Florida Tech Blog

The Florida Tech blog is a place to share news, insights, photos and videos of things affecting the entire Florida Tech community. This is a place to share different perspectives, connect with individuals, and discover how dynamic the Florida Tech community is. If you have something to share, we want to hear from you!

Biological Science Assoc Professor Furthers Alzheimer's Research

Assoc Professor Shaohua Xu

An award from the Community Foundation of Brevard continues the foundation's generous support for the work of Shaohua Xu, associate professor of biological sciences. The gift was made possible by the Kenneth R. Finken and Dorothy Hallam Finken Endowment Fund for Research into the Cause and Cure of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Xu is using atomic force microscopy to test his unique theory of the origins of Alzheimer's disease. Despite many years of investments and research, there is no effective treatment for Alzheimer's because no one really understands its cause.

By examining the interactions of individual molecules, Xu has discovered the biochemical process that appears to drive the disease; something unsuspected by other researchers in the field. Xu's observations show that normal protein molecules can assemble by without any direction into spherical clumps that then join to form chains. These become the tangled treads that choke brain cells in Alzheimer's.

Working with Xu are Sam Durrance, a former astronaut and Florida Tech professor of physics; several Florida Tech graduate students; and Dr. Daniel Woodard, a physician from Kennedy Space Center,

“Everyone is in a rush for a cure. But without knowing what really causes the disease, we are just shooting in the dark. That's why Dr. Xu's ingenious new theory is so important,” said Woodard.

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Inside Chemical Warefare Research

Professor Andy Knight

Andy Knight, associate professor of chemistry, was awarded a five-year, $963,777 contract from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Washington, D.C. With collaborators at the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at NRL, Knight and his Florida Tech research group are studying the cooperative effects of organic and inorganic coordination complexes on the catalytic degradation of organophosphorus compounds. These compounds are of interest because of their similarities to a number of phosphorus-containing chemical warfare agents such as Sarin and VX.

Knight's approach is to use gold nanoparticles as a platform for controlling the spatial positioning of molecules around catalytic metal centers. It is much like nature's version of catalytic systems, a three-dimensional arrangement of molecules around a metal within enzymes. 

Knight's group, funded by DTRA since 2006, has been working in the broad area of antiviral and antibacterial therapeutics based on metal complexes.

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Human-Centered Design in the College of Engineering

Professor Guy Boy

How best do humans interact with machines? That’s the concern of human centered design and human factors.

The person to ask at Florida Tech is University Professor Guy Boy, director of the Center for Interaction Design in the College of Engineering. Much of Boy’s work there is on a project funded by more than $1 million over four years from AREVA, an international energy company that offers solutions for nuclear power generation. Now there’s an area where the absence of human error is most welcome.

Under the grant, Boy and his graduate students are exploring the ergonomics and human factors in the design and development of nuclear power plant control and management. They are proposing human factors approaches and techniques for the safer, and more reliable and accountable control of modern nuclear power plants.

Boy came to the university in 2009 to develop a doctoral program focused on human-centered design in life-critical systems. He is author of four major books, is a permanent member of the Air and Space Academy and in 2010 was appointed chief scientist for Human-Centered Design at NASA-Kennedy Space Center.

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Job Outlook for College Grads is Looking Up

According to a recent article on Moneywatch.com , the job outlook for recent grads is the best it’s been in four years!

The Findings
The National Association of College and Employers survey indicates that businesses are gearing up to hire nearly 20% more college grads this year than they did last year. Check out the below graph

Job Outlook Hiring Projections

While this is great news for our recent grads, the job market is very competitive.  Here are a few tips from Moneywatch.com

Better doesn’t mean great. 
The uptick in hiring doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to find a job, so bring your A game. Thankfully your degree from Florida Tech is well respected in the workforce, giving you the competitive advantage you need to land that dream job.

Get Geographic
Prepare to relocate for a job.  Your best bet right now is the Northeast, followed by the Midwest and the West.  While the Southeast’s outlook doesn’t seem so rosey according to this survey, you have the benefit of being a Florida Tech grad.  Florida Tech has long standing relationships with local companies and with Career Services help, continually opening doors for our students and grads.

Listen to Warren Buffet
Did you ever read that book How to Win Friends and Influence People? Well you might want to run by the library and grab a copy.  Employers are saying that one of the most important traits they look for in a job candidate is the “ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization.”  Hopefully over the course of your time here at Florida Tech you took advantage of some of the CAPS sessions, like “Be a Social Butterfly.”  So if you ever thought to yourself, “why would I ever attend that session?”, now you know, to help you land that dream job!!

Remember your manners
It takes a lot of energy to find a job and landing an interview is only half of the battle. The interview is of course one of the most important parts of the hiring process, but don’t drop the ball on your post interview manners.  1 in 5 hiring managers said they would toss out any candidate if they didn’t send a thank you note after the interview.  Any communication you have with a potential employer should be thoughtfully strategized. The more authentic and creative you are, the better you can jockey yourself against the competition.

To read all of the tips from the article, click here.

Are you a recent grad and have a success story to share? Comment below.

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Social Skills Salute

Check out our social media round up using Storify

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