Weekly Memo

March 3, 2014

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

     We've work hard to build our female undergraduate enrollment to 29 percent this school year, well above the national average in engineering. And we're doing our best to encourage even more women to enroll. Here's one of many reasons why: Lynn A. Dugle, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, recently wrote an op-ed for the Macon (GA) Telegraph about the lack of women in STEM careers. She noted, for example, that while a disappointing 14 percent of young women indicated any level of interest in a cyber career, the “jobs are abundant.” She cited Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who has said that for every person working in military cyber security today, 28 more are needed. Dugle writes that this is “an astounding statistic,” and that the “domain represents an emerging discipline for engineers and one of the fastest growing technical employment opportunities.”

    In a memo earlier this school year I mentioned that several of our Hajim School students have volunteered to tutor their peers. Peer advising walk-in hours are now available every Monday from 1 to 4 p.m. at 312 Lattimore. This is open to Hajim School engineering and computer science students only; students can seek advice on a range of topics, including study abroad, tutoring, research and curriculum planning. Advisors who have studied abroad are available from 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m. You can click here to learn more about the program.

     Have a great business idea? Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to enter the Finger Lakes Regional Contest of the New York State Business Plan Competition by submitting a two-page application by Sunday to Susan Virgillio. A full business plan is not necessary. Click here to learn more.

   Twenty students from a Gates Chili High School optics class spent two hours at The Institute of Optics on Wednesday. This was a class that undergraduate coordinator Dan Smith and Optics student Rebecca Pettenski visited earlier this school year. Dan and Julie Bentley, Associate Professor of Optics, gave an overview, current students Chris Marsh '15 and Pedro Vallejo-Ramirez '16 fielded questions and Per Adamson, Director and Coordinator of the Teaching Labs, led a tour and put on some demonstrations. The previous week, 12 students from Brighton High School enjoyed a similar tour, with Wayne Knox, Professor of Optics and of Physics, as faculty speaker and help from undergrads Zhenzhi "Jane" Xia ('16), Yeyue "York" Chen ('16), and Raymond Lopez-Rios ('17). It's great to see The Institute working hard to build and retain its undergraduate enrollment. If nothing else, I hope the high school students left with three  takeaways: Optics is fun. It helps to have a good background in math. And the prospects of landing a well-paying, rewarding job are very good!

     A warm welcome to members of The Institute's Industrial Associates program who will be here today and tomorrow for the annual spring meeting. The agenda includes presentations and talks today, and interviews with Optics students tomorrow. This program is an outstanding example of how a good working relationship with businesses can benefit our programs, our students and the businesses themselves.

     Congratulations to Suxing Hu, Senior Scientist in the Theory Division of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, who has been named an American Physical Society fellow for his work on attosecond physics, physics that happens in ultrafast times. 

   Best of luck to our own Tim Talley ’88 (Electrical Engineering) who will pitch his start-up, U-Lace, during the Shark Tank episode that airs at 9 p.m. Friday, March 7.  The ABC business-themed reality show features self-made multi-millionaires who give budding entrepreneurs "the chance to make their dreams come true and potentially secure business deals that could make them millionaires."

    If you get a chance, be sure to read the interview Sean Lahman of the Democrat and Chronicle conducted with Paul Ballentine, Deputy Director of the Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences, who does a great job of explaining why we need to invest in the Rochester region's optics, photonics and imaging cluster as a way to create jobs and bolster the local economy. Well done, Paul.

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean