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Union to host Tech Valley Engineering Symposium on April 5

Posted on Mar 22, 2005

Union College will host the first annual Tech Valley Engineering Symposium on Tuesday, April 5, at College Park Hall, 450 Nott St. The day-long event will feature presentations and exhibits by engineering professionals as well as opportunities for students to participate through poster demonstrations and networking.

Speakers will include Dr. Glenn Eisman, director of the Center for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Dr. Shimshon Gottesfeld, vice president and chief technology officer at MTI MicroFuels; Dr. Michael Dashiell, scientist in energy conversion technologies at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory; and Dr. Donald W. Richardson, president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

In addition, more than 20 exhibitors from throughout the country interested in doing business in Tech Valley will provide attendees with information on their companies and products.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for engineering professionals and students to interact and discuss the latest work in our fields,” said Nicholas Krouglicof, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Union and an event organizer. “Having this event at Union also showcases the College and our prominence as an educational leader in engineering, science and the arts.”

The program will encompass state-of-the-art topics in energy and propulsion systems, micro and macro materials, sensors and controls, vibrations and dynamics, and poster presentations by 30 Union students majoring in mechanical engineering.

This year's symposium takes the place of two events held in prior years – the Northeast Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering Mini-Symposium and Vibo-Rama, a technical exhibition focused on machinery health assessment.

Sponsors include local chapters of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Vibration Institute, Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, and American Society of Nondestructive Testing, and the engineering departments of RPI and Union College.

The event is open to the public. Visit http://engineering.union.edu/TV for program details and to register online, or call (518) 782-0220. Advance registration is $85 for professionals and $20 for students. The cost for walk-in attendees is $100.


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Diane Bish, internationally known solo organist to perform

Posted on Mar 22, 2005

Diane Bish, the world renowned organist, will perform a solo organ recital present on the historic 50-rank Casavant pipe organ at Union College's Memorial Chapel, Sunday, April 3, at 3 p.m.

The performance will feature traditional organ classics by Bach, Haydn and Widor, and some of Bish's own hymn arrangements.

Diane Bish, solo organist

Diane Bish is a concert and recording artist, composer, and conductor.  Her performances have been hailed by critics as “stunning, virtuosic, fiery, and astonishing.”  

She is perhaps best known through the international television series, “The Joy of Music,” in which she combines exhilarating organ and ensemble performances with an informative, inspiration narrative and exciting world travel.  She has taped over 300 programs in famous cathedrals and concert halls.

This concert has been organized locally by Alfred V. Fedak, dean of the Eastern New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), and by Dianne M. McMullen, associate professor of music and college organist at Union College.

General admission is $20. Admission is free with Union College ID and to members of the Eastern New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. For more information contact Prof. Dianne McMullen at 388-6202 or Al Fedak at 427-7744 or 436-8544.


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Union proposes partnership for Center for Excellence

Posted on Mar 21, 2005

Researchers from Union College, GE and Albany Medical Center believe they have what it takes to be designated the state's next Center of Excellence.

The reseachers are beginning to take an inventory of their resources, both in personnel and equipment, before putting a formal proposal before the Empire State Development Corp., the agency that oversees the program.

“The Center of Excellence is a proven model for driving research and economic development in New York,” said Bill Schwarz, Union's director of corporate and government relations. “It's a model we aspire to.”

Gov. George Pataki created the Centers of Excellence program in 2001, locating the first ones in Albany, Rochester and Buffalo.

The program was expected to use $230 million in state money during the first five years to leverage more than $700 million in combined federal, university and private funds.

Ron Jury, a spokesman for Empire State Development, said he was unaware of anyone ever submitting a proposal to become a Center of Excellence, and said there is no formal application process.

“We are always interested in talking with groups that are looking to create jobs, develop new research in emerging new fields and seeing how New York state can be helpful,” Jury said. “If they gave a proposal, we welcome the opportunity to talk with them.”

The researchers at the 2-year-old Neurosciences Advanced Imaging Research Center, located in a building behind Albany Med, have been trying to discover what leads to Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders.

Alzheimer's is a disorder that hampers a person's ability to carry out daily activities.

The 6,000-square-foot lab is equipped with a $3 million MRI machine, a very powerful scanner. Eight researchers, along with Union College students, have been studying the brain by scanning Alzheimer patients.

The center was recently approved by the National Institutes of Health to conduct clinical studies.

Earl Zimmerman, director of the center, wants to begin testing “normal” brains to determine what changes once a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He wants to begin investigating the basis of memory and emotions to find early predictors of the disease.

Zimmerman also wants to expand the effort into a regional neuroscience program, teaming up with scientists from the Wadsworth Center and the state University at Albany, as well as recruiting outside scientists.

He said he needs several million dollars for additional equipment to make that happen. The tools will help attract top scientists.

The funding could come from a number of sources, including the Union College and Albany Med foundations, as well as other private and public sources.

But creating a Center of Excellence focused on neuroscience and Alzheimer's would help the region compete and collaborate with efforts taking place at Yale, Harvard and Penn State.

“If you look at the academic power of the Capital Region, we have as many people as any of these universities,” he said. “We want to be first-rate neuroscientists. In order to be first-rate neuroscientists you have to be able to do those approaches which are the cutting-edge of neuroscience. Once you have these resources, then you can play with the big boys.”

Nigel Skinner, business development manager at GE Global Research, said the proposal to create the Center of Excellence also would include partnering with researchers at the University of Rochester and SUNY Buffalo.

“What we're keen on doing is maximizing the synergy of what we call the I-90 corridor,” he said.

There are a number of neuroscience research efforts going on in the region to strengthen the case for a Center of Excellence, said Trudi Cholewinski, director of programs and services at the Alzheimer's Association of Northeastern New York.

Those efforts include work being done at Upstate Neurology, Neurological Associates of Albany, and Neurological Associates of Northeastern New York.

“I think in the Northeast we're pretty competitive,” she said.

Cholewinski said another reason for creating a Center of Excellence is the large number of people with some type of dementia, including Alzheimer's. There are 4 million Americans with Alzheimer's and 40,000 with some form of dementia in the 17-county region around Albany.

The neuroscience center has received some outside recognition. It is one of about 50 centers in the United States working under the Alzheimer's Disease Neuro Imaging Initiative, a five-year public-private partnership to discover early signs of Alzheimer's.

“The goal of the center is to try and cure Alzheimer's. To diagnose and treat and ultimately cure,” said Stephen Romero, co-director of Union College's neuroscience program, who is an adjunct at Albany Medical College and a researcher at the center. “That's the end point. We're a long way from that.”

Romero said the Center of Excellence designation would also help the center become one of only a handful of Alzheimer's disease research centers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Union's Schwarz said the team of researchers is working on a white paper now to outline why the center should be designated the sixth Center of Excellence in the state.

The others focus on bioinformatics (Buffalo), high-resolution imaging and ultra-fast communications devices (Rochester), information technology (Long Island), environmental systems (Syracuse) and nanoelectronics (Albany).

“We're going to look at any and every funding entity to make this center as robust and as beneficial to New York state and the health care community as possible,” Schwarz said.


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Seguin provides his own March Madness in Michigan

Posted on Mar 21, 2005

Union swimmer Elliot Seguin provided his own version of March Madness.

While many people in East Lansing, Michigan were charged up with their Michigan State men's basketball team heading to the “Sweet 16,” others in that community were charged up with a Michigan native who won a national title in swimming in his own backyard, for a school in upstate New York.

Elliot Seguin

Seguin became the fourth men's swimming and diving competitor from Union College to win a national championship on Saturday, March 19, when he won the 100 freestyle at the 2005 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships at Hope College's Holland Aquatic Center in Holland, Michigan.

“He had many family and friends come to the meet,” commented Union Head Coach Scott Felix. “Holland is only an hour and a half away from East Lansing, so this worked out perfectly for him.”

Seguin won the 100 free with a time of :42.32 in the finals of the event. He bested the second place finisher, Brad Test of Johns Hopkins, by .42. Seguin came in at the 50 yard mark at :21.86 to pace the field.

Coach Scott Felix greets Elliot Seguin as the Union swimmer wins the NCAA title in the 100 freestyle.

“He won a half a body length,” said Felix. “He was very excited when he touched for the title.”

Seguin qualified for the finals with a preliminary finish of sixth in the event, at :45.83. He also became the program's 32nd All-American. Earlier in the meet, he qualified for the finals in the 200, finishing 14th in that event with a time of 1:42.44 against the nation's best. In the first day of competition at Hope College, Seguin finished 12th in the consolations of the 50 free at :21.26.

Thanks to Seguin's performance, as well as the showing of his teammate, junior DJ Hogenkamp (E. Aurora/E. Aurora), the Dutchmen finished in 25th in team scoring with 28 points to outscore 21 other schools.

Seguin's season was truly remarkable. He won state titles in 100 and 200 freestyle events while taking third in the 50 free. His 200 time of 1:40.54 qualified him for the NCAA meet and his 45.17 in the 100 shattered the previous championship (45.61) and association (45.55) standards. The association record had been set by Union's Jeff Hoerle in 1997, which was also a Union College standard. Sequin previously shared the championship record with Union's Kevin Makarowski.

“We talked about the nationals in September,” commented Felix. “The 100 free is his best event, and he was the fastest guy in the pool in the prelims.”
He turned out to be the fastest guy in the finals, too. And thus, he turned out to be a national champion.

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McDowell named Sports Information Director

Posted on Mar 21, 2005

Sports Information Director
Eric McDowell

Schenectady, NY – Eric McDowell has been named
the Director of Sports Information at Union College. McDowell began his duties
March 7. He replaces George Cuttita, who was hired as Union's first-ever
full-time SID in July of 1980.

Cuttita left Union on March 12 to
join his wife, Donna, who accepted a job with the Walt Disney World Cruise Line
last November. Cuttita, who was scheduled to leave Union on December 26, stayed
on to complete his SID career with Dick Sakala, the former Union College
Director of Athletics. Sakala, who retired in 2000, returned to assist the
college while a search for a new Director of Athletics took place.

McDowell comes to Union from the State University of
New York College at Brockport, where he served as the SID since July of 2001.
He is this year's Irving T. Marsh Award College Division honoree from ECAC-SIDA
(Eastern College Athletic Conference Sports Information Directors Association),
and will receive the award at the annual workshop on Cape Cod in June.

McDowell started his career in the profession as an
undergraduate at the University of New Haven. He later served as an assistant
and then director at the University of New Hampshire, where he also was the
Media Relations Director of the Yankee Conference (NCAA Div. I-AA football
league). McDowell moved on to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to develop the Sports
Information department during the program's move into Division I. He was the
Media Relations Director for the NBA's Golden State Warriors during the 1997-98
season (when Latrell Sprewell choked Coach P.J. Carlesimo), and also worked for
the American Hockey League's Lowell Lock Monsters and UMass Lowell. McDowell
was the overnight media relations supervisor for the 2000 Centennial Olympic
Games in Atlanta, and served the media during another crisis, the July 27, 1996
bombing at Centennial Olympic Park, adjacent to his home base, the Main Press
Center in downtown Atlanta.

active member of CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) and
ECAC-SIDA, McDowell has hosted numerous panels and table topics for both
organizations. He will reprise his “Press Conference Panel” panel at
ECAC-SIDA's workshop this summer after hosting that panel at CoSIDA's workshop
in Calgary, Alberta last year. McDowell serves as a member of the Programming
Committee for CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America), and
hosted the ECAC-SIDA (Eastern College Athletic Conference Sports Information
Directors Association) Workshop in Lowell, Massachusetts in 2002. He will join
officials from Niagara Falls, NY at this summer's workshop to put in a bid to
host the 2007 ECAC-SIDA Workshop in that city. He has worked and hosted
numerous ECAC and NCAA post-season events in a variety of sports, including seven
NCAA Div. I men's basketball post-season tournament events throughout the



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