SEAS 360° Professionalism Orientation

August 22, 2018 | 3:00pm - 8:00pm | CFA Main Stage Theatre and Atrium

photo of a group of diverse graduate students from the 2016 orientation at UB

An annual event that welcomes our new entering graduate students while providing them critical training beyond the classroom to better prepare them for their professional careers.

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The sessions for this event are led by industry professionals, academic faculty and university senior leadership. Students in attendance that choose to opt-in to our free SEAS 360° Certificate of Professional Development program will receive 3 training hours.

Speakers and Panelists



Christopher Connor

Assistant Dean for Graduate Education, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Christopher's Bio

With twenty years of experience in higher education, Chris’s experience includes leadership roles in undergraduate and graduate education both from an institutional and academic unit perspective. He currently serves as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Education in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo. In his current role, he focuses strategically on all aspects of the graduate student lifecycle including new program development, international and domestic recruitment, enrollment planning, financial aid leveraging, diversity programs, graduate student professional development and alumni engagement.

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Liesl Folks

Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Liesl's Bio

Upon graduation Prof. Folks joined the faculty at The University of Western Australia (UWA) as a Teaching and Research Fellow, with research interests in the domain of time dependent phenomena of novel nanoscale permanent magnet materials.  

In 1997, she spent time at IBM Almaden Research Center in California as a Visiting Scientist, and in 1998 she became a Research Staff Member with IBM.  During her years there, she was engaged in fundamental research topics to support to the magnetic data storage business, including advancing magnetic force microscopy imaging capabilities, exploring techniques to make nanoscale bit-patterned media, and processing optimization to support the introduction of Magnetic Tunnel Junction (MTJ) sensor technologies into product.  

When IBM sold its Hard Disk Drive business to Hitachi in 2003, Folks moved to Hitachi to continue in related research. During her time with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies she researched innovative magnetic field sensors created from non-magnetic materials, and on advanced development projects related to conventional magnetic recording media. 

In 2003-2004, she briefly left the world of research to obtain an MBA degree from Cornell, taking advantage of that school’s Twelve Month Option.  

In 2012, Folks left industry to return to academia, and she now holds the post of Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo. She was also the President of the IEEE Magnetics Society for 2013/2014.


A. Scott Weber

Vice President for Student Life

Scott's Bio

As Vice President for Student Life, A. Scott Weber, PhD, oversees the UB student experience dedicated to providing UB’s nearly 30,000 students with the support and resources they need to thrive at the university and beyond. 

Formerly, Dr. Weber was the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs where he provided leadership for centralized enrollment services, student-support services and transformative extracurricular programs.  He led efforts to ensure that students have a transformative educational experience with opportunities to engage in truly distinctive research, creative and public service activities that are hallmarks of a top-tier university education.

A Professor and former Chair of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, his research focuses on biodegradation of chemicals in water and soil and the reclamation of environmentally impacted sites known as brownfields.

A member of the UB faculty since 1983, Weber twice was named professor of the year by the UB student chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. He received a BS and an MS from Virginia Tech and earned a PhD in civil engineering from the University of California-Davis.


Graham Hammill

Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School, Professor of English

Graham's Bio

Graham Hammill moved to UB from the University of Notre Dame in 2008 and became Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School in August, 2015. In that capacity, he is the primary executive officer of the Graduate School and is responsible for providing dynamic academic leadership and a vision for graduate and professional education to advance the University at Buffalo as a premier public research university.

Before becoming Dean of the Graduate School, Hammill was Chair of the English Department at UB. A Duke Ph.D., his primary areas of research are in early modern English literature, political thought, and the history of sexuality. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including SAQ, ELH, Spenser Studies, Shakespeare Quarterly, and Renaissance Drama. He is the author of Sexuality and Form: Caravaggio, Marlowe, and Bacon (2000) and The Mosaic Constitution: Political Theology and Imagination from Machiavelli to Milton (2012), both published by Chicago University Press. He is the editor of several collections of essays, including most recently Political Theology and Early Modernity, co-edited with Julia Reinhard Lupton.


Rajan Batta

Assistant Dean for Graduate Education, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Rajan's Bio

Dr. Rajan Batta is a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University at Buffalo.  The SUNY Distinguished Professorship is the highest academic rank available in the SUNY system, conferred by a vote of the SUNY Board of Trustees.   He has a Bachelor of Technology degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Batta has made a major impact in the area of urban operations research, a branch of Operations Research (OR) concerned with logistical and planning applications impacting services such as emergency response, disaster logistics and national security.


Stephen Dunnett

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Stephen's Bio

Stephen C. Dunnett is Vice Provost for International Education at the University at Buffalo (UB) and professor of Foreign Language Education in the Graduate School of Education. He is also the founder and director of UB’s English Language Institute and has been on the faculty of UB since 1971.

Professor Dunnett has been active in the development of cooperative education training programs between UB and overseas institutions of higher education. In 1980, he established a UB center in Beijing, China in cooperation with the Beijing Municipal System of Higher Education, the first American university center in the People’s Republic of China. In 1986, he established a UB branch campus with the MARA Institute of Technology in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, funded by the government of Malaysia. In 2004 he established a UB branch campus with the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM).  Other UB overseas centers were later established in Bangalore, India, in Dalian, China, in Taipei, Taiwan, in Jakarta, Indonesia, in Phnom Phen, Cambodia, and in Riga, Latvia. 

Distinguished Alumni Panelists

Julie Cercone
Julie Cercone, BA '11, MS '13

Information Security Senior Analyst, Citigroup
Julie Cercone is an Assistant Vice President working as an Information Security Analyst for Citi in Buffalo, NY. She works closely with her team in IT Risk Management to ensure company and government policies are adhered to on global scale.  She is deeply involved at the Buffalo Citi site with community events and outreach. She previously had an internship with the Department of Homeland Security in 2012, was a National Science Foundation Scholar, and greatly enjoyed being an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant at UB for CSE 115 from 2008-2011.

Julie attended the University at Buffalo where she earned her BA in Computer Science in 2011 and her MS in Management Information Systems in 2013 along with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Information Assurance. She is currently a member of the UB Engineering Young Alumni Board. 

photo of Akin
Akinlaja Caulcrick, BS ’05, MS ’11

Manufacturing Engineer, DuPont
Akinlaja “Akin” Caulcrick earned both his BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He has worked in various roles with several notable WNY companies including National Grid, Praxair, and General Electric.

Akin is currently a Manufacturing Process Engineer at DuPont in Tonawanda, a growing arm of the company providing innovative materials to the solar and industrial markets. 

As a student, Akin was involved with several organizations including NSBE, IEEE, and CSTEP. 

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Dennis Elsenbeck, ME ’96

Head of Energy and Sustainability-Energy Consulting Services, Phillips Lytle LLP
After almost 30 years with National Grid, Dennis joined Phillips Lytle LLP this year providing consulting services on a broad range of energy-related opportunities encompassing a forward view of supply, distribution and demand options. He is a well-recognized expert in the energy field and is a highly sought-after lecturer on a variety of topics across the U.S.

In addition to his UB Master’s, Dennis received his Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering from SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica, his MBA from the University of Rochester He also served in the United States Navy as an electrician’s mate Petty Officer 2nd Class aboard the Destroyer Tender USS Sierra AD-18. 

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Ashish Shah, MS ’89 PhD ’93

VP of R&D for Advanced Surgical and Orthopaedics, Integer
Now at Integer (formerly Greatbatch) Ashish's career has been marked by innovation. He led the development and innovation of next generation battery technologies for use in cardiac and neuro devices. He played a significant role in the research and development of tantalum electrolytic capacitors for use in implantable cardiac defibrillators and holds a number of patents. He was presented with the Niagara Frontier “Inventor of the Year” award and the 2017 “Engineer of the Year” award from the UBEAA. 

Ashish leads the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Battery technical information report (TIR) committee and is a contributing member on a number of other AAMI committees. He maintains a relationship with Upstate New York Medtech as co-chair of the science and technology committee. 


Event Date: August 22, 2018