Weekly Memo

Sept. 2, 2014

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

     Best wishes to all of our new and returning Hajim School students. I hope you are as excited about the new academic year as I am.

      Many of you, especially our freshmen, have been inundated with a lot of information the last few days. But I would like to mention something I hope you will give serious consideration to: study abroad.

     We've greatly expanded the opportunities for you to study abroad, and made it easier for you to do so -- for several reasons. Ours is truly a global society; as an engineer, you will no doubt work on projects involving other countries at some point in your career. Having a study abroad experience on your resume is a real selling point with employers.

      Even if that weren’t the case, study abroad is an invaluable experience -- a great way to visit other countries and immerse yourself in other cultures.  (Click here, for example, to read about a new program we're offering in Budapest, Hungary for computer science students.) Study abroad awakens you to the fact that not everybody lives the same way we do in this country. And it will make you a more self-reliant, confident person.
     Please feel free to contact Rohan Palma in our Dean’s Office to learn more about study abroad opportunities for engineering students. Check our website. And if you’re interested in studying abroad next spring, be sure to fill out a nonbinding declaration of intent by Sept. 15 with the University’s Study Abroad office.

      Jonathan Ellis, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Optics, is co-PI on a just-funded Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation. Jon will work with Shane Woody of InSituTec, Inc., to develop a novel laser interferometer to provide fast, portable, nanometer-level calibrations for ultra-precise motion control devices. This could be a "game changer" in chip manufacturing, large-scale measuring machines, precision robotics and other manufacturing processes that require routine calibrations to verify that process equipment meets exacting inspection and manufacturing specifications.

      STTR grants are designed to help startups and small businesses undertake R&D with high technical risk but also with the potential for high commercial reward. Unlike similar Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, STTRs require a researcher at a university or other nonprofit research institution to play a significant role in the project. I encourage more of our faculty to explore this grant category as a source of funding.

       Jon, by the way, has also been named as an Associate Editor for the journal Precision Engineering -- Journal of the International Societies for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology, which is devoted to the multidisciplinary study and practice of high accuracy engineering, metrology, and manufacturing.

      Pedro Vallejo-Ramirez ’16 of Optics is one of five students worldwide picked as winners of the “What will you do for IYL 2015” contest sponsored by the The Optical Society. IYL stands for the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, a global initiative during 2015 to highlight the importance of light and optical technologies. Pedro will explore Solar Catenary Reflectors as a low-cost way to collect solar energy. (A catenary is the shape that a chain forms under its own weight when hung between two supporting structures. A flexible sheet of reflective material hung between two supports will assume the same shape, Pedro explains, and will concentrate incoming rays from the sun by virtue of basic optical principles.)

     Alexander Anderson ’16, an optical engineering major who is minoring in biomedical engineering, has received a Raytheon/FIRST Robotics scholarship.

      And Denis Lubwa ’13, a graduate of our Technical Entrepreneurship and Management (TEAM) master’s program and now a UR web developer, won a Human JavaScript Scholarship from &yet to attend a prestigious programming workshop in Richland, Wash., last week.

      Congratulations all around!

      So, a new semester is upon us. Our incoming freshmen heard some excellent advice from Jim Zavislan, our Associate Dean, when he officially welcomed the Class of 2018 last week. In fact, it was great advice for all our students. Click here to read more.

   As Jim urged:  Let's get to work!

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean