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New Faculty

During the 2016-2017 Academic Year, the College of Engineering was fortunate to have eight talented new faculty members join us from all four departments...

Amir Arbabi, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

Assistant Professor Amir Arbabi received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and his thesis was on terahertz surface wave sensors. At the University of Tehran as an undergraduate, Arbabi ranked number one in a graduating class of 750 seniors. While studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Arbabi earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, his thesis dealt with “Selective mode coupling in micro ring resonators for single-mode semiconductor lasers.”

Simos Gerasimidis, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

Assistant Professor Gerasimidis focuses on infrastructure resilience, structural response of critical infrastructure systems subjected to extreme-loading events in urban regions, resilient-oriented structural design approaches, damage propagation, and structural response of damaged structures covering a broad spectrum of structural behavior. His rich experience includes working as Post-Doctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University, a Teaching Assistant at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, a Structural Engineer in Greece, a Structural Engineer for Thornton Tomasetti in New York, and a Teaching Assistant at MIT. He received his degrees from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Colin Gleason, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

Assistant Professor Gleason, who earned his Ph.D. at UCLA in Geography, has published more than 16 peer-reviewed journal articles on diverse hydrologic subjects ranging from the geopolitics of international river basins to automated techniques for analyzing fluvial time-lapse imagery in Greenland. His research group concentrates on the role that rivers play in the global water budget, particularly as climate change alters our hydrologic cycle and we venture into an uncertain hydrologic future. His research employs a diverse range of methodologies, including intensive field work, algorithm development, remote sensing, and hydrologic and hydraulic modelling.

Emily Kumpel, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

Assistant Professor Emily Kumpel earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in CEE at the University of California, Berkeley. Since 2013 Kumpel has served as a senior research scientist and research associate at Aquaya Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, where, among many other duties, she developed research projects on the use of water quality monitoring, data, mapping information flows, mobile phones for  collecting water data, and improving sampling strategies. From 2007 until 2013, while working on her Ph.D. research at Cal Berkeley, she collected and tested 2,500 water quality samples and over 100 hours of sensor data through fieldwork in Hubli-Dharwad, India, including selecting indicators, methods, and equipment, as well as training a research team.

Kara Peterman, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

Assistant Professor Kara Peterman received her B.S. from Swarthmore College and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Before coming to UMass Amherst, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Northeastern University and a Graduate Research Assistant at Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation at Johns Hopkins was on the Behavior of Full-Scale Cold-Formed Steel (CFS) Buildings Under Seismic Excitations.

Shannon Roberts, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department

Assistant Professor Shannon Roberts received her B.S. from MIT and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research focuses on developing feedback systems and training interventions for drivers, using advanced computational modeling techniques that are relevant in transportation to both evaluate and predict driving behavior, and leveraging social influence and social networking techniques to positively change behavior.

Jay Taneja, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

Assistant Professor Jay Taneja develops and studies applications of sensing and communications technology on the delivery of reliable, sustainable, and plentiful electricity in the developed and developing world. From 2013 until now, Taneja was a research scientist at IBM Research in Nairobi, where he led the lab's research team studying energy and transportation in the developing world, including formulating a research strategy, building an ecosystem of partners and collaborators, conducting research projects, and publishing results on improving electricity reliability, access, and quality in sub-Saharan Africa. At the University of California, Berkeley, from 2005 to 2013, Taneja was a Ph.D. researcher who constructed a networked system for sculpting electricity loads to match the availability of renewable supplies.

Lauren Woodruff, Chemical Engineering Department

Assistant Professor Lauran Woodruff earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University in 2006, and she has performed a number of other research projects related to bioengineering of living cells. While a graduate research assistant and GAANN fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Woodruff studied biological routes to biofuel production and completed her Ph.D. thesis on “Genomic engineering of Escherichia coli for improved ethanol tolerance and ethanol production.”