What do Matchmaking, Patents and Science Have in Common?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

(L-R) IACS Student Association Treasurer Tristan Delaney, President Aimilios Sofianopolous, and Secretary Joel Anderson stand outside the entrance to IACS
Photo by Taylor Ha

The IACS Student Association soon to receive official club status        
By Taylor Ha

After completing just two more steps, the IACS Student Association will become an official club at Stony Brook University. “We’ve been operating as an unofficial club for a while,” said Secretary Joel Anderson. “It feels good – the promise of more funding.”

Although the association has already hosted several engaging events, including its December kickoff dinner at Stony Brook’s local The Bench Bar & Grill, it will be able to present more opportunities for the IACS student community: With official status comes potential funding from the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) and Faculty Student Association (FSA). Potential upcoming events include the following:

  • Research Events
    • IACS Student Seminar Series – Students will present their research to fellow IACS peers and faculty.
    • Brown-Bag Lunch Sessions – These are informal, friendly gatherings at which students can share their technical experience and knowledge with their IACS peers.
  • Professional Development
    • Scientific Communication Workshop – Students can hone their communication/presentation skills in this workshop.
    • Patents Workshop – At this event an invited speaker will share his or her experiences with transforming an idea into a patentable product. “We think that could be really useful knowledge for our students,” commented Treasurer Tristan Delaney. “There are people who have definitely talked about it and it’s crossed their minds,” President Aimilios Sofianopoulos noted. However, he said that the procedure tends to involve loans and a great deal of paperwork, a workload that potential patentees fear. “Everyone in academia tries to avoid too much paperwork,” Sofianopoulos added. “So I believe this series of seminars will be helpful for people who are afraid of the whole process.”  
  • Social Events
    • Student-Faculty Dinners – The “crown jewel of our events,” as Sofianopoulos described, will take place on April 28 and involve all IACS faculty and students dining in a relaxed environment where they can freely socialize. Sofianopoulos wants to “try to create a small community here because there is still not a sense of community in the IACS.” Different buildings, disciplines and even countries separate IACS members. “I believe this dinner is gonna be a good start,” he predicted.
    • Group Outings to NYC – Potential destinations include museums and sporting events.

The club holds biweekly executive board meetings and hopes to soon implement subcommittees that will meet every month. Eventually, a full-time official club roster will be formed.

Sofianopoulos said he was surprised that the club worked as well as it did. He did not expect a large graduate student turnout for past IACS events, but quite a few people did show up, even students who were not associated with IACS. “I’ve re-bonded with many of my friends because of [these events],” Sofianopoulos said. The IACS Student Association also inadvertently became a matchmaking team. “Actually, two of my friends started dating because they met at one of our events,” he remarked.

Sofianopoulos, Anderson and Delaney widely attributed the IACS Student Association’s success to Lynn Allopenna, the Administrative Director for the Institute for Advanced Computational Science, who was ultimately the brainchild behind the club. “She comes up with a lot of the ideas, and she rejects the bad ideas, which is even better,” Sofianopoulos said to a chorus of laughter from his fellow executive board members.

More information about the IACS Student Association can be found on their website: http://you.stonybrook.edu/iacssa/contact/, their Facebook page called “IACS Student Association,” and on their upcoming Instagram and Twitter accounts.