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08.21.16: construction update; Q&A with Hajim dean; Philharmonia premiere; white coat ceremony; part-time proctoring jobs; optical spring; grad life event


Campus Construction Update

This summer has been one of the most active construction periods of all time on River Campus. Multiple new facilities and improvement projects are wrapping up, while others are still in progress, including Wegmans Hall, pictured above. With the new academic year starting this week, read an update on many of the bigger projects on River Campus and what is soon reopening.

Q&A: Wendi Heinzelman

Wendi Heinzelman, the new dean of the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, discusses her first priorities and vision for the school. Read more...

Eastman Philharmonia Will Perform World Premiere of Letters from Georgia

On Saturday, November 12, at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre and Monday, November 14, at Lincoln Center in New York City, the Eastman Philharmonia will present world premiere performances of Letters from Georgia, a new song cycle by Kevin Puts '94E, ’99 (DMA). Puts, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, wrote the piece specifically for the Eastman Philharmonia and for world-renowned soprano RenÉe Fleming ’83E (MM), Distinguished Visiting Artist at the Eastman School. Inspired by letters written by artist Georgia O’Keeffe, the song cycle marks the first collaboration between Puts and Fleming. Buy tickets online for the Rochester performance.

This Is Your Brain on Sentences

What does the meaning of a word look like? University researchers have, for the first time, decoded and predicted the brain activity patterns of word meanings within sentences, and successfully predicted what the brain patterns would be for new sentences. Read more...

Future Doctors Receive Their White Coats

Students from the Class of 2020 were formally inducted into the School of Medicine and Dentistry during the 11th annual Dr. Robert L. and Lillian H. Brent White Coat Ceremony on August 12. The white coats symbolize that the new medical students are joining their peers and predecessors in the profession. A group of students pose for a photo on Eastman Quadrangle after the ceremony in the Interfaith Chapel.

$19 Million Grant Will Help Speed Medical Advances to Patients

The Medical Center has been awarded more than $19 million from the National Institutes of Health to continue programs that remove hurdles in the process of applying medical research to patient treatment and population health. The award will support “bench-to-bedside” research and is the Medical Center’s third consecutive translational science award, bringing total funding from the grants to almost $86 million. Read more...

Part-Time Proctoring Positions Available

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is looking for responsible graduate students to proctor exams for students who receive accommodations, such as extra time or an alternate testing location. Proctoring hours are flexible, but proctors must be able to work at least 10 hours a week. Shifts will be a minimum of three to four hours and will range from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays. To learn more and apply, contact

‘Optical Spring’ Enables Detection of Single Molecules

Using the spring force produced by light circulating in a miniaturized resonator, a team of engineering researchers from Rochester and the University of Victoria has discovered a new approach to detecting single particles. “This is the first time the sensing capability of the optical spring force has been realized, although the optical spring effect has been known for more than a decade,” says coauthor Wei Jiang (above right), a doctoral student in optics, pictured with Qiang Lin, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. Read more...

Security Tip: Think Twice Before Connecting to Rental Wi-Fi

Short-term rental sites like AirBnB and Homeaway are becoming more popular. Following common security practices suggested by Kaspersky Lab may help avoid a hacker accessing your device or information. When using any off-campus networks, it is important to use the University virtual private network (VPN) to secure your connection.


Community Outreach Fair

The Students for Rochester Outreach volunteer program, which aims to give School of Medicine and Dentistry students the opportunity to have hands-on experiences with groups that are economically underserved and disadvantaged, will host a community outreach fair from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 30, in Flaum Atrium, Medical Center. Learn more about community outreach and how to get involved.

Learn about NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP) application period is now open. The University currently has over 15 GRFP fellows from diverse disciplines including brain and cognitive sciences, chemistry, clinical and social sciences in psychology, engineering, geology, optics, and physics. The GRFP provides three years of stipend and tuition funding for students in research-oriented graduate programs in the physical and life sciences, social sciences, engineering, STEM education, and the history and philosophy of science. To support GRFP applications, the Graduate Studies Office in Arts, Sciences, & Engineering is offering an NSF-GRFP workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, September 8, in the Hawkins-Carlson Room in Rush Rhees Library. The workshop will feature an introduction to the GRFP, writing tips, as well as a guest panel of former winners and faculty advisers. RSVP by completing this form:

University-Wide Grad Life Event

Attend the first-ever University-wide graduate student event from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, September 9, in Flaum Atrium, Medical Center. Connect with other graduate students outside of your academic field, understand the importance of crosscollaboration in academia and research, and learn about campus clubs and resources for graduate students. There will be free food, engaging speakers, and valuable connections to kick off the new term. A student ID is required for attendance. Contact Glen Dornsife at with questions. 

City of Lights Exhibit Opens at Library 

In celebration of Rochester’s contributions to the field of optics and the Optical Society of America’s centennial, City of Lights: Rochester and the History of Optics highlights the achievements and milestones of the optical professions—from its beginning in the early 20th century through its height during the post–World War II era. The exhibit will run through the end of the year in the Special Collections Room, Rush Rhees Library. Read more...

Dissertation Defenses

  • Patrick Walsh, health services research and policy, "The Impact of Mental Health and Opioid Analgesic Use on Healthcare Utilization and Expenditures Among Back Pain Patients," Monday, August 15. Advisor: Yue Li.
  • Stephanie Daifuku, chemistry, "Insight into Iron C-C Cross-Coupling Catalysis through Structure, Bonding and Mechanism," Tuesday, August 16. Advisor: Michael Neidig.
  • Kaitlyn Bankieris, brain and cognitive sciences, "Is Synesthesia More than Unusual Associations? Examining Cue Combination and Various Forms of Learning in Synesthetes," Wednesday, August 17. Advisor: Richard Aslin.
  • Homing Yao, optics, "Ultra-High Efficiency Rare-Earth-Doped Fiber Lasers in the Visible and Infrared," Thursday, August 18. Advisor: John Marciante.
  • Erin Scott, physics and astronomy, "Windows to Other Worlds: Modeling Systems in Transit," Thursday, August 18. Advisor: Eric Mamajek. 
  • Paula Christina Parente Vieira Pinto, visual and cultural studies, "Condemned to Invisibility? Antonio Canova and the Impact of Photographic Reproduction on the History of Art," Friday, August 19. Advisor: Paul Duro. 
  • Christopher Marshall, physics, "Measurement of Charged Kaon Production by Neutrinos at MINERvA," Friday, August 19. Advisor: Kevin McFarland.
  • Brian Barnett, philosophy, "Higher-Order Evidence: Its Nature and Epistemic Significance," Friday, August 19. Advisor: Richard Feldman.
  • Stefanie Sydelnik, English, "Antislavery Gifts: The Adaptation of the American Gift Book for Abolitionist Purposes, 1834-1858," Monday, August 22. Advisor: John Michael.
  • Wei Jiang, optics, "Applications of High-Q Microresonators in Cavity Optomechanics and Nonlinear Photonics," 1:30 p.m. Monday, August 22, Computer Studies Building 523. Advisor: Qiang Lin.
  • Patrick Papadopulos, mathematics, "On Topological Properties of Configuration Spaces of Certain Specialized Graphs," 2 p.m. Monday, August 22, Hylan 1106A. Advisor: Frederick Cohen.
  • Cesare Wright, visual and cultural studies, "Re-Framing 'Ecstatic Truth': Experiments in the New Visual Language of Werner Herzog," Tuesday, August 23. Advisor: Paul Duro.
  • Kyra Singh, statistics, "Variable Selection Methods for Model-Based Clustering: Procedures for Functional Data and Bayesian Inference," 1 p.m. Friday, August 26, Saunders Research Building, Room 1416. Advisor: Tanzy Love.  

Rochester in the News

Let's Be Optimistic About Productivity

Bloomberg News, August 11
"The U.S. economy is suffering from a malaise that undermines its ability to boost living standards: Labor productivity, or the amount of goods and services people produce for each hour worked, isn't growing like it has in the past. What it needs is a dose of optimism," writes Narayana Kocherlakota, the Lionel W. MacKenzie Professor of Economics.
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