Memo from the Dean 11/22/2011
Memo from the Dean 11/22/11
Dear Pratt Community,
Let me lead off this Dean’s Memo with a shout out to everyone in the Pratt School who gave so generously to the food drive this year. We had so much fun with the friendly competition between departments for most items donated. Congratulations to the Deans Office-MEM-Centers unit for leading off with 1,843 food items, to the defending champion, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, for being a close second and to the entire school for bringing in 6,196 items (wow!) for the NC Food Bank, an amazing increase over last year’s record total of 4,605 items! I am inspired by your generosity and spirit and incredibly proud that Pratt provided what will become 2,704 meals--that 3 meals a day for 901 people! Special thanks to the Pratt Community Service Comittee for organizing what has become a very fun and successful Pratt tradition. Next year we are thinking of challenging the other schools to join us.
Before we all head off for the Thanksgiving Holiday, I wanted to share some accomplishments of our students and faculty.
In the entrepreneurship realm, I’m proud to report that Laura Paulsen, a Master of Science student in biomedical engineering won the Duke University Startup Challenge Elevator Pitch competition. On behalf of her company, Hydrangle Systems, Laura presented a compelling description of her product called The Apex. It is a device that enhances prostate cancer freezing treatments by protecting the sex nerves surrounding the prostate and preserving potency. Her presentation earned her both the Judges’ Overall Prize of $5,000 and the Judges’ award for Best Pitch Delivery which won her team $750. I understand that Laura not only wowed the judges with her presentation, but she also sailed through a difficult question and answer period.
Please join me in congratulating her, and wishing her team best of luck in later phases of the Duke Startup Challenge. For those of you who don’t know about this competition, the Duke Start-Up Challenge is an entrepreneurship competition that runs the course of the academic year, from November to April. The competition includes an Elevator Pitch Competition in November, an Executive Summary Competition in February, a Business Plan Competition in March and the DSC Grand Finale in April.
In faculty news, electrical and computer engineering Professor April Brown has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. The APS cited April’s outstanding contributions to development and application of molecular beam epitaxy to the formation of advanced device structures, with particular contributions to the advancement of strained heterostructures forming modern microwave devices. April is the John Cocke Professor of electrical and computer engineering here at Duke.
On the student services front, I’m pleased to report that we have an outstanding addition to our undergraduate education team. Greg (Rodney) Bumpass, a North Carolina certified Tool and Maker, will be working with student shop manager Steve Earp to make our student machine shop available during nights and weekends. This will help us better accommodate the predictable end of semester crunch as student project deadlines draw near. Greg is an experienced shop teacher, and was on the faculty at the Durham Technical Community College in the Machine Technology Program. Welcome Greg!
And since Pratt is leading the university as green-minded workplace culture, a quick note about environmental stewardship: If you currently receive the printed version of the Working@Duke publication, are you aware you can receive it online only? Simply go to (http://www.hr.duke.edu/workingatduke/) and look on the left for the opt-out link. You can always change your mind later, but in the meantime, think green!
And in closing, many of us travel far and wide on this holiday to see friends and family. Whether your plans include trains, planes or automobiles, please travel safely. And have a happy Thanksgiving!
Professor and Dean