Catherine Marando ’12, Zachary Milstone ’12, and Kimberly Ornell ’12, came in third place. Finalist teams included NanoSleuth, BrIm Solutions, and Accu-Ox.

The Hajim School also enjoyed success in the sixth annual Mark Ain Business Model Competition. The first-place team was LighTip, led by Optics Ph.D. candidate Cristina Canavesi, and including Technical Entrepreneurship and Management (TEAM) students Cheng Shu ’12 and Luis Soto ’12, and MBA student Nebiat Kidane. They plan to invest the $10,000 prize in their company. Forbes Competition champs Mono-Mano took second place, and TrueSeal, with TEAM students Shaojie Liu ’12 and Sijia Sun ’12, MBA student Ethan Williams, and Rachel Rakvica, a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering, took third.

On now to … Lady Gaga! The pop superstar and the Hajim School share a common link these days, and his name is Surjya Ray. The Electrical & Computer Engineering Ph.D. student – and budding artist – is a finalist in the BornThisWay Foundation poster contest. Established by Lady Gaga and her mother and housed at Harvard University, the foundation offers young people opportunities to express themselves and encourages their communities’ support. The poster contest’s theme was bravery, and Ray says his message, influenced by the Pink Floyd song, was “not [to be] just another brick in the wall.” Ray’s work has landed him in the contest’s top 10 – and he needs our votes to win! Visit http://bornthiswayfoundation.org/poster-contest by May 31 to cast your ballot.

And lastly, I’d like to encourage your support of our colleague Danielle Benoit in her efforts to raise money for the research of childhood cancer. With sponsorship from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, she and students from her lab will staff a – you guessed it – lemonade stand, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, at the Rochester Public Market, and on Sunday, June 10, at the Brighton Farmers Market. This will be the third annual Benoit Lab Lemonade Stand. You can donate at the stands, or online at http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/81503. Benoit is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, of Chemical Engineering, and with the Center for Musculoskeletal Research.

Rob Clark
Professor and Dean