Doing It Better LUCY GREETHAM 11 Styrofoam which was created by Dow Chemicals in the 1970s as an insulation device does not break down easily. Moreover when it gets wet it releases chemicals that can contaminate the water supply. In other words Styrofoam is a huge environmental problemand Rensselaer graduate Lucy Greetham 11 is one of the people in the world who is fighting that problem. Greetham graduated from Rensselaer in 2011 with a bachelors degree in BiochemistryBiophysics. An outstanding student she held internships with pharmaceutical and biogenetics companies and fully expected to enter that world. Then along came Ecovative Design the pioneering Rensselaer-incubated company that provides sustainable alternatives to Styrofoam and other plastics by using mushroom technology. I had a friend who was an engineer at Ecovative and he told me how awesome it was Greetham recalled. So I came in for an interview and he was rightit was just really a cool place. A very young company of maybe 12 people in a warehouse with the freedom to do cutting-edge research. Ecovative now employs some 65 people and Greetham is leading her own grant. I have been working on the development of an all- mycelium material that is more elastic and homogeneous she said. I was able to patent it. Greetham has acquired new research skills at Ecovative and engages in high- level problem solving. Ecovative really is a cool place she said because everyone here is empowered and focused on why were doing this. Even if youre sorting and grinding corn which is not the most glamorous thing you feel good about what youre doing every day and knowing that you might be able to make a difference in the world. WATSON GOES TO COLLEGE In January 2013 IBM announced that it had chosen Rensselaer to be the first university to receive a modified version of Watson its artificial intelligence computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language. Watson which gained widespread fame when it competed against and beat Jeopardys all-time champions is able to sift through vast amounts of data and provide evidence-based answers to the questions of its human users. Watson really shows that a computer can start interacting in this modern technology and Web age at the level that people expect where they can interact with it and talk to it eventually said James Hendler Tetherless World Senior Constellation Chair and director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications IDEA. The human and the computer will be able to do things together that neither of them could do alone. A number of Rensselaer graduates were there from the beginning as IBM conceptualized and created Watson. Now more Rensselaer students and graduates are bound to follow in their illustrious footsteps as they enjoy close encounters with this almost human computer. The experience of working on Watson will give our students an advantage as they compete for the best jobs in Big Data analytics and cognitive computing said President Shirley Ann Jackson. I have been working on the development of an all-mycelium material that is more elastic and homogeneous. I was able to patent it.