2014 Lycoming Winter Magazine - page 40

Amilcar Guzman ’08 recently re-
turned to the campus to speak about
the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
act. During his presentation, Guzman
discussed the history of the legis-
lation, its evolution and how it has
successfully changed the modern-day education system.
     Enacted in 2002, NCLB had set the goal to make students
across the country proficient in the areas of reading, math and
science by the year 2014. Since the policy was implemented,
many schools have had to reform to meet the standards and
achieve the Adequate Yearly Progress requirements outlined
in NCLB.
     Some critics of NCLB in the audience claimed that schools
have developed a method of “teaching to the test” and are not
preparing students for what they truly need. Guzman noted
Research extraordinaire
By Savannah Hanford ’15
Despite being unsure of what he
wanted to do after college, a series
of educational and career moves has
placed Robert Cook ’06 in the perfect
After beginning his studies with
astronomy, he then gained a greater
appreciation for physics and decided to
switch his path in order to have a more
general science background. During his junior year, he heard
a presentation during his physics colloquium about Research
Experience for Undergraduate programs. This led him to a
paid internship at the University of Alabama doing vector
modeling of magnetic moments in computer magnetoresistive
random-access memory systems.
Cook, who gained an appreciation for graduate-level
research at Alabama, then accepted an internship in Seattle
with K2 Sports, where he analyzed the physics behind
high-performance ski and snowboard technology. He also
worked with professional athletes and Olympians and had the
opportunity to build his own snowboard and skis.
After working for K2, Cook developed an interest in
composites and earned a Ph.D. in polymer science and
engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi School
of Polymers and High Performance Materials. While there, he
also earned a graduate minor in technology commercialization,
which incorporates patenting, marketing and the introduction
of new products to the market.
At USM, he conducted research involving the formulation
and processing of advanced low-friction materials for use
on the base of high-performance skis and snowboards. Cook
discovered that the materials used to build such skis and
snowboards are the same materials used to make Lamborghinis
and fighter jets, piquing his interest in aerospace composites.
that recent initiatives like the Common Core State Standards
are intended to reverse this trend and educate students equal-
ly in practical areas.
     “The Common Core State Standards are about preparing
students for life after high school, whether it is for college
or their careers,” Guzman said. “Kindergarten through 12th
grade is not the end for students, but only the beginning.
Students are not suddenly born when they are 18, they need
mentoring and academic support in order to be successful.”
     During his lecture, Guzman also provided Lycoming stu-
dents with advice on how to succeed in college and beyond.
“Take advantage of every opportunity, from upper level
classes and internships to community service,” he said. “You
can learn just as much outside of the classroom as you do
inside of the classroom.”
     Guzman, who earned a bachelor’s in sociology and
psychology at Lycoming, is an associate for federal policy
at the Data Quality Campaign and an adjunct professor at
Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Guzman lectures about
No Child Left Behind
By Darrian McClellan ’16
During his five years at USM, he held internships
with the National Science Foundation, General Electric’s
Aviation division, Boeing and the Office of Naval Research,
attending conferences and presentations around the world.
After presenting his research in Texas six months before his
Ph.D. defense, he was approached by an aerospace engineer
from Allentown, Pa., and offered a job on-site following his
“The physics program at Lycoming definitely prepared
me for graduate-level research,” Cook said. “I think a lot of
it is due to the lab-intensive curriculum, as well as the ability
for physics majors to study and research their own interest.
Working for a small company, I wear many different hats
day-to-day; Lycoming helped prepare me to be comfortable
and efficient in whatever situation I find myself in.”
Cook is now the senior materials engineer for Lancer
Systems in Allentown, where he designs advanced weapons
systems for the U.S. military and allies. The company
designs and produces products, using polymer technology, to
withstand environmental factors for the defense, aerospace,
small arms, and natural gas and oil fields.
“My primary role is research and fabrication of ultra-
high temperature composite materials for use in the rocket/
missile/fighter-jet applications,” Cook said. “I also do a lot of
work putting composite materials into small arms systems,
with the goal of lightening and strengthening the hand-held
weapons that our soldiers carry into the field. It’s a lot of
responsibility, but getting to test the products is a blast –
“I know that Bobby – I mean Dr. Cook! – has found
a career that excites him, has a wide-range of research
applications and has a great future,” said David Fisher,
Ph.D., professor and department chair for the physics and
astronomy departments at Lycoming. “What more can a
faculty member ask for their students’ subsequent career/
life beyond Lycoming College? I’m very pleased for him and
quite proud of his accomplishments.”
Robert Cook ’06
Amilcar Guzman ’08
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