University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Graduate programs in engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are among the best in the Northeast and elsewhere, according to a recently released ranking by U.S. News & World Report. Of the 198 engineering schools surveyed, UMass Amherst is ranked 51st. UMass Amherst ranked ahead of six public and private institutions in the Northeast, including Brown, Northeastern, Stony Brook, Connecticut, Tufts, and Syracuse. The top-ranked school in the survey was MIT.

Chemical engineering major Eydis Lima was the student speaker at the Women for UMass Amherst Breakfast on May 12 in the Marriott Hotel, Newton, Massachusetts. Lima joined two special guest speakers, Chancellor Robert C. Holub and Cheryl A. Dubin '90 (senior vice president of relationship management and marketing for Fidelity Investments), at the event.

The National Geographic News interviewed Professor David Reckhow of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department for an article that appeared on its web site April 29. Though shampoo may seem harmless, according to the article, it could be contributing to the formation of a mysterious, cancer-causing substance studied by new Yale University research. The substance, called nitrosamine, forms when shampoo or other household products interact with the disinfectant called chloramine, used in many wastewater treatment plants.

The UMass News & Media Relations Office has produced two very informative and complimentary videos about The Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) and our campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). The videos demonstrate quite graphically how CASA and EWB are both making big waves reaching far beyond campus. The CASA video describes the organization’s revolutionary new weather-sensing radar networks, while the EWB video (UMass Engineers Without Borders Head to Kenya) covers the group’s new well, installed this fall in Western Kenya.

On April 23, the 20th annual Senior Design Project Day unveiled 13 clever, creative, and useful electronic inventions produced by seniors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE). According to voting by faculty, Team Ganz (Blind Assistive Technology Bill Reading Device) and Team Wolf (Stuff Tracker) finished in a first-place tie for the best projects, while Team Tessier (Blue Tag) finished third. The student-sponsored People’s Choice Award, as voted on by students, staff, and visitors, also went to Team Ganz.

Work done by the college’s Human Performance Laboratory for the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, a program called Distractology 101 that teaches novice drivers how to pay attention at the wheel and forgo using electronic devices, was featured on the Today Show. The creation of Distractology 101 was directed by Donald Fisher, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and director of the Human Performance Laboratory.

Assistant Professor Chul Park of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was recently awarded a 2010 Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP) Technology Development Award from the University of Massachusetts President's Office. Dr. Park will receive $25,000 to develop his patent-pending technology entitled, "A New Sludge and Nutrient Reduction Method for Wastewater Treatment."

Thomas Sebastian, a graduate student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, has won the Solar Energy Division Graduate Student Award for 2010, as presented by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The international award is representative of the top graduate student in renewable energy, including wind energy. Sebastian’s research deals with floating, offshore, wind turbines.

Junior Sean Busch of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department won the 2010 UMass Amherst Winter Male Scholar-Athlete Award by posting a GPA of 3.75, setting the university’s individual record for the indoor pole vault at 15’9”, and winning the A-10 Championship in that event. The A-10 Conference also named Busch to the Academic All-Conference Team for his strong performance during the indoor track and field season, combined with his stellar academic performance in the classroom.

As states move into the digital age and adopt “pay as you go” fee collection for toll roads and bridges, parking, and even public electric car recharging, user privacy, identity theft, and fraud are increasing concerns. Now a team of University of Massachusetts and Brown University researchers, led by Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Wayne Burleson at UMass Amherst, has launched a three-year, $1.17 million study to identify the most efficient, low-cost, and reliable ways to provide secure, private, and trusted transactions.

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