Weekly Memo

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

This year marks my second graduation ceremony at the University of Rochester, and I am certain that graduation could not have been held on a finer day at any prior time in our history.  The weather was perfect – 70 degrees, no wind, blue sky and sunshine – a truly glorious day!  We provided diplomas to approximately 180 undergraduates in the Hajim School, and inclusive of graduate students, nearly 290 engineering and applied science students in total.  We look forward to the future accomplishments of our graduates and hope that each will look back fondly on their time here at the University of Rochester and remain a vibrant part of the Hajim School Community.  Congratulations to our graduates!

I have some important news to share. Optics Prof. Bob Boyd has been awarded a Canada Research Excellence Chair by the government of Canada. He is one of only 20 recipients of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the $10 million in funding it provides over the next seven years will allow Bob to establish a new research group at the University of Ottawa.  The silver lining in this is that Bob will retain a non-compensatory faculty appointment at Rochester, where he will continue to supervise graduate students in our Institute of Optics and work on the development of joint research and exchange programs between the two universities. Though Bob’s primary appointment will be in Ottawa, he will continue to advise and take on new students and to manage research contracts here, and I am hopeful that his new appointment in Canada will help us strengthen our own international relationships. We are all very proud that his work over the past 33 years at Rochester established Bob as one of the world’s leading experts in non-linear optics, and led to this most recent honor in a very distinguished career. Please join me in wishing him the warmest congratulations!

I want to thank Amy Lerner, Scott Seidman, and all of the students, faculty members, and industry partners that made a successful Biomedical Engineering Senior Design poster session possible last week. Many of the student inventions that were on display showed impressive creativity and quality design above and beyond what is required for a typical undergraduate course. If you didn’t have a chance to attend, you might have seen some of the students talking about their work on the news (YNN and WROC/FOX).

In fact, two of the winning teams in the Mark Ain Business Model Contest had Hajim School students on them. Graduate students Pankaj Gupta and Nitin Tyagi were part of the 3rd place team I-Squared Materials, which offered advanced materials for improving the performance of lithium ion batteries. And seniors Sara Ripp and Kerry Wang created ArmEmbrace, which won 5th place for its arm brace for rehabilitation. Congratulations to all of you!

Biomedical engineering senior Diana Ladkany has been awarded a graduate fellowship from Tau Beta Pi, the world’s largest engineering society, to continue her education at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. Many consider Tau Beta Pi membership the highest honor that can be earned by an engineering undergraduate and it comes with a $10,000 stipend. The award is given for showing not only exemplary scholarship, but also leadership and character. Congratulations!

And Kevin P. Klubek, a chemical engineering graduate student, has been awarded a 2010 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.  Kevin’s research proposal focused on studying the instability mechanism of phenanthroline-based electron transport materials in Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) while finding viable alternatives to achieve OLEDs that are both efficient and long-lived.  He will pursue his doctorate under the guidance of Professor Ching W. Tang.

By the way, I hope you all had a chance to “infiltrate an engineering social” this year. It was number 18 on the list of 101 Things You Need to Do before Graduating from Rochester in the May-June issue of Rochester Review. We just started those this year, so I’m glad they caught on so quickly.

This will be the last weekly memo until the fall semester starts, but I would like to hear about what you are doing over the summer and may issue a summer update, so keep me posted.


Robert L. Clark,
Professor and Dean