Volume VII Issue 2
June 2, 2006�
In This Issue:
Brian and Laura Diefendorf
Karen and Kevin Roberg
Sam St. John
Meg Clark Freeburn
Heather Young Preuss
Dear Honors Alumni Friends,
Our intended newsletter for the New Year has become a letter at the close of the academic year. . . . The emotional resonance of such memories is the heart of the heart of the Honors stories that I think most about. Read More...
In the fall 2005 Sophomore Problem Solving Course, “Clarkson Campus Landscape: Functional Routes and Paths,” the sophomores looked at the accessibility and aesthetics of Clarkson’s campus. Their goal was to create a more accessible campus for all members of the campus community; at the same time, they wanted to explore ways to make the campus more aesthetically pleasing. The plan—4C: Connecting Clarkson’s Campus Landscape--can be viewed at: www.fourcclarkson.com. To think about the problems they tackled, imagine how you would be into the SAS complex or into the lecture wing of the Science Center if you were in a wheel chair (you can’t do it, at least not by yourself). Read More...
Together with the Center for the Environment, the Honors Program sponsored an April 4 visit by environmentalist and author, Bill McKibben. In his visit to HP100 and his public lecture, McKibben spoke about the certainty of global warming, about rethinking communal relationships, and about why Americans' satisfaction with their lives has declined continuously since 1956. Read More...
We have struggled with the Honors first-year sequence for years and knew even without the results of your alumni surveys that it would be the most criticized aspect of the Honors Program. At last, we have a solution to the problem of teaching computer skills without resorting to the traditional class setups of ES100 and IS211. For our solution, we turned, as we have often do, to Honors students and, in this instance, invited Honors TAs to design and teach modules in Matlab and SAP. Read More...
Our small program had three Goldwater Scholarship recipients this year, more than Cornell University or Columbia University. This makes for twelve Clarkson awardees since 2000, eleven of them Honors Program members. The applicants did five-to-seven revisions of their application, and we have included excerpts in the story about each.
Samuel Gorton '07
Sam is senior chemical engineering major from Fairfield, Vermont. He plans to get his Ph.D. and then to perform research and work with farmers to develop sustainable methods for cultivating, harvesting, and processing agricultural materials. Read More...
Christy Petruczok '08
Christy is a junior chemical engineer from Orchard Park, New York. She plans to become a professor and teach both undergraduate and graduate courses in organic and polymer chemistry, while also pursuing in her own research interests. Read More...
Heather Preuss '00: Congratulations to Heather who was recently awarded the Woodstock Award. This award honors young alumni who have demonstrated outstanding loyalty and service to Clarkson and the Alumni Association, and who have used their Clarkson experience to make a notable contribution to their careers. To read Heathers profile on this award, please visit: http://www.clarkson.edu/alumni/alumni_profiles.php
Patricia Jablonski '02: Congratulations to Patricia for her first place win at the Linux Technology Competition held this past August. To read more about the competition, please visit: http://www.clarkson.edu/news/view.php?id=1324
We would also like to congratulate Patty on being awarded the IBM PhD Fellowship for the 2006-2007 school year. Patty will will be working at IBM in Poughkeepsie, NY this summer focusing on her dissertation research. To read more about this award, please visit: http://www.clarkson.edu/news/view.php?id=1428
Craig Woodworth, Professor of Biology: The Honors students chose Professor Craig Woodworth as the recipient of this year’s Kristin Craig Faculty Recognition Award. In his acknowledgment speech, senior Dan Marker credited Professor Woodworth with teaching him how to think like a scientist. Read more.
Other Noteworthy Happenings:
Kyle started work for Lockeed Martin this past July. He wrote that he had purchased his first vehicle, a 1998 Jeep Wrangler, with standard transmission. He says he's getting pretty good at driving it with very few stalls, etc.
He moved into his new house in Binghamton the day before he started work. He bought his Grandmother's old house from his mother and aunt is now working on fixing it up and getting all the rooms updated. Email: email@example.com
"Grad school is going well. I’m taking a lot of space-related classes to catch up since none of them were offered at Clarkson. My Master’s thesis isn’t fully defined yet but it has to do with optimizing the design of an air-launched spacecraft, similar to the SpaceShipOne spacecraft that won the X-prize. The classes so far seem more classical. A homework assignment every week, one or two midterms, and a final."
Joel is in a new position working as "Quantitative Finance Researcher" with Apollo Systems Research Corporation; they write computer algorithms and deploy them as automatic trading strategies on various financial markets. Joel says he spends most of his days working in MATLAB and simulink, deisgning, implementing, and optimizing new algorithms. The company is very small (with Joel being the the ninth employee!), and says that it's a nice change from the beauracracy of a large company.
"Here at the University of Illinois I am working on my Master's Thesis with Professor Jont Allen, comparing models of the cochlea (inner ear). I am very excited but first I have to read a great many papers to learn all of the literature on the subject. My first set of classes was a bit tougher than I expected, but I came through OK. Graduate students who aren't in their first year say the first semester is the hardest (though I suspect they say that about every semester).
I will be staying here in Urbana-Champaign doing research for the summer. One of my first tasks is to perform an experiment to measure speech detection thresholds using human subjects. This involves playing fragments of speech immersed in noise, and finding at which SNR (signal to noise ratio) the speech is detectable. Then, I will be formulating a model that is able to predict these results. It promises to be both interesting and challenging."
"I recently accepted a research position at the acoustics and vibrations lab at PSU. I will be investigating a trailing edge flap for rotorcraft noise and vibration control. The unique feature of this proposed flap is the use of a buckling elastic plate to transform small strains from a piezoelectric stack into large flap rotations. I’m very excited to start working in the lab, and I expect many good things will come of this experience." Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"I am back in India and working at Pricewaterhouse Coopers Ltd. as a consultant. It's really nice working there as the crowd is very intelligent and friendly. I am almost done with my first project and have been already assigned to another project, so I have had no breathing space, but we are still managing to enjoy, we bought a small farm where we go every weekend for picknicking; it is absolutely beautiful, plus I am keeping up with my dance and am still performing during our festivals."
Brian Diefendorf and Laura Smith Diefendorf:
Brian is currently living in Washington D.C. working for HDR Inc. as an independent contractor for Citizenship and Immigration Services while Laura attended medical school in Grenada.
Laura is completing her stint abroad and will be returning to the United States to do her rotations. She will be most likely in the New York City Area so Brian will be relocating as well to begin searching for new employment opportunities. Brian is also contemplating a continuation of his education in either a MD or MD/PhD program. Email: email@example.com
"Hi, all. I was lucky enough to fly home to spend the week between Christmas and New Years with my parents and see the rest of the family. After four months, it just felt like it was time to visit home again. Things really are going quite well out here for me. I’ve met all kinds of new people through friends of Anna’s and through Boeing’s new hire network, and we all keep ourselves busy and entertained. I’ve also been taking karate lessons and playing with a band in an effort to be occupied on my own." Read More... Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Well, the big news down here in Virginia is that I finished my MS thesis this fall past fall. The defense was December 8th, so I now have a Masters of Science in Engineering Mechanics. Thesis title is: Modeling the Residual Strength Distribution of Structural GFRP Composite Materials Subjected to Constant and Variable Amplitude Tension-Tension Fatigue Loading. Although I was accepted directly into the Ph.D. program here and I plan on continuing through with that, I decided that it was worth putting the effort in to finish the M.S. since I had just about everything I needed (two journal articles submitted and all the classes)." Read More... Email: email@example.com
"I've had a blast here at George Washington Law School so far, and it is a really great challenge. I've met some incredibly bright and talented people, professors and students alike - one of my professors was appointed by Bush to be a commission of the Federal Trade Commission, and he invited Nicole and me to his swearing-in ceremony. Despite the relatively large size of the school, I've found it fairly easy to be involved - I am actually the Vice President of Finance (i.e. Treasurer) for the Student Bar Association, which is the law school's student government. Me in charge of a $150,000 budget for all of the student groups, and a credit card that gets directly billed to the university. Gotta love it. I'll be working at patent law firm in Georgetown this summer."
Karen and Kevin Roberg:
Kevin is now the project leader for an entire type of valves used in LHD-8 class ships at BNL Industries, and is taking on and research and development responsibilities.
Karen completed her last semester of law school and will be taking the Bar in July. She also competed this past spring in the American Trial Lawyer's Association Mock Trial in March.
Patrick and Martin are now over a year old. They can both sit on their own and grab toys that are left on the floor in front of them. They enjoy cheerios and are working on multi-syllable babbling! Check out pictures of them at http://www.jolinko.com/user/karen.roberg/albums/. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam St. John
"Hi All! I hope everyone is well. I wanted to share with everyone that I am starting on my PhD program in Chemical Engineering part time at the University of Cincinnati while I work for P&G.
Gosh, since my last email I think I went to a conference. It was one of my first times presenting in front of a hostile audience. It was funny actually -- this British prof was dead set against the research that I was lecturing on (I presented a paper defending the safety of peroxide bleaching using Crest Whitestrips). He told me that I could not use my analytical technique because it was not sensitive enough. To which I responded immediately -- if you know what you're doing, then it will work (I was a bit annoyed, I think that's why the response popped out so fast). There was a concerted intake of air from the audience members and the questions just got more hostile. Well, having had so much fun the first time, I just kept on going. :)" Email: email@example.com
"I am still at Clarkson University, pursuing a PhD in Engineering Science. I am concentrating in Computer Science & Computer Engineering. My research involves using virtual machine techology to increase the level of data protection and security on a personal computer and to facilitate the data recovery process for the average computer user. I was nominated for an IBM PhD Fellowship and will find out the results in February. If I get this fellowship, I may work on my dissertation research at IBM Poughkeepsie this summer." Read more... Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"After a little over two years (2002-2004) working as a Process Engineer at Ag Pro, Ltd in Massena I started working as a staff scientist at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in Rouses Point, NY and Starting last March I have been working as a QC Scientist at Wyeth." Email: email@example.com
Elizabeth is working to Altair Engineering in Troy, Michigan. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"After almost 5 years working at Praxair as a chemical engineer, I've decided to go back to school this August. I've been admitted to and plan to attend Harvard Business School to join their MBA class of 2008. I'll be wearing the green and gold when Clarkson goes to play hockey in Boston!"
Corrine Ortmeyer ('01) has been working for Rockwell Collins Simulation and Training Solutions in Binghamton, NY, since 2003. Until August, she was working on the Windows instructor software for a Special Operations Blackhawk helicopter project and is now working on avionics simulation in Linux for a Canadian helicopter simulator project. She's involved in a summer Gilbert and Sullivan theatre group and is active in her church's bell choir and a community orchestra. She'll finish her Masters in Computer Engineering from NTU in May and has been enjoying doing home maintenance on her house, too. Email: email@example.com
In January, Lindsay began working at TTI in Burlington, Vermont and reported that "all was well in freezing Vermont" and that she was ready for visitors. Apparently, she hasn't made the temperature adjustment after leaving Atlanta.
Heather Young Preuss:
"We started in February with a week-long cruise to Western Mexico with friends; visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. We had a wonderful time, and took some great photos of the places we visited.
We are still living and working in Vermont (Rob at General Dynamics, Heather at IBM). Rob has taken a new position with GD; working as lead engineer for his project. Heather was recognized as a Clarkson alumni volunteer at her 5th year class reunion. She is still working with a Girl Scout troop; they are now 4th graders.
We've continued to work on the house -- adding a shed in the backyard, finishing a craft room and TV room in the basement, while keeping up with the vegetable and flower gardens." Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"After I graduated Clarkson in 2000, I went to MIT, where I had a fellowship the first semester. Because of the fellowship, I had to the opportunity to go down to MIT early and meet with various professors (I found out later that the professors really like students with fellowships, as they don't have to pay for one semester's tuition and salary out of their department budget). At the dinner that night, I met Professor Heywood, who is well known in the field of internal combustion engines, and he suggested that I work with him. I did so, and completed my Master's in 1.5 years with a thesis entitled "Behavior of Fresh and Aged Catalysts in Response to Rapid Engine Control Perturbations", which basically looked at how effective catalytic converters of different ages were at responding to rapid (~0.3 sec) changes in air/fuel ratio. Fast-response emissions equipment was used to quantify the results." Read More... Email: email@example.com