In light of Reunion & Homecoming, The Poly has opted to take this moment to make mention of some of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumni who give us the ability to hyper-inflate our school-wide ego every once in a while. The annual homecoming game gives us an opportunity to focus on the people and achievements that have given RPI an exceptional reputation, and The Poly Editorial Board feels it’s important to tip our hats in their direction every once in a while.
Rick Mastracchio ’87 has become a career astronaut and one of RPI’s most notable graduates; Mastracchio served on a 13-day mission to the International Space Station and successfully delivered cargo to further construction on the station. After nearly 283 logged hours of flight, Mastracchio has created a career in space travel.
Next up is Aktarer Zaman ’14, who managed to develop a service that allows people to find cheaper flights by using connections rather than end destinations. After winning landmark lawsuits against Orbitz and United Airlines last December, Skiplagged gained national media attention as it continued to provide consumers with cheaper flights than offered by airlines. Zaman’s stick-it-to-the-man attitude and fearless ingenuity have made him a favorite amongst The Poly.
Finally, Sean Conroy ’15 also made headlines when he became the first openly gay professional baseball player. After graduating from RPI, Conroy earned a place on the minor league Sonoma Stompers. As a testament to Rensselaer’s athletics and a figurehead of the LGBT community, Conroy stands as a progressive and constructive example of what RPI has to offer.
From innovators to astronauts, Rensselaer as an institution has proven itself an alma mater worth being proud of. So, in conclusion, we urge you to take a moment this weekend to appreciate RPI and all that its students—past and present—have accomplished.