News

Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has been selected to receive the 2014 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, and Shelly Peyton of the Chemical Engineering Department will receive the 2014 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. “Their excellent contributions to scholarship and the profession bring distinction to our college,” said Dean Tim Anderson while announcing the annual awards. “Aura and Shelly, along with the CoE Outstanding Teaching Award winner Rama Janaswamy, will be recognized during the CoE Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Congratulations, Aura and Shelly!”

Dean Tim Anderson is pleased to announce the appointment of three faculty members and one administrator as the new associate deans for the College of Engineering. The new appointments are: Professor John Collura, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, as the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation; Professor David Ford, Chemical Engineering Department, as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor Tilman Wolf, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Operations; and Kathleen Rubin, the current Assistant Dean, as the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Administration. The College of Engineering is indeed fortunate to have these dedicated individuals available to serve in four key positions at this crucial time of growth, evolution, and advancement within the institution.

Alumnus Bob Cramer, a CEO coach and advisor, board member, and private investor with 29 years experience in high-growth, venture-backed businesses, gave an informal talk in M5 (Marcus Hall, room 5) on Tuesday, April 15, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mr. Cramer is a 1980 graduate of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. His topic was “Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Tech Start-up Companies.” Among other companies, Cramer has served as CEO of: LiveVault, one of the first SaaS businesses targeting the SMB market (acquired by IRM in 2005); FirstSense, one of the first application performance management companies (acquired by CCRD in 1999); and Nimbit, one of the first direct-to-fan online sales and marketing platforms (acquired by PreSonus in 2012). The talk was free and open to the public, and refreshments were served.

An engineer’s engineer, Bill Swanson almost took a different path in pursuing his American Dream more than four decades ago. But then his aptitude for tinkering got the best of him. “As a young man, I originally wanted to become a pro golfer. But I also liked taking things apart, putting them back together, making them work better,” he told a rapt audience of 14 engineering students from UMass Amherst on February 20. “That’s how I drifted into engineering.” That’s also how he signed on with the Raytheon Company in 1972 after graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from California Polytechnic State University.

On Thursday, April 10, the Engineering Career and Student Development Center held its Fourth Annual College of Engineering Networking Night from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Gunness Student Center in Marcus Hall. “Based on national surveys,” says Cheryl Brooks, the director of the career center, “it is clear that networking is the best way to find a job or internship!” Finding a job or internship was especially effective on Networking Night, when at least 28 College of Engineering alumni from 25 key engineering firms were on hand to offer career advice and help students build their own professional networks. Remember: Our alumni were once in exactly the same position you are in, looking for career opportunities. Now they returned, having launched their careers in important companies. 

Evan Gaertner, a graduate student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has been selected from a pool of several highly qualified applicants to receive the 2014-15 Edwin V. Sisson Doctoral Fellowship, starting this coming September (2014). Sisson is a 1968 alumnus from the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, and his fellowship fund is geared toward first-year doctoral candidates from any of the four departments in the College of Engineering who do research in sustainable energy or other environmental subjects, the main areas of the donor’s concerns. His graduate research, performed under faculty advisor Matthew Lackner of the MIE department, is focused on modeling unsteady aerodynamics of floating offshore wind turbines.

The Engineers Without Borders (EWB)-USA UMass Amherst student chapter needs your support! And you can give it quite painlessly during a festive night of eating, drinking, socializing, and auctioning, dubbed “Kenya Night.” On Saturday, April 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., the EWB-USA UMass Amherst student chapter will hold its seventh annual fund-raising social and auction at the “Duda Barn” on the property of Gillian Haven and Jim Duda, 18 Harkness Road in Pelham. The gala evening will feature appetizers, a cash bar, presentations, and silent and live auctions offering more than 100 great items, including a one-week Nantucket vacation rental. All proceeds will directly benefit the EWB-USA UMass Amherst student chapter. The first silent auction tables close at 8:00 p.m., so come early. The suggested donation for the event is $25 for non-students and $10 for students. You can RSVP now at blogs.umass.edu/ewbumass.

On Monday, April 7, you can show up at 5:00 p.m. in the Event Hall of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Commonwealth Honors College and watch five teams of student entrepreneurs compete for more than $50,000 in prize money by pitching their pioneering business plans based on inspired innovations created on campus. This event is the culmination of the ninth annual University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge. The competition is free and open to the public, and the media are cordially invited. However, the coordinators of the event ask that anyone wishing to attend please RSVP at http://attend.com/UMassICFinals.

Massachusetts Senator Marc R. Pacheco, a UMass Amherst alumnus, will be speaking on campus on April 14 at 3:00 p.m. in Room 203 of the Morrill Science Center (III). This event is hosted by the Northeast Climate Science Center. The Senator will focus on the Commonwealth’s status as a leader on green policies and clean energy practices, as well as plans for future climate legislation. The title of his talk is “Massachusetts Action on Climate Change: A discussion of the Commonwealth’s leadership in climate action and plans for the future.” For more information click on https://necsc.umass.edu/news/massachusetts-action-climate-change.

Tony McCaffrey, a former postdoctoral researcher and current collaborator in the Center for e-Design at our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has produced a short video to explain the new “Brainswarming” tool he has created for Innovation Accelerator, Inc., the company he founded with its CEO, James O. Pearson, an alumnus of the MIE department. Brainswarming, consisting of software that provides a better, more efficient process as an alternative to brainstorming, is the latest tool to emerge from McCaffrey’s research and will soon become an online platform for remote group work. A game version of Brainswarming is also available. Watch the video for more information on what Brainswarming is and how you can implement it: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/why-you-should-stop-brainstorming/.