Fireside Chats Offer Meaningful Engagement With Faculty and Students

The Arch at Rensselaer — a transformative program developed in collaboration with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and industry leaders — provides undergraduate students with unique academic and professional opportunities. 

Focused on six intentionalities, The Arch was developed to provide students with:

  • An acceleration of immersion in both the academic and professional worlds;
  • Structured academic advising, career counseling, and leadership development;
  • Unique academic and co-curricular summer experiences;
  • Re-clustering of the junior-year cohort across disciplines;
  • More focused and meaningful engagement with the faculty; and
  • An opportunity for students to engage in self-discovery, leading to increased intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication, and a global perspective.

Aligning with the intentionality of more focused and meaningful engagement with faculty, the Fireside Chat series provides an open platform for students to engage with esteemed faculty on important topics, including current research and a host of methodological practices and perspectives. The chats are intended to inform and engage students toward deeper questioning that leads to an interest and better understanding of research opportunities. 

Every Wednesday, during The Arch 2020 summer semester, a Rensselaer faculty member highlights their research during a one-hour session that allots time at the end for questions and answers. To date, students have had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the following research topics:

  • Biological implications and COVID-19 with Deepak Vashishth, Director for the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Panic Buying with Professor and Endowed Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Jose Holguin-Veras
  • AI in Fiction and Fact with Director of IDEA, Jim Hendler
  • COVID-19 Epidemiology Modeling with Director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering Juergen Hahn
  • Research Creativity: Through the Lens of Advanced Manufacturing with Assistant Professor of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering Johnson Samuel

“The fireside chats are a unique opportunity for the Rensselaer community to engage with faculty. I have personally learned more about the amazing research conducted by our faculty from the dynamics of panic buying during the pandemic to the presence of artificial intelligence featured in movies, I continue to be enlightened. I am confident that the students who have taken advantage of this opportunity have been enriched as well,” said Tiffany Powell, director of The Arch Academic Programs.