My RIT Journey – A summary

by Anthony Gutierrez, Mechanical Engineering ME student

One and a half years ago I decided to follow a crazy dream, to come to the United States and pursue my master’s degree. If that’s not scary enough, I also decided to go to RIT, one of the top 100 universities in the nation. I’m not going to lie to you, I was a little scared when I arrived to RIT – those big brick buildings can be a little intimidating on the first sight. Luckily my fears started to disappear as soon as my classes started.

I can still remember my first day of class like if it was yesterday. The day before classes started, I was so nervous that I couldn’t sleep, and, because of that, I arrived late to my first class. I remember how my plan of keeping a low profile on the first days went down the toilet as soon as I opened the door of my classroom and everyone (including the professor) turned around to look at me. Luckily professor told me: “Don’t worry, it’s the first day” and everyone else just laughed.

Because I didn’t do my undergrad studies here in RIT (or in the US), I was afraid of not having the required level and being behind the rest of the class. Since day one, all my professors made me forget this fear. It’s amazing the level of care the professors have for their students here in RIT, and the accessibility that you as a student have towards them. There is no such thing as a “stupid question” for them, and you can go at any time during their office hours to ask all your doubts.

In terms of fitting into the RIT community, I can assure you that you’ll find your place in it. You can easily realize the amount of diversity in the campus by not just looking at the student population, but also hearing students speak multiple languages around the campus. Even though we are considered to be a university of “nerds” by many, you’ll find tons of fun activities to do in the campus each week and, joining any of the 100+ student clubs will help you make friends.

Throughout my three semesters in RIT I grew as a professional and I made friends from around the world. I gained core skills in my profession as a Mechanical Engineer, and I also gained real experience. During the summer I was able to do an internship with a company here in Rochester which helped me earn a lot of experience and some money too. And now that I’m reaching the end of my program, I found another internship in California with my dream company Apple.

If you are thinking about coming to RIT, I can assure that you won’t regret it! Don’t be afraid of crazy dreams, and don’t be afraid of failing. You are your own limitation, so if you want to reach the stars, simply don’t put any limitations in yourself 😀

#myRITstory – Venkatesh Deenadayalan

Graduate Program – Microelectronic Engineering MS 

From Chennai, India, Venkatesh has been studying at RIT since the fall of 2017. He currently serves as a research and teaching assistant for the Microelectronic Engineering program under Dr. Robert Pearson (Electrical and Microelectronic Engineering Department) and Dr. Stefan Preble (Microsystems Engineering Department.)

His research is focused on realizing thermo-optic tuning of silicon waveguides using metal heaters. This will entirely be an in-house fabrication (within RIT’s clean room –  Semiconductor and Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory) and the goal is to include the process as part of the 2019 – MCEE 789/ MCSE 889 Photonic Integrated Circuits curriculum which will enable students to integrate the fabrication of active photonic components with the existing passive devices.

Have questions? (Don’t worry, we do too!) You can learn more about Venkatesh’s research group, the RIT Integrated Photonoics Group on their website. 

You can also research the curriculum and admissions requirements of our Microelectonics Engineering MS and Microsystems Engineering PhD programs on our website via the links below:

Microelectronic Engineering MS

Microelectronics Manufacturing Engineering ME 

Microsystems Engineering PhD 

Afraid RIT might be too difficult? Don’t be! RIT has your back.

by Anthony Gutierrez, Mechanical Engineering ME student

Students have a variety of resources available to them during their time at RIT. Once you start your program, each department has a Welcome Meeting, in which not only they welcome you to RIT and your Master’s Program, but also give you all the tools and resources you might need during your journey.

Advisors frequently refer students to the following RIT resources:

Academic Support Center at RIT: The mission of this center is to assist and empower students to achieve academic success by academic coaching; individual and group tutoring; workshops; classes; and presentations that help develop the necessary skills to achieve your academic goals. Feel free to check out their website for more information.

Wallace Center: Home to the Wallace Library, the Writing Commons, and the RIT American Sign Language and Deaf Studies Community Center (RADSCC), is centrally located on campus and a perfect space for study, collaboration, and relaxation.  With a schedule of open 24 hours during weekdays and 12 hours during weekends, The Wallace Center is the perfect place to do all your homework and research. For more information about all the resources offered by the Wallace Center (like borrowing a laptop, books, calculators, etc.)

University Writing Commons: The RIT Writing Commons provides writing support for students of all levels and in all disciplines. With a staff by of professional writing consultants and undergraduate peer writing consultants from various disciplines, they provide both individualized and group feedback and guidance on academic and professional writing at any stage of the writing process. Writing consultants can support a variety of writing projects, from research papers to lab reports. Feel free to check out their website for more information.

Teaching Assistant (TA): A teaching assistant or teacher’s aide (TA) is an individual who assists a teacher with instructional responsibilities. Usually these individuals are students who already took the class and did very well on it. Their job is not only to grade your homework, but also help you with any doubts about the class. Think about this: what better person to help you with a class than someone who already took it and did very well on it?

Professor’s office hours: RIT has a policy in which they state that each professor must offer office hours outside from the regular class hours, so they can offer a more individual orientation in any doubts the students might have. At the beginning of each semester, all of your professors will give the schedule of their office hours so you can know what time you can go and ask all your questions. Although these office hours have a limited time frame, most of the professor have an open door policy, which means that you can go to their offices and ask your questions any time you want.

The move to RIT – a rough experience, but ready to go!

This is Sushi, one of the three cats that made the move with us!

by Imran Mahmood, MBA student

When I knew I would have to move to Rochester with three cats and a 2 week old newborn son, I figured it would be crazy, but I had no idea how crazy.

It all began on a sunny day in June. My wife and I were gearing up to depart Binghamton to move to Rochester so I could start my MBA program. Our son was only two weeks old, my wife had just had surgery, and the cats were not looking forward to the car ride. Then, came the movers. Right off the bat, they had forgotten the hand truck. I immediately wondered to myself, “how could you forget a hand truck when you are a moving company?” But instead of getting upset I wrote it off as a simple human error. I have about forgotten things plenty of times, I was in no position to judge. However, that was just the beginning of what was going to be a long day. The movers started hurling our furniture and boxes onto blankets and dragged them across the lawn. They complained about the heat. And then they started smoking on the job! It was unbelievable. All we wanted to do was get out of there! Finally, after hours and hours, they had the truck fully packed and ready to go. We left in advance of them, but they promised they would follow shortly after. As we arrived at  our new apartment in Rochester, we waited for the truck with all of our belongings to arrive. Hours passed, and we didn’t understand how they were so far behind us. They didn’t end up meeting us until almost four hours later, even though the drive should have taken two and a half.

By the time they started to unload the furniture, tensions were already high. As they brought boxes up the stairs one by one, we inspected them nervously for damages. And then, we saw what could only be described as a nightmare: our microwave was shattered. Broken. Completely in non-working condition. Have you ever moved before? Do you know how crucial that microwave is on your first night, when you just moved in and you can’t take out your pots and pans to make dinner, and you just want to heat up some popcorn and pizza in peace? On a less important note, they broke the bookcase too, but that would come into play later. At that moment, all we could think about was hunger. We started frantically googling places in the area. Not many places were open to accepting our frantic and hunger-induced phone call at 9:30pm, but we finally settled on one that was open.

Thankfully, this story did have a happy ending and it was all thanks to some delicious Lebanese food.

 

Cultural differences between the United States and other countries (Did you know that…?)

by Anthony Gutierrez, Mechanical Engineering ME student

Are you ready to be amazed and laugh at the same time? Some of these cultural differences I’ve found myself after moving to the United States and others I just Googled. 🙂

  • Did you know that in most of the countries in Latin America, people throw the toilet paper in a trash can and not in the toilet? This is because most of the governments say that the toilet paper could clog the pipes (Funny story, my first roommate was American and he freaked out when he saw me doing it hahaha.)
  • Did you know that in the United States apart from saying hi, it’s very common for people to ask you “how are you? Or, “how is your day?”, even though they don’t know you? I know what you are thinking “isn’t that polite?” and the answer is: yes it is! So don’t feel uncomfortable and don’t be afraid of asking “how is their day?” too, you might end up making a new friend.
  • Did you know that Americans usually consider that the week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday, while in Europe and Latin America it always starts on Monday and finishes on Sunday?
  • Did you know that when you have to give a date in the United States, people always put the month first and then the day? Just so you have an idea, virtually every other country in the world puts “day-month-year” instead of “month-day-year”
  • Did you know that in the United States you would be expected to show up to a meeting, work, date, event, party, or to class at the agreed-upon time? In contrast, in cultures that have more relaxed expectations about promptness, such as most of Latin America, people and public transportation are more likely to be running late and it doesn’t look bad.
  • In the United States and other European countries, using direct eye contact is accepted and considered to be a sign of attentiveness, honesty, confidence, and respect for what the other is saying. In some Latin-American, Asian, and African cultures, the opposite is true. Direct eye contact might be considered aggressive. In these cultures, avoiding direct eye contact is a sign of respect, especially to elders or authority figures (You got me! I Googled this one hahaha.)

For those who haven’t experienced winter before (like me!):

  • Did you know that during winter, the highway department will spread salt (usually black) on the road to melt the ice? So don’t be afraid if you see a big truck throwing some weird black “sand” in the front of your house (I’m speaking from experience.)
  • Did you know that during winter, the air gets so dry that it’s really hard for electrons to move and your body starts to build more static and creates a shock when you touch anything? So don’t get scared and think that there is something wrong with your body (again, I’m speaking from experience hahaha.)

#myRITstory – Zach Mulhollan

Graduate Program: Imaging Science PhD (second year student)

Last Wednesday Zach Mulhollan, current RIT student, presented the company he founded, and a business plan to grow it, at the Saunders College Summer Startup Investor Demo Night. His company Tiger CGM is a personal glucose monitor for patients with Diabetes. The monitors provide an empathetic and user-friendly approach to measuring real-time glucose levels 24 hours a day, while also providing its user actionable information that can be used to guide healthy choices. The goal of Tiger CGM is to deliver self-assurance and security to those who need to manage their glucose levels.

Says Zach of his experience with the program, “The Saunders Summer Startup Program quickly taught me intangible skills that compliment both my academic and entrepreneurial careers. The coaches provided my team the constructive criticism and support we needed so that our company will continue to grow after graduation.”

You can read more about the Saunders Summer Startup Program, and the other student-led companies, in our recent RIT News article.

 

#myRITstory – Trevor Barrett

Graduate Program – Entrepreneurship and Innovative Ventures MS 

Each day 22 veterans in the United States succumb to suicide. It’s a staggering statistic – a figure that doesn’t receive much media attention, but which is of great significance to graduate student Trevor Barrett.

Trevor, a Marine Corps veteran and RIT staff member understands firsthand how difficult the transition from active military member to civilian life can be, and has struggled himself with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) In 2008, after being discharged, his best friend from the Marine Corps took his own life. This loss caused Trevor to spiral downward into a deep depression that almost cost him his marriage and livelihood. With the help of his support network, Trevor overcame his demons, got his life back on track, and is now working in RIT’s Office of Graduate Enrollment Services as the Assistant Director of Veteran Affairs. Trevor is passionate about continuing education and recently began RIT’s MS program in Entrepreneurship and Innovative Ventures. Now, he’s preparing to pitch his business idea at the RIT Sanders College of Business Summer Startup Demo Night on Wednesday, August 8th.

OpSiix Project 

Graduate and Undergraduate students at RIT have access to a wealth of campus resources that help budding entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality. These resources include RIT’s Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and RIT’s “Tiger Tank” competition. Both provide students the skills, education, and experience necessary to realize their entrepreneurial goals, taking an idea from the beginning stages all the way to commercialization. These tools have provided Trevor the opportunity to develop his own idea and business plan.

Alongside his business partner Brandon Sheppard (an Industrial Design BFA student,) Trevor co-founded OpSiix, a mobile app that serves as a virtual community for veterans around the country and a direct communication to the Veteran Crisis Line and other resources. Their team has grown to a group of 8 students, many of whom Trevor met in his Applied Entrepreneurship class, where he also met his coach, Dana Wolcott. Under Dana’s guidance the team created a working business model and have learned much more about beginning a business.

Says Trevor about his experience thus far – “Since starting this graduate project I have learned so much that has already helped me with my career. I have learned things like the value of customer discovery, market research, managing personnel, motivating teammates and much, much more. Additionally, from researching the veteran demographic I have become more knowledgeable and better equipped for my role here at RIT as the veteran service representative. I have truly enjoyed ever second that I have spent working on OpSiix!”

In addition to mentors on campus and valuable coursework, Trevor and his team have a maker space on campus that gives the team a physical space to work and also provides access to 3D printers, tools, and materials. They also participated in the annual Imagine RIT festival where they were able to share their idea with thousands of RIT and Rochester community stakeholders. Trevor is thankful for the knowledge RIT has provided him – “We have access to a huge knowledge set. If one of our coaches doesn’t have an answer that we’re seeking they either know where to find the answer or know who to ask. We also have access to grants, and crowd funding resources that RIT facilitates. Truly, without RIT OpSiix wouldn’t exist.”

You can watch Trevor and his team present their business plan this Wednesday at the Saunders Summer Startup Night at 5:30 p.m.

OpSiix Video

Register for the Summer Startup Demo Night 

#myRITstory – Nathan DeMario

Program: Mechanical Engineering ME, second year

Gleason College of Engineering student, Nathan DeMario, balances his time in the classroom working on his Mechanical Engineering degree with building his own company, Phase Innovations, LLC. As a participant in the Saunders College of Business and Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Startup Program, Nathan has been hard at work these past few months, building a plan to make his dreams a reality. The Summer Startup Program offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to work on early stage business plans, with the goal of launching plans and seeking investments – all while getting paid.

About Phase Innovations, LLC – “Phase Innovations LLC provides novel stack-based technologies for energy conversion and storage applications. With over 40 patents in this field, we are leveraging our expertise in developing these systems to accelerate clean technology.

Phase Innovations LLC is developing two different technologies, the Membrane Heat Pump and a device named PureAtmos. The Membrane Heat Pump is a novel technology that is a thermally activated, scalable, refrigerant free, combined cooling and de-humidification technology. The PureAtmos unit is a device that provides homeowners with a solution to update their homes ventilation capabilities without requiring large and costly home renovations. This also would enable these homes to meet the current ASHREA regulation (ASHREA 62.1 and 62.2) in which there are currently few inexpensive options available to enable out of date homes to meet these requirements at a reasonable cost.” 

Nathan will present his business plan at the Saunders Summer Startup – Demo Night on August 8th. You can reserve your ticket and learn more on the event’s website.

#myRITstory – Harshitha Nanjundappa

Program: Electrical Engineering MS, graduated May 2018

From: Bangalore, India 

Currently: Platform Power Delivery Engineer, Intel, Hillsboro, Oregon 

From part-time employment on campus to a co-op in her field that eventually led to a full-time job offer, Harshitha made the most of her experience at RIT. After arriving on campus her first semester Harshitha found a job at RIT’s Brick City Café, where she was employed for two semesters. She remembers the job fondly, saying “it was an amazing experience. I met a lot of new people and got to learn a bit or two about how a cafeteria works. I don’t think I would ever got this opportunity if I hadn’t taken this job.”

Harshitha then took advantage of RIT’s Career Fair and hands-on research and working opportunities, and was offered a co-op position at Intel. Before she completed the co-op placement Harshitha had already demonstrated her skillset and earned a full-time job offer to continue at Intel after graduation. She returned to RIT’s campus to finish her last semester of the MS program in January 2018. After graduating last May Harshitha moved across the States to Oregon, where she is currently working full-time as a Platform Power Delivery Engineer.

“I got all my skills in use during my work at Intel, since this was my first ever job in an industry it was very overwhelming for me. I gave my best at every task given and got some practical hands-on experience.”

Overall, Harshitha thoroughly enjoyed her time at RIT – both in and outside of the classroom – “It was quite tough coming to a different country and starting a new adventure, but friends who came with me made it very easy and comfortable. Rochester was an amazing chapter in my life. Thank you RIT for giving so many memories!”

#myRITstory – Syed Sajjad Haider

Program: Electrical Engineering MS, expected graduation fall 2019

From: Islamabad, Pakistan

Syed learned about RIT through his local EducationUSA Advising Center, where he was researching prospective graduate programs in robotics and artificial intelligence. His search for the perfect program and research opportunities led him to RIT’s Engineering and Computing programs. He ultimately chose RIT because of its strong emphasis on Co-Operative Education. (You can read more about RIT’s Co-op program online.)

In July Syed will begin a six month co-op placement at Abiomed in Boston, Massachusetts. He was hired as Lifecycle Electrical Engineer and will work on the design and analysis of testing automation for various Abiomed consumer products.

Says Syed about his search for a co-op position – “I found a Co-Op in Boston, MA through the Handshake platform RIT just introduced. All students in RIT are strongly encouraged to attend the two career fairs organized by RIT each year and to apply for various opportunities on the handshake platform. The Office of Career Services at RIT is very helpful and useful. I got my Resume reviewed from them and also participated in a mock interview event. These small things really help you prepare for the real interview.”

Syed will return to RIT in January 2019 to complete his MS program. In addition to his coursework and extracurricular activities, Syed has also worked part-time for RIT Dining and for RIT’s Reporter Magazine as a staff photographer.