In 1976, two faculty members at the University of Hartford with a shared love of music and engineering created a one-of-a-kind undergraduate degree program in acoustical engineering. The late William C. Willett, a professor in The Hartt School, and the late Conrad Hemond Jr., professor emeritus in the former School of Engineering (now part of the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture [CETA]), developed the first and only undergraduate program in acoustical engineering and music in the United States. It combines an engineering degree with intensive study at a music conservatory.
Students applying to the acoustical engineering and music program must audition with their instruments at The Hartt School and be accepted for admission there, as well as have the math and science aptitudes required by the mechanical engineering department in CETA. In the past 10 years, the program has grown significantly, with 19 students enrolled in 2002, 29 in 2006 and 36 in 2011. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the established benchmark for undergraduate engineering programs in the United States.
Acoustical engineers work with architects and other building managers to make rooms soundproof in high-noise environments and to make sound quality better for businesses and people. A Class of 2012 graduate who will be working to make the world sound a little better is Cassey Stypowany. who has landed a job after graduation at Cerami and Associates, a New York-based acoustical and audiovisual design consulting firm.
Cerami’s chief executive officer is Victoria Cerami ’81, a former University regent and former member of CETA’s board of visitors. Her company has hired a number of University of Hartford engineering graduates over the years. Stypowany says Celmer urged her to apply to the company for an internship. “Dr. Bob said he haq a feeling I would end up there permanently and he was right;’ says Stypowany. She interned at Cerami for two summers and was offered a permanent, full-time position starting this July.
Stypowany has had an interest in music and acoustics for some time. She has played the cello for nearly 14 years but suffered from stage fright. In a high-school acoustical engineering class, a teacher suggested that because she had stage fright but still wanted to work in music and sound, perhaps acoustical engineering was a career option for her. After looking into the program at the University of Hartford, Stypowany agreed. “Cassey has been a joy to have in class. She exhibits such strong effort and passion for acoustic music and brings energy to everything;’ says Celmer. Stypowany says she is excited about the overall experience of living in New York City and starting a new career in the field she loves.
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