Oscar-winning UB grad thanks professors for important career lessons

Academy Award winner Tom Curley, BA ’01, knew coming to the University at Buffalo was the right choice for him shortly after transferring from a community college in upstate New York. Curley loves movies and he says he found the demanding, yet rewarding program he was looking for at UB.

“It was the passion of the professors and their dedication to the art of film that was so special,” says Curley, who with Craig Mann and Ben Wilkins won this year’s Academy Award for sound mixing in the film “Whiplash” starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. “Right away, I learned this was a place of serious academia and that helped me focus my career ambitions.”

Curley runs through his UB experiences with the enthusiasm of a presenter reading the nominees’ names on Oscar night, but like the eventual award winner, the name Tony Conrad — SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Media Study — stands out.

“He was definitely one of my favorite professors,” Curley says. “He’s whacky but in the best possible way. Tony made everything interesting and fun. He allowed us to explore the weird side of film and taught me so much more than I ever would have learned by watching more mainstream stuff.”

If Curley knew right away that UB was the right choice for him, he knew just as quickly that “Whiplash” was going to be something special.

As a production sound mixer, Curley is responsible for capturing all the audio on set, from the actors’ voices to ambient sound. But his association on this picture with Mann and Wilkins, who had post-production roles, was unique.

“Many times, post-production sound people haven’t even been hired while a film is being shot,” Curley says. “The foresight to have them there for pre-production was great.”

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Top UB students offered LSAT-free admission to Law School

High-performing University at Buffalo undergraduates will have a simpler route to beginning their legal education, thanks to two new initiatives of the UB Law School.

One initiative targets students in the University Honors College, which offers enriched courses of study for academically gifted students. The other is aimed more broadly at UB undergraduates who are excelling in their studies. Each offers admission to the UB Law School — the State University of New York’s only law school — without the usual requirement of the rigorous half-day test, the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

“We want to create another pathway into the Law School,” says Lillie Wiley-Upshaw, vice dean for admissions and student life at the UB Law School. “These programs offer direct admission for UB undergraduates, as well as graduate students who fit these criteria.”

… Those eligible for the broader program are UB students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher through six semesters of academic work and have scored at the 85th percentile on a standardized test. Besides the SAT and ACT, eligible tests include the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Qualified students will be given priority consideration for admission to the UB Law School.

The other initiative not only waives the LSAT requirement for University Honors College students who meet the same criteria; it guarantees them admission to the Law School. In addition, it establishes special programming for those students, enabling them to consider career choices in law and build a relationship with the Law School while still an undergraduate. Interested students are encouraged to sign up for the program in their freshman year.

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Princeton Review ranks UB among top schools that ‘pay you back’

In a new national publication, The Princeton Review has rated UB among the colleges and universities it considers the nation’s best for high-quality degree programs, affordability and career prospects.

UB “is able to provide a great education at a low price,” according to the editors of “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In.” “And at a fraction of the cost of comparable private colleges and universities, a UB education is also an exceptional value.”

The editors of The Princeton Review based selections on a “return-on-education” (ROE) rating developed for the publication. UB is ranked No. 91 among the top 200 schools that provide students with the best ROE, which measures 40 weighted data points — everything from academics, cost, financial aid and student debt to statistics on graduation rates, alumni salaries and job satisfaction.

The ranking considered 650 schools nationwide.

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UB’s Confucius Institute ushers in Year of the Goat

UB’s Confucius Institute and the Chinese Club of Western New York will celebrate the Chinese Lunar Year of the Goat on Feb. 21 with its annual free public show of music, dance and Chinese martial arts.

The much anticipated celebration will feature performances by members of CCWNY and language students and artists affiliated with the UB Confucius Institute.

A highlight will be a performance of Chinese folk melodies by four members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra: Shieh-jian Tsai (violin), Antoine Lefebvre (violin), Ningning Jin (viola) and Feng Hew (cello).

The popular event will take place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Mainstage Theatre in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

“The Chinese New Year celebration is an excellent opportunity for students and others in the UB community to experience Chinese culture and traditions,” says Jiyuan Yu, Confucius Institute director and UB professor of philosophy. “We are pleased to be organizing the program jointly with CCWNY and highlighting the impressive ability of our Chinese language students alongside the outstanding performances of CCWNY members.”

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$32K awarded to 4 University at Buffalo students for startup funding

Software to help companies retrieve files. A deployable wall to protect waterfront properties from flooding. A software platform that makes e-books more interactive. And a device to recover and refine precious metals.

These are the business startup ideas that earned four enterprising University at Buffalo students $8,000 each in seed funding, as well as mentorship and shared space in the UB Technology Incubator.

Fourteen UB students pitched their startups to a panel of local business leaders and investors on Jan. 23 as part of UB’s Entrepreneurship Lab (eLab), a business boot-camp-style course offered in partnership by the UB School of Management and the Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR), with funding provided through an anonymous donation to the School of Management.

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UB undergrad lands premier tech internship at Facebook

A UB undergraduate student’s internship was the subject of a Jan. 29 article in Buffalo Business First:

Joseph Peacock just turned 20 years old.

All he’s done is this: start a freelance web development business while in high school at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute; organize a hackathon at the University at Buffalo, where he’s an undergraduate; rise to the rank of chief technical officer at GradFly, a promising local startup; quit GradFly to focus on his studies only to enter UB’s eLab course/competition and win an entrepreneurship fellowship that included $8,000 in cash.

Now Peacock’s biggest adventure yet may be on the horizon: he has been hired for highly selective internship at Facebook, ranked as the premier tech internship program in the U.S. by Glassdoor.

He’ll likely make about $6,000 per month while interning at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., while the company covers housing and food and even offers a free bike. Peacock’s role will be in managing the connections between the company’s engineering and business teams, and he’ll take part in a weekly meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Read the entire article at Buffalo Business First.

School Readying for Downtown Move, Cain Says During Address

The UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences continues to prepare for its move downtown by growing faculty ranks, improving its research productivity and increasing its presence on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, said Michael E. Cain, MD, during his state of the school address.

Cain, vice president for health sciences and medical school dean, delivered the address Jan. 16 at the UB Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC).

The medical school added 21 new faculty positions in 2014, bringing the total from 748 in 2013 to 769, Cain said.

He anticipates hiring another 60 to 70 new faculty over the next couple of years, he added.

The increase ensures that the school continues offering high quality medical education and training while meeting accreditation requirements when the medical school student body grows from 144 to 180 students in the class entering in 2017.

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Solar Strand named to Wall Street Journal’s list of best architecture for 2014

An article in The Wall Street Journal listing “The Best Architecture of 2014” includes UB’s Solar Strand, calling the 3,200-panel, ground-mounted photovoltaic array a “small but telling model of landscape architecture at its most forward-thinking.”

Envisioning energy as part of the cultural and built landscape, the Solar Strand stands at the main entrance to UB’s North Campus and provides a striking but practical campus gateway. The 750-kilowatt array generates enough energy to power hundreds of student apartments while offsetting the emission of nearly 400 tons of greenhouse gases annually.

“At a time when fields of PV panels and wind turbine ‘farms’ are a reality, planted in vast undifferentiated arrays that assault the eye, not to mention birds and other animals, Solar Strand offers a thoughtful alternative,” writes Julie V. Iovine, the Journal’s architecture critic.

The array was designed by the celebrated landscape architect, artist and educator Walter Hood, who was selected through an international design competition sponsored by UB.

The design competition, which attracted an initial field of 23 artists and landscape architects from around the world, called for a solar array that would be integrated into the campus landscape, accessible to students and the community, and representative of a new design vocabulary for solar installations around the world.

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Aviles named associate vice provost, director of admissions

José Aviles, director of admissions at the University of Delaware, has been named associate vice provost and director of admissions at UB.

The announcement was made on Monday by Lee H. Melvin, UB vice provost for enrollment management.

In his new position, Aviles will oversee development of proactive student recruitment initiatives and innovative strategies to promote recognition of the UB brand, as well as increase contacts with prospective students through various media and technologies. He also will be responsible for the strategic development and leadership of domestic undergraduate recruitment programs.

“I am very excited to have José Aviles joining UB,” said A. Scott Weber, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “He has had great success at the University of Delaware and his vision for further elevating UB’s undergraduate admissions was broad-based, stimulating and will be exciting to see implemented.

“We are truly fortunate to have such a nationally recognized figure in the admission community lead UB’s efforts to recruit the very best undergraduates to our institution,” Weber said.

Aviles began his career in 1998 as an admissions counselor at LaSalle University in Philadelphia. He then served as an admissions recruiter at Mercer County Community College in Trenton, New Jersey; assistant dean of admissions at Swarthmore College; assistant director of admissions and assistant director of education opportunity fund/maximizing academic potential (EOF/MAP) at Rowan University; and associate director and director of admissions at Millersville University.

He joined the University of Delaware as director of admissions in 2012.

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UB Nursing cited by U.S News and World Report as having one of the best online programs

The University at Buffalo School of Nursing’s online bachelor’s degree (RN – BS) has been named a “2015 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Program.”

The nursing school has also been designated to use the U.S. News and World Report badge: “Best Online Program.”

The UB online RN – BS program, which can be completed in a 1-year or 2-year sequence, is designed for nurses who have already successfully completed a community college (associate’s degree) or hospital-based (diploma) nursing program and passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for registered nurses.

It is offered in a user-friendly distance learning, asynchronous format that allows practicing nurses to attend school while maintaining employment.

The School of Nursing admitted its first class to the new online program in 2012 – 2013 and this is the first year the school has had the data to report.

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