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On April 23, the 20th annual Senior Design Project Day unveiled 13 clever, creative, and useful electronic inventions produced by seniors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE). According to voting by faculty, Team Ganz (Blind Assistive Technology Bill Reading Device) and Team Wolf (Stuff Tracker) finished in a first-place tie for the best projects, while Team Tessier (Blue Tag) finished third. The student-sponsored People’s Choice Award, as voted on by students, staff, and visitors, also went to Team Ganz.

Work done by the college’s Human Performance Laboratory for the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, a program called Distractology 101 that teaches novice drivers how to pay attention at the wheel and forgo using electronic devices, was featured on the Today Show. The creation of Distractology 101 was directed by Donald Fisher, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and director of the Human Performance Laboratory.

Assistant Professor Chul Park of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was recently awarded a 2010 Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP) Technology Development Award from the University of Massachusetts President's Office. Dr. Park will receive $25,000 to develop his patent-pending technology entitled, "A New Sludge and Nutrient Reduction Method for Wastewater Treatment."

Thomas Sebastian, a graduate student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, has won the Solar Energy Division Graduate Student Award for 2010, as presented by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The international award is representative of the top graduate student in renewable energy, including wind energy. Sebastian’s research deals with floating, offshore, wind turbines.

Junior Sean Busch of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department won the 2010 UMass Amherst Winter Male Scholar-Athlete Award by posting a GPA of 3.75, setting the university’s individual record for the indoor pole vault at 15’9”, and winning the A-10 Championship in that event. The A-10 Conference also named Busch to the Academic All-Conference Team for his strong performance during the indoor track and field season, combined with his stellar academic performance in the classroom.

As states move into the digital age and adopt “pay as you go” fee collection for toll roads and bridges, parking, and even public electric car recharging, user privacy, identity theft, and fraud are increasing concerns. Now a team of University of Massachusetts and Brown University researchers, led by Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Wayne Burleson at UMass Amherst, has launched a three-year, $1.17 million study to identify the most efficient, low-cost, and reliable ways to provide secure, private, and trusted transactions.

Alumnus Richard J. Bedard (B.S.C.E. 1973), a senior vice president at CH2M HILL, will give the 2010 Professional Practice Lecture, presented by Chi Epsilon and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department on April 29 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the ELab II Auditorium. His lecture will cover, “Almost Everything Your Professors and Mother Didn't Tell You About Civil and Environmental Engineering Careers.” Chi Epsilon is the National Civil Engineering Honor Society.

Jane Stein, who has been the director of fiscal management for the College of Engineering since 1981, was spotlighted in a long interview for the Spring 2010 issue of the quarterly newsletter produced by the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers (EACUBO). Stein has served faithfully as a volunteer for EACUBO since 1980, and is currently a member of the Program Committee. EACUBO’s purpose is to enable the instructional, research, and public service missions of higher education. Read the interview.

Associate Dean David J. McLaughlin, the director of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), was the keynote speaker at the statewide Undergraduate Research Conference, held April 23 on campus. His topic was “Chasing Interdisciplinarity While Chasing Tornadoes.” While describing in dramatic fashion the deployment and functions of the CASA Distributed Collaborative Adaptive Sensing test bed in Oklahoma, Mclaughlin addressed “the challenges, the pleasures, and the opportunities inherent in a cross-discipliary, systems-level, research environment.”   

Six students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) have taken advantage of an innovative departmental learning center, called M5, to launch their own enterprising recording studio, which looks to attract lots of business from local musical groups that have trouble finding affordable recording facilities. The new student business is named Studio M5, fittingly enough, and its market plan is to offer professional recording services for reasonable rates.

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