Weekly Memo

Sept. 9, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

   You may notice a stuffed Rocky yellowjacket clutching a calculator at Eileen Pullara's desk. It signifies just one of many reasons why Eileen, the department administrator in Computer Science, was presented with the Hajim School's Outstanding Staff Member of the Year Award at our annual reception last week. Eileen received the stuffed Rocky recently because she did the best job of all Hajim School department administrators at forecasting her department's expenses for the past fiscal year, coming within 0.38 percent of actual expenditures. This was no fluke. Eileen does weekly projections and account balances so that her department's finances are consistently in excellent shape. In addition to her superb work managing the department's budget, Eileen has recently helped coordinate a new master's program, plan a research conference, and sought training to help faculty take advantage of new funding agencies. We are very fortunate to have this veteran of 40-plus years working for us!

     This year's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Riccardo Betti, the Helen F. and Fred H. Gowen Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Professor of Physics, Director of the Fusion Science Center of Extreme States of Matter and Fast Ignition, and Scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. It's hard to know where to begin in citing Riccardo's contributions and accomplishments.  In 2009, for example, he received the Edward Teller Medal; in 2010, a Leadership Award from Fusion Power Associates; and in 2011, the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy for his leadership and discoveries in inertial confinement fusion. Needless to say, we are very fortunate -- and proud -- to have a scientist of his caliber at the Hajim School.

    I love it when people find creative ways to spread the word about our Hajim School programs. The Institute of Optics, for example, is working hard to bolster its undergraduate enrollment. And so, on Freshman Moving-in Day, Per Adamson, Director and Coordinator of the Teaching Labs; Daniel Smith, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, and graduate student Hillary Maben could be seen in the Park Lot, handing out ice cream treats on behalf of The Institute to students and their parents as they waited in line on a warm, humid day. I certainly appreciate their initiative and enthusiasm!

    We've added a new academic adviser in the Dean’s Office to help relieve the advising burden created by our 40 percent growth in undergraduate enrollment during the last four years. Rohan Palma comes to us with over 20 years of advising and program development experience. He served as the assistant director of RIT’s HEOP program, director of their National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering  Scholars Program, and director of their College Science and Technology Entry (C-STEP) Program. At Skidmore College, Rohan co-directed the school’s Academic and Administrative Initiatives. Rohan will also help implement our efforts to increase the participation of Hajim School students in study abroad, exchange programs, and global citizenry initiatives. A world traveler, Rohan has been to every continent except Antarctica, so he’ll have lots to share with our students about the value of studying abroad. Welcome aboard, Rohan.

       Students looking for a job or internship in engineering, computer science or IT are invited to special off-campus recruiting events in New York City (Oct. 18) and Boston (Nov. 1). Sponsored through the Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center, these Engineering and Technical Career and Internship Connection events feature career fairs in the morning, interviews in the afternoon and, at the New York City event, a student-alumni networking event. Travel stipends will be available for undergraduate students, courtesy of the Hajim School dean's office. Resume deadlines for interviews are Sept. 23 for New York City; Oct. 7 for Boston. Sign up here.

         Congratulations to Jack Mottley, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and of Biomedical Engineering, who has been selected to receive the 2013 IEEE Region 1 Outstanding Teacher in an IEEE Area of Interest Award. The award cites his outstanding teaching excellence in research and design of electrical engineering courses. Well done, Jack!

     If you want to know where terahertz research is headed, what better source could there be than one of the world's top experts in the field, our own X.C. Zhang, director of the Institute of Optics? Check out a recent interview on this topic with Zhang that just appeared in Nature Photonics.

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean