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Hajim Highlights 0819

August 19, 2019

Dear members of the Hajim School community,

A new academic year is upon us! International students arrive on campus today; domestic students arrive on Wednesday. I will officially greet our Class of ’23 at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Feldman Ballroom, and then greet our transfer students at 11:30 a.m. in the Gowen Room.

I urge our new students to take full advantage of Orientation Week; it is a great way to learn about the wealth of opportunities at the Hajim School and our University (for an example of a student who has taken advantage of those opportunities, read about Shingirai Dhoro below). Any student interested in engineering should consider attending:

  • A tour of Rettner Hall from 11 a.m. to noon or 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Rettner Hall is home to a wood/metal fabrication shop, audio and video studios, and 3D printing and virtual reality equipment. This is where many of our engineering and digital media studies students do projects.
  • A Q&A session on program offerings in math, computer science, and engineering at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Wegmans 1400.
  • An information session with upper class engineering students who can field your questions from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday in the Munnerlyn Atrium at Goergen Hall.
  • A sip and snack at the Kearns Center, which provides great support services for first-generation and/or underrepresented minority students, from 1-3 p.m. next Tuesday, Aug. 27 at Dewey 4-160.
  • An undergraduate research information session and panel that will tell you how to get involved in research, 2-3 p.m. next Tuesday, Aug. 27 at Hoyt Auditorium.

First year students can select from multiple theme-based courses to fulfill their primary writing requirement. Two of the WRT 105E courses address themes that will be of interest to engineering and computer science students.

“Being Homo sapiens sapiens,” taught by Stella Wang, associate professor in the Writing, Speaking and Argument Program, will introduce students to the process of academic writing, including how to write drafts, how to summarize and paraphrase existing scholarly work, and then pose questions in response to this review of scholarly work, providing a framework for their own projects. They will identify alternative ways to communicate their findings to both academic and non-academic audiences by exploring different writing genres, digital writing tools and modalities.  For example, students will learn to use a digital tool called StoryMap to plot data spatially.  A major theme of this class is the intersection of human consciousness and technology, specifically as it applies to the social and ethical implications of the use of data and algorithm-based technology.

“The Impacts of Engineering,” a new course taught by Liz Tinelli, associate professor in the Writing, Speaking and Argument Program, explores the societal impacts of engineering with respect to health, sustainability, security, and joy of living – the four categories under which the National Academy of Engineering has grouped 14 grand challenges that engineers face in order to make progress toward a sustainable world. Students will learn to communicate with a variety of audiences—for example creating a poster about their project for the academic community but also a webpage for a broader audience. Students will explore professional and ethical responsibility, recognizing that solutions to a problem may have unintended consequences on people and the environment. They will also learn ethical approaches when citing sources and collaborating.

Note: Both of these courses will include an introduction to the Grand Challenges Scholars Program, and, depending on the project a scholar pursues, may fulfill the research requirement. Space is limited.

Please join me in helping our new students settle in and feel at home!

Shingirai Dhoro ’20 of electrical and computer engineering is just back from attending the 10th University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur, with four other University of Rochester students. The symposium, which included 1,500 students from around the world, featured several sessions and panels designed to build contemporary leadership skills with a global perspective. The student leaders were asked to think about the ways they might lead and design change to address the suffering, hardship, and poverty in many parts of the world.

Shingirai, who is from Zimbabwe, says the symposium was a unique opportunity to meet young leaders from around the world and learn about what it means to be leader in a non-academic setting,so that I can grow to become an effective leader one day.” Shingirai says the “most fun part was that I got an opportunity to ask a question to a UN representative about the structure of the UN Security Council. I have had so many debates on this issue but never got to hear from someone in the system so that was a great experience.” His main takeaway from the experience is that “world renowned leaders are just normal people who chose something, and worked hard and persevered in difficult times until they succeeded. My next step is to identify something that I want to pursue, something that will give me joy but at the same time help improve the quality of life of at least one other person.

Shingirai, by the way, received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace award last year with Ashely Tenesaca ’20 of computer science to begin a sustainable water project in a village in southern Zimbabwe. He was a Xerox Engineering Research Fellow last summer, was a project manager intern this summer with Excellus BCBS in Rochester doing analytics and data, and was recipient of a Student Life Award (“Rocky”) earlier this year for exemplifying this year’s communal principle of responsibility.

Have a great week!

Your dean,
Wendi Heinzelman


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