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May 11, 2020

Winning submissions in this year’s Art of Science Competition. At left, descending, Psychedelic Urea, Fractal Sakura, and Color Concoction on Convex Canvas. At right, Tree of Life. At bottom, The Night When They Talked About Coronavirus.

Dear members of the Hajim School community,

What a striking group of images!

Despite all the disruption and distractions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we received a very respectable 72 submissions for this year’s Art of Science Competition, compared to last year’s record of 84.

First place went to Alexandria Raab ’21, an environmental health major. Alexandria demonstrated how the colorless crystalline compound that is the main component of urine could be turned into prize-winning art with her entry entitled Psychedelic Urea.

Leonor Teles ’21 of biomedical engineering won the People’s Choice Award with Tree of Life, depicting blood flow in a carotid artery “much as the branching trees of the world sustain the oxygen needed for life.” Congratulations as well to:

  • Ziqiu Wu, a computer science master’s student, for Fractal Sakura, which took second place.
  • Sophea Urbi Biswas ’23 of biomedical engineering, who took third place with Color Concoction on a Convex Canvas.
  • Yang Li, a PhD student in electrical engineering whose The Night They Talked About Coronavirus received honorable mention.

Read more about these entries here. Thanks to our panel of judges, to Brian McIntyre and his organizing team for a superb job of wrapping up the competition under trying circumstances, to the 464 members of the University community who cast ballots for the People’s Choice Award, and to Edmund Hajim ’58, former chairman of the University Board of Trustees and our chief benefactor and namesake, for generously donating the prize money.

Thanks as well to all who have commented on this year’s senior design projects at our virtual showcase. The projects are indeed impressive. I hope you have an opportunity to check them out! Today is the last day to comment.

Please join us for our degree conferring ceremony this Friday, May 15, beginning at 12 p.m. EDT. Go to the University’s Class of 2020 degree conferral website, where you can hear a special video message from President Sarah C. Mangelsdorf. From there, follow the links to AS&E and the Hajim School. Parents and students, check with individual departments for events they are planning.

Here’s a great example of Hajim School engineers working closely with Medical Center clinicians to protect healthcare workers fighting in the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. One of the most dangerous scenarios healthcare workers face is when they have to intubate patients — insert a tube through their mouths and into their tracheas — to help them breathe. Patients often cough during the procedure, spreading infected droplets and aerosols into the air around them. Even if a doctor or nurse is wearing a face mask, there is a risk of being infected if droplets are not contained.

In less than 20 days, Greg Godowski, director of our CMTI master’s program in medical device design; Chris Muir, professor of mechanical engineering, and John Miller, supervisor of the machine shop at Taylor Hall — guided by feedback from emergency room physicians at Strong Memorial Hospital — customized an “intubation box.” It encloses patients’ torsos and any contaminated particles they have exhaled, yet still allows the clinicians access to perform the lifesaving procedure quickly and effectively.

They practiced what they often preach to their students: Start with a minimal viable product so you can start getting feedback from clients before you invest a lot of time in a prototype they may not like. “I will be bringing this up as an example to my students for years to come,” Greg says. This was an extraordinary effort. Read more here.

And congratulations to Greg for being selected a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). The award reflects his accomplishments in both academia and industry, which is why we are so fortunate to have him on our faculty. Read more here.

Each year the University of Rochester recognizes outstanding graduate students in engineering and natural sciences with Donald M. and Janet C. Barnard Fellowships. The goal of this fellowship is to recognize students in their second or third year of graduate studies, based on their coursework and dissertation research work.

Three of the six recipients this year are Hajim students:

Lele Chen, PhD candidate in computer science, working with Chenliang Xu, assistant professor of computer science.  Lele’s work in computer vision and machine learning is focused on multimodal modeling and video object detection/segmentation.

Mitchell Juneau, PhD candidate in chemical engineering, working with the research group of Marc Porosoff, assistant professor of chemical engineering. Mitchell studies novel catalysts to facilitate carbon recycling as a way of replacing hydrocarbon feedstocks for industrial use.

Christie Massie, PhD candidate in biomedical engineering working in the lab of Andrew Berger, professor of optics. Christie is using Raman spectroscopy as a preclinical tool for assessing bone quality and health.

Graduating seniors: In these unprecedented times, your post-graduation plans may look different than what you had anticipated, even just a few months ago. As you start to think about your next steps, bear in mind that a graduate degree at the University of Rochester can still be a possibility for Fall 2020 entry. The following accommodations are being made to make applying easy during this difficult time:

  • Application fee waived
  • GRE/GMAT score waived (screening interview may be required)
  • Priority admission consideration
  • Competitive scholarships available

As you consider the value of a graduate degree, please reach out to the Greene Center to discuss your career goals and if a graduate degree is the right fit for you. If you decide you are interested, contact our admissions team – they are happy to speak with you about their programs and application process!

Last week we mentioned that Daniel Savage is the first student to complete both a PhD in optics and a medical degree while at the University of Rochester — and perhaps anywhere. Thanks to Tanya Kosc, staff scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, for pointing out that Elna Nagasako ’01 in Robert Boyd’s group completed a PhD in optics here, then went straight to Washington University in St. Louis to complete a medical degree.

Many of our faculty have supported the David T. Kearns Center in offering a six-week summer session for its Upward Bound programs since 2007. This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program will be online from July 6-31. The center is looking for faculty to create STEM content for the 9th-12th grade Rochester City School District students participating in the program. This content can include prerecorded modules, demonstrations, and/or videos about how to pursue a career in STEM. All content will be provided through Blackboard which will allow us to accommodate many different content formats. Staff is happy to work with you to determine what format would work best for your contribution. Please contact Danielle Daniels by June 1 if you would be interested in contributing or have questions. She can be reached at Danielle.daniels@rochester.edu or 585-520-7511.

Finally, check out this video of members of our Chem-E-Car team describing their latest vehicle, built from scratch and powered by chemical reactions. The team, completing its fourth year, offers a great opportunity to engage with other students in a hands-on project.

Stay safe,

Your dean,
Wendi Heinzelman

 

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