Weekly Memo

Oct. 7, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

     The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, as part of its Women to Watch series, recently published a  thoughtful profile of Wendi Heinzelman, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and our Dean of Graduate Studies. Wendi relates how she has been inspired and encouraged along her career path by her father, an electrical engineer, and her mother, a teacher.  Wendi, in turn, is working hard to encourage women of all ages to become leaders and professionals, as a troop leader in Girl Scout Brownies and as co-founder of N2 Women, which fosters connections among under-represented women in computer networking and related research fields. 

   Congratulations to Chuang Ren, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Michael Huang, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who have received a $360,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation. This will enable them to adapt  the existing software used to simulate problems in plasma physics, so that it can be operated with next generation graphic cards, multi-core processors and other advances in computer architecture.

     The partial shutdown of the federal government has created a host of what I hope will be temporary problems and uncertainties in many areas important to the University, including grant applications and federal workshops. Even so, I will continue to alert faculty, staff and students to federal programs and opportunities that are especially relevant to engineering -- and keep my fingers crossed that the shutdown is short-lived! For example:

       I strongly encourage our faculty to attend a Nov. 8 workshop at RIT, set up at the request of Rep. Louise Slaughter, which will give researchers an overview of National Science Foundation programs and funding. Representatives from the seven NSF directorates and the Office of International and Integrative Activities will give presentations and will be available informally and in breakout sessions to discuss potential research proposals. Registration for the workshop at the RIT Inn and Conference Center is $30; deadline to register is Nov. 1.

       Next summer probably seems a long ways off, but here's a good reason to start planning ahead: Each summer, the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program of the NSF supports 200-205 graduate students in science or engineering to do 8-10 weeks of research in the lab of their choice in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore or Taiwan. This includes a $5,000 stipend, round trip air fare, and a living allowance. And you get to be the PI of a project you propose. Not bad! The application deadline is Nov. 25. Click here for more information when the shutdown has ended.

     Here's another reason to start thinking about next summer: The Department of Chemical Engineering is launching a new six-credit summer course, starting next July, at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The course will provide an overview of the properties, uses, economic and political factors and environmental implications of nonrenewable and renewable energy sources. This is a great study abroad opportunity for students in engineering. You can find out more at information meetings scheduled at 11 a.m. on Oct. 22 and again on Nov. 19 in Dewey 2-110C.

      The UR Career and Internship Day, 1-4 p.m., Wednesday in the May Room/Bridge Lounge at Wilson Commons will bring about 55 employers to campus, many of whom are specifically seeking engineering and computer science majors. Employers of note include UTC Aerospace Systems, Microsoft, KLA-Tencor and the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power Program.

     Today is the deadline to apply for interviews at the Engineering and Technical Career and Internship Connection (career fair), to be held Nov. 1 in Boston.

      Our annual Hajim School Pumpkin Launch and e-Social, will take place at 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18 at the Staybridge Hotel. Rules and registration forms for the pumpkin launch are available in the Mechanical Engineering Department, Hopeman 235.

       And last, but certainly not least, we have a very busy Meliora Weekend to look forward to at the end of this week. The Institute of Optic's Industrial Associates two-day meeting begins Sunday with a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of Tropel by former Institute director Bob Hopkins, who helped pioneer entrepreneurship by faculty members. Some 115 graduates and faculty of The Institute have founded at least 160 companies in the last sixty years. Click here for more details.

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean