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A feature story written by Michael Connors in the April 8 Daily Hampshire Gazette looked at a group of six students from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department who are developing a drone for their senior capstone project that can deploy agricultural chemicals safely and very precisely to control pests such as mosquitoes. The students are teaming up with the Hampshire County Radio Controllers Club, a local group of remote-controlled flying vehicle hobbyists, who will give the MIE seniors hands-on training on how to operate drones.

Two teams spearheaded by doctoral students in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department were among the three winners of the University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge Final on April 5, when $65,000 in seed money was distributed to the prizewinners. eBiologics finished in first place, winning $30,000 and led by Alexander Smith, a doctoral student in MIE. The other prizewinning MIE team was Kinase, Inc., which finished in third place and won $15,000. Kinase is headed by Nariman Banaei, a doctoral student in MIE, and MBA student Amir Ali Jazayeri of Hofstra University.

It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of retired UMass Amherst Professor Mireille Treuil Clapp, who was a pioneer among women to obtain tenure in the College of Engineering. She passed away on March 7 after a long battle with cancer. Professor Clapp was a faculty member for 16 years in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and also an internationally renowned sculptor and scientist.

Industrial Engineering Professor Shannon Roberts of the University of Massachusetts Amherst notes that some modern vehicles have more than 100 computing components containing over 10 million lines of code. However, most vehicles are not designed with cybersecurity in mind and, as a result, they are susceptible to cyberattacks. For example, a 2015 Jeep Cherokee cyberattack in St. Louis resulted in a recall of 1.4 million vehicles. Moreover, there are countless other scenarios in which vehicles can be hacked to trigger crashes. With all these perils in mind, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded Roberts to study vehicle cybersecurity and find solutions.

The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Offshore Wind Energy Program, led by the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the College of Engineering, invites the campus community to attend its annual student poster session on Thursday, April 26, from 5:00 till 7:00 p.m. in the Hadley Room, 10th Floor, Campus Center. See UMass Amherst News Office report »

Five of the best and brightest academics from the College of Engineering (COE) have been chosen to receive COE’s 2017-2018 Outstanding Faculty Awards. Professor Russell Tessier was selected for the Outstanding Senior Faculty Award. The review committee designated Assistant Professors Caitlyn Butler and David Irwin as joint awardees for the Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Finally, Professors Matthew Lackner and Shelly Peyton were named the co-recipients of the COE Outstanding Teaching Award. All five award winners will be recognized during the COE Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 12, 2018.

Apoorva Bajaj, a senior research fellow and innovation manager with the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), was interviewed for a March 22 article in Forbes magazine, which was covering a startup company that manufactures solar-powered sensors to collect data on hyperlocal weather conditions. On behalf of CASA, Bajaj has been working with the new company to help verify the accuracy of the weather data it was gathering.

Co-Principal Investigators Shannon Roberts (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department) and Philip Thomas (College of Information & Computer Sciences) are receiving a $36,000 award from the 2018 Armstrong Fund for Science, administered by the UMass Amherst Office of Research Development. The grant will fund their two-year project entitled “Improving Warning Systems of Driving Automation Systems through Reinforcement Learning,” aimed at optimizing precisely when a driving automation system should safely alert a human driver to take control of the vehicle when approaching a hazard.

James F. Manwell, an international expert on offshore wind energy, the director of the UMass Amherst Wind Energy Center, and a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, recently commented on the NBC News MACH science and technology website about plans for General Electric’s gigantic new offshore wind turbine, the Haliade-X, which will stand 853-feet tall when built. For comparison, that will make the Haliade-X slightly smaller than the Eiffel Tower (1,063 feet) and slightly larger than the Seattle Space Needle (605 feet). But Manwell said it’s not yet clear how large offshore wind turbines can get. The NBC News MACH story was reported in Inland News Today.

Irene S. Kurtz, a Ph.D. candidate in the research lab of Professor Jessica D. Schiffman from the Chemical Engineering Department, was one of nine recipients nationally to receive an Eli Lilly Travel Award. The award is sponsored jointly by the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and Eli Lilly & Company to increase the participation of women in the chemical sciences. Funding provides female graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to travel to a national meeting and present their research.

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