John Lof Workshop #3: Identifying Opportunities

April 15, 2023

On Thursday April 20th the John Lof Leadership Academy will be hosting their third workshop of the semester. The workshop is named “Identifying Opportunities” and is designed to help individuals develop their skills in recognizing and pursuing opportunities that align with their goals, aspirations, and values. During the workshop, participants will be guided through a process of identifying potential opportunities, evaluating them, and deciding which ones to pursue. They will learn how to assess the feasibility and potential of an opportunity, and how to develop a plan to take advantage of it. The workshop may also include real-world examples to demonstrate how successful individuals and organizations have identified and capitalized on opportunities. A guest speaker (Dr. Leila Daneshmandi) has been invited to the workshop to help us identify the above-mentioned.

The workshop will also include an activity where participants will share about one opportunity they have missed and followed by that some discussion of the importance of identifying opportunities and how it can help individuals or teams to achieve their objectives. Overall participants will be engaged in group discussions, and brainstorming sessions to help them develop their skills in these areas.

Effective Negotiation for Women Graduate Students in STEM

March 29, 2023

On March 28th JLLA, WIMSE and the Women’s Center came together to offer a workshop centered around Effective Negotiation. In the workshop heard from Israela Adah Brill-Cass who is an expert in negotiation and conflict resolution. They discussed how to negotiate salaries and raises, get more support for projects navigate through gender and cultural impact on negotiations and achieve better results.

John Lof Workshop #2: Leadership Philosophy

March 15, 2023

On March 20th from 4-6 John Lof hosted their second workshop centered in Leadership Philosophy! The workshop focused on “Leadership Philosophy”, which aims to assist members in comprehending their personal leadership style and values. The workshop was specifically designed to encourage participants to reflect on their individual beliefs and attitudes towards leadership, formulate a leadership vision, establish a philosophy, and acquire the ability to manage ethical challenges and dilemmas.

We are honored to have hosted Professor Thomas Bontly from the Department of Philosophy as our guest speaker, who shared his knowledge and experience on the topic. To make the learning experience more engaging, we included some interactive activities that helped members identify their own leadership values.

9th Annual Poster Competition: March 10th

March 7, 2023

On March 10th the School of Engineering and SAGE are hosting our 9th Annual Poster Competition from 10 am until 2 pm! If you are interested in competing all posters are due by March 5th and submissions are accepted here. For more information visit this website and we cannot wait to see the posters you all create!

Human Rights Graduate Research Forum

March 6, 2023

On this Wednesday March 8th from 2 until 3:30 our graduate student Francesco Rouhana will be presenting the potential impacts and challenges of EVs on human rights throughout their life cycle and present measures to address human rights violations. Achieving an equitable, sustainable, and human rights-centered transition to low-carbon transportation will require collaborative endeavors from diverse stakeholders. .

This is a great way to support the work of your fellow graduate students and to learn more about the work that Francesco is doing.

John Lof Workshop #1: How to be a Leader in your Field

February 24, 2023

On February 24th John Lof Leadership Academy held our first workshop for the spring semester where we discussed how to be a leader in your field! We hope everyone learned a lot and that this will help better people’s careers! Attached is a picture from the workshop and we cannot wait for our next one on March 20th!

Spring Recess 2023

February 6, 2023

The week of Sun, March 12, 2023 and Saturday, March 18, 2023, the University of Connecticut will be in academic recess. During this time, there will be no classes being held at this time and we will resume classes on March, 19, 2023 at 8:00 AM.

Meet JLLA Senior Ashmi Durairaj

February 25, 2022


Ashmi Durairaj is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Biomedical Engineering. She obtained her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Anna University India and was awarded a university First Holder honor.


Since childhood, Durairaj has been fascinated by the growth of technology and medicine. When it comes to the field of Biomedical Engineering, she strongly believes that the skills and knowledge gained will help her to develop solutions for ongoing global health issues. 


Durairaj has interned at CURA Healthcare, Cosmos Medical Systems, Madras Medical Mission (MMM Hospital), Apollo Hospitals and Universal Medical Instruments (UNI-EM). These opportunities enhanced her comprehensive servicing, assembling and troubleshooting skills on various medical devices and surgical robots. 


As a Ph.D. candidate, Durairaj completed a research study on biomaterials utilized in the production of prosthesis. 3D printing technology allowed her to develop a prosthetic for women post-mastectomy. 


Durairaj is planning to continue her work in the biomedical industry as a Research and Development Engineer. Outside of school she enjoys playing musical instruments, and can speak five languages: Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and English.

Meet JLLA Senior David Etim

January 20, 2022


David Etim is a PhD candidate in Computer Science and Engineering. His experiences in industry and under the United States Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security have fortified a set of data analysis and technical research skills. 


Etim’s interest in computer science and engineering started early on. By the fifth grade, he could design a website, take a computer apart and piece it back together. Every summer until high school he would attend the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) at Winston-Salem State University. 


He obtained his Bachelor’s degree at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical (A&T) State University, where he studied Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, and completed his Master’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Connecticut. 


Etim has acquired a wealth of experience through varied internship opportunities across the following organizations:


The National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Energy Exemplar LLC, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd).


These internship experiences have allowed him to implement and expand his knowledge of coding, software engineering, and data analysis, amongst other technical skills.   


Etim also works as a part-time Federal Program Manager at the NNSA, where he oversees the Verification & Validation (V&V) subprogram, the Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program (PSAAP), as well as Advanced Machine Learning and Large-Scale Calculation initiatives within the NNSA Advanced Simulation & Computing (ASC) Program.


In his current doctoral research, Etim examines data extraction techniques and their applicability to various domains, specifically within health care for Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The data is analyzed and surveyed to retrieve relevant information from sources in a specific pattern.  


Etim’s objective in conducting data extraction for EHRs is to enhance the diagnosis process for patients with various health conditions. This data consists of the patient’s vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, etc.) as well as their regular caloric intake, consumption of food and supplement usage. 


This information is extracted through a specific technique—Natural Language Processing, (NLP)—which uses the software to categorize and predict patterns in speech or text. This is used to guide treatment plans of prospective patients.


Etim hopes to continue his industry work but plans to eventually re-enter academia as a professor with the goal of obtaining tenure. Whether he’s working with students or on his doctoral research, Etim aims to be the best leader he can potentially be.


Etim currently serves as Parliamentarian on the John Lof Leadership Academy (JLLA) Executive Board where he ensures that the official bylaws are being followed in all procedural actions by JLLA Members.

Meet JLLA Senior Albert Tulli IV

December 31, 2021

Albert Tulli IV is a Graduate Student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Connecticut. 


As a third year doctoral candidate, Tulli’s research investigates 3D cell cultures in liquid crystalline polymeric materials. 


He works with liquid crystalline polymers (LCPs), a material commercially used in electrical displays, for the benefit of controlling the orientational alignment on a molecular level. 


Tulli is looking to apply this technology to tissue engineering and 3D cell culture as a whole. He utilizes extracellular matrix (ECM), along with the LCPs, to synthetically replicate certain environmental factors. Through these changes, he can determine how cells behave in different conditions.


Before that, Tulli interned for Pfizer, where he worked on small molecule formulation development and drug product design. His project has unique potential in pediatric applications as well as older patient ranges. 


Going forward, he plans to remain in the field of pharmaceuticals, but hopes to shift his focus to biological systems. His preference is to work with biologics and potentially keep a focus on three-dimensional culture or tissue engineering


As John Lof Leadership Academy’s current President, Tulli organizes weekly E-board meetings, as well as events and workshops held throughout the semester. He supervises members of the E-board and maintains correspondence with outside speakers, organizations and faculty.