The online program launched in 2000 with 13 students. Since then, it has grown to 70 matriculated and non-matriculated students. The program was designed for professionals looking to advance themselves or change career paths, says Maria Helguera, professor of imaging science and program coordinator. The majority of students are sponsored by their employers. Several current students are employees of Hewlett-Packard, U.S. Air Force, Minolta, Onyx Graphics, and Polaroid, among others, and live in Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore as well as the United States.
The online program consists of 11 courses and a final project. Most students work full time and take one class per quarter. Helguera describes the program as a blend of independent and synchronous study. Some courses require students to rely on themselves and telephone or e-mail communication with their professors. Other courses hold regularly scheduled conference calls and real-time chat groups.Two of the original students—fondly dubbed “pioneers”—Robert Girandola and Michael Surgeary, both of whom work for a leading cosmetic company, graduated this May, boosting the program’s alumni to four.
“I immediately saw this as the only real opportunity I had to work with some of the world’s leading scientists,” says Girandola, a director of quality assurance for powder manufacturing. “The benefits of the program were being able to get a first-rate education without leaving my job and moving my family.”
“I was so impressed with the Center for Imaging Science, the faculty and the graduate students,” says Surgeary, a quality assurance laboratory project manager. “When I learned about the new distance learning opportunity it was an easy decision to apply. There was no imaging science program of this quality available to me locally. Without the distance learning program, I could not have obtained this degree.”
For more information about the online master’s program in imaging science, contact Maria Helguera at 585-475-7053 or firstname.lastname@example.org.