Weekly Memo

Feb. 2, 2015

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

     Two teams of Hajim School students were among 25,000 participants from 78 countries who created more than 5,000 video games during the annual  Global Game Jam held Jan. 23-25. The object: Create a game from start to finish within 48 hours.

    Charles Lehner of Computer Science, one of the student organizers of the Rettner Hall event (along with Hassler Thurston of CSC), came up with TextCraft, a 2D multiplayer text-based sandbox. Morgan Sinko, Adeeb Sheikh and Stephen Cohen of Computer Science teamed up with Kedar Shashidhar and David Porter of Audio and Music Engineering, Lucian Copeland of ECE and Jordan Brooks of MechE on "It's All Downill from Here," a game with both visual and auditory components. (Click here for more on these games.)

   Sounds like this was a great experience -- and definitely something to look forward to next year!

     Here's good news for our faculty and students whose inventions could make the world a better place: The University has received a $300,000, three-year grant from  the National Science Foundation that will help as many as 90 faculty/student teams take their innovations "from bench-top to bedside." Working with the Center for Entrepreneurship, UR Ventures and High Tech Rochester, teams will receive awards of $1,000 to $3,000 each to help them learn first-hand about entrepreneurship and the commercialization of great ideas. Stay tuned for further details as they become available.

  Looking for a study abroad experience this summer? The Department of Chemical Engineering is offering a 6-credit program on renewable and nonrenewable energy at the University of York in England this July and August. Engineering students from any department are eligible to apply. The Hajim School will contribute to travel costs. Contact Jennifer Condit. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15. Click here to learn more.

    Christopher Muir, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, recently got a nice thumbs up from Carol Duquette, Vice President of Design Services and Maintenance at Wegmans Food Markets, for the way he is supervising senior design projects in the department this year. Chris joined MechE full-time last summer, but has taught on and off as a part-time adjunct professor since 2001. He brings with him 18 years of experience as a principal engineer at the Eastman Kodak Co. He recently sent a detailed memo to Carol and other senior design project sponsors that included the fact he would NOT be attending the initial meeting between students and sponsors. Why? So students would take the lead, and "own the problem." I like that idea, and so does Carol, who writes she is "impressed with Chris's very different, very thorough approach this year," and the deft way he "optimizes the relationships between the businesses and students, all to the benefit of both." Good work, Chris!
    Congratulations as well to Sam Sadtler '12 of MechE, whose art is part of a display being shown in the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Oman as part of the Art in Embassies program. Sam’s passion for the intersection of art and science began in high school, and he used his Take 5 year to study photography and media studies. At his website he explains that his art focuses on technologies "at the brink of obsolescence that are desperately trying to convince us of their relevance and, if nothing else, to get our attention just long enough to say goodbye." Here’s a link to see Sam’s contributions to the Art in Embassies display. He’s now at NYU in the Interactive Telecommunications Program, which brings together art, technology, design, interaction, computer programming, and circuit design.

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean