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Hajim memo 1023


October 23, 2017

Dear members of the Hajim School community,

Input from faculty, staff, and students is vital to our University’s next phase of strategic planning, which is now underway. Among the University’s key goals is one we share in the Hajim School, which is to “lead through research.” I strongly encourage Hajim School students, staff, and faculty to participate in this process, by submitting ideas for big-picture research initiatives that will:

  • Represent transformational–not incremental–research and scholarship;
  • Be accessible and exciting for society at large, with significant societal impact;
  • Distinguish the University of Rochester from our peers;
  • Engage many faculty members within the institution and possibly other institutions;
  • Identify a committed leader or a process for identifying a leader;
  • Have a high probability of garnering external support, including philanthropic support.

All submissions will remain anonymous unless a direct response is requested. Click here to learn more and to submit a suggestion by November 17. The suggestion form can be submitted more than once if you have multiple ideas.

Congratulations to:

  • Nick Vamivakas, associate professor of quantum optics and quantum physics; Stavros Demos, senior scientist and Optical Materials Group leader at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and Mike Mandina, president of Optimax Systems Inc., and a good friend of the Hajim School whose company has hired many of our graduates. All three have been elected Fellows of the Optical Society (OSA).
  • Thomas Brown, professor of optics, who is a recipient of the Goergen Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching this year. His colleague, Jennifer Kruschwitz, assistant professor of optics, notes that Tom is “able to adjust his curriculum to accommodate those students who may be completely unfamiliar with optics to those who consider themselves quite accomplished in the discipline. He does this by taking the time to talk to each student individually, encouraging them to participate in lectures, and making sure that everyone feels that their questions are valid. He is very approachable and his soft demeanor puts the students at ease.” Well done, Tom!
  • Jeff Tithof, a postdoctoral associate in Douglas Kelley’s lab in mechanical engineering. Jeff came in second in the competition for the Steadman Family Postdoctoral Associate Prize in Interdisciplinary Research, held during Meliora Weekend. The competition featured three-minute presentations, much like the Falling Walls competition. Jeff described the exciting research the lab is doing in collaboration with Maiken Nedergaard of the Medical Center, and Jack Thomas and Jessica Shang of mechanical engineering, studying fluid flow in the brain’s waste disposal system.

Grant Sorbo, ’18 of computer science, who spent last spring studying at AIT in Budapest, Hungary, took four classes that will count towards his major. However, “as I think anyone who studied abroad would say, you take much more from the experience than just the academic part,” he says. “I made incredible new friends from many different US schools with whom I am still in touch, and explored so much of Budapest and the rest of Europe. I would even say that I learned more about myself during my time abroad, after comparing my perspectives and experiences with those of locals and other traveling students.”

A reminder for Hajim students planning to study abroad next spring: The deadline to apply for a Hajim International Experience Scholarship is November 1. Read more here.

Hajim students: Please let the Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center know about what you did this past summer, whether it involved studying abroad, doing an internship or research, or immersing yourself in other interesting activities. Complete the Summer Experience Survey by next Tuesday, October 31. In less than 5 minutes you can provide feedback that will be instrumental in helping other Rochester students pursue what they love. And if you are curious to know what the University’s most recent grads are up to, check out the Class of 2016 Career Outcomes Dashboard.

Our fall Full Spectrum newsletter is just off the press, with articles about Scott Carney, our new director of The Institute of Optics, and about the great research experiences our students had this summer on campus and in Ghana, plus profiles of our new faculty members. Read more here.

Thanks to the members of the Hajim School Visiting Committee who met with me and our staff last Monday to hear the latest updates on what we’ve been doing and to share their advice, which is always valued and appreciated. Thank as well to the Industrial Associates of The Institute of Optics who held their fall meeting here last week. This is always a great opportunity for leading optical companies to meet and interview our students, and for students and faculty, in turn, to learn more about the IA member companies.

Have a great week,

Your dean,
Wendi Heinzelman