Bulls headed to Big Dance for first time in school history

The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team gets to put on its dancing shoes!

The Bulls defeated Central Michigan, 89-84, Saturday to win their first ever Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

“I’m really proud of my team,” head coach Bobby Hurley said. “I’m proud of the accomplishment that this group achieved, the first time in school history that we are MAC champions.”

The Bulls earned a No. 12 seed for the NCAA tournament and will face No. 5 West Virginia University Friday at 2:10 p.m. The game will be aired nationally on TNT.

UB placed six in double figuresas the Bulls knocked off the top-seeded Chippewas in an offensive slugfest. UB was led by tournament Most Valuable Player Xavier Ford who scored 18 points, including a trio of three-pointers. He shared team-high scoring honors with Shannon Evans who also scored 18 points and added five rebounds and four assists.

Hampered by an injury, Justin Moss, who scored just four points in the semifinal win over Akron, came alive late in the game, when the Bulls needed him most. The MAC Player of the Year finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in the game.

It was a close game throughout, with neither team holding more than a six-point lead for the first 34 minutes of the game. Will Regan, who has been hitting big second-half threes for the Bulls a lot lately, hit another one to break a 50-50 tie with 14:21 left that gave the Bulls the lead for good.

The Bulls won their eighth straight game to win the title and improved their record to 23-9 on the season, tying their win total from 2004-05. Ironically, UB’s last loss came against this same Central Michigan team on February 14.

“This team has so much heart and really came together when we suffered a tough loss at six and six in conference, to respond the way we have and to win eight straight games. It’s easy to coach when you have guys like Shannon Evans, Xavier Ford, Will Regan, Lamonte Beardon, Justin Moss and just go right down the line. This is an amazing group of kids.”

For more information on UB’s March Madness run, check out the Athletics website.

UB students expand their comfort zone for Alternative Spring Break

Anyone throwing stereotypes around about University at Buffalo students and spring break has not met Boma Zelma Aminigo, Kyle Schneider, Victoria Robbins or Katherine Sierra. Ask them how they will spend the upcoming spring recess, approaching as quickly as the long-awaited March thaw.

Their plans defy any predictions and conventional generalizations of college students spending too much money drinking and flouting rules.

These four students – along with scores of others – are among the UB undergraduates who will spend their week off taking part in what has come to be known as Alternative Spring Break. While many students plan the conventional program of what UB’s student newspaper The Spectrum this week has called “beachfront debauchery,” for others, it’s more like this:

Give up your one week of freedom and recharge by – get this – helping others less fortunate than they, whether it be in their own Western New York backyard or far away from familiar surroundings in exotic and remote territory.

“The reason I originally signed up for Alternative Break was to make an impact where it was needed most,” says Kyle Schneider, a senior in UB’s Department of Environmental Studies. “I have returned for my second trip with the program in order to keep making a difference and help lead others in a similar direction.”

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Keeping doctors in Western New York: New scholarship fund pays tuition for local medical students

Alarmed by the steady decline in the number of physicians practicing in Western New York, local physicians and community leaders have created a new organization designed to train and keep more doctors in the area.

VIDEO at http://youtu.be/bOUlUeJ49X4.

The Western New York Medical Scholarship Fund is a new, independent, community organization that provides four-year scholarships to Western New York students to attend the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Students accepted to the UB medical school must meet highly select criteria to be eligible for these scholarships. They must have graduated from a high school within the eight counties of Western New York, excel academically and have a demonstrated financial need.

In order to accept the scholarship, they also must pledge to stay in Western New York to practice. Each awardee will receive a minimum of $30,000 annually for each of the four years of medical school.

The first three recipients, selected in February, are: James Miller, a graduate of Frontier High School; Gina Sparacino, a Kenmore East High School graduate and Alyssa Volmrich, a graduate of Holy Angels Academy.

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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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