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But will it fly?
Aaron Foss ’00, ’01 (business administration, MBA) received a few moments of fame on ABC’s American Inventor, and although he didn’t win the show’s big prize, he has hopes that his invention will take off.

Aaron Foss
Aaron Foss ‘00, ‘01 and friends.

Foss is the creator of a patented device, The WingDipper.

“I was eating chicken wings in a restaurant and the little round plastic cup with blue cheese kept spilling over,” says Foss. “I own my own business in Long Island, and we do programming, Web applications and database work – and I go out on a limb to design a plastic cup holder where you can easily dip both wings and legs without a mess.”

Foss hatched a publicity campaign to get on the show, with two friends portraying fowl and Foss dressed in a lab coat. The camera crew shot footage of Foss and his chickens fluttering around the streets of New York City, and although he didn’t make the final cut, some of his audition aired in the series’ opening segment.

Foss says he plans to market his WingDipper to the restaurant industry. If it catches on, it could have important implications for laundry day.

For more information, see www.wingdipper.com.

On the road
“What was taught to me during my academic experience at RIT has developed into a rewarding career in transportation,” reports George Warda ’78 (civil engineering technology).

In February, Warda received a project management award from the Colorado Department of Transportation/Colorado Contractors Association. He was one of three engineers honored for their work on a $13.2 million project to reconstruct portions of I-225 in Aurora, Colo.

In 2002, Warda was honored for his work on a $53 million interstate intersection reconstruction that included a 1,400-foot fly-over structure, 53 major structures and a 1,600 vehicle parking structure.

Warda, a project engineer for CDOT, lives in Parker, Colo.

Sharon McKenna ‘01
Sharon McKenna ‘01
Good Morning Sunshine

When the sun comes out
Parents everywhere will soon be able to read a children’s book written and illustrated by Sharon McKenna ’01 (M.F.A., graphic design) during her student days at RIT. Good Morning Sunshine - A Grandpa Story is being published this fall by Red Cygnet Press.

Since writing the story, McKenna and her husband, Shawn Gundrum, have joined the ranks of young parents: Their daughter, Ella Elizabeth, is a year old. They live in Tampa, Fla.

She is now working on another book and doing free-lance projects. McKenna, who also teaches at Savannah College of Art and Design, says her work was “profoundly influenced by RIT, ” especially professors Deborah Beardslee and Roger Remington.

McKenna’s has another connection to RIT: her father, Michael B. McKenna ’71 (business administration). She reports that he retired from Eastman Kodak Co. this year and now resides in Williamsburg, Va.

For more information about the book, go to www.redcygnet.com.

On the set of ‘Getting Personal,’ are, from left: Cheryl Farney, Bobby Maville, Beth Bailey ‘97 and Marc Raco ‘88.

‘Getting Personal’ with RIT Students
Marc Raco ’88 (film and video) and Beth Bailey ’97 (interactive media design) gave RIT students a sneak preview of their latest project in April. The romantic comedy Getting Personal, about four couples who meet through an Internet dating site, was shot in Rochester, using Rochester-based actors and crew. 

Writer/director Bailey produced the film through her company Zinko Films. Raco starred and also served as editor, musical director, photographer and producer.

“RIT is one more partner in a collaborative effort across our community to get this movie made locally,” says Bailey. “We want to inspire the students to think big about their projects as well.”

Raco and Bailey are taking the film to festivals nationwide, and are hoping for national distribution.

Burned in Boston
November, 1872:  a hurricane of fire rips through downtown Boston, reducing seven hundred buildings to ashes. Firefighters struggle with unruly crowds, poor water pressure, and explosions of gas and gunpowder. No one had ever stopped a firestorm of this magnitude –until John Damrell. Damrell’s Fire is his story – and David O’Gara ’93 (graphic design) helped bring it to life.
Damrell's Fire
A scene from ‘Damrell’s Fire.’

O’Gara, of Millis, Mass., produced much of the 3D modeling and effects for the Cambridge documentary cinema company, Docema, that produced the film, which is airing on PBS stations across the country.

The film’s animation team created a meticulously accurate, 3D model of Boston in 1872. “3D animation has never been used this way in a historical documentary,” says O’Gara, senior visual effects animator for the film.

For more information, visit www.DamrellsFire.com. To see more of O’Gara’s work, visit www.o-studios.net.

The thread of a new career
Joyce Goode ’74 (graphic design) is piecing together a new career as a full-time artist. Her particular passion is quilt-making, using fabrics she paints and dyes. In May, a dozen of her quilts went on display in her first show.

A quilt by Joyce Goode ‘74.

After RIT, Goode spent a decade in the New York City fashion industry working as a merchandise manager for several designers. Then she moved to San Francisco and worked in the corporate gift business. After meeting and marrying Merton Goode, a physician, eight years ago, she became a full-time volunteer.

She serves on the boards of five organizations, but the focus of her volunteer work is teaching sewing to fourth- and fifth-graders in an after-school enrichment program at Francis Scott Key Elementary School, a public school in San Francisco’s Sunset District.

Sewing has been a long-time passion for Goode, but children today have limited opportunities to learn this skill. She enjoys sharing her expertise with the youngsters. “It’s very gratifying,” she says. “Sewing is a skill that will be useful throughout their lives, and could even lead to a career.

“Each year,” she adds, “We have made a group quilt, which are all hanging in the entry of the school. I think the children are very proud to see their work displayed.”

Thomas signs five-year contract
The Fresno (Calif.) Falcons have signed head coach and general manager Matt Thomas ’98 (criminal justice) to a new five-year deal.

Matt Thomas ‘98
Matt Thomas ‘98

In his first season at the helm of the Falcons, Thomas led the team to within one goal of advancing to the Kelly Cup Finals. Under his guidance, Fresno won the first regular season division title in team history.

Still the youngest coach in the East Coast Hockey League at 30 years old, Thomas was hired as the fifth head coach in Falcons history on June 2, 2005, after leading the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies to within one point of a division crown during the 2004-05 campaign in his first year as a head coach. His coaching career began at RIT.

Information for Alumni Highlights can be submitted to The University Magazine, University News Services, Rochester Institute of Technology, 132 Lomb Memorial Dirve – Bldg. 86, Rochester, NY 14623. E-mail can be sent to umagwww@rit.edu.


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