|—||Cherry A. Murray, Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences|
Educating the innovators. Prof. Eric Mazur’s teaching and assessment philosophy, developed over 30 years at Harvard, has earned a worldwide following. Find out how education is changing.
Adam Sealfon, AB/SM ’13
Concentration: Mathematics and computer science
An algorithmic enthusiast, Adam will be only a couple of miles down the road next year, starting a Ph.D. program in computer science at MIT. He’s looking forward to “learning a lot of new things, meeting new people, and learning how they think.”
Suvai Gunasekaran ’13
Concentration: Biomedical engineering
Suvai, who came to Harvard from Madison, Wisconsin, will be returning to the Midwest next fall to begin an MD-PhD program at Northwestern University. After that, she might go into academia or pursue some aspect of global health and social entrepreneurship.
No stranger to biomedical research, Suvai completed several important projects as an undergrad at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In the course ES 21, she and a group of classmates dreamed up a kind of spray-on skin that would keep athletes cool. And, before that, she earned a Herchel Smith Fellowship, which allowed her to conduct research in Prof. Dave Mooney’s lab on how chemical signaling between cells encourages cancer to grow.
The best part of her time at Harvard, though, was “all the people that I’ve met—meeting my dormmates and classmates,” she says. “They were all really cool people.”
Sloan Zimmerman, SB ’13
Concentration: Engineering sciences / mechanical engineering and materials science
For her senior thesis, Sloan designed and built a mobile gait-assistive device to help restore the ability to walk in patients who have cerebral palsy or have suffered a stroke. The device looks like a metal frame on wheels, with a harness for the waist and fabric leg braces with cables that provide support as the patient practices walking movements.
After graduation, Sloan will move to Cleveland, Ohio, to begin a 10-week internship at NASA Glenn Research Center, where she’ll be working to improve the seals between the International Space Station and the vehicles that dock with it.
After that, she’d like to attend graduate school to study solar energy technologies.
Sloan is pictured here with her oh-so-proud mother, Pen Zimmerman.
Laila Kasuri ’13
Concentration: Environmental sciences and engineering
A Hoopes Prize winner, Laila hails from Lahore, Pakistan. For her senior thesis, Laila analyzed how spatial models for flood reduction on the Mississippi River can be applied to the Indus River basin. After graduation, she’ll either attend graduate school at UC Davis, or work at the World Bank as a water strategy consultant, following in the footsteps of her adviser, Prof. John Briscoe.
Megan Fazio, SB ’13
Concentration: Electrical engineering
Megan played softball for two years at Harvard as a catcher, so in her senior year at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, she decided to pursue a thesis project in line with her interests.
She designed and built a softball catcher’s mitt with built-in accelerometers and force sensors to detect the speed of a pitch and display it on a small screen. The glove’s battery lasts for 20 hours, and the sensors can stand up to the impacts of more than a thousand pitches.
The Experiment Fund, a venture fund created by Harvard alumni and based here in Cambridge, recently celebrated its first year in business.
“There are basically two approaches to venture capital investing,” said Xfund Partner Harry Weller ‘94, who is also General Partner of New Enterprise Associates. “One is to ‘spray and pray,’ and the other is to make fewer, more selective investments. We back big, bold experiments.”
Computer scientist Salil Vadhan has been named a Simons Investigator!
An applied mathematician by training, Prof. Vadhan studies topics at the interface of cryptography and complexity theory. The goal of hisis to design systems that can withstand adversarial behavior, within the limits of efficient computation. Major areas of focus include pseudorandomness and interactive, zero-knowledge proofs—proofs that reveal no information beyond the validity of the proof itself.
He also studies data privacy and is working to develop new algorithms that allow social scientists to interrogate large data sets while preserving the personal information they contain.
“Spring is like a perhaps hand,” wrote the poet E. E. Cummings: “carefully / moving a perhaps / fraction of flower here placing / an inch of air there… / without breaking anything.”
With the hand of nature trained on a beaker of chemical fluid, the most delicate flower structures have been formed in a Harvard laboratory—and not at the scale of inches, but microns.
Photo courtesy of Wim L. Noorduin, Harvard SEAS.