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Return visit to Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE)

On June 7 and 8, 2010 I visited the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE) for the second time in ten months. As with my last visit I went to discuss the BUTE-CEPS exchange program.

During this visit I met six people who have been involved in organizing different aspects of the exchange program. My host was Eszter Kiss, the Program Director of the Information Center for Engineering Programs in English (ICEPE). For UNH/CEPS students, staff and faculty, she is the Hungarian face of the exchange program. Eszter and I primarily talked about the fact that, starting in 2011, UNH ECE exchange students will spend the spring semester in Budapest. Other CEPS students will remain on the fall-in-Budapest schedule.

Eszter organized two meetings for me with BUTE leaders. The first one was with Dr. Peter Moson, Vice-Rector for International Relations (the Vice-Rector position at BUTE is equivalent to the Vice President position at a US university). Ildiko Varga, the head of the BUTE Erasmus and Exchange Office was also present at this meeting. Dr. Moson expressed his full support for a vibrant relationship between BUTE and CEPS. On a personal note it was great to see Dr. Moson who I met during his visit to UNH last year. It was also nice to talk to Ms. Varga who went to graduate school and taught mathematics at Purdue.

The second meeting organized by Eszter was with Dr. Gabor Stepan. Dr. Stepan, a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS), is the Dean of the BUTE Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, the ICEPE’s parent unit. Dr. Stepan expressed his full support for the BUTE-CEPS exchange program. Again on a personal note, it was exciting for me to visit the BUTE Faculty of ME where my father received his BS ME a long time ago. Dr. Stepan also spent some time telling me about BUTE’s history, including facts and anecdotes about BUTE’s Nobel-prize winning alumni.

While the meetings with Drs Stepan and Moson and with Ms. Varga primarily dealt with the overall BUTE-CEPS relationship, I also had a chance to work on issues related to UNH ECE directly with the BUTE unit that hosts ECE students. Specifically, Dr. Moson introduced me to Dr. Balint Kiss, the person in charge of the English language education at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics. This is the BUTE unit that hosts UNH ECE exchange students and Dr. Kiss will be my primary contact in determining courses for our students to take while at BUTE. The meeting with Dr. Kiss was also an opportunity to catch up with Dr. Peter Arato. Dr. Arato, who is also a HAS member, has strong ties to the UNH ECE department having collaborated extensively with UNH ECE professor Andrzej Rucinski.

In addition to all these productive meetings I had a chance to give a talk to BUTE students interested in the exchage program. Seven prospective students attended, several of them interested in coming to the UNH ECE department – I hope we’ll see them here soon.

I would like to thank Eszter Kiss for organizing my visit (on very short notice). I would also like to thank the BUTE faculty, staff and students who took time to meet with me. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the UNH ECE Department and the CEPS Dean’s office who jointly funded this visit.

For pictures about my trips to Budapest visit my Flickr page.

Project54 on front page of New York Times

In a front page article of the March 11, 2010 edition of the New York Times Matt Richtel discusses in-vehicle electronic devices used by first responders. Based on a number of interviews, including one with me, Matt gets the point across that interactions with in-vehicle devices can distract first responders from the primary task for any driver: driving. The personal accounts from first responders are certainly gripping. Thanks Matt for bringing this issue to the public.

Enter Project54. According to Matt “[r]esearchers are working to reduce the risk.” He goes on to describe UNH’s Project54 system which allows officers to issue voice commands in order to interact with in-car electronic devices. This means officers can keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. The article includes praise for the Project54 system by Captain John G. LeLacheur of the New Hampshire State Police. The Project54 system was developed in partnership with the NHSP and almost every NHSP cruiser has the Project54 system installed.

Both the print and the online versions of the article begin with a picture of the Project54 in-car system. This great picture was taken by Sheryl Senter and it shows Sergeant Tom Dronsfield of the Lee, NH Police Department in action.

Promoting the CEPS-BUTE Exchange Program

In an effort to promote the CEPSBUTE exchange program I gave the following presentation to two similar audiences here at UNH. Last Monday Kent Chamberlin hosted me in his ECE 401 class (the introductory ECE course) and I had a chance to talk to about 75 ECE freshmen. Today I gave the presentation to Bob Henry’s TECH 400 students (TECH 400 introduces the CEPS majors to CEPS undeclared students).

View more presentations from Andrew Kun.

My main point was this: spending a semester abroad gives students a competitive advantage because it proves that they can adapt to change. Of course spending a semester in Europe allows students to travel and I spent some time promoting my favorite travel guide author, Rick Steves 🙂

Visiting Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BUTE)

After my trip to Automotive UI 2009 I flew to Budapest, Hungary. The UNH College of Engineering and Physical Sciences has an exchange program with BUTE and I went to promote this program to BUTE students. I also got a chance to meet two people responsible for implementing the program “on the ground” in Budapest, Eszter Kiss and Máté Helfrich. Eszter is the person who looks after the UNH students (and many others from all over the world) from the time they arrive in Budapest, so I was very happy to meet her and express UNH’s gratitude for all of her efforts.

Eszter organized a talk in which I presented some of the reasons why a semester at UNH would be beneficial to BUTE students (see the slides). The discussion that followed my presentation was excellent, with students asking questions about many aspects of the exchange program, as well as a new summer internship program. The discussion was in Hungarian, which was fun, as I don’t use this language for work very much 🙂

You can see more pictures about my visit on Flickr.