Weekly Memo

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

I have a lot to share this week, so let’s get right to it!

It’s always a treat learning about Hajim School students who see their “breaks” from classes as anything but, and use the time to develop their skills and build their rÉsumÉs. So I’d like to thank our friends in the Gwen M. Greene Career & Internship Center, who have shared some news about Jill Meacham, a rising senior in Mechanical Engineering. Jill is interning this summer at Delphi, one of the largest automotive-parts manufacturers in the world. Based in the Advanced Systems Department of the company’s Lockport plant, she has three main jobs: the testing and implementation of a new evaporator used to keep cooler for longer the cabin of start-stop vehicles; work on a component of the air-conditioning system in a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy; and learning a new software that she will use to perform finite element analysis on various systems currently in development at the company. Happily, Jill tells us the University played a role in her landing this valuable gig: “Through the career center, I got a list of UR alumni working as engineers and sent an email to each of them, along with my resume. I did this in mid-May and heard back surprisingly quickly from Delphi. Within a couple of days, I had a 30-minute phone interview and received the offer the next day.” Congratulations to Jill, and to our career center, for jobs well done – and, of course, congratulations to Delphi for their great hire. (To read about more opportunity-seizing students, visit the career center’s blog.)

I also love hearing from faculty members who have come up with cool ways of connecting with our students in the classroom. And Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Amy Lerner had done just that – literally – on a hot day recently: “We had an invigorating class today, evaluating from an engineering point of view the designs of about 10 different squirt guns. We were outside Goergen [the BME building] making a variety of measurements and comparisons. Tomorrow they will do a similar exercise with their own products.” Amy tells me she and her students “took over the entire sidewalk with our fun” – and that the lesson really brought to life the concepts she’d been covering in class. Years from now, I’m betting “Squirt Gun Chaos,” as Amy calls it, is one of those experiments her students will remember conducting. Very cool indeed.

Highlighting research efforts this week, we’ve learned that Danielle Benoit, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has been chosen for a 3-year, $420,000 National Science Foundation award in support of her project, “Developing materials strategies to control siRNA spatial and temporal delivery to engineer multicomponent tissues.” I look forward to updates throughout the life of this hard-earned – and truly well deserved – grant.

Finally, I so appreciate it when one of you offers feedback – comments, questions, or critiques – on these weekly emails. Last Monday, Stephen Jacobs, Professor of Optics and of Chemical Engineering and a Senior Scientist in our Laboratory for Laser Energetics, told me one of the items in that afternoon’s memo had jogged a nice memory for him. I’d written that a soon-to-be senior at the Hajim School, Sean McDonough, had been interning over the summer at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, where he was working with a team to build and deploy a rocket. Stephen wrote, “I enjoyed the blurb about students at Ball Aerospace. During the summer of 1969, I had a job at Ball working on a proposal for a next-generation lunar rover. That was the summer that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, and everyone in the Ball lab was watching on TV.” Then, perhaps proving you can’t take the kid out of the engineer, “Making and launching a rocket is way cooler!” Made my day.

Please, keep your submissions and suggestions coming.

Rob Clark
Professor and Dean