#myRITstory – Antoinette Defoundoux

In honor of International Women’s Day (this Friday, March 8th) we’re proudly featuring the stories of #RITWomen this week. Join us Friday morning at 9 a.m. for a webinar featuring our female students and staff as they discuss RIT history, opportunities for women in STEM, and RIT’s curriculum, research, and campus life. Register today!

Antoinette Defoundoux-Fila is from the Republic of Congo in Central Africa and is passionate about helping people. She has always wanted to work in the health field, and for a long time wanted to become a medical doctor. Since starting her studies at RIT, her new passion is to work in the research and develop medical devices. She is currently pursuing her MS degree in Manufacturing and Mechanical System Integration and is avidly working on her capstone project with her adviser, Dr. O’Neil. Antoinette’s project focuses on the redesigning of jet nebulizers (medical devices that are used to treat respiratory diseases) to make it adaptable to a hand cranked compressor. This system will be used in low income countries where access to electricity can be difficult hence making an electric compressor useless. Their work involves redesigning the nebulizers to make sure that the medicine droplet size stays the same dosage when using a hand cranked compressor.

When she is not in class, Antoinette is busy with the Women in Technology (WIT) group on campus where she can give (and receive!) support from other STEM women on campus and the program leader, Nykki Mathews. This serves as a place of motivation and support for her, where she can always seek help and get advice through weekly meetings and the other resources available.

Antoinette also has a passion for helping younger women become interested in STEM fields. Her favorite RIT event is the Girls in STEM fair. During the fair, female students of all ages (kindergarten to high school) from local schools come to RIT to enjoy a day of educational activities put together by female engineering and science students and professors. Antoinette loves the event because it “shows that science and technology can be fun, but also, at the end of the day a lot of those participants want to pursue a career in engineering or science.”

Antoinette will be leaving RIT this spring, but wants others to know what a special place RIT is, especially for women. “There is a club for everybody at RIT. This diversity helps students find a sense of community and belonging in whatever club you identify with.”

.Learn more about RIT’s Manufacturing and Mechanical Systems Integration MS program here.

#MyRITstory- Ajinkya Shinde

Ajinkya Shinde is a second-year graduate student at RIT. He began his journey as a grad student in January 2017 in the field of Electrical Engineering, but his passion laid in robotics and automation. This made him transfer to the Manufacturing and Mechanical Systems Integration (MMSI) department. The smooth shift between the departments helped him to take a step forward towards his passion in automation. It is truly said, “everything comes with a cost”, it was difficult for Ajinkya to get familiar to the mechanical terms as he had his background in electrical engineering, but his interest and dedication made him come over all those obstacles and perform exceptional in his current field of study.

Selection of courses and managing them in the time limit that you are given is another challenging part of a grad life. After he changed his major, he took the classes and electives in a way that can earn him degree in two of the different concentrations that are provided by the department. So, he could know more about Electronics Manufacturing and Advanced Concepts of Semiconductor Packaging.

The greed to achieve more encouraged him to push himself harder and in 2018, he started working as a Teaching Assistant for a Biomedical Engineering course, Control Systems. This was just the beginning and a step towards success. After that semester working as TA, he is currently working as a Graduate Research Assistant for Dr Martin Anselm. The research is in the field of Photonics. He is also working as a Vice President of SMTA (Surface Mount Technology Association) RIT Student Chapter. Thus, he has been successful in achieving and exploring all possible opportunities that he could at RIT and is hoping to explore more in the future. From the experience as a grad student, Ajinkya says that hard work and perseverance are the foundation to be a successful person”.

Learn more about RIT’s MMSI department.

Learn more about the SMTA Student Chapter at RIT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 😀

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.

Does having a Master’s Degree from RIT helps you get a full time job?

by Anthony Gutierrez, Mechanical Engineering ME student

Founded in 1829, the Rochester Institute of Technology has the fourth-oldest and one of the largest cooperative education programs in the world, annually placing more than 4,400 students in nearly 6,300 co-op assignments with nearly 2,300 employers across the United States and overseas.

But, you might be thinking: What is a co-op? Cooperative education (co-op) is the most extensive and intensive of RIT’s experiential education opportunities. Co-op is full-time, paid work experience directly related to your course of study and career interests.

Ok, so now you might be thinking: how does having a co-op experience helps me find a full time job? One thing students won’t have when they graduate from RIT is a padded resume. Think about this, once you graduate, not only will you have degree, but also real, paid work experience!

Also, RIT helps you through all the process of getting a Co-op experience and a full time job. Have you ever played Super Mario and got a special start that helps you go through all the difficult obstacles? Well, The Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education is exactly that! From helping you redact your resume to prepare you for interviews, this department goes above and beyond when it comes to providing all kind of resources to help you achieve your professional goals.

Still have doubts? Well, you can check the Salary and Program Data. This data has been gathered from RIT co-op students and graduates by the RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education, and it will tell you not only how much money students make after graduation on full time jobs, but also how many students get full time jobs after graduation.

 

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.

Life as a Summer Intern in NYC

What is it like to live in New York City? What is it like to work in midtown and downtown Manhattan? Living this kind of life seemed out of reach to me before, however, it’s hard to believe that I have been doing it for 2 months now.

This summer, I got an amazing co-op/interning opportunity to work as a multimedia designer with a global media agency network, Mindshare. As an international student, the internship was my first full-time internship working in the U.S., and I found out that I was the only international intern among about 40 interns that my company hired this summer.

During the internship, the company created a competition called “Battle of Interns” for all the interns to work closely with their fellows to develop a media plan which involves Media Planning, Digital Investment and Marketing Science. I personally think this is a great learning opportunity, especially for people who are new to the Media Planning & Buying World. My major responsibility in the company is to assist the Mindshare Creative Director on various projects supporting the Mindshare business, including Video and Audio editing, building styled templates and other visual design projects.

The most challenging part of this experience, for me, is the work-life balance. Life in New York City can certainly get super exciting: museums, concerts, amazing places to eat and drink, famous attractions, and the list goes on. Every morning I take a subway (often crowded) for about 20-30 minutes to get to my company, work for 9 hours including a one-hour lunch break, and then do the same thing again in the evening. I sometimes get pretty tired of dealing with crowded platforms and trains, and thousands of tourists and passersby, especially as my company was located close to Time Square (then we moved to 3WTC in downtown). So during the weekends, it’s important to find a balance, to help myself fully rest up, but also not to miss out the fun stuff going on in the city. It’s definitely hard, but I am trying my best.

One of the most important takeaways that I got from the internship is: there are so many different things and skills to learn in an internship setting compared to working in an academic setting. When in school, I mostly work with myself, classmates and professors, and everything is based on an academic setting. We do learn

a lot in school, but I don’t know if my projects are going to perform well in the market and the industry. However, during an internship, I got to experience organizational and professional cultures that are very new to me. I have direct contact with people who do different works, and I also get frequent feedbacks from my workplace supervisor about my performance which reflects how the projects actually work and support the company’s business. It feels really good to see how users react to your design projects in the real world, instead of just getting feedbacks without testing out the performance and usability.

Another key takeaway is that: always be yourself, and always learn from the individuals you meet in the office. I was really lucky to be surrounded by super nice team members and managers. My supervisor and I have similar backgrounds, and we constantly talk about our design concepts and thoughts on certain design projects. I also appreciate that my supervisor trusts me as an independent individual and offers me a lot of room for flexibility and creativity. I am so glad that I am not only gaining valuable applied experience, but also making connections in professional fields, which will guide me and impact my future career path.

Finally, I am very thankful for this summer internship opportunity. I was lucky to sit next to a super nice team, which mentors and managers who taught me a lot at work. I got valuable feedbacks which I would never get in an academic setting. And I am also glad that I got to do this internship in New York City, one of the greatest cities in the world. Although living in the city on an intern’s budget is a bit challenging, it at least gives you an idea of how it feels like to live and work in NYC and also expand your life experiences! Whatever the future may bring, I would look back on my time here and appreciate the skills and knowledge I gained.

The Week Before Classes Starts

by Ami Patel, Imaging Science MS student

I know it’s such an overwhelming time, the beginning. You have reached RIT, but what exactly are you supposed to do now? Let’s go through various things you need to do before classes start:

Offices:
1. Getting your RIT ID card: You should visit the Office of Registrar, located in the George Eastman Building to obtain your ID card.

2. Transcripts and/or Degree Certificate: You will need to visit the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services, located in Bausch & Lomb Center to get your Transcript and Degree Certificate scanned for the official records.

3. Student Employment Card: In case you have signed the employment papers with any department on-campus, you need to visit the Student Employment Office, located in University Services Center to obtain your Student Employment Card.

4. Getting your i20 signed: If you are an international student, you have to visit the International Student Services, located in the Student Alumni Union Building to get your i20 signed by one of the officers.

Orientation:
1. Graduate Student Orientation: This orientation event provides information on how to smoothly transition into the grad life here at RIT. The registration link will be emailed to you soon.

2. New Student Orientation: There will be a lot of activities and information sessions about your resources and getting used to the RIT spirit.

3. International Student Orientation: If you are an International student, there will be an entire day of events with a mix of important sessions, social events and maybe a party to meet new fellow students and make some new friends. You will need to register for this.

Traditions/Fun stuff:
Okay, let’s not forget some post arrival traditions at RIT.

1. Take a walk on the Quarter Mile: The Quarter Mile at RIT is a 0.41-mile long walkway that stretches between the dorms and the academic side of the campus. Almost all the important buildings would be on this walkway, so it’s a great way to explore the campus.

2. Photograph with RITchie: If you are still unaware, RITchie The Tiger is RIT’s mascot. There’s a Tiger statue right in front of Eastman Kodak Quad on the Quarter Mile. It’s one of the most popular photograph spots on the campus.

3. Ice cream on Friday at Ben & Jerry’s: Yes, we have a Ben & Jerry’s on-campus. If you receive any email regarding 50% discount, don’t miss out on the opportunity.

4. Join at least one club: One of the fun events to attend during the Orientation week is the RIT Clubs Resource Fair. All the 200 club representatives will be there to provide you information and how to get involved with them. It’s a nice way to immerse yourself in the community.

In case you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. Thanks.

RIT: Transcending boundaries and making great minds meet

by Abhisek Dey, Computer Engineering MS student

Ever wondered what kinds of engineering goes into making of a run-of-the-mill cellphone? Well, there is no definite answer. In fact, in the deeply interconnected world that we live in, every engineering marvel that is seemingly so obvious is the result of people from various parts of the spectrum coming together, sharing ideas and putting all the pieces where they belong. RIT recognizes this and has been trying to instill the same spirit in research as well as in the coursework that students take.

Being a graduate student in the Computer Engineering department, I can vouch for the broad base of courses that I am allowed to take as a part of my degree. I have already decided to take a course from the Electrical Engineering department and hopefully another from the Computing Security department. Taking relevant courses from outside our department not only broadens our knowledge base but also brings about an interdisciplinary area of expertise which both the research community and the industry requires.

Much like this bridge which connects the College of Computing (left) with the College of Engineering (right), RIT students go beyond disciplines to innovate and collaborate!

RIT also encourages you to mix with faculty and student researchers from other disciplines. It is not mandatory for you to pick a graduate advisor from your department. I have personally known many graduate students to align with an advisor outside their department because they either had common research interests or some relevant background which made him a good fit. For instance, a friend of mine from Computer Engineering chose a Professor from Computing Security to be his advisor because he was looking for security as his focus area and his communications background made him a good fit for the Professor who was working on wireless security for IOT devices and vehicular communications.

This approach has been very well-admired by companies that come to hire RIT students during the career fair. Companies across the board, from Amazon and Google to Microsoft, as well as numerous local industries based in the Rochester area are impressed by the talent and preparation of RIT students. Our graduates are well-prepared to hit the ground running. Alumni return to their alma mater and further encourage students to participate in cross-disciplinary projects and research collaborations.

The greatest piece of advice from myself to other students considering RIT is to never be afraid to ask questions – to others and to yourself. It is going to be your greatest asset and a tool not only in your time as a graduate student trying to explore a research problem but also in the later stages of your career!