The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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UMass Amherst alumnus Mark E. Russell, who earned his MS degree from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1985, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).  

The 2021 U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate School” engineering rankings are out, and UMass Amherst Engineering rose two slots to #56 overall and remains the #31 public in the nation and #1 public in New England. 

On February 8, some 70 Girl Scouts participated in the Engineering Girl Scout Day, run by our Equity and Inclusion Office in the College of Engineering under the leadership of Assistant Dean for Diversity Paula Rees, Ph.D. Members of the UMass chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) led the day, working with the girls in small groups to earn their Girl Scout cybersecurity badges. “In fact,” says Rees, “there were almost as many SWE volunteers to help throughout the day as there were Girl Scouts!”

In a new College of Engineering record for one year, five of our researchers have obtained career-boosting grants from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. The accomplishment includes another record of four CAREER recipients from the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department.

The Department of Energy (DoE) website Energy Research Newsletter recently carried an enlightening profile about Assistant Professor Omar Abdelrahman of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department dealing with what writer ChoongSze Lee called Abdelrahman’s “non-traditional” academic journey to the West. After earning his Doctorate in Chemical Engineering at Syracuse University in 2016, Abdelrahman served as a post-doc in former UMass ChE Professor Paul Dauenhauer’s lab at the University of Minnesota, an experience which, along with other influences, helped to transform Abdelrahman’s view of science.

According to an article posted by Virginia Tech University, UMass alumnus G. Don Taylor, vice provost for Learning Systems Innovation and Effectiveness and interim vice president for Research and Innovation at Virginia Tech, is being promoted to executive vice provost at that university, effective July 1. Taylor, who earned his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research from the UMass Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department in 1990, also received the MIE Outstanding Senior Alumni Award in 2015.

There is international news coverage of a device that uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air, a device developed by Jun Yao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Derek Lovely of the Microbiology Department. So far, the breakthrough has been reported internationally in more than 45 media outlets, including: Science, The Science Times, The Engineer [U.K.], Market Insider, Popular Science, Cosmos, Environmental Journal, Digital Information World, The Weather Channel, Good News Network, EcoWatch, Phys.org, Nanowerk, The Naked Scientists [BBC], News Office release.

Yalda Ebadi, an Industrial Engineering and Operations Research doctoral student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has won the prestigious 2020 Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Boston Helene M. Overly Memorial/Ann Hershfang Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to women who are currently enrolled in a transportation-related graduate program and plan to pursue a career in a transportation-related field.

According to the UMass News Office, Michael Smith, a program director and technical training specialist within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s UMass Transportation Center and Baystate Roads, has been working with Physical Plant Landscape and Construction Services staff to introduce the use of salt brine as a roadways anti-icing agent.

According to an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student Hannah Johlas is an expert contra dance caller who introduced newcomers to the dance form during a recent Downtown Amherst Contra Dance, an event which, after a decade, continues to attract new dancers every week. According to the Gazette story, the sound of lively fiddle music filled the Pacific Lodge Masonic Hall in Amherst on January 15 as Johlas directed the action through a microphone, telling the scores of contra dancers to switch partners as they moved to the rhythm of the music.

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