Weekly Memo

April 30, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

This is a big week for the Hajim School. On Thursday, our Senior Design Day will feature more than 40 projects by teams of students who have tackled a wide range of real-world engineering problems. The projects include: Producing ethanol from whey. Tracking the impact on the brain from heading a soccer ball. Detecting life-threatening air bubbles in the heart. Detecting and locating gunshots in urban settings. This is a chance for our students to enjoy a well-deserved moment in the spotlight -- and for all of the rest of us to celebrate what they've accomplished. Projects will be on display from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Goergen Hall. Lee Feinberg, '87, an Optics alumni and optical telescope element manager for the James Webb Space Telescope at Goddard Space Flight Center, will speak at 9 a.m. in Goergen 101.  I urge you to drop by. And thanks to members of three of the teams who were up bright and early yesterday morning to give a demonstration of their projects for the local Channel 13 TV news. Click here to see the coverage.

On Friday, two teams of Hajim School students will compete in the second annual Cornell Cup USA at Walt Disney World. They'll compete against 28 other college engineering teams for a grand prize of $10,000. The Swarm UV team has developed a system of robots that use ultraviolet light to quickly sanitize surfaces in medical facilities to prevent infections. The URead Braille team will demonstrate a refreshable braille display that acts as a computer screen for the blind. We wish these students all the best; special thanks to the faculty members from Computer Science and other Hajim departments who have advised these teams.

Biomedical Engineering has had a lot to celebrate recently. Scott Seidman was named the Undergraduate Engineering and Applied Sciences Professor of the Year by the University of Rochester Student Association. Five undergraduates also earned honors. Ankit Medhekar was selected as a 2013 Fulbright Scholar. Aaron Cravens won the Undergraduate Writing Colloquium Contest in the natural and applied sciences category. Ian Marozas was awarded the President's Award for Undergraduate Research in Engineering and Applied Sciences at the Undergraduate Research Expo. Michael David won the Dean's Award and Ka Lai Tsang won the Professor's Choice Award. Meanwhile, at the New York Business Plan Competition in Albany, an undergraduate team, TrakOR (W. Spencer Klubben, Ankit Medhekar, Michael Nolan, Sonja Page, Matt Plakosh, and Erin Schnellinger) won third place and $1,500 in the  biotech/healthcare category. A graduate team, MedThru ICT (Sarah Catheline, Nirish Kafle, Nick Lewandowski, and Alvin Lomibao) advanced to the finals in the information technology/software category. Congratulations to all. Visit the BME website for more details.

Prof. Jannick Rolland and researchers in her group at the Institute of Optics have applied a sophisticated imaging technique to obtain the first 3D, high-resolution pictures of a recently developed type of optical lenses. They say that using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) during the manufacturing process allows them to significantly improve the quality of these new and promising lenses. The results are published in the April 23 edition of Scientific Reports, a Nature Publishing Group journal. Click here to read more, including a link to the paper.

Jack Mottley, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was in St. Louis recently as a referee for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition World Championships, where about 400 teams from around the world both competed and cooperated in a game involving 120-pound, 5-foot-tall, remote-controlled robots.

The WiSTEE (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Entrepreneurship) affinity group, chaired by Jie Qiao, scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, has wasted no time in its efforts to promote stronger women's leadership and role-model building in STEE for the next generation.  Organized on March 1, the group has already established a WiSTEE-Boni Travel Grant to give members international exposure and perspective, and enhance their academic and research pursuits. First recipient is Xiang Liu, a junior in Optical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, who will attend a summer session on optical engineering, design and manufacturing in Changchun, China. The grants are possible thanks to the generosity of Robert and Diane Boni. Robert is a research engineer at LLE; Diane is a school district administrator and doctoral student at the Warner School. Next WiSTEE meeting is this Friday. Click here for more details.

Thanks to the Dean's Advisory Committee members who met with me in New York City yesterday. Our Board of Trustees Chairman Ed Hajim also attended. We had a very good discussion about Big Data, the new Center for Medical Technology and Innovation, and The Meliora Challenge campaign.

As always, keep me updated and have a great week as we come to the end of the semester.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean