University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Associate Professor Sergio Breña is travelling in April with an American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) team as part of an effort to document and evaluate the performance of existing reinforced concrete buildings during the recent 8.8 magnitude Chilean earthquake. The ASCE team is made up of approximately 20 individuals participating in different aspects of the post-earthquake reconnaissance effort.

Three College of Engineering juniors – Daniel Bercht in Computer Systems Engineering, Brian Goss in Mechanical Engineering, and Saranthip Rattanaserikiat in Civil Engineering – have each received $750 scholarships from the UMass Amherst Alumni Association. The William F. Field Alumni Scholars Program was established in 1976 to recognize and honor 60 third-year students for their academic achievements at UMass Amherst. 

On March 25th, Dr. Richard Palmer, a professor and the head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and Dr. Raymond Bradley, a distinguished professor in the Department of Geosciences and director of the Climate System Research Center, hosted a workshop at UMass Amherst on the “Effects of Climate Change on New England, a Call for Action.” The workshop was attended by more than 45 people, representing faculty from a variety of academic departments at UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, UMass Boston, and Smith College. 

According to The Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom, an average adult forgets three things a day. With our human tendency toward forgetfulness in mind, a team of electrical engineering students has designed a technology called StuffTracker, which allows anybody with a Smartphone to monitor the location of valuable objects carried around on a daily basis. StuffTracker allows you to forget how forgetful you are.

Nationally recognized “green gasoline” researcher George Huber, the John and Elizabeth Armstrong Professional Development Professor from the Chemical Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, was featured in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s prestigious magazine, Technology Review, on March 29, when writer Katherin Bourzac focused on Huber’s startup company, Anellotech.

Nineteen-year-old chemical engineering sophomore Kevin Cunningham has an offbeat method for relaxing from the trials and tribulations of his extremely demanding major. In late March and early April, he appeared in the university's Theater Guild production of "Rent," based on Giacomo Puccini's powerful and lovely opera, "La Boheme." Cunningham was recently featured in an article about the production in the Hampshire Gazette and Amherst Bulletin.

According to research in the Human Performance Laboratory of the Mechanical and Engineering Department (MIE), texting while driving makes it 20 times more likely you’ll crash. The research, recently covered in feature articles for the Greenfield Recorder and Hampshire Gazette, shows that most accidents attributed to texting drivers involve crashing into something directly ahead, such as a stopping car or a pedestrian in the roadway.

Jennifer Suglia Kramer, the administrative officer in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, has been chosen to receive a 2010 Chancellor’s Citation. The annual Chancellor's Citation Award recognizes and honors employees who have demonstrated exemplary and outstanding service to the university in one or more of the following ways: original contributions; attainment of high-priority objectives; service "beyond the call of duty"; significant improvements in productivity and/or operational savings.

Mechanical Engineering alumnus Mark Notkin (B.S. ’86) has brought off an enviable coup during an unenviable time in the stock market. Notkin was the manager of 2009’s best-performing high-yield-bond fund, Fidelity Capital & Income, according to a recent article in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine (motto: “timely, trusted personal finance advice & business forecasts”). As the article reports, “From the time he took the fund’s helm in mid 2003 through January 14, it returned 9.6% annualized, beating more than 99% of its peers.”

Fellow colleagues, staff, and former and current students of retiring Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Professor Daniel Schaubert have initiated a new scholarship fund that will not only support the economic needs of our students, but will also recognize the lasting contributions he has made over the last 27 years to the university and his field. The Daniel Schaubert Scholarship Fund will benefit ECE students in his area of expertise – antenna design – as the director of the internationally renowned Center for Advanced Sensor and Communication Antennas (CASCA).

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