Weekly Memo

May 28, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

     The ink is barely dry on all those diplomas we handed out, and I'm already looking forward to  next school year! Rettner Hall will open its doors to students pursuing recently introduced majors in audio and music engineering and in digital media studies. We'll welcome new Hajim School faculty members. And we'll be making advances in other areas as well.

    For example, here’s some good news for students who want to present themselves professionally when they apply for jobs and internships. We’re adding two more sections of WRT 273: Communicating your Professional Identity this fall. The 2-credit course helps students develop a portfolio of resumes, cover letters, electronic communications, project abstracts, online profiles and TED Talks to help them compete for jobs and internships. The course will still be an elective this coming school year, but by Fall 2014 my goal is to make it mandatory for Hajim students. Thanks to Deborah Rossen-Knill, director of the College Writing Program, for her efforts, and to instructors Laura Godwin and Catherine Towsley who got the first section off the ground this spring. And to my department chairs for finding creative ways to fit this into students’ busy class schedules.

   I enjoy bragging about our Hajim School faculty and students, and I especially enjoy the fact that they give me so many opportunities to do so! For example:

   David Williams, Dean for Research in Arts, Sciences and Engineering; the William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics; professor of optics, of brain and cognitive sciences, of ophthalmology, and of biomedical engineering; and director of the Center for Visual Science, has received the Edridge Green Medal from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in London.  

    Kelley Madden, a research assistant professor in Assoc. Prof. Edward Brown's lab in Biomedical Engineering has received a two-year DOD IDEA Expansion Grant worth $575,000 to pursue a project that may lead to new therapies for metastatic breast cancer, by targeting alpha2-adrenergic receptors. Click here to read more.

     W. Spencer Klubben, a BME senior in Assoc. Prof. Ania Majewska's lab, was awarded the Walt and Bobbi Makous Prize from the Center for Visual Science. The prize, established this year in honor of a former director of the center and his wife, recognizes the graduating senior who has made the most outstanding contribution to vision research at the University of Rochester.

    Jinxin Huang, a graduate student in Prof. Jannick Rolland's lab in Optics, and Joseph Choi, an Optics Ph.D. student, have won SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarships.

    And Jessica Snyder, a postdoc in my own research group, and her UR teammates, Sarah Loerch, Kristina Maletz and Christina Devries won the women's division in the prestigious J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championships international road race at Rochester Institute of Technology. Jessica completed the 3.5 mile course in 20 minutes, 19 seconds -- fifth best overall -- leading her team to a combined 1:24:41. Way to go, Jessica!

      Be sure to check out three recently posted videos involving Hajim School students. Click here for a look at our recent Senior Design Day, produced by Matthew Mann of University Communications.  Click here to see a freshman engineering project, in which students from CSC160 created a program to optimize cabling the lights for the university's black box theater.

     And click here to see a video by Andrew Durney, a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering, describing his approach to piercing cell walls of microalgae so they can be genetically engineered to produce biofuel more efficiently. Durney, a trainee in the NSF Integrative Graduate Education Research and Traineeship (IGERT) program, was chosen to submit his project to the annual IGERT Video and Poster Competition. Your work is fascinating, Andrew, and we wish you all the best in this competition!

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean