Coming from NYC to Rochester? Here Are Five Things You Should Know!

by Imran Mahmood, MBA student

  1. You will no longer have to deal with the treacherous MTA. If you have ever had the “privilege” of riding with the MTA then you know all about the infamous MTA delays. Well thankfully here at RIT you know longer have to deal with that! You’ll even be able to have your own seat(pretty sweet, right?) Would you believe there’s more? You’ll even be able to have room to breathe! Amazing, right?
  2. Miss all the sites and attractions at NYC? Well, Rochester is home to quite a few great ones. The Strong Museum of Play is home to the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the National Toy Hall of Fame, and houses many other great exhibits. This is is a great place to go if you want to feel like a kid again. If you’re into photography then I recommend the George Eastman Museum which is the world’s oldest photography museum! There’s also the Seneca Park Zoo which is 20 acres and has over 90 different species, including red pandas, elephants, and giraffes. You can also watch the Rochester Amerks, which is a minor league hockey team, play at the Blue Cross Arena.
  3. Tired of NYC traffic? Want to drive without feeling like an unwilling participant in the Fast and the Furious? Then Rochester is great for you. Gone are the days of waiting several minutes on the Long Island Expressway just to move a few inches. Thankfully, the roads here in Rochester are a lot less congested and the drivers are a lot less aggressive.
  4. Tired of walking through the concrete jungle and want to see some actual grass? Here in Rochester,

    Here’s a photo of the beautiful highland park!

    there are plenty of parks to visit with your friends and loved ones. My favorite park to visit is Highland Park. Highland Park is home to 500 varieties of flowering shrubs, a collection of exotic trees, 1200 lilac shrubs, the Lamberton Conservatory, and even a castle! I would definitely suggest checking out Highland Park, it’s not as big as Central Park but it is as exciting to visit. There are also other parks in Rochester that are worth checking out such as Genesee Valley Park and Corbett’s Glen Park.

  5. Okay, so maybe all of those great things I mentioned earlier aren’t enough. Maybe you want to see more. Well, guess what? Rochester is close to some other cool places to visit. Want to visit Canada? Well, Toronto is only about two and a half hours away from Rochester. This could be a great destination for a weekend trip. You could also visit Buffalo which is another great city to visit. If you’re an NFL or NHL fan the Buffalo Bills and Sabres are only about an hour away from Rochester. If you’re into theater, Shea’s Performing Arts Center is another great place to check out. There are many Broadway shows that are performed there, such as Aladdin and Hamilton! You’ll get Broadway-level performances for a lot less than you would pay in NYC.

 

 

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.

 

#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 – Ishan Guliani

Program: Computer Science MS, incoming Fall 2018

From: New Delhi, India

“I always feel that it is important for individuals to specialize in the discipline that drives their curiosity. It not only satiates one’s hunger for a deeper understanding of the subject, but also qualifies a person as a reliable resource for that particular field of work.” – Ishan

Having amassed a wealth of experience in the tech startup scene back home, it was time for Ishan to explore further and delve deeper into what he loved doing – using technology to improve the lives of everyday people. Ishan passed on lucrative job offers from multinational companies to spend 4 years as an entrepreneur. During that time he played a significant role in building up several startups from ground zero.

Ishan knew he’d be able to advance to a central role in technology entrepreneurship if he could expand his technical knowledge. He ultimately had two options before him – an M.Tech from India or an MS from the US. After spending time with his mentors and asking for advice from seniors from his undergraduate days, choosing to go for an MS and get valuable international experience abroad was the obvious choice.

After an extensive search process Ishan chose RIT’s Computer Science program. Says Ishan, “the primary factor for me in choosing RIT was my specialization itself. Coming from a startup background where I’ve seen apps scale rampantly and crash servers overnight, I have been fascinated with highly scalable and distributed systems. This is one of the fields I want to specialize in and RIT’s research and course work in this area is extremely promising and challenging.”

Other factors in his decision to attend RIT included the promptness and openness of both faculty and admission counselors. Ishan had a series of email conversations with professors from the CS department during the application process itself. He also had numerous phone and email interactions with the graduate enrollment office to assist anytime he hit a hurdle. Of course, the scholarship Ishan received as a part of his acceptance package also went a long way in cementing his decision.

Ishan is a people person and loves spending quality time with people who matter to him. At RIT, Ishan hopes to take things one day at a time, breathing in the new experiences and savoring them. Ishan wants to meet new people, get new ideas and learn as much as he can during his time in the US.

Ishan, we look forward to welcoming you to campus!

#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 – Venkatesh Thimma Dhinakaran

Venkatesh, visiting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA.

Program: Software Engineering MS, expected graduation May 2019

From: Chennai, India

Venkatesh is a Graduate Assistant in his department, Software Engineering, where he works under Dr. Pradeep Kumar Murukannaiah. In this position he has conducted research and published a paper entitled “App Review Analysis via Avtive Learning, reducing the supervision effort without compromising the accuracy.”  The paper has been accepted into the 2018 IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference and the pair will present their findings in August at the event in Banff, Canada.

Says Venkatesh about his work:

“I am doing a thesis under this professor. My work involves machine learning techniques such as supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and implementing these strategies using Python programming language as required for the research conducted. This job gives my hourly pay as well as 55% scholarship for tuition. I work 10 hours per week in this job.”

At RIT Venkatesh also works a part-time job in the Brick City Cafe and lives lives off-campus (first at Crittenden Way Apartments and currently in Riverknoll Apartments.) When asked about his RIT experience, Venkatesh said, “RIT is a very research oriented institution, be prepared to learn a lot. The campus is huge and beautiful. Everyone can easily find something that they like to do on campus apart from studies too, since there are that many clubs and events going on all the time.”

Before Venkatesh arrived on campus he made friends and found roommates through social media channels. (Admitted to an RIT program for Fall 2018? Join our Admitted Student Facebook Page and WhatsApp group to connect!)

RIT’s Financial Wellness Conference

by Sanjay Varma Rudraraju, Computer Science MS student

RIT Student Affairs and Student Government have offered a Financial Wellness Conference on April 8th as part of National Financial Literacy Month which has seen participation from a lot of students at RIT. The conference was held to raise awareness about the importance of financial literacy which is one of the most important topic as believed by several millennials. The conference had an interesting concept of holding several sessions which are a 50 min long and students get to choose 3 sessions between 2-5pm. The conference kicked off with a keynote address by retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, John C. Ninfo who shared his thoughts on financial IQ. I choose the three sessions “Track the Flow of Your Money”, “Health Care Benefits 101”, and “Planning for Retirement”. In the first session “Track the Flow of Your Money” we got introduced to how to manage a budget and then also the allocations that need to be made in order to maximize the value of your paycheck. Later, I got to attend the session “Health Care Benefits 101” where the speaker talked about the various health

care options that companies offer to the employees and suggestions for comparing the options and choosing the best one. This session has particularly helpful as I am joining a company soon full time and I need to choose a healthcare plan. Finally, I attended the session “Planning for Retirement” which was about different instruments to save your money in order to plan for your retirement. The speaker spoke about stocks, mutual fund, bonds and several other instruments. In conclusion this was a great conference and is very helpful to students both undergraduate and graduate which will hopefully be conducted for years to come.

#myRITstory – Sanjana Kapisthalam

Compiled by Sanjay Varma Rudraraju, Computer Science MS Student

Sanjana Kapisthalam is a current graduate student in the Imaging Science department and comes from the southern part of India. Throughout her tenure at RIT she has worked at Xerox Research Center, in France as a Computer Vision Research Intern, and for Amazon in Seattle as a Software Developer Engineer Intern. Sanjana also has a position lined up for summer 2018 with Fluxdata as a Machine Learning Research Engineer.

With her extensive resume it’s clear that Sanjana has interviewing basics mastered. Here, she shares her advice for other students:

Most of my interviews were completely based on two of my courses (Image processing and Computer Vision, Deep-Learning for Vision). I used to get calls from pretty much every company I applied but used to get rejects after the first round. I realized I lacked preparation and made notes from these two courses and I used to revise them before every interview. This helped me to crack the technical rounds very easily. Most interviews, I crossed the third round and then got rejected. That made me realize I wasn’t strong enough with my skills to crack the coding rounds. So I started taking online free coding lessons and solved interview questions which helped me a lot.

Upon being asked to share some of her experiences while doing her co-ops “Every internship of mine was very different. My first internship with Xerox was completely research oriented. I was reproducing the then state-of-the-art methods for which I had to read tons and tons of research papers. This not only helped me develop my thought process but improved my reading and writing skill from like scale 0 to scale 10. Apart from the work, this was in a tiny city called Grenoble in France. I got to polish my broken high school French and got to experience an international culture that could be never forgotten. My current internship with Amazon is very different from what I did before. I am a software developer here and I write code every day which is reviewed by my mentor and a senior member in my team. I have a 1:1 meet with my manager every week and this system is not only improving my coding skills drastically but also pushing me to be one step ahead and learn to work in a big company. Also, Seattle is amazingly beautiful. My next internship over the summer will be with Fluxdata in Rochester as a Machine learning Engineer. I am hoping to learn from my mistakes in the past and current internships and do even better.

When asked to give some suggestions to student who are on the job hunt, Sanjana said “Use all sorts of online portals LinkedIn, Angellist, Indeed.com. Make use of the career fair. To be very honest, this was the first time I got an offer through the fair but I never gave up. I used to see people getting calls from the fair so I kept trying until I got one.” She went on to give suggestions about preparing for interviews and said “ Apply to any company, if the posting sounds intriguing and if you think you will able to do the job. My suggestion from all my experiences will be DO NOT underestimate yourself based on the requirements of the posting. Apply, prepare based on the posting and be ready to speak if that is not your area of education. You will crack the interview if you are confident about yourself.”


Here is a breakdown from my experiences –
1) Build your resume: When I say this, it’s purely for those grad students who come here immediately after undergrad and have no industry experience. First step is to realize what sort of a job you want. It’s fine if you don’t know this. Try applying to various jobs and you will realize at some point what you want. There are on-campus jobs for every interest of a person. From Cafeteria jobs to being a research assistant, there’s everything. Use the student employment website and apply to the jobs you’re interested and those you can show on your resume. Don’t step down if you keep getting rejected. Participate in the competitions conducted at symposiums on-campus, work towards winning them. Participate in Imaging RIT. In-short, do things that will not only build your resume but also keep you occupied.


2) Apply – If you apply to 5 companies and you don’t get calls at all, it’s high-time you check your resume or get it corrected from a professional. Go to your career advisor or grad-coordinator (every department has one) and seek help. Unless you ask, nobody knows what you want. Don’t self assume things. SEEK HELP if you need it and there’s nothing wrong or to be ashamed about.


3) Interview call: Like I said, sometimes you could be interested in some jobs even if it doesn’t fall under your educational background. I would say it’s absolutely fine. Just be prepared to answer questions. If you don’t have what it takes for the job, tell the recruiter why you think you’re a good fit and why you applied. My second internship was  out of my interest. I am not a software developer by degree, I was interested, I applied and showed the ability to what it takes to be one. Just be prepared. It’s ok to be rejected multiple times. It’s just not ok to analyze yourself as to why you’re being rejected. You already succeeded if you got a call which itself means you’re worth a person for that role. So analyze your mistakes from your rejections and keep moving ahead.


4) Build-up your resilience, confidence levels and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just make sure to learn out of them. RIT is a great place guys. You ask for anything and you will get help from somewhere. Make use of the resources. If you think you’re an introvert or shy make sure to have a support system outside your family (i.e., FRIENDS). Be involved in sports, music, toastmasters or whatever you like. Realize what it is that you want by taking chances. “

 

 

Home Sweet Home

by Sanjay Varma Rudraraju, Computer Science MS student

It was 7 am and I was trying to frantically catch a cab after my 30 hour journey to India. I was going to surprise my family and friends and with every ticking minute I was getting impatient. This is how my winter break started and from there on it was an amazing trip filled with some really great memories. I managed to surprise my mom and got her to cry which kind of made me feel like Ellen DeGeneres. My family was very happy to see me after 9 months and so were my friends.

After successfully finishing my first mission to surprise all my loved ones, me being a foodie, embarked on my second mission to eat all my favorite food. I might have had a hundred different dishes which probably made my Snapchat followers jealous. Later as I was cruising through the city over the rest of my trip I was surprised with all the changes to my hometown and it hit me suddenly then that it was no longer the place I knew. I wasn’t even sure I can call it my hometown anymore, given for the fact that all my favorite places are either closed or renovated. For the longest time

this place was the greatest place on Earth but today I am really not sure if I still identify the place. That was when I started thinking about Rochester, the place where I have been for a couple of years now. I was remembering my favorite Ramen place in downtown Rochester, then I remembered all my friends at work and school who I spend my weekends with and a small bunch of people who I call my family. I wasn’t sure where home is anymore and that is when I realized I did grow as a person and can’t identify a single place as home anymore. I am now a man with two homes and after all as a wise man once said “Home is where the Heart Is”.