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Change the World

If you clicked here, it must mean you want change the world! It must mean you are creative! It must mean you are a problem solver!


If you clicked here, it must mean you want change the world! It must mean you are creative! It must mean you are a problem solver!

Engineers are creative problem solvers and they tackle some of the biggest ones we will face in the future.  They can critically analyze anything.  Therefore, people with engineering degrees can contribute to society in unlimited and indeterminate ways.  And yes, engineers also create new products, jobs and industries that truly grow the economy in a global fashion. Engineers create jobs through new product development, and the most innovative engineers create those products that are both unanticipated and transformational.

Some of the challenges we face include the deteriorating physical infrastructure of our nation, particularly in urban settings; the need for alternative sources of energy, renewable and clean; the ever-increasing stress on the environment due to population growth and the non-uniform distribution of key resources around the globe; providing a high quality of life for an aging population; and the need to develop technologies that are sustainable, minimizing their environmental footprint.  Understanding the social framework for technological innovation will be a key asset of engineering leaders in the future.  To build a sustainable world, society needs engineers who not only are innovative integrators of technological advances, and who understand the social context of their work, and are willing to embrace a leadership role to shape public opinion in favor of technically sound, socially responsible decisions for the greater good. 

What will be the next hot product?  Who knows?  The one thing of which we can be absolutely certain is that there will be countless such products in our future, with each requiring expert engineering expertise to develop, design, and manufacture. Did we even know we needed cell phones until they were invented? Of course not.

When we contemplate the future of our society, we look to and depend upon a continuing series of technological innovations to resolve society’s most challenging issues such as global warming, the rapidly growing demand for energy in the face of finite petrochemical resources, and the threat of pandemics.  And when we want to escape from these challenges and be entertained, we turn to technological innovations such as our MP3 players, HD TVs, and the extraordinary media productions that are created for our enjoyment and are accessed with these devices.  Below are a few stories about how engineering dramatically changed a few fields. WE could tell many stories here – how communication changed from over time from smoke signals to satellite and cell communications, how medical imaging is taking dramatic leaps right before our eyes right now, the list is truly endless. These stories will need to be rewritten periodically as people like you continue to innovate and build upon what has been done by others.


The competitive nature of the Games, and the high importance placed on winning, provide the motivation for talented people of all nations to hone their skills in pursuit of the ultimate performance in their particular event.  In pursuit of that outcome, high technology has played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role.  My first realization of this fact occurred quite a long time ago (in the winter of 1959).  My Dad loved track and field competitions and each year would take me to a few indoor track meets at the old Madison Square Garden.  There I saw Don Bragg set the world record in the pole vault of 15ft 9.5in, a record that still stands today for vaulters using a metal pole.   This feat was considered the ultimate, and for several years leading up to that moment I had a full appreciation for just how difficult it was to achieve such a standard.  Yet, in 1959, it all changed with the widespread introduction of the fiberglass pole.  The dynamics of the fiberglass pole was so different from the metal pole that it required significant adaptation by the athlete to exploit its features and benefits.  But once mastered, the results were spectacular.  From 1942 to 1959 the world record in the pole vault increased by only 1.7 inches.  With the advent of the fiberglass pole, the world record increased by 12 inches within just four years.  Now pole vaulters use carbon composite poles and the record stands at 6.14 meters (that’s 20ft 1.7in), the record set by Sergey Bubka in 1994. 


Consider for the transformation that took place over the last century in home entertainment.  For thousands of years, dating back to before the Roman Empire, personal entertainment was defined by traveling bands of performers with special skills.  Actors, gymnasts, singers, comedians all would travel from town to town, often as bands of minstrels or gypsies, to perform shows to entertain communities scattered across large geographic regions.  The ultimate manifestation of this concept was the traveling circus, and it served as the exclusive entertainment enterprise right up until the end of the 19th century. 

And then, in 1897, Marconi invented the radio. From that point onward, the paradigm for home entertainment shifted dramatically.  From the moment that Marconi demonstrated “proof of concept” and the commercial relevance of this new technology was realized, a process of continuous improvement was applied by scientists and engineers, steadily advancing and perfecting the technology to the point where, by 1920, the people in the U.S. experienced their first commercial radio broadcast.  Consider the remarkable transformation that took place over this relatively short period of 23 years.  Before Marconi in 1897, family entertainment consisted exclusively of traveling shows of performers for as far back as anyone could remember.  But less than 30 years later, family members would sit in the comfort of their home and listen to singers, comedians and news commentators on the radio.

As this technology improved, its penetration into the global marketplace increased.  By 1950, an estimated 94% of American homes had a radio.  Meanwhile, thanks in part to the profits generated by the sale of these radios, research intensified with respect to the use of electromagnetic wave transmission as a means to broadcast information over large distances.  The electronic equipment needed for transmission, reception and presentation of such information continued to be perfected by the natural process of continuous improvement, both in terms of the sophistication of the technology and the quality and efficiency of the manufacturing processes for the products needed to enable the technology.  As a result, radio technology became ever more reliable and cheaper to access.

At the same time, scientists and engineers not only mastered the radio technology but also expanded it to include the broadcast of video along with audio information.  Remarkably, it was only 15 years after the first commercial radio broadcast that the first television broadcasting service was established in Germany (in 1935).  By 1950, 21% of American families owned a black-and-white TV, and by 1953 the first color TV network broadcast took place in the United States.  And how advanced is this technology today?  The paradigm shift in home entertainment today is enabled by the advent of digital signal processing, which brings high definition television broadcasts into our living room and flawless satellite radio for our automobiles when we are “on the go.”

In summary, following the discovery and elucidation of the principles of electromagnetism in the mid 1800s, the concept of audio (and then video) broadcasting over the airwaves was demonstrated and then perfected into a commercially viable technology, quickly creating a paradigm shift in the entertainment world.  Subsequently, through a deliberate process of continuous improvement that continues to this day, engineers incrementally advance this technology, devising products of remarkable quality and capability, while making them ever more affordable to almost everyone in the developing world.

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About Kate Gleason

Kate Gleason was a business leader, inventor, and the first woman member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


Kate Gleason was a business leader, inventor, and the first woman member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Catherine Anselm Gleason was born in Rochester during 1865 and has been heralded as the first lady of gearing and the ideal business woman.

Kate's career began at age eleven when she started helping her father, William, in his machine shop after her older half-brother died from typhoid. By fourteen, Kate was the company bookkeeper and in 1884 she became the first woman to enroll in the Mechanical Arts program at Cornell University.

When Kate left for Cornell, her father hired someone to replace her in the business, but the firm began struggling financially. Her father couldn't afford to pay the salary of the man he had hired to replace Kate, and she was called home to help at Gleason Works.

By 1890, Kate was the Secretary-Treasurer and soon led sales and finance within the business. In 1893, the tool business dried up in the US and Kate decided to expand her sales region to include the European market. After a two month voyage, she arrived in Europe where she secured orders from England, Scotland, France, and Germany. This trip was among the first attempts by any American manufacturer to globalize their business.

Kate resigned from Gleason Works in 1913, and the next year was the first woman in New York to be named Receiver in Bankruptcy, serving as such for the Ingle Machine Company in East Rochester. Also in 1914, Kate was unanimously elected to membership in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as its first woman member. In 1917, Kate became the President of the First National Bank of East Rochester, another first for an American woman.

Years later, Kate left Rochester for business ventures in California and South Carolina, travelling extensively and eventually purchased an estate in France.

Kate Gleason serves as an inspirational role model for the engineering students studying within the RIT College named in her honor. The Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) is committed to producing engineering graduates who provide innovation in product development, becoming leaders in the global engineering community.

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National Engineers Week

National Engineers Week

February 23-27, 2015

Monday, Feb. 23

Monday is Hawaiian Shirt Day. KGCOE Students – pick up your raffle ticket and orange ribbons in your Department Office, KGCOE Office of Student Services or KGCOE Dean’s Office, or WE@RIT.

Tuesday, Feb. 24

Tuesday is Student Club Day in Erdle Commons from 1-4 PM. Wear your Club Shirt. Enjoy some popcorn!

Wednesday, Feb. 25

Wednesday is a Taste of Engineering in Fireside from 11 AM – 2 PM. Co-op partners and alums working in the food and beverage industry will be on hand to talk about how engineering work in this field. Don’t forget to wear your Ugly Sweater!

Thursday, Feb. 26

Thursday is Co-op Day in Erdle Commons from 11 AM  – 2 PM. Wear your favorite co-op employer shirt or design your dream co-op employer shirt to wear! Coffee Hour from 3 – 5 PM too!

Get a sticker on your raffle ticket for each day you wear the designated attire in Department Office, KGCOE Office of Student Services or KGCOE Dean’s Office, or WE@RIT. Fill in all four days, Monday – Thursday, and drop your raffle ticket off for a chance to win one of 50 tickets to be raffled off the Men’s Hockey Game – Friday, Feb. 27. Ticket must be dropped off by 4:30 PM in any of the offices mentioned.

Friday, Feb. 27

KGCOE Night at the Men's Hockey Game!

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Vision and Mission

KGCOE will lead in preparing students to meet the immediate and future needs of industry, applying research to address significant engineering challenges, and accelerating economic growth.


Strategic Priorities for the Kate Gleason College of Engineering

Vision:  KGCOE will lead in preparing students to meet the immediate and future needs of industry, applying research to address significant engineering challenges, and accelerating economic growth.

Mission:  The mission of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering is to

  • educate students to meet the immediate and future needs of industry and to support the intellectual development and growth of its graduates throughout their careers;
  • perform  research that is focused on providing viable solutions to the real-world problems facing our global society; and
  • partner with industry to accelerate economic growth both regionally and nationally.
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Industry Partners

In addition to our co-op partners, the College engages industry in a variety of ways.

Each degree program has an advisory board with whom they meet regularly to ensure that our academic programs are providing a curriculum that is current with industry needs and standards. These boards also help the college identify external funding opportunities and support.


In addition to our co-op partners, the College engages industry in a variety of ways.

Each degree program has an advisory board with whom they meet regularly to ensure that our academic programs are providing a curriculum that is current with industry needs and standards. These boards also help the college identify external funding opportunities and support. Board members come from a wide variety of industries and some are alums of the program boards on which they serve.

The Dean’s Advisory Council serves to advise the Dean on overall direction and strategic planning for the College. All members are engineers by education and many are entrepreneurial in spirit and action.

Senior Design, a two term sequence course that all KGCOE seniors take provides another avenue for us to involve industry. This course sequence prepares students for modern engineering practices. Students work in teams, often multidisciplinary, with corporate sponsors on real-world engineering problems. They define and analyze the problem, then design solutions within customer requirements and constraints. Students have worked on a wide variety of projects over the years – here a just a few titles that provide a sense of the depth and breadth of senior design:

  • Navigation Aid for the Blind
  • Wireless Power Transmission Through the Skin
  • Moog Flight Simulator
  • Wind Energy Collection to Energy Bank
  • Photovoltaic Energy Housing
  • Near Space Solar Power Conditioning
  • Next Generation Charcoal Stove for Haiti
  • Green Sauna
  • Wegman’s Freezer Inventory Management
  • Intra-building Navigation Device
  • Dresser Rand Wellsville Ventilator Factory
  • Cheesecake Water Dosing
  • Monitoring Device for Human Smoking Behavior

Also see: Corporate Gateway

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News Update

Updates on KGCOE

students and faculty

February 2015

Santosh Kurinec, Professor in the Electrical and Micoelectronic Engineering Department, gave an IEEE Distinguished Lecture at IEEE Oregon Section in Portland, Oregon on Feb 5th and a Graduate seminar at Portland State University on Feb 6th.  She visited Intel in Hillsboro and met with several RIT MicroE  alumni. Pictured from left to right are MicroE alums with Dr. Kurinec: Stephen Sudrigo, Dr. Kurinec, Keith Zawadzki, and David Pawlik. Stephen Sudrigo and David Pawlik are also a graduates of the microsystems PhD program here. Kurinec was named an IEEE Fellow by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Board of Directors in 2010 and recieved the IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2012.

The Rochester Chapter of IEEE and KGCOE’s Computer and Electrical & Microelectronic Engineering Departments hosted GlobalFoundrie’s Semiconductor Research Leader Director, Mi-hwa Chi. From one integrated circuit generation to another, electronic device core processors have added more transistors, even while decreasing in size. Continual advances to the structure, storage and overall capabilities of integrated circuits might even improve upon these dimensions. Min-hwa Chi, senior fellow and director of advanced programs with GlobalFoundries, discussd these advances, particularly 14-nanometer CMOS finFET technology. The latter is the underlying, three-dimensional approach being taken by semiconductor companies to produce higher capacity microprocessors used in electronic devices. Read more here.

Risa Robinson is putting solid data behind e-cigarette puffs of smoke. As e-cigarettes become more popular, her research into their use and nicotine effects will be used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarette products touted as a means for smoking cessation, as less toxic and less addicting than traditional cigarettes. “What the FDA doesn’t understand yet is whether e-cigarettes are actually more or less harmful,” said Robinson, department head of mechanical engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. “That may seem like a black-and-white question, but there so many areas of risk that you can look at.” Read more here, here, and here. Photo by A. Sue Weisler.

When Dr. Khurshid Guru sought a better way to perform surgery on cancer patients, one that preserves more of their kidney function, he didn’t turn to a veteran oncologist or medical researcher to flesh out his idea. Instead, the director of robotic surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute asked a 20-year-old intern, RIT biomedical engineering student, Lauren Samar, to help solve the problem. After a few months of sketching out possible fixes, and building models out of duct tape, they came up with a device that clamps off blood flow only to the cancerous part of the kidney, leaving the healthy portion intact. Impressed Roswell Park officials have applied for a provisional patent on the idea. “What’s remarkable about her project is within a very short period of time, with very little experience, she went from an idea that he just said, ‘This is what I think could work,’ to a full concept and a patent,” said Erinn Field, the coordinator for Samar’s program. Read more here. Photo by Marc Mulville/Buffalo News.

In looking for new uses for waste, Jeffrey Lodge, Associate Professor of biological sciences, has often teamed up with mechanical engineering professor Ali Ogut, who is founder and president of a startup company, Environmental Energy Technologies Inc. Lodge is an adviser to the company. Read more here.


Ray Ptucha, assistant professor of computer engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering and an RIT alumnus, demonstrates his autonomous wheelchair driven by a skeleton at the seventh annual Graduate Education Week and Symposium on Feb. 27. Ptucha performs research on autonomous systems and human-computer interaction. The event’s keynote speaker, Ptucha specializes in machine learning, computer vision, robotics and embedded control. Photo by A. Sue Weisler.

January 2015

Besides having two parents as engineers, KGCOE Alum, Jennifer Indovina credits Star Trek with planting in her a lifelong desire to enter the engineering profession.

“The engineering department in that show always seemed to be able to solve whatever problems they were thrown,” said the electrical engineer, CEO and founder of Tenrehte Technologies, which designs and manufactures products that conserve energy and promote energy efficiency in everyday electronic devices. She became fascinated by the idea “that we can build with our hands these tools that enable us to improve our lives, explore the universe, and find out more about who we are, why we’re here, what we’re meant to do.” Read more. Photo by Mike Bradley


It’s estimated that as many as 3.8 million Americans experience concussive events as a result of athletic or recreational activities every year. But as many as 50 percent of these injuries go unreported or undiagnosed, and the results can be life-threatening: athletes who have suffered one concussion are more susceptible to future concussions, and secondary blows before the brain has had time to recover can have devastating and permanent effects. Repeated blows can bring on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease marked by cognitive dysfunction, dementia, depression, and suicidal tendencies. Difficult to measure and diagnose, concussive injuries have plagued players and coaches for decades. But a tiny head-mounted sensor called the Linx Impact Assessment System could change all that. Read more.


David Borkholder's Head-mounted sensor mentioned in the story above also recieved a lot of attention at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where it won three awards.

It's called the Linx Impact Assessment System, developed by BlackBox Biometrics, a company that evolved from an incubator at RIT.

Read about it here. Watch the video here.


RIT’s annual ARM Developer Day took place on Friday, Jan. 30, at the university. The event keynote address by Khaled Benkrid, ARM's Worldwide University Programme Manager was titled, “Connected Intelligence in the Internet of Things Era.”  A full day of demonstrations and hands-on workshops for students and faculty, presented by ARM and its technology partners, feature a variety of ARM-based development platforms, environments and tools. Read more. Photo by A. Sue Weisler


Linda Burns, who works as an engineering supervisor, knows that the brakes of a truck can involve much more than simply stepping on a pedal. The brake system for many vehicles has become a complexity of sensors and computers that can automatically slow down a vehicle when its mechanisms detect that the wheels are sliding on the pavement. Burns is one of a dozen employees from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, based in Elyria, Ohio, who have spent this week at Rochester Institute of Technology’s new laboratory. Read more. Photo by A. Sue Weisler



December 2014 News Update

The students in Robin Borkholder’s project management class worked this fall with area nonprofit agencies to raise more than $9,000 through a variety of festive events such as the zumbathon pictured here. Read more. Photo by Michael Owens


It is uncommon for undergraduates to be the first authors of a research paper accepted and published in a recognized, peer-reviewed journal. Alexandra LaLonde (on the right) has had two - just this year!  The fourth-year biomedical engineering major co-authored two other articles since she started working in Professor Blanca Lapizco-Encinas' (on the left) Microscale Bio-Separations Lab in 2013. Read more. Photo by A. Sue Weisler


Kyle Crompton is putting in long hours – as many as 70 hours a week to develop a better lithium ion battery. His work has earned him a scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense and summer internships at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana. Read more. Photo by Andrew Bucossi

Ever since his father gave him his first model rocket when he was a child, Joseph Pawelski ’06, ’07 (mechanical engineering, thermal fluids engineering) knew he wanted to be an engineer. But he could never have predicted that he would become a leading producer of an alcoholic drink that was once banned in the U.S. and many other countries worldwide. Read more.  Photo by Amanda Pawelski


Biomedical engineering students from Rochester Institute of Technology will ring in the New Year in Guatemala working with the international nonprofit organization Engineering World Health. They will work in three of Guatemala’s largest hospitals repairing much-needed medical equipment during this winter’s intersession break from Dec. 28 through Jan. 18. Read more. Photo by Iris Asllani


The faculty and staff in mechanical engineering (and some Dean’s office staff) brought back packs filled with toys and other goodies to Rochester City School #3 kindergarten and first graders in December. Professor Ag Crassidis demonstrated an autonomous airplane for the kids.




November 2014 News Update

Peter Bajorski, Professor in Applied Statistic and Marcin Lukowiak, Associate Professor in Computer Engineering were part of interdisciplinary team awarded a U.S. patent for a method of electronic key management using public key infrastructure (PKI) to support group key establishment in the tactical environment. Harris Corp. sponsored the work.



RIT Baja Racing begins preparation and fundraising to open season in Brazil in March

Photo by Michael Owens

They will have missed Rio’s famous Carnival by only a few days, but the RIT Baja Racing Team will be planning its own excitement as it travels to Brazil to open its new season of SAE Baja racing competitions. Even though the competition takes place March 5–8, 2015, in the town of Piracicaba, just west of Rio de Janeiro, the majority of preparation is taking place well before the team sets off from Rochester.  Read more


Dan Phillips, Department Head for Biomedical Engineering, talked to The Rochester Business Journal about Assistive Technology and Undergraduate Research

Involving a community agency in the project has paid off in spades, says Dan Phillips, associate professor of biomedical engineering and department head at RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering, who also is a liaison between ABVI and RIT.  “And then you have these smart, capable people at RIT who can work with (ABVI) to develop something that sort of addresses the needs of the (service) provider and the person that’s being provided for,” he says. RIT students in various fields of study have participated in the project. The university excels at “getting significant research done with—and integrating in a meaningful way—undergraduate students,” Phillips says.  Read more


Tom Gaborski Named 2014 Young Innovator by International Biomedical Engineering Society

Thomas Gaborski’s research may be in ultra-thin nano-membranes, but it’s going to be titanic in advancing tissue engineering. Gaborski, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, and his research team are developing ways to use ultra-thin nano-membranes and adipose stem cells to create the vascular network necessary in engineering tissue, skin and organs. Read more Watch video

Engineering a New PhD Program

Photo by A. Sue Weisler

Mariela Rodriguez Adames is improving electrophotography, a core technology for 3D printing, paving the way for better systems to produce wearable sensors or even human tissue engineering.  Read more

Photo by A. Sue Weisler

Members of the Women in Engineering program had a birthday bash with colorful cupcakes to celebrate Kate Gleason’s birthday. The college’s namesake, born on November 25, 1865, was a Rochester business leader, entrepreneur, engineer and the first female member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In 1998, RIT’s engineering college was named after her, and in 2010, RIT Press published her biography, The Life and Letters of Kate Gleason, sharing her inspiring story of success. Melissa Miller, a fourth-year industrial engineering student from Belvidere, NJ, arranged some of the 500 cupcakes to honor Gleason.



September 2014 News Update

The last several months have been extraordinarily busy, with lots of changes within the college to address and manage.  It is primarily for this reason that I failed to deliver on my promise back in late April to arrange for a teleconference in May, or at the very least a series of emails to update you on college activities.

Presented below is a synopsis of the highlights of what has transpired since April.  It also will give you some idea regarding what I’ve been doing in the College all summer (with the exception of some business travel to companies and personal travel to Italy and to visit my grand-children).  I look forward to providing further details, especially with respect to ongoing challenges, when we meet in mid-October.



Jacquie Mozrall becomes Interim Dean of the Saunders College of Business

The excitement began shortly after I sent you my email in April, with the appointment of Jacquie Mozrall to the position of Interim Dean of the Saunders College of Business, a position that she assumed beginning July 1.  This is a very exciting opportunity for Jacquie and speaks volumes about her exceptional leadership capabilities, as well as the strong reputation that she has forged at all levels of the Institute over the past decade.  Needless to say, this quickly created a significant void in my leadership team, given the strong role that she has been playing as the only Associate Dean in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering.  She is an extraordinary person, and I had just arranged for a promotion in her title, to Senior Associate Dean, to recognize the vital role that she serves in the College, when the announcement of her appointment to the Interim Dean position was made.


Interim Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs

The current expectation is that Jacquie will serve as the Interim Dean in the Saunders College of Business for the full academic year.  Thus, someone needed to be identified quickly to fill in as the Interim Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs for the year.  Fortunately, I convinced Dr. Matthew Marshall, Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, to serve in this capacity.  Matt’s breadth of experience in dealing with undergraduate curricular matters, combined with his student-centeredness, make him an excellent individual to assume this role.  Matt has been fully engaged in a broad range of activities at the department, college and institute level relating to undergraduate education for many years.  In addition to playing a key role in guiding the curricular conversion process for the change to semesters, Matt has served for several years on both the KGCOE Assessment & Accreditation Committee and the KGCOE Undergraduate Curriculum & Student Awards Committee.  He also was one of the lead advocates and instructors for the KGCOE Honors Program for many years.  At the institute level, Matt has served on the Institute Writing Committee, and he currently represents the College on the institute’s General Education Committee.  Needless to say, he brings to the position substantial prior knowledge that will be extremely helpful to his success in the position.   

Approval of the PhD in Engineering

At about the same time (actually mid-March), the College received word from New York State Education Dept. that it had approved our proposal to offer the Ph.D. degree in Engineering.  This is a very big deal for us, as it gives every faculty member in the College the opportunity to grow their research programs through the advising of Ph.D. students.  To address issues relating to the growth and management of the program, I created the new position of Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies.

Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies

After a thorough internal search and selection process, Dr. Edward Hensel, Professor and Department Head of Mechanical Engineering, was selected for this position. In this position, he will serve as the administrative director of the PhD in Engineering program, will provide guidance and leadership for growing research within the College, and will provide coordination and administrative oversight for the broad range of Masters programs that exist in KGCOE.  I believe that Ed is the best person for this position at this time, based in part upon his many years of experience as a member of the leadership team, his effectiveness as the Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, and the leadership that he has already provided as a key architect of the proposal for the PhD in Engineering program.  Ed served Mechanical Engineering and the College exceedingly well during his 13 years as its Department Head.  Fortunately, as the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, he will continue to play a vital role on the College’s leadership team.

Domain Leads for the PhD Focus Areas

A novel element of the PhD in Engineering program is the way in which we intend to link the research activities within the college to big picture technological challenges within our society.  Indeed, we have chosen four key application domains to focus on:  Transportation, Energy, Communications and Healthcare (TECH).  With the launch of the PhD program, I needed to identify a faculty member who would lead each of these application domains.  In July, I announced that the following individuals would be assuming these leadership roles:

  • Dr. Agamemnon Crassidis, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, as the application leader for the Transportation domain.
  • Dr. Brian Landi, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, as the application leader for the Energy domain.
  • Dr. Andres Kwasinski, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering, as the application leader for the Communications domain.
  • Dr. Iris Asllani, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, as the application leader for the Healthcare domain.

Restructuring of the Center for Quality and Applied Statistics

One of the unique features of the College is its Center for Quality and Applied Statistics.  Within the auspices of the Center, the college offers an MS degree program in Applied Statistics and a variety of professional education and training programs in quality and applied statistics to enhance the success of businesses across all industry sectors.  In May, Don Baker, Director of CQAS for the past 18 years, announced his intention to begin a brief retirement transition program that involves him working half-time from July 1 until the end of December, with most of this time being spent on teaching courses and delivering training to customers under the auspices of the Center.  The challenge for us is to successfully execute a transition in the leadership of the Center that will assure its future success, building upon its recognized strengths in quality management and applied statistics as well as the solid foundation that has been built since the Center was created in 1983.

As a consequence, I have appointed Mark Smith to the position of Director of CQAS.  This became effective in mid-August.  For many years, Mark has been the Director of Multidisciplinary Programs in the Kate Gleason College, growing and managing a number of signature programs in the college, including the MS in Product Development, the MS in Manufacturing Leadership, and the College’s Multidisciplinary Senior Design Program.  In his role as the Director of Multidisciplinary Programs, Mark has demonstrated exceptional abilities in connecting the intellectual assets within the College to the needs of the world of business, particularly within the context of product development, manufacturing leadership, and multidisciplinary design.  Thus I feel that he is a perfect fit for this new position.

As part of the restructuring of CQAS, I also made the decision to integrate the six faculty members that comprise CQAS with the faculty of the Industrial & Systems Engineering department.  I made this decision for two reasons:  First, the set of programs and the areas of faculty expertise represented in the Center are extraordinarily well aligned with the intellectual threads that are commonly associated with the discipline of Industrial Engineering.  Secondly, my goal is to expand the set of offerings that is provided through the Center, and the best way to achieve this, in my opinion, is to expand the number and intellectual range of the faculty who can imagine themselves to be contributors to the Center.  In a certain sense, what I wanted to achieve was a shift in perception of the Center from being a closed shop to an open shop.


New Director for Multi-Disciplinary Senior Design

With Mark Smith assuming the role of Director of CQAS, I needed to find someone to lead the College’s Multidisciplinary Senior Design initiative.  I am pleased to say that Dr. Elizabeth DeBartolo, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, just last week (and just in time for the start of school!) agreed to accept my offer to become the College’s first Director of Multidisciplinary Design in the Kate Gleason College.  Dr. DeBartolo joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at RIT in 2000, after having completed her PhD in ME at Purdue University.  Her primary focus area is the development of rehabilitation aids and assistive devices through her work with senior design teams and graduate student research.  She also does work on characterizing the mechanical behavior of novel materials, and has worked on a variety of materials from diffusion-bonded high-temperature alloys to polymers used in human tissue simulations.  Her long-standing focus on, and commitment to, the integration of design into the curriculum makes her a perfect choice for this leadership position. 


Appointment of a new Department Head for Mechanical Engineering

Finding a successor to Ed Hensel as department head of mechanical engineering was by far the most time consuming part of my summer.  Choosing the next leader for this department required a process that engaged all of the internal stakeholders in a very significant fashion.  To achieve this, I had countless meetings with the ME faculty and staff, as well as my leadership team, first to identify finalists for the position and then to make the final choice.  Mechanical Engineering alone attracts almost 14% of all the undergraduate applications to the entire Institute.  Thus, it is an extremely important department, not only for the College but for RIT as a whole.  Finding someone that would continue to foster unity within the department, keep its programs strong, and grow key initiatives was my top priority.

I am extremely pleased to say that the process ended in an exceptional outcome:  Dr. Risa Robinson, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been appointed to the leadership position of Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Dr. Robinson is an RIT alumna, having graduated with her BS degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Imaging Science.  She earned her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Buffalo in 1999, joined the tenure-track faculty in the Kate Gleason College in 2000 as an Assistant Professor, and was promoted to full Professor in 2012.  Dr. Robinson has held several leadership positions in recent years, including a three-year appointment as Associate Department Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department and Chair of the department’s Curriculum and Assessment Committee.  She recently served as co-Chair of the Institutional Academic Portfolio Blueprint Task Force.  She is currently involved in innovative curricular development for first-year students, and was previously sponsored by the National Science Foundation to incorporate industry standard data acquisition techniques into the freshmen year.  Through these educational and leadership activities, Dr. Robinson has played an integral role in cultivating and disseminating new models for curriculum development and assessment strategies within her department and the college, and in defining a strategic map for future academic programming for the university. 

Dr. Robinson’s research interests, generally speaking, are centered on the dynamic behavior of inhaled particles as a means to study the toxicological effects of various tobacco products and nicotine delivery devices.  Her expertise is in aerosol mechanics, fluid dynamics and particle transport and deposition in systems, including the respiratory tract.  Dr. Robinson established and directs the Respiratory Technologies Laboratory (RTL) in the college which is engaged in a variety of fundamental and applied projects relating to smoking and particle inhalation.  In particular, the Lab develops systems to evaluate new tobacco products against manufacturer’s claims for reduced emissions and addictive potential.  It develops novel surveillance systems to monitor user’s smoking behavior in natural environments, to evaluate the user’s exposure to harmful constituents upon switching to new purportedly safer products.  Additional activities include the design of replica lung models for healthy and diseased lungs and their analysis, with both computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and particle image velocimetry, to map two-phase flow in these models to assess dosimetry of toxic constituents.  This research will inform regulatory policy regarding improved standards for testing new tobacco products, and will ultimately have a positive impact on public health.  Dr. Robinson’s work has been sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the Phillip Morris External Research Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.  Her work currently is sponsored by the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The major thrust of these current efforts involves the evaluation of electronic cigarettes, a product whose market is rapidly expanding to now include teenagers.  Her work will aid the FDA in regulating these new and widely untested products.



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Fast Facts

The Kate Gleason College of Engineering at RIT is the nation’s premier career-oriented college of engineering. Students are well prepared for to be immediately valuable contributors to their employers or to go on to graduate school.

The Kate Gleason College of Engineering at RIT is the nation’s premier career-oriented college of engineering. Students are well prepared for to be immediately valuable contributors to their employers or to go on to graduate school.

Annual program enrollment and degrees awarded information can be found at: The link is on the left-hand side navigation panel under “ABET Accreditation” (opens as a PDF).

Fall 2014 Enrollment (excludes international campuses)

Total headcount is 3,456 up from 3,229 in 2013

Undergraduate Students          2,742 (608 female)

Graduate Students                   714 (151 female)

  • 5.4% Hispanic, 6.9% Asian, 3.1% African-American, 1.8% mixed race, 24% unknown, .2% American Indian
  • 29 Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing students

Freshman class:

  • 44.3% were in top 10% of high school class, mean GPA of 92.5%, average SAT 1884 (616 CR/667 M/601 W)
  • 24 International Students

Students (excludes international programs such as Dubai)

  • Energizing, innovative students who collectively create a vibrant campus community-learn more at Engineering Student Organizations
  • Average class size is 36
  • Study abroad opportunities while maintaining progress towards degree
  • An honors program that offers selected students in depth learning about product innovations for a global society
  • A first to second year retention rate over 95%
  • An award winning Formula SAE Team.

Faculty & Staff

  • KGCOE faculty are passionate about engineering and focused on student success. Faculty are approachable and engaged in teaching.
  •  Over 90% hold a doctorate degree and many hold one or more patents.
  • RIT's cooperative education program is the 4th oldest and 5th largest in the world; with over 2000 co-op placements for engineering students at 500 different companies each year. Our Co-op Education and Career Services Office maintains solid relationships with our industry partners and provides our students with superior advice and mentoring on obtaining co-ops and permanent positions after graduation.
  • Our Student Services office provides academic advising for engineering exploration students and counseling for all engineering students who seek it. They help students find the resources they need to be successful.
  • Extraordinary "Women in Engineering" program that is nationally recognized for its success in attracting and retaining women students-learn more at WE@RIT


  • Outstanding, high tech facilities, expanded labs for true hands-on experiences
  • The largest and most well equipped micro-fab clean room facility in the nation for undergraduate education
  • Industry-standard CAD and CAM software tools for design and analysis
  • State-of-the-art classroom technology and an Engineering Learning Center, staffed with tutors, to help students achieve their very best
  • Wifi throughout the engineering complex


KGCOE faculty are actively engaged in a variety of research domains. Click on each graphic to learn more about each of these areas of research.


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Engineers design the future and it is imperative that they recognize the great impact they have on society. Kate Gleason College of Engineering faculty, students, and staff are truthful and honorable, and do not tolerate lying, cheating, stealing, or plagiarism.


Engineers design the future and it is imperative that they recognize the great impact they have on society.

Kate Gleason College of Engineering faculty, students, and staff are truthful and honorable, and do not tolerate lying, cheating, stealing, or plagiarism

Joining the RIT engineering community means embracing this philosophy and upholding the highest standards of ethical behavior. Adhering to these principles reinforces a pattern of behavior that remains throughout professional life.

The ethical learning objectives outlined below is woven into the general curriculum throughout the all of the undergraduate engineering programs.

Year 1 Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the elements and objectives of the overall KGCOE Ethics Program as it relates to the profession of engineering.
  2. Comprehend university and college academic honesty policies.
  3. Develop an appreciation of ethics as it relates to your college experience and academic pursuit in the context of engineering.
  4. Develop an awareness of acceptable practices within academic settings pertaining to course assignments and exams.
  5. Apply basic criteria for ethical decision making.

Year 2 Learning Objectives

  1. Demonstrate an appreciation of ethics as it relates to the college experience and academic pursuit in the context of engineering.
  2. Explain basic criteria for ethical decision making.
  3. Understand ethical behavior in a team environment.
  4. Describe how to build and maintain a professional reputation.

Year 3 Learning Objectives

  1. Explain ethics as it relates to the engineering profession.
  2. Integrate basic criteria for ethical decision making within the engineering profession.
  3. Demonstrate ethical behavior in a team environment.
  4. Discover how to build and maintain a professional reputation.
  5. Illustrate the broader impact of engineering decisions.

Year 4 Learning Objectives

  1. Explain criteria for ethical decision making within the engineering profession.
  2. Demonstrate ethical behavior in a professional work environment.
  3. Create a professional reputation.
  4. Explain the broader impact of engineering decisions.

Year 5 Learning Objectives

  1. Explain ethical behavior in a team environment.
  2. Summarize how to build and maintain a professional reputation.
  3. Recognize the complex relationships that exist between engineering decisions and their broader impact.

Graduate Student Learning Objectives

  1. Demonstrate an appreciation of ethics as it relates to the responsible conduct of research.
  2. Demonstrate an appreciation of ethical responsibility in the context of the engineering or statistics professions.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of ethics as it relates to authorship and plagiarism.
  4. Explain basic criteria for ethical decision making.
  5. Identify professional standards and code of ethics relevant to their discipline
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Discover Engineering

Engineers really do change the world every day. Have you wondered about engineering – what is it that they do? Is it creative? Would you like to explore a little? Below are some sites and apps that will allow you to do just that. So jump in – take a test drive.  All of these sites are free too!

Learn about science, technology, engineering and math:

Interesting websites for engineering info and play:

Good websites for makers and tinkerers:

Career Guides and Information on the Computer Science Field

How to Become a Computer Engineer

How to Become a Computer Programmer

For younger students and engineering novices, at the Google Play Store:

Engineer Cars

Bridge Architect Lite

Amazing Alex

Engineering School

Engineer’s Ping Pong

iPad App:


For ideas that will generate fun and may help spark a girl’s interest in engineering:

For high school students entering their senior year and wishing to explore a variety of disciplines, RIT offers College and Careers over two summer weekends.


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