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A feature story in Science News looks at the water testing laboratory at UMass Amherst run by David A. Reckhow, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and his staff. The Reckhow facility offers room for researchers and communities to test out new methods of water treatment. The story also notes that Reckhow and his team have a new Mobile Water Innovation Laboratory that can be used to visit communities and do testing on site.

In an era marked by divisive political rhetoric about prejudice of many kinds, thank goodness for the UMass Amherst chapter of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM). Founded by award-winning chemical engineering major Phoebe Bisnoff ’19, the oSTEM mission is to provide a targeted, inclusive space for the LGBTQ+ community engaged in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to connect and network.

The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of an ant, as demonstrated for a high-school outreach program, has inspired Assistant Professor Jun Yao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to develop bioinspired, ultrasensitive pressure and strain sensors using microparticles resembling the bristles or tactile hairs ubiquitous in insects. “My hope was that the extremely enlarged image of an ant, perhaps a bit scary and monster-like, would excite the students’ interest in the ordinarily invisible nanoscale domain,” says Yao. Much more than that, the demo inspired Yao’s own subsequent research and his resultant paper in the prestigious journal Nature Communications on the 4th of December 2018.

Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Michael F. Malone, the Ronnie and Eugene Isenberg Distinguished Professor of Engineering, has notified Chemical Engineering major Jun-Goo Kwak ’19 that he is one of eight students who have been selected this semester to receive the 2018-2019 UMass Amherst Rising Researcher student achievement award. This award recognizes exceptional UMass Amherst undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity.

Read more about the award and previous recipients »

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society, has awarded the distinction of Fellow to Chemical Engineering (ChE) Professor Dimitrios Maroudas as one of 416 such designations by the AAAS this year. The AAAS says it has elevated individuals to this rank “because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.” As the AAAS explains, it is rewarding Maroudas “for innovative work on multiscale modeling of complex systems with emphasis on establishing processing-structure-properties-function relations in bulk, thin-film, and nanostructured materials.”

Electrical and computer engineering (ECE) graduate students Ali Kiaghadi and Morgan Baima were part of a team of UMass Amherst scientists who developed Tribexor, a fabric-based, triboelectric, joint-sensing system that can be integrated with loose-fitting clothing to sense a variety of joint movements such as flexion, extension, and velocity of joint movement. The UMass researchers introduced Tribexor in a paper presented at SenSys 2018, the 16th ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems, held from November 4 to 7 in Shenzhen, China. The information about Tribexor was reported in an Inside UMass article: New Fabric-Based Sensor Overcomes Loose Clothing Obstacle.

On October 18 to 20, a group of students from the UMass Amherst chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) attended WE18 - The World's Largest Conference for Women Engineers in Minneapolis. The annual national SWE conference provides our students with opportunities for internships and fulltime employment with corporations that don’t directly recruit at UMass...

Professor Michael Henson of the Chemical Engineering Department has been selected as a 2018 Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). “It is with great pleasure and honor I welcome you to the select group of members of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers,” wrote Syamal Poddar, Ph.D., P.E, FAIChE, and the chair of the AIChE Fellows Council.

In mid-October, Professor Jonathan Rothstein of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department ran his annual STEM Outreach event at the Houston Children's Museum. “This is the fifth time we have run this event ahead of the Society of Rheology meeting,” said Rothstein. “It is a program that I developed for the Society of Rheology. We have averaged over 300 kids and 30 volunteers over the last five years.”

More about Rothstein’s outreach activities »

In early October Lindsey McGinnis of New England Public Radio reported on the pioneering research of Electrical and Computer Engineering doctoral student Chris Merola, who is trying to create much more efficient cell towers to service the sonic boom in cellular networks. “Americans' wireless data consumption has skyrocketed since 4G technology was introduced nearly a decade ago,” wrote McGinnis. “Smartphones have become essential for on-the-go work and entertainment, fueling the need for 5G. But how do you create a cellular network that accommodates everything from streaming services to self-driving cars?”

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