Need Some Coffee? Check out These Great Spots!

It might be a cliché that students always want coffee, but whether it’s due to the massive workload we have or the fact that we probably haven’t gotten much sleep, coffee is how many graduate students get through their day.
If you’re like me, you’re bored of the typical Starbucks/ Dunkin’ Donuts/ Tim Hortons offerings and wondering what  else is out there, especially as we get closer and closer to final exams. I decided to look for other alternatives that were smaller companies or locally owned favorites.

Glen Edith Coffee Roasters on Park Ave has some really good breakfast options (how can you go wrong with avocado toast and a runny egg? You can’t) and their coffee is very, very good. A favorite of mine is their iced vanilla latte, served in a glass jar. But if you’re looking for something a bit more unique, they also have other offerings such as lavender or chamomile flavors available at times. Another cafe with really robust, unique caffeinated offerings happens to be right in front of it, on the street running parallel. Cafe Sasso not only has really unique coffee flavors (might I suggest “The Honey Bear?) They also have a wide variety of baked goods, they have both vegan and non-vegan offerings, and their muffins and cookies are among some of my favorites. If you’re hungry for more than dessert, they even have a wide variety of salads and pressed sandwiches, making it much more than your typical coffee shop. A cafe that I discovered more recently, the Village Bakery, actually has multiple locations but the one in Pittsford is where I have been the most. Their coffee is artful and delicious, their

Even the coffee cups in Village Bakery look great!

baked goods are incredible-their half moons are offered year round, and they’re easily the star of the show. Recently I tried the salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake, and it was as good as it sounds. They also have egg sandwiches, deli sandwiches or paninis, and salads. They offer some very interesting flavors, like dried cranberry mayo, which happens to go great on a turkey sandwich.

If you’re looking for somewhere different to hang out and study as final exams approach but aren’t into spending time at chains every day, these local shops have a really great selection of coffee, brunch fare, and pastries that really set them apart from the usual places.

My first co-op experience in the US

by Krishna Tippur Gururaj, Computer Science MS student 

I had taken a break from my professional life to move to the US for grad school back in 2016. Back then, it had been a big change for me to get back to books, assignments, tests, and grades. Well, the summer of 2018 was quite a momentous one for me because I was given a chance to go back to working, albeit temporarily. As an international student, I had known that getting work experience in the US would be an invaluable step in my career.

HomeAway at The Domain, Austin, TX

So I was thrilled when I got a chance this year to go on a summer co-op at HomeAway, a vacation rental marketplace company based out of Austin, TX. My focus area during my Computer Science grad program has been Distributed Systems and I could not believe my luck when I got an opportunity to intern as part of HomeAway’s cloud engineering team. I was super excited to be moving to a new city, and equally nervous to be going back to working in a professional environment.

Just another cool spot in the office

After the initial excitement of getting the offer sunk in, I started to look at housing options. I knew I had to work with certain restrictions, i.e. easy commute, short-term lease. HomeAway’s recruitment team helped me get in touch with other incoming interns which was really helpful and made my housing search simple.

After a fast-paced yet informative two-week training program in which I was given overviews of the company vision, the various technologies that were used, and some hands-on on the same, I joined the Digital Infrastructure team in the Cloud Engineering department. The team was friendly and I found my colleagues to be approachable and helpful. I learned a lot and got to experience first-hand how stuff that I have studied about in grad school actually gets implemented in real-world scenarios.

Midway through the summer, HomeAway had organized a hackathon called InternHackATX, through which they intended to get interns from all over (internal and external to HomeAway) to come together for a weekend of bouncing ideas off of each other to solve a problem related to group travel. Three fellow interns and I ended up finishing 2nd overall for proposing a solution to intelligently bring structure to a group conversation between friends planning a vacation. It was an amazing experience and something that I had never done before!

First runners-up at InternHackATX 2018 (after about 3 hours’ sleep in 48 hours)

Before I knew it, it was time to wrap up my intern project, present it to a company-wide audience, and head back to Rochester. It was a bittersweet moment when I was leaving since I really liked living in Austin and partly because I had to get back to books. Anyway, it was a wonderful experience and I am glad I had the chance to learn and become more responsible.

#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 

A Halloween-themed attraction park: Field of Screams

by Krishna Tippur Gururaj, Computer Science MS student 

As an international student in the US, the concept of Halloween has been quite new to me. I had seen this holiday in many Hollywood movies previously but never had experienced it prior to moving to RIT for grad school.

A couple of weekends ago, I drove down to Harrisburg, PA to visit an old friend of mine. He and his friends had all planned to visit a haunted theme park called Field of Screams in Lancaster, PA, which is put together temporarily for a month or so around Halloween every year. I was quite intrigued when I heard about it and it turned out to be quite an experience.

Drove 5 hours for this experience!

The organizers of this place claim it is one of the scariest haunted venues in the US. When we all walked in, it was cold and raining, and none of us were quite dressed for the occasion (most of us were driving in from out of town). Once we got over the weather, we went on the first ride of the evening, on the back of a tractor trailer sitting on its hay-covered floor. This one was called the Haunted Hayride. The tractor took us through a series of stops, and at each we were met by a scary storyline and actors playing their parts perfectly, including some of them coming at us with live chain saws (except for the actual chain part)!

The Haunted Hayride

The second one was called the Nocturnal Wastelands, which was a 20 minute-long trek through paths laid out around the previous ride (the Haunted Hayride). This one involved physical interaction with the actors as they tried to pull us into dark corners and use scare tactics. As this was based in a farm area, the temperatures were really low, and I personally felt that that added to the thrill of this part. There were smells integrated into the whole setup which unsettled us, and made us look over our shoulders all the way!

Somewhere in the Nocturnal Wasteland

The third attraction in the park was called the Den of Darkness. I was relieved to be indoors for this since it gave me a break from the cold rain. I liked this attraction the most as it had a good combination of jump scares, pitch dark corners, and physical obstacles. There was a section where we had to physically push through what felt like pillows pushing against us as we walked through! The Den of Darkness’ back story talks about an old, haunted mansion which has seen a lot of killings on its premises, and the whole scene is set accordingly.

Just a head hanging out in the Den of Darkness

The last attraction was called the Frightmare Asylum, which is set as a former home for the criminally insane patients. The jump scares here felt more real than before as there were dwarf actors here. At a fork in the path, we met a “friendly” patient who was trying to tell us the right way out but a few of us ignored that and went the other way. We actually lost our way by doing so and came out a few minutes after our friends (who had chosen to listen to the advice)! We had to then crawl through an extremely small space to get out where dead (fake) corpses were kept all around us. It was one crazy experience as we had to keep convincing ourselves that it was not real!

Not a sane sight inside the Frightmare Asylum

Finally, we were done with our fun trip to a famous Halloween tradition. We were cold, exhausted, and wet but I am sure we all looked back with a sense of relief in the end. I am not someone who enjoys being spooked so I’m just glad I got to tick this off my list of things to do for Halloween!

A headway into Rochester vibes!

by Abhisek Dey, Computer Engineering MS student

There are a few things in life that are ever elusive right? Well, I beg to differ. Coming to Rochester gave me the whole enchilada of seasons, cuisines, history and everything in between. From intense summers to blistering winters, from beach parks to mountain resorts and from museums to vineyards, this city has something in it for everyone and more.

Summer in all it’s glory

Most students start off in the Fall semester which is the latter half of summer. Incidentally, it is one of the most pleasant times of the year. I would recommend most people to make the most of their time before classes start. This is the best time to visit the nearby beaches and go out camping with your buddies. The closest beach would be Ontario beach nearby downtown and some notable parks nearby would be the Genesee Valley Park and the Letchworth State Park an hour away which is also great for camping. There are also a lot events in and around town which you can be a part of and share the excitement. The Rochester Fringe festival is held in the month of September and is a musical and a theatrical extravaganza. If you are more a food connoisseur you should definitely give the Rochester public market a visit. Consisting of fresh farmer’s produce from nearby areas you can find at least something akin to your tastes.

As September passes and Fall begins, brace yourselves for a roller coaster ride of rain and sun. But let it not stop you from enjoying what this city has to offer. But always keep

Wet and wonderful! Fall scenes on campus.

an umbrella handy with you. I personally just enjoy a lazy stroll in and around the campus and bask in the shades of fall and find it quite de-stressing. The temperature starts dropping and you would generally need to start wearing sweatshirts outdoors. It is also a good time to get started buying winter apparels. If you are coming in from a warm place, probably a good place to start would be by buying a fleece jacket and a pair of snow boots and figure out what else you need as you go.

As Fall gives way to the dreaded winter, most people start staying indoors enjoying their favorite TV shows while sipping on a hot cup of brew. But where’s the fun in that right? Rochester also offers lots of opportunities for winter sports. Some skiing resorts near Rochester are the Bristol Mountain and Swain resorts. You can enjoy a day of fun-filled skiing regardless of your skill level. The other major event would be RIT’s own Freeze Fest. There are also inter varsity ice-hockey games held every other Friday which is a spectacle of the Tiger spirit! If you are lucky enough, you could snatch a free ticket to the game too!

I think what defines Rochester and the RIT community is its people and its own unique vibe. It may not be the largest or the most cosmopolitan city by any means but it has just right mix of everything to pack a mean punch. Don’t let the size deceive you because you will most likely be blown away by it’s alluring charm and everglowing spirit of oneness and harmony.

College of Engineering Graduate Mixer

by Mudit Pasagadagula, Electrical Engineering MS student 

Graduate life is all about studies, projects, research and similar kind of stuff. Come on! That’s not true. Graduate life is also about knowing what other graduates are being doing. Its also about hour-long philosophical conversation with professors (a chance you won’t get in the class). Well, graduate life is a bunch of other stuff too. Stuff like partying, going on hiking trips in the summer and ski trips in the winter, meeting new people and talking about some deep topics from epistemology and metaphysics to which nobody has an answer.

Being a graduate student requires a lot of mental resource. But sometimes you have to have a break. What better could it be than meeting people you’ve taken classes with in the past. And wouldn’t it be even better to food and drinks! I got a similar opportunity a few weeks back when I attended Graduate Mixer. It is an event hosted by the Kate Gleason College of Engineering for their graduate students and faculties.

It was an experience to see how amazing and different these people are. I got a chance to have a nice informal conversation with almost all the professors I’ve taken classes under. It was nice listing to their anecdotes and learning about their curiosities. Its amazing how different a conversation with your professor can be once you are outside the classroom.

We all meet new people and make new friends. I met some of my friends from my past classes. You really get a sense of time when you meet your friends after a long time and talk about what the good old days, the obstacles you’ve faced together and all the good memories. It feels warm and enlightening looking back at the past. It was a great experience learning what they are up to these days and how their lives are going on.

The only way to understand nature is to look around and learn from it and the first step to it is knowing the people around. Thank you KGCOE for providing this opportunity through this amazing event.

RIT FALL CAREER FAIR 2018

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Science and Technologies MS student

The 2018 University Wide Career Fair at RIT (October 3rd and 4th) turned out to be the biggest fair ever held at the institute. Companies from diverse industries attended the fair to recruit and hire students for numerous positions. The fair marked attendance by over 5000 students and RIT alumni, 265 companies and over 935 recruiters.

Companies like Bosch, Canon, Eastman Kodak, Honda, Oracle, Paychex, Microsoft, USPS, T-Mobile, Wegmans, United States Navy and several other industry giants attended the event and reviewed several resumes for interviews the next day. Students were interviewed to be hired for full time positions, co-ops and internships over the spring and summer.

Prior to the commencement of the career fair there were several networking events organized by the institute. Companies like Google and Apple interacted with RIT students from various majors and provided information on the kind of skills they look for while hiring by conducting info sessions and workshops. Post-sessions, the recruiters networked with current students and reviewed profiles as well.

Students could also get their resumes evaluated at the Career Services office to better prepare and be ready for the fair. The college also provided students with access to formal attire prior to the fair in the fireside lounge at SAU.

In my experience attending the career fair for the first time, here are some important tips that I think are useful when attending such fairs:

1. SHORTLIST COMPANIES FOR YOUR MAJOR

Every year, information about the companies attending the fair is updated on the Career Fair website and blog. It is clever to research about potential recruiters, their requirements and background to help establish a better impression during the one on one. Shortlisting companies can also help you save time and energy during the fair as you would not have to struggle in long queues for companies that have no interest in hiring your respective major.

2. GET YOUR RESUME EVALUATED

 Resumes are possibly the most important aspect while presenting yourself to a recruiter. The piece of paper represents your skills and your chances to get hired. As you speak about yourself, make sure to hand in your resume and point out the places that substantiate what you’re saying. Make sure your resume gets highlighted among the lot. You can head to the Career Services office at the Bausch and Lomb Center to get your resumes evaluated and updated by an expert.

3. DRESS WELL AND PRESENT WELL

 As with any interview, it’s important to dress professionally—but at a career fair, you want to be comfortable, too. Wear a lightweight outfit that won’t get too hot and check your coat or leave it behind. And make sure your shoes are extra comfortable—you might be on your feet for several hours!

As you approach each table, be friendly, be confident, and be prepared with something to say. Introduce yourself with a smile, eye contact, and a brief, firm handshake. Often, the recruiter will take the lead and ask you questions, but you should also have your elevator pitch ready—a 30-second soundbite of what you want the company to know about you.

For more information on the career fair you can visit the official Career Services website.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.)

Five Reasons Why: US Education

by Abhisek Dey, Computer Engineering MS student

If you are expecting this blog to be another clichéd post raving about how advanced, revolutionary, and state-of-the-art higher education in the US is – it is not. It is meant to be a dissection of my experiences outside the classroom for the better part of a year that has led me to morph into a better person. Most international students come here for a world-class education and some want to stay back for the proverbial cherry-picked life and the fat paychecks. I came here for the same reasons too but if I do decide to stay here, it would be for the great people around me, diversity in ideas, freedom to express myself in every way and the opportunity to make a noteworthy difference in the lives of everyday people. Now, let’s dive in.

Decisiveness – In my opinion, the most important quality that I could acquire. It taught me to always be open to a new train of thought and never be afraid to try new things. We are only limited by our fears and tactless indecision. Try out a new sport – something you have never seen before. Try out an exotic cuisine. If you like it, try to make it yourself. See how far you can push yourself.

Break those walls – Appreciating everyone for who they are and acknowledging that there is always a bigger picture to everything. If you really want to be a well-rounded person, understanding why some people or somethings work differently than you are accustomed to would be the first step. Never be afraid to initiate a conversation with someone totally different from you. You might find you have so many things to talk about over a nice cold beer! The only thing worse than failure is never trying.

Respect and equality – Treat others the way you want to be treated. Everyday out here reinforces this idea in me. You will never be singled out for what you decide to wear, eat, talk about or who you love. Race, age, occupation, sexual orientation, special challenges are a way to divide us rather than bring us together. I have had the privilege to meet and interact with deaf and blind students at RIT and they are without a doubt some of the toughest nuts I have ever seen and a great company.

Circle of life – We are merely travelers passing through this realm and this world is what we make out of it. I always try to stand out, take on new roles and do not shy away from challenges. The fact that I’m an engineering grad student and penning this piece is enough to prove it! Being a go-getter is much more rewarding than it seems and this place has instilled the belief in me.

Humility – Ever wondered what the creator of a facial detection algorithm in our phone cameras is like in real life? Just like any of us – loves listening to 80’s music, enjoys Chinese food and owns a 2014 Honda Civic. Being humble is truly a virtue that does not take a lot of effort to master. It makes people instantly like us and this kind of also stems from the fact that everyone here is deemed to be on the same pedestal.

If you have made it this far, I am grateful and hope you could relate to some of your own experiences reading it. If not, there’s no better time to start a new journey! Visit an art museum, learn rock climbing, dive into a crazy research problem. Knock yourself out. Make some headway in the circle of life. We miss a 100% of the shots we don’t take!