The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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A feature story in the August 30 edition of Business West looked at the Vayu Vest, named after a Hindu wind god and invented by UMass Amherst alumnus Brian Mullen (right) while he was a graduate student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. The inflatable vest is used to help calm children who have autism by giving them a “portable hug.” The story described how Mullen has been collaborating with Tina Champagne, director of the Center for Human Development’s Institute for Dynamic Living in Springfield.

The College of Engineering is pleased to announce that Dr. Paula L. Sturdevant Rees has been appointed as Director of the Diversity Programs Office (DPO). Dr. Rees received a Ph.D. (1997) and M.A. (1994) in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources from Princeton University, and a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa in 1992.

The Summer 2011 edition of UMass Amherst Magazine includes an eight-page spread that spotlights the UMass Amherst Transportation Center and the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory. The transportation stories also use pithy quotes from the heads of those two groups. “Transportation, like food and water, is a basic human need,” says Transportation Center Director John Collura to begin the spread. “It impacts everyone.” A two-and-a-half-page story on the Transportation Center is the lead for the whole spread.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a $3.2-million grant from the National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program to start an interdisciplinary graduate program in Offshore Wind Energy Engineering, Environmental Science, and Policy.

The campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) will hold a fund-raising road race on Saturday, October 1, with check-in time at 10:00 a.m. The race, which EWB has dubbed “Sweat for Clean Water 5K Run/Walk,” will cost $15 to enter for individuals, and the starting line is located at the Minuteman sculpture beside the Campus Pond. All proceeds from this fourth annual EWB race will go to the chapter’s projects in Kenya and Brazil. The walk begins at 10:30 a.m., and the run at 11:00 a.m., rain or shine.

Ilke Ercan, a graduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, was the lead author of the Best Paper Award winner at the 11th Annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers NANO Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, from August 15 through 19. The paper, co-authored by her advisor, Professor Neal Anderson of the ECE department, was titled “Heat Dissipation Bounds for Nanocomputing: Theory and Application to QCA.” NANO is the flagship IEEE conference in Nanotechnology. The abstract follows.

Doctoral candidate Thalia Taylor (left in photo) and her colleagues in the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory won the Honda Outstanding Student Paper Award at the 6th International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driving Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design, held at Lake Tahoe in late June. Taylor is a doctoral student in Neuroscience and Behavior at UMass Amherst.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Wind Energy Center is launching the first wind energy graduate certificate program in the U.S. This 15-credit, five-course certificate program offers a unique opportunity for students or professionals to obtain in-depth knowledge of all aspects of wind energy at the preeminent academic wind energy program in the U.S.

A feature story in the Attleboro Sun Chronicle looked at the Distractology 101 program, funded by Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation. Distractology uses driving simulators loaded with a learning program designed by Donald Fisher, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, and colleagues in the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory. Fisher says the program emphasizes the danger of texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving.

Christopher D. Salthouse, an electrical engineer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been awarded a three-year, $351,303 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop integrated circuits that could lead to a new generation of biomedical sensors that are more sensitive, more portable and less costly than existing instruments. Salthouse says a goal of his research is to develop sophisticated integrated circuits that can be used in new devices that will replace the existing generation of fluorescence microscopes used by many biomedical and biological researchers.

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