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Applying Science to the Common Purposes of Life

Reuben ZielinskiFor more than two decades, Reuben Zielinski '89, has been making a safe, solid living. For the past five years, he's served as senior director at Sanofi, managing 40 contracted pharmaceutical manufacturers.

But that's just his day job.

"I'm always working on something on the side," says Zielinski, who earned a master's in engineering science from Rensselaer.

For example, there was the Trailer-Tracker, an invention that automated the rearview mirror when backing up a trailer. There was the GearDry, a computer-controlled sports-equipment dryer.

His latest idea was borne out of an everyday headache prompted when his neighbor's wife put her cell phone (which was tucked in her jeans pocket) through the spin cycle of her washing machine.

"All her pictures of her kids were in that phone," Zielinski explains. So, he and his neighbor invented a gizmo for drying it out.

As is often the case, one idea led to another.

"When my kids and neighbors got wind that we were drying phones, we had a lot of phones left with us," he says, laughing. "So we created a little meter that measures the humidity inside the phone."

Bingo: Not one, but two inventions that electronics companies—and related investors—would covet. As Zielinski himself puts it, "I'm a pretty innovative guy."

An inventive mind is both scientific and creative, attributes that have always described Zielinski. But he credits his time at Rensselaer with giving him the confidence and know-how to bring his many ideas to fruition.

"It was a great theoretical university, but also very practical and hands-on," he recalls. "The fundamentals I learned there come back to me daily. I use every little bit of my education."

That's why Zielinski has chosen to make Rensselaer a beneficiary of his individual retirement account, in addition to his ongoing support of the annual campaigns.

"That's because my biggest lever right now is my IRA," he says. "I can give $150 or $200 a year [in outright donations], but [that's not a] big deal. Through my IRA, I can give a far more substantial amount in the future, but I don't feel it in the meantime."

It's a creative, forward-thinking, innovative way to give—much like Zielinski himself.

You can help educate future generations of Rensselaer graduates to "apply science to the common purposes of life" by making Rensselaer a beneficiary of your retirement plan. Please contact Arthur T. Tracy at or 518-276-2561 or visit to learn more.

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