Current grad students and faculty got together for an epic contest of physical prowess (specifically, bowling). The faculty talked a lot beforehand, which they then followed up with a solid victory in every game played. Congratulations to Dr. Waugh and first year Chris Farrar for being the best faculty and student bowlers.
We began the year with a lunch catered by Dibella’s. This allowed the department to come together and welcome the new graduate students, and to recognize the accomplishments of our students and faculty over the last year. There were approximately 70 attendees including primary and secondary professors, various research staff, as well as graduate students from both the River campus and the Medical Center.
With the objective to increase social and academic contact amongst graduate students spread across many labs and buildings, we held a graduate student happy hour in conjunction with the first year class welcoming. This was a warm welcome to the new members of the department and a great beginning to the year. This event greatly facilitated social contact between 24 first-year and older students, easing the first years’ transition into our program. Right away, these incoming students were able to get advice on labs, research, rotations, classes and Rochester in general.
This event established the first partnership of the Graduate Student Council and the undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Society to provide an informational event. We identified a panel of 12 volunteers spanning industry, graduate students (MS, PhD, and MD/PhD), medical students, and a faculty member to provide insights on the various opportunities and career paths available to BME undergraduate students after graduation. The GSC provided food for the evening’s participants, which had a strong turnout of 32 people.
To further graduate student unification and maintain high morale, we held a graduate student early thanksgiving dinner. The GSC was able to provide two turkeys and heaps of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green beans catered by Wegman’s, and many delicious homemade sides and desserts were brought by the attendees. There were 28 people comfortably packed into Goergen 239 for this ‘big family’ dinner. It provided an opportunity for many graduate students from all years to gather, catch-up, and enjoy the holiday season. This event provided a very warm and welcoming setting for those students who could not travel home for this traditionally family-oriented holiday.
This general body meeting was held to inform our fellow graduate students of the good news regarding the GSC’s first funded budget and our plans for the year. Additionally, this provided an opportunity for feedback on our plans from the general student body as well as the initiation of our Habitat Holiday Collection. The lure of Sugar Mountain minicupcakes and new Friday afternoon meeting time produced a record high attendance of 20 students.
Coordinated by the GSC, the BME graduate program “adopted” ten children from five needy families in the Rochester area. With the help of graduate students and professors, we raised nearly $400 in donations for the Habitat for Humanity Holiday Collection in the form of presents for children and Wegman’s gift cards for holiday meals.
Sets of 100, double-sided business cards were designed and ordered for 10 eligible PhD students to increase the professionalism of students in the program and spread the U of R BME name. To be eligible, PhD students must have either passed their qualifying exam or plan to take it by June of 2012.
The end of January required another general body meeting in order to prepare for one of the biggest events of the year: prospective student recruiting. We were able to brainstorm ideas for the luncheon and night out as well as begin organizing hosts for each prospective student. Additionally, this opportunity was taken to gather initial feedback on TA-ships so the department may have a better understanding of time and responsibility requirements for the varying TA positions. Sugar Mountain mini-cupcakes were pushing to become a signature of GSC general body meetings with their return and success in boosting attendance.
In an effort to provide the prospective students with a full 360 degree view of the department and its students, this expanded luncheon invited all graduate students to meet the prospective students. This was a huge success in bringing out a wide variety of students from many different labs and research disciplines to integrate and converse with the prospective students over Dibella’s subs and pastries. With a student: prospect ratio of 2:1, all of the recruits were able to find multiple people to talk to about their research interests as well as the general benefits of Rochester.