News

Joseph Bardin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a five-year grant of approximately $400,000 from the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. Bardin’s research will greatly improve the cryogenic electronics used in scientific instruments, thereby enabling new and more powerful experimental tools for scientific researchers.

Casey Brown, of our Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, received international media coverage when he commented on water quality issues in Rio de Janeiro, which are likely to be difficult for officials in Brazil to fix prior to the 2016 Olympics. In an Associated Press story on the issue, he said, “The high concentrations of untreated human waste mean there are pathogens and disease-causing organisms in the water. If I were going to take part, I would make sure all my shots were up to date.” The AP story appeared in Newsday, ABC News, Fox Sports, ABC 5 [Des Moines], the Connecticut Post, the Modesto Bee, the New Zealand Herald, The Telegraph [Australia], Sports Illustrated, Fox News Latino, and ESPN.com.

It’s time for College of Engineering students to apply for scholarships that will be distributed for the 2014-2015 academic year. The College of Engineering is beginning the process of selecting undergraduate students to receive engineering scholarships for the 2014/15 academic year. The awards come from a variety of sources within the college and vary in amount, number, and criteria. Students apply to the College of Engineering Scholarship Program, not to individual scholarships. The selections are made by a Faculty Scholarship Committee over the summer. All CURRENT undergraduate College of Engineering students who intend to return to UMass Amherst for the 2014-2015 academic year are encouraged to apply! The deadline is February 21, 2014. Please note that these engineering scholarships are independent of financial aid and are not meant as a replacement. Additional information and the online scholarship application are available here: http://www.engineering.umass.edu/scholarships.

The research team of Andrew Robert Teixeira, Chun-Chih Chang, Timothy Coogan, Ross Kendall, Wei Fan, and Paul Dauenhauer of the UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering Department published a paper entitled “Dominance of Surface Barriers in Molecular Transport through Silicalite-1” in the Journal of Physical Chemistry (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp4089595). Read the entire article: PDF [3053 KB]. As the article’s abstract explained: “Development of microporous materials with hierarchical structures of both micro/mesopores leads to molecular transport at nanometer length scales. For novel microporous materials including three dimensionally ordered mesoporous imprinted (3DOm-i) zeolites and zeolite nanosheets, particle dimensions are below 35 nm resulting in surface-dominated structures."

On Oct 18th at TedxSpringfield, alumnus Brian Mullen (B.S.M.E ’04, M.S.M.E. ’07, Ph.D. ’09) delivered a TEDx talk in which he shared his journey as an engineer entering the field of mental health and brain disorders to develop products to improve quality of life and enhance the quality of care for a variety of sufferers. Mullen’s TEDx talk has now been posted on You Tube: http://youtu.be/m4Zrc2Wny-Y. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation under the slogan "ideas worth spreading." TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that brings people together to share a TED-like experience. Mullen earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department.

On December 6 in the Campus Center Auditorium, 170 junior and senior students in the ECE 361 Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering course showed off some 40 model “smart cars” they had designed during the course as collision-avoiding vehicles. This course is intended to provide non-electrical engineering majors, in this case students from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, with the relevant electrical and electronic engineering concepts and device knowledge to work effectively in multi-disciplined design, development, and manufacturing teams. View You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tJwOuOdzlQ.

To date donations of just over $26,000 have been raised toward our $50k challenge from Altra Industrial Motion. Altra Industrial, led by President and CEO Carl Christenson ('82 B.S., '84 M.S., Mechanical Engineering), has made a substantial challenge grant that will double every gift to the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department’s Innovation Shop up to $50,000. Mr. Christenson has been a longtime supporter of the College of Engineering and a personal annual donor to the undergraduate scholarship program within the college. What his challenge means is that your gift today will have twice the impact on future engineers and the practical experience they get in the Innovation Shop. For every dollar you give, Altra Industrial will contribute a dollar – doubling the funds that will help expand opportunities for students, and keeping the shop state-of-the-art. Step up and take the Altra Ultra Challenge!

On December 5, the MIE 415 Senior Capstone Design course held its end-of-semester poster contest, and the winning team of students is creating an invention to improve the quality of life for children with Pediatric Multiple Synostosis Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by multiple bone fusions involving the face, limbs, and middle ear. The winning team was assisted by a portion of the recent $125,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to enable “Integrative Capstone Design Experiences for Engineering and Nursing Students,” awarded earlier this year to Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Professors Frank Sup and Sundar Krishnamurty, who teach the MIE 415 course. Professor Cynthia Jacelon of the UMass College of Nursing also collaborated on the grant proposal. The second- and third-place teams also featured posters explaining two new inventions: a Hardwood Floor Nail Gun Stand; and a Yankee Candle Wax Floor Tank Redesign.

Jorge L. Salazar, a doctoral graduate from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was awarded a prestigious National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Advanced Study Program Postdoctoral Fellowship. The postdoctoral program provides an opportunity for recent Ph.D. scientists and engineers to continue to pursue their research interests in atmospheric and related sciences. Salazar is currently working at the Earth Observing Laboratory at NCAR in Boulder, Colorado, developing an emerging technology for two-dimensional, electronically scanned, and dual-pol phased array radars for use in atmospheric research.

On December 3, twelve teams of creative, enterprising, young innovators pitched their business ideas and shared more than $10,000 in prize money during the University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge Executive Summary & Elevator Pitch Competition. Building on previously submitted written materials, each team leader presented a two-minute pitch to a panel of judges from the private sector with wide-ranging expertise in creating new ventures. After hearing from all 12 teams, the judges deliberated and announced the awardees: innovation/announcements/judges-award-10000. Since 2005, the UMass Innovation Challenge has provided over $500,000 in awards to 69 different student-led teams.