#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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#myRITstory – Alyssa Recinella

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!

Alyssa Recinella, PhD in Engineering

Q: When did you begin your degree program at RIT?

A: I started as a Bachelor’s student in Engineering Exploration back in 2011. I eventually picked mechanical engineering and joined the dual degree BS/MS program back in 2015. I graduated in December 2016 and began my doctoral program in January 2017.

Q: What is your expected date of graduation?

A: Currently, May 2020. But it all depends on funding! My degree may be extended by a summer or a semester. But the goal is to finish either in May 2020 or December 2020.

Q: Do you have a favorite spot on campus?

A: I have a few! I love doing homework in Java’s. I enjoy sitting by the windows in the engineering building to watch the rain or snow while I’m reading or having a conference call. Finally, I really enjoy the Fireside Lounge with a good cup of coffee and some music, especially when the fire is going.

Q: Do you have a favorite RIT event? Why?

A: Oh man, hockey!!! Who doesn’t love hockey? I grew up watching the Detroit Red Wings and I’ve loved watching the Tigers the past few years, especially in the new Polisseum!

Q: Are you involved in any clubs or groups on campus?  Do you have a special role in that group?

A: During my undergrad I was very involved in Engineers for a Sustainable World and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. I had a few different leadership roles in both clubs throughout the years. Now I’m the president of the Doctoral Student Association on campus.

Q: What do you enjoy most about RIT?

A: There’s something for everyone. Want to go into the Greek system? We have it. Want to build machines that shoot foam balls? We have it. Want to play with Legos or build fake roller coasters? We have it. Want to stay in your room and play video games while a robot brings you soda? We have it.

Q: Have you completed a Co-Op? If so, how was your experience with the process?

A: I’ve had 4 different co-ops. All of them were diverse and ranged in expectations and experience. But one main factor they all had in common = it is what you make it. If I didn’t have work to do, I made work to do. And other teams became interested and I was recognized by more people. I was in new cities with no one that I knew and ended up with long-term connections and great experiences. Go in open minded of everything! You may not enjoy the work you’re doing but that doesn’t mean you have to have a bad time. You have now learned that you don’t quite enjoy that line of work but maybe you learned some awesome software or technical skills along the way. Stay positive!

  1. Research Assistant, Machinist, DesignerThermal Analysis, Microfluidics and Fuel Cell Lab at RIT – January 2014 – August 2014
  2. Thermal Engineer – IBM – January 2015 – August 2015
  3. Thermal Engineer – Carrier Corporation – May 2017 – August 2017
  4. Oncology Intern – Rochester Regional Health – May 2018 – August 2018

Q: Why did you chose RIT?

A: So many reasons. I had a lot of criteria when choosing colleges but the top 5 most important were the following:

  1. Co-op Program (RIT’s program is just incredible and that’s a fact)
  2. Finances (scholarship, tuition costs, housing costs in the area, etc.)
  3. Distance to home (for me, not too close, not too far away)
  4. The Engineering Program (ease of transfer into other disciplines, amount of other disciplines, esteem of the program compared to other schools, hands-on curriculum, etc.)
  5. Size of the school (I was looking at schools that had 2,000 people and looking at schools that had 50,000 people; RIT was a happy medium)

Q: Do you have a Research/Thesis/Capstone project you are excited about? Can you share some details.

A: Absolutely! I’m currently studying breast cancer detection techniques. We’re studying a non-invasive, no contact, no radiation method called Infrared Imaging. Although there is controversy with the FDA around this technology, most of it is based on the fact that there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence or exploration backing the technology. So for my dissertation, we’re trying to prove that this is a valid method that should be considered through in-depth scientific exploration and clinical trials.

Q: Do you have a specific career goal? If so, what?

A: Absolutely not. I know I want to work in Research and Development somewhere but I’m completely open when it comes to the field and the organization. I’d preferably either like to work in a National Lab, in industry (like a start-up) or in a government facility (NASA or the DoD)

Q: What are you most proud of/passionate about at RIT?

A: The answer to this question has changed every year that I’ve been at RIT. At the moment, I’m immensely proud of the growing PhD programs at RIT and my involvement in the Doctoral Student Association (DSA). We’re trying to get doctoral students in all different disciplines to collaborate in multidisciplinary activities, expose our programs to more local companies and alumni, get students out of the lab for some good free food and games and finally bring more people to the downtown area to serve the Rochester community. The DSA is a brand new organization on campus and I’m so proud to see how far it’s come in the past 2 years.

Q: In your opinion, what about RIT provides a sense of community?

A: I think there are certain activities or events on campus that make everyone feel proud to be here. But the biggest aspect is what I said above: there’s something here for everyone. People feel like they belong. We don’t all necessarily belong to the same groups but all the groups belong to RIT. And when people are happy within their own spaces, they feel closer to the campus and to the community.

For more information about RIT’s Engineering PhD program, or to explore other graduate school options, review our program list here.

Work of Glass: Be A Master of Flame and Time

 

Master of fine arts degree: https://www.rit.edu/programs/glass-mfa

Bachelor of fine arts degree: https://www.rit.edu/programs/glass-bfa

https://artdesign.rit.edu/schools/american-crafts/graduate-glass

If you interested in to learn how to control fire and time to make work of art, you will enjoy the glass courses in RIT.

The MFA major in Glass is a two-year program of study, which strives to help you develop your personal creative voice through intensive research, discussion, critique, and experimentation. As a graduate student, you are provided full access to a complete glass facility and individual studio space to strengthen your technique and to practice designing pieces that flourish your personal expression of the medium. Graduate studio courses, seminar courses and in-depth critiques are provided, in conjunction with thesis planning and implementation, to provide you with a deep understanding of this personal craft. You will be exposed to a broad range of critical issues related to the conception and production of art, to inspire and provoke critical reflection and facilitate the development of your thesis exhibition and supporting documentation. As a graduate of this masters level major you can expect to move on to be a successful artist in this fine art field.

Before we design our glass work, we can sketch the idea and split the one sketch into detailed steps so that your partner will clearly understand what you want to make.

The professor shows students examples based on the teaching plan.

Then, the professor will give guidance according to the design scheme of different students.

In the process of teaching, our professor will always pay attention to the difficulties encountered by students in operation and help them in time.

Of course, If you are not in design major, you can choose this course as an elective course. Enjoy!

 

First Mid-Semester Break in the States!

With the last few weeks of the semester draining the energies out of every student, I was fairly excited for the winter semester break screaming a trip to the warm and beautiful state of California (Christmas was near!!).

As an international student experiencing the dreary cold of Rochester for the first time, I had been looking forward to this break for months now. As much as I was grateful for my remarkable semester back in the university, I was in desperate need of a break away from the harsh weather and the tedious routine.

I landed at the San Francisco International Airport after a long 6-hour flight from Chicago but was astonished at how un-chilling the weather was in the state as compared to back in Rochester. I was going to stay with my cousins in Milpitas, situated in the Silicon Valley which is almost an hour away from the city of San Francisco and a few miles out from the headquarters of companies like Google and Microsoft.

Twin Peaks

I had planned on visiting several of the state’s most famous attractions with my family and we started the trip off with a surprising visit to Walmart!! so that we do not run out of food whilst lying in bed until noon!

The cities of Santa Clara and San Jose held some of the most amazing Christmas decorations and were on top of our lists for the places to visit during the break. The most famous among them was a place called ‘Christmas in the Park’ located in downtown San Jose; it truly was a great way to experience the American Christmas first hand. The next few days involved some paint-balling, exploring small cafes in the neighboring regions of Santa Clara and San Jose and spending our nights at Dave and Buster’s amidst great food and arcade games. Our thirst for ‘Places with the best Christmas festivities’ took us next to Santana Row (an upscale mixed-use development center consisting of retail, office space, residential, lodging and commercial district of West San Jose) which housed some of the most amazing cafes that screamed Christmas!

Situated in downtown San Jose

Christmas in the Park

The next destination on ‘Trip California’ was the beautiful city of San Francisco. The ride through the valley was one of the most beautiful ones I had ever experienced, leading us to our first and the most obvious stop: The Golden Gate Bridge. An icon of the bay area, the bridge spreads over a mile and its dusky golden reflections make you realize how much you miss color until all you’ve seen is white glistening snow for over a month.

The other destinations we covered in the city were Twin Peaks, desserts at the famous Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf (for the famous Boudin bakery!), Financial District and ended the night with some ice skating at the renowned Union Square.

The Ghirardelli Square

Union Square

The entire trip was rimmed with bubble baths, the comfort of home-cooked Indian food with the family, the delicacies served in small pretty cafes of nearby counties and beautiful warm pink sunsets.

This amazing trip to the west filled me with a positive determination and excitement for the coming semester back at the university!

Changing majors in your mid 30’s #myRITstory

By Maria Grazia Guerrero

First year Grad Student ID MFA

It has been a while since I went to school. My undergrad is on Graphic Design Management and for the past 10 years I had been working for a prestigious Advertising Agency as an Art Director in my country (Ecuador). I gained experience, international awards, and it was a fun working environment to be in. But since college, when I took a Packaging Design class, I have been especially curious about Industrial Design as a profession.

I remember that at the time I thought, “Oh I wish I knew about this career before, oh well too late.” Go figure! 13 years later here I am finally switching careers to the one I feel is my true calling. I spent several years trying to study English on my own on my spare time, but it wasn’t enough when you work in advertising. So, I end up quitting and started to support myself with freelance jobs to have enough time to study for my English test, prepare my portfolio and be able to apply to grad school.

I don’t have a husband, neither kids. Nevertheless, when you are already settled in your career, as it was my case, changing majors is a difficult decision to make. You are risking your professional stability to take a big risk that you only can pray will turn out positively. Also, my family, friends, my culture… everything I knew was in my hometown city. It took me a long time but finally I got the English score I needed to be able to apply to grad school.

At plaster room with faculty member, Stan Rickel, teaching Function and Form I

So far, no regrets at all, everything I went through it was worth it. This has been a fulfilling experience. I am just starting the second semester from the first of two years that the Industrial Design MFA program at RIT lasts. Looking back, it’s amazing how much I learned in a short amount of time, faculty is really committed with this program and their students. There are events happening throughout the year with interesting talks and workshops that you can take advantage of as well. Also, you can find incredible opportunities to display and apply your work outside the classroom and join multidisciplinary teams that will only help you grow in your career.

Storyboard sketches for 2D Ideation and Visualization class

If you are in a situation like mine, I just can give you this advice: Time goes fast quickly, so don’t wait too long and don’t let your fears take you away from your dreams. I know, it sounds like a self-motivating speech but that doesn’t make it less true. I hope if you want to go to this or any other graduate program you find the way and take the courage to do so, you won’t regret it!

Thought at work 2019 organizers, this event is organized by students where interesting workshops and lectures happen every year.

If you want more information about the ID MFA program go to https://www.rit.edu/emcs/ptgrad/programs-of-study/programdetail/1195

First Semester in Review

by Imran Mahmood, MBA student

As a student who has not set foot in a classroom in two years it was a very jarring experience to be in a classroom again. It was even more nerve wracking considering I studied English and not business during my undergrad years. I had no idea what to expect. I had all of these thoughts racing through my mind: “this is the real deal,” “this is going to be tougher than undergrad,” “the professors are going to be unforgiving and strict.” As you can see, I was very nervous on my first day. However, my thoughts and what graduate was really like, could not be more different. First off, the professors have been great this semester. They have been accommodating, kind, and very knowledgeable.I have had a great experience this semester and there are so many reasons I can attribute it to. I’ve met great people, made friends, connected with professors, and learned a great deal. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lot of work. There were a lot of late nights and a lot of frustration but it was all worth it.

In my MBA program I have learned so much about business that I can hardly believe that I’ve only studied for one semester. Before this semester, I would have told you that accounting is something that I would never do. But that changed after this semester, I am taking an accounting class with Professor Pellegrino and I learned that accounting isn’t the number-crunching, soul-sucking experience that I thought it would be. I had no idea that debits and credits could be so much fun! I am also taking an intro to marketing course with Professor Dwyer and it made me even more interested in marketing than I was before. Lastly, my business ethics and organizational behavior courses are taught by the same professor, Professor Barbato. His classes have been an otherworldly experience for me. He keeps you engaged and entertained as he dissects case studies and then connects them psychological studies or classic philosophers.

As you can tell, I have really enjoyed my first semester of graduate school. Despite the constant barrage of reading, homework assignments, projects, and exams this has been a fun and rewarding experience. I have grown a lot through my experiences in graduate school. I have met people from the Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya just to name a few countries. I have learned about positioning statements and balance sheets. Before the start of this semester those words were just jargon to me and now I use those words almost daily. It’s crazy to think that just a few months ago I was an excited and extremely nervous student starting graduate school. Now, I am someone that almost has semester under his belt and ready for the next one.

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.

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.