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Parents and Alumni Seeking Students (PASS) is a volunteer program that enables alumni and parents to share their enthusiasm about Albright with college-bound students. In "PASS Corner" we feature individuals who make the PASS program possible.
Getting to know: Brian Picariello, CPA/PFS, CFA '95, partner, Traust Sollus Wealth Management, LLC
Education: B.S., accounting, Albright College; M.B.A., finance, Rutgers University; certified public accountant, personal financial specialist and certified financial adviser
What PASS opportunities do you participate in? My wife Heather and I hosted an event for prospective students at the Jasna Polana Golf Club in Princeton, N.J.
Why do you volunteer for the PASS Program? I had never been to a PASS event before, but when I was contacted about hosting an event I felt that I wanted to do anything I could to enlighten prospective students, tell them about what Albright did for me, and the opportunities and successes I've had. It was a pretty amazing evening. It's hard to believe that it's been 21 years since I was a freshman. You get far removed from it [choosing a college] and forget how hard a decision it is to make. If I had an impact on even one person to make the right choice, to go to Albright, that's pretty amazing.
Why do you encourage others to participate in the PASS program ? Not only did the students appreciate the opportunity to attend the event, but the parents were also appreciative. It was important for them to know that what I was saying was unsolicited; that it was coming from my heart. Seeing alumni and hearing about their accomplishments puts the college search process on a human level.
New Microscopes See Nanoscale Details
Albright's Science Center is now home to two new microscopes that will expand students' knowledge of and exposure to microscopy while facilitating interdisciplinary research.
The instruments, an atomic force microscope (AFM) and a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), are tools in the field of scanning probe microscopy, which uses an extremely sharp physical probe to map out the surface of a material and make an image.
The AFM can see surface details as small as two nanometers, or one-fifty-thousandth the thickness of a human hair. The STM has even better resolution (0.2 nanometers), seeing details as small as the atoms themselves on the surface of a material.
"Scanning probe microscopy has revolutionized our ability to image and manipulate objects at nanoscale sizes," said Brian Buerke, Ph.D., associate professor of physics and chair of the Physics Department. "In the Physics Department, our main purpose with the AFM and the STM is to study carbon nanotubes, which are long but incredibly thin tubes of carbon atoms. Our broader, and more important, purpose is to enhance our microscopy capabilities across all science departments and to look at a wide range of organic and inorganic structures.
"The goal is to have students from all the sciences use both the AFM and the STM multiple times in their studies and to feel comfortable enough with them to use them for research," Buerke said. "Aside from answering their own research questions, students will learn how to do a different style of microscopy. Their understanding of microscopy will therefore be much more complete, making them qualified for a wider range of jobs."
The instruments were acquired with the help of a Department of Energy grant that Albright obtained a few years ago with assistance from U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA), who represents portions of Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Lehigh counties.
College Receives $100,000 Award for Innovative
For its innovative work in faculty retirement, Albright has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the American Council on Education and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Along with 14 other institutions honored, Albright demonstrated a best practice with its three-stage plan: the development of a legacy, the transition into retirement, and the continuing involvement of faculty in the academic community post-retirement.
The College plans to use the grant to expand existing initiatives related to faculty retirement, including its phased retirement program, transition support and planning, and office space for retired faculty. In addition, the College will develop new programs focused on helping faculty identify activities they would like to pursue during retirement, such as offering a study-away course or volunteering in the local community.
"Our commitment to faculty should not end once they have retired," said Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs.
"That's why we are interested in and committed to initiatives that ease the transition of our valued colleagues and help them stay connected to the College. We are grateful to ACE and the Sloan Foundation for recognizing our efforts."
Albright and the other winners will have the opportunity to draft a chapter about campus practices that will be included in an upcoming ACE monograph. The institutions will also have the opportunity to disseminate information about their best practices at conferences and in other venues.