Weekly Memo

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

As dean, I wear quite a few hats, and happily so. The parts I play include: administrator, educator, researcher, mentor, mediator, cheerleader, fundraiser, and more. Each has its rewards. Each brings with it a unique set of challenges. Fortunately, I have the support of top-notch faculty, staff, alumni, friends – and of course, students (present and past). Indeed, we couldn't ask for better ambassadors to the Hajim School. I offer the student stars of this week's memo my sincere thanks for doing a fine job – and for making mine ever better.

Ph.D. candidates Himanshu Shekhar and Karla Mercado attended the Physical Acoustics Summer School (PASS) at the University of Mississippi National Center for Physical Acoustics from May 23-29. The purpose of PASS is to bring intermediate and advanced graduate students, distinguished lecturers, and discussion leaders together to discuss the latest in physical acoustics. The admissions process is a selective one – only 50 candidates are ultimately accepted to participate. Himanshu is supervised by Professor Marvin Doyley. His work is in the area of biomedical imaging using targeted ultrasound contrast agents. Karla is supervised by Professor Diane Dalecki, and her work is focused on developing high-frequency ultrasound techniques to noninvasively characterize the material and biological properties of engineered tissues.

In addition, Himanshu has also won a highly competitive SPIE student scholarship. SPIE – the international society for optics and photonics – rewards the most outstanding students based on their potential for long-range contributions to optics and photonics, or a related field.

Also representing the Hajim School is the recipient of the highest student SPIE award in optical design. Cristina Canavesi, a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Optics working with advisor Jannick Rolland, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Bill Price and Warren Smith Award.

I’m not done bragging just yet. Not only was Christina recognized recently for her work in optics, she also won the Mark Ain Business Model Competition, along with four other students, just two weeks earlier. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students across the University. This year, 22 teams developed business ideas, as well as models to bring those ideas to market. The top five teams competed in the final competition May 16. Each team was given 15 minutes to make a presentation before the panel of five judges. At the end, Cristina and her fellow Simon School teammates Luis Soto, Cheng Shu, and Nebiat Kidane, who developed an optical device that improves the treatment of skin cancer and pre-cancer, took the top prize, a check for $10,000 to move forward with the project. Ain, a UR alumnus and the founder and executive chairman of Massachusetts-based Kronos Inc., established the annual contest in 2007.

I end this week with great news out of Rochester’s business community. Mike Madina and Rick Plympton, President and CEO of Optimax Systems, respectively, were honored recently with the 2012 New York State Small Business Person of the Year Award, given to them at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s award ceremony during National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C. Opitmax is a local company for which many of our students and alumni have had the opportunity to intern and work. Mike founded Optimax in 1991, eventually growing it from a barn cellar to a 40,000-square-foot facility. Rick provides the leadership and vision that position Optimax as one of America’s largest prototype optics manufacturers. Congratulations to our good friends.

Rob Clark
Professor and Dean