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 😀

More Than A Capstone

by Mudit Pasagadagula, Electrical Engineering MS student 

A fact for everything is that there is a start and there is an end. At least that’s what our biologically evolved logic tells us. That also happens with a student enrolled in a graduate program too. A lot of times it ends with some creative works graduate students come up with, the capstone project. It is a wonderful way to complete a graduate degree.

Working on something new, designing something amazing, coming up with a new theory or a possible explanation of some physical phenomenon and other similar things done in a final project sure sounds interesting but they are what projects are meant for. But signing up for a capstone project offers us more opportunities of learning than we think it does. There are many hidden perks of working on a project.

One of these opportunities is being friends with you adviser. It is always nice to know people and learn what they have offered this world. What I’ve learnt till now from my graduate school experience is that every professor is a unique knowledge offering machine with learnings that you cannot find anywhere else. It is a great experience working under a professor. But the most amazing part of it is the vision and attitude you develop towards life. And this happens through listening to a few of the countless anecdotes from their life, knowing about the decisions they made, getting aware of their curiosities and learning how they approached it.

If you are the physical body of your academic work, your adviser is the soul of it. And when these two things get along in a constructive way, amazing things can be achieved.

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.