Weekly Memo

March 30, 2015

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

    A warm welcome to Niaz Abdolrahim, currently a postdoctoral associate at MIT, who will join the Department of Mechanical Engineering this summer as an assistant professor. Niaz studies the interfaces where different materials come together in engineered composite materials at the atomic level. As Department Chair John Lambropoulos notes, "understanding interfaces is absolutely critical. That’s the modern view of materials science: Interfaces control the behavior of all engineering materials."  Her strong background in both mechanical engineering and materials science will serve the department well, just as her strong computational skills will no doubt contribute to our University's overall data science initiative. Indeed, she was MechE's first choice in its search to fill the opening created by Prof. James Li's retirement last year, and we feel very fortunate to have her aboard.

    Two of our students -- Jeffry Magloire '16 of MechE and Aurelie Roche '16 of ChemE -- spent their spring break in Haiti with five other UR students as part of a course called Achievement and Motivation in Developing Countries, taught by Andrew Elliot, Professor of Psychology. The goal of the trip was to speak directly with Haitians about the barriers to education they encounter. For example,  class talked to teachers and students in remote villages where one of the schools consisted of a pair of small tin shacks crammed full of students sitting on wooden benches -- and where it was obvious the students had never seen a computer. Jeffry described this as a "once in a lifetime experience" that allowed him to meet people "who find the love in what they are doing no matter what the condition is." Aurelie, who spent her childhood in Haiti, said she was "able to see a different, rural side of Haiti that I wasn't exposed to before," and as a result has "confirmed my desire to continue working and giving back to Haiti as part of my lifelong career."
    Congratulations to these Hajim School students who have been selected for this summer's DAAD-RISE program in Germany: Luke Daily '16, Biomedical Engineering (Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg); Claire Kaiser '17, Biomedical Engineering (Deutsches Zentrum fur Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen DZNE-Bonn); Tianyi "Linda" Liu '16, Biomedical Engineering (Forschungszentrum Julich);  Zhaoyu Nie '17, Optics (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen); Nathaniel Potrepka '17, Computer Science/Audio & Music Engineering (Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, University of Applied Sciences); Zhenzhi "Jane" Xia '16, Optical Engineering (Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg); and So Han Florence Yip '17, Mechanical Engineering (Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat Jena). This summer internship program matches undergraduates from the U.S., Canada and UK with doctoral students in research groups at top German universities and research institutions for 2 to 3 months. This is a great opportunity to gain both research and overseas experience.

     Speaking of Germany, Eby Friedman, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is in Berlin today and tomorrow at the Green Photonics 2015 conference jointly organized by Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, and the Technical University in Berlin. The conference theme -- advanced used of photons -- acknowledges 2015 as the Year of Light; the conference also commemorates 50 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany. Eby, who is attending as a representative of Technion and Israel, will give a talk on "Distributed On-Chip Power Delivery for Low Energy Nanoelectronic Systems. 
    Our spring Full Spectrum newsletter is out, with features on ChemE's100th anniversary, biomedical optics, the growth of computer science, and the opportunities for students offered by the unique intersections of music and engineering on our campus. Click here for a closer look.

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean