Nick Vamivakas Named U of R Dean of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs

Vamivakas Nick

Rochester Chamber Partner member University of Rochester announced that Nick Vamivakas, professor in the Institute of Optics, has been named dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. The announcement was made by Donald Hall, the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. Vamivakas succeeds Melissa Sturge-Apple who was recently named vice provost and University dean of graduate education.

As dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs, Vamivakas will continue to develop AS&E’s graduate education initiatives, strengthen its commitment to sophisticated and professional programming, and provide greater support to postdocs.

“Nick is a strong mentor of graduate students and a stellar researcher, and I look forward to working with him on continuing to develop AS&E’s graduate programs,” says Hall. “He is poised to build on the strong foundation of work done by Melissa Sturge-Apple and has a wonderful team of staff members to assist him.”

Vamivakas joined the Institute of Optics in 2011. He has received multiple grants for his work, including a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award. He has also received the University’s G. Graydon ’58 and Jane W. G. Graydon ’58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Nontenured Faculty Teaching Excellence, the Edmund A. Hajim Outstanding Faculty Awardfrom the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Mandel Faculty Fellow Award. In 2013, he was awarded the Young Scientist Prize in Quantum Electronics from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

Along with being an accomplished researcher, Vamivakas is a gifted teacher known for his high energy, passion, and ability to explain complex concepts in simpler terms. He studied electrical engineering at Boston University, receiving his PhD degree in 2008. Following his PhD, he was a postdoc in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the positive experiences Arts, Science and Engineering graduate students and postdoctoral research associates have while at the University of Rochester,” says Vamivakas. “Building on the great work of Dean Sturge-Apple, I hope to find new mechanisms to support graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and develop recruitment strategies to continue to attract excellent students to the University.”

Vamivakas says he will also look to create professional development and networking opportunities for postdoctoral researchers.

In addition to research and teaching, Vamivakas also helps organize the Institute of Optic’s annual weeklong summer Photon Camp, a high school program aimed at getting students interested in optics.