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2002 National Science Foundation Student Retreat

Andrea Dargush, Lynn Preston and Jeff Berman at the NSF Student Retreat

The MCEER SLC organized and participated in the 2002 National Science Foundationís Student Retreat, which was part of the 2002 ERC Annual Meeting, in Washington, D.C. Planning for the November 2 retreat began in September and the MCEER SLC organizers (Jeff Berman, President, Rory Connell, Vice President, and Benedikt Halldorsson, Activities Coordinator) worked closely with NSF representatives to create an informative day for all participants, which included student representatives from all 18 Engineering Research Centers.

The retreat began with a social breakfast and poster viewing session, followed by a welcome from Jeff Berman, MCEER SLC President. The first of two guest speakers, Dr. Alan Krauss of Schneider Electric/Aerotek Inc., set a great tone for the rest of dayís presentations. Founder of the SLC at the Georgia Tech Packaging Research Center, Dr. Krauss inspired the audience to be active participants in SLC activities and discussed how the SLC and ERC experience has helped him succeed professionally. Following Dr. Krauss, Deputy Division Director and Leader of the ERC team for NSF, Lynn Preston, spoke on the important role the SLC plays in ERCs and told the students what NSF would like them to get out of SLC participation. It was certainly inspiring to hear how NSF would like to develop more successful graduates via the SLC.

A majority of the day consisted of presentations from representatives of each ERC on the activities of their respective SLCs. It was truly a unique opportunity to share ideas on all types of activities, as well as on how to keep members active and energized. The MCEER SLC will be implementing some new ideas as a result of this retreat, including an online SWOT analysis that will be done over the SLC webpage.

A second guest speaker, Vance Bjorn, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Digital Persona, Inc., gave an excellent talk over lunch about how the Engineering Center for Neuromorphic Research and CalTech helped propel his company, which makes fingerprint recognition systems for computers, to enhance security and maybe someday replace passwords. The retreat concluded with closing remarks from Jeff Berman and a social reception.

--Submitted by Jeff Berman, University at Buffalo

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