Weekly Memo

Sept. 17, 2012

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

Last week I urged readers not to be shy about sharing content for these memos. Thanks to all of you who responded. Let's start with Garrett West, a master's student in The Institute of Optics, whose description of his achievements this past summer should make us all feel proud.

After graduating in May with a degree in optical engineering, Garrett interned at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. He was in charge of designing optical prescriptions for NASA space telescopes with guidance from his mentor, Joseph Howard, who completed his Ph.D. in optics at The Institute in 1999, and other NASA engineers.
“On top of this amazing experience, I was awarded the John Mather Nobel Scholarship for my engineering success both at the University and at NASA,” Garrett wrote. “I was one of 11 winners from over 250 interns at Goddard. As part of my reward I got a $3,000 travel grant as well as free lunch (!!) with John Mather and Goddard Director Chris Scolese.”

Garrett is hoping to make it back to Goddard in January to continue his optical designs as part of The Institute's M.S. Cooperative program. “Hopefully this will inspire more students to join the Engineering School,” Garrett concluded.

I'm sure it will, and I certainly hope it will inspire students already at Hajim to keep hitting the books. As Garrett's experience proves, the sky's the limit! Thanks for sharing, Garrett.

We have other achievements to recognize and celebrate.

David Williams, the William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics, professor of optics, professor of brain and cognitive sciences, professor of ophthalmology, professor of biomedical engineering, and director of the Center for Visual Science, has just received the Antonio Champalimaud Vision Award at a ceremony chaired by the president of Portugal in Lisbon. The award recognizes Williams’ work on adaptive optics technologies as a “major breakthrough in the understanding and/or the preservation of vision.” The Champalimaud Award is given in even numbered years; Williams shares this year's award with the developers of optical coherence tomography; he received half the prize, about $630,000, for future research.

James C. M. Li, the Albert Arendt Hopeman Professor of Mechanical Engineering since 1971, continues to receive well-earned recognition for his achievements. The Third International Symposium on Materials for Enabling Nanodevices, held August 27 to 29 at UCLA, was dedicated to Li in honor of his lifetime contributions to micro-mechanics and materials science.

Congratulations also to Institute grad student Anthony Visconti and Institute adjunct professor Jen Kruschwitz, who were named "Ones to Watch" for 2012 in the August issue of Photonics Spectra.

Clearly, we’ve got a lot going for us at the Hajim School. Here’s one way you can help make sure the word gets out: Give us a hand at our annual recruitment and community program, Oct. 19-20. We need engineering students to serve as hosts and assist with a hands-on engineering design activity that will, as academic counselor Nikki Terry puts it, “twist the minds of the high schoolers (and current students) and leave them begging for more from the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences!” So if you'd like to help out, and I encourage you to do so, click here.

We also invite you to join us at the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Annual Pumpkin Launch event (complemented by an e-social) at Staybridge Suites as part of the same event. All volunteers will receive a free Pumpkin Launch T-shirt. To sign up your pumpkin launch team, contact Jennifer Olson at jolson8@u.rochester.edu.

On a final note, I'd like to welcome Bob Marcotte, our new communications project manager, who will help prepare our newsletters and other publications. Bob has a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas. He spent more than 30 years with Gannett Rochester Newspapers, most recently with the Democrat and Chronicle, where he wrote a weekly history column and a blog on birding in addition to designing pages. As part of his duties, Bob will help gather items for this weekly memo; you can contact him at bmarcotte@ur.rochester.edu.

As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean