The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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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.

The innovative research of Assistant Professor Wen Chen of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has been highlighted in various media outlets. Chen was the co-lead author of a trailblazing paper that describes new research to use computational approaches for optimizing the design of 3D-printed parts. The paper was published in Science Advances and was written in collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL). Chen had led the experimental and mechanical testing work while a postdoc at LLNL before working on the Science Advances paper. See articles in Technology.Org, Phys.org, Nanowerk, SciTechDaily.

During a recent beta test of the NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition, hosted by the School of Public Policy, Ph.D. student Alyssa Ryan of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was on the four-person winning team tackling the crucial question of how to create sustainable cities. At the end of the day, a panel of expert judges selected the winning team, composed of Ryan (third from left in photo) and fellow UMass students James Hokonya, Allyson Brauns, and Justin Taylor. The team’s policies focused on reducing dependency on carbon-dioxide-emitting vehicles by investing in electric buses and creating alternatives such as more rail service, bike lanes, and pedestrian walkways, among other strategies.

See UMass News article »

Recently retired Emeritus Professor Dr. Alan J. Lutenegger, P.E.F. ASCE of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department has established himself as a highly accomplished academic in the field of geotechnical engineering during his long and productive career. To begin with, he is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a distinction awarded to just three percent of the 150,000 members. Among many other achievements, he has generated upwards of $11,300,000 in funding as a principal and co-principal investigator on approximately 44 grants, he holds 10 U.S. patents, and he has published an impressive 180 papers in academic journals.

Early in February at the Hack(H)er413 event, several College of Engineering students competed on two winning teams that were each awarded $150 in equity-free funding and spots in the Innovation Challenge: The Semifinal by the Berthiaume Center.

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