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Recent chemical engineering graduate Matthew Coggon won a 2010 Undergraduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for, among other accomplishments, his research on acid mine drainage. As his two faculty advisors, former Associate Professor Sarina Ergas of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Professor David Ford (shown) of the Chemical Engineering Department, said about Coggon: “Matt is capable of working at the interface between chemical engineering, environmental engineering, geosciences, and microbiology to make a contribution to our understanding of the worldwide environmental problem of acid mine drainage.”

On September 13, 40 newly elected officers from more than 15 student engineering societies attended a Leadership Workshop in the Gunness Engineering Student Center in Marcus Hall. The students learned what it takes to be an effective officer, including various styles of leadership, their roles, the responsibilities, setting goals, and the importance of working collaboratively.

In 2005, USA Today published a series of articles about “the 10 hardest things to do in sports.” Number three on that list, ahead of such feats as running a marathon and completing the Tour de France, was pole vaulting. In any ranking of the most difficult academic subjects, electrical engineering must surely finish high on the list. In that regard, Sean Busch is not only an accomplished pole vaulter, but a gifted electrical engineering major. What does that make Sean Busch?

A team of chalk artists led by Paul Siqueira of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department nabbed a third place in the Northampton Chalk Art competition on September 10, after completing a 5'X5' cement "canvas" based on Marc Chagall's "The Fiddler," adapted to incorporate the surrounding Northampton architecture. "Hence, we were very topical," said Dr. Siqueira. The members of his team were three of his students: Razi Ahmed, Tony Swochak, and Benjamin St. Peter.

Professor John Tobiason of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department will be gathering no moss on his sabbatical this fall. His itinerary includes two professional stops at Montana State University and the University of New South Wales (Australia) for collaborative research related to drinking water and wastewater treatment. Then he will top off those trips with a volunteer stint in Haiti at a hospital and community development organization, where he will help improve healthcare, drinking water, and sanitation.

This summer the College of Engineering came across an old history of the institution, as written in 1973 by Professor John H. Dittfach about the early years. It reads, in part: A Department of Agricultural Engineering was established in 1914, and for many years a Department of Mathematics and Civil Engineering existed. In 1936 this work was combined into a Department of General Engineering, lasting only long enough to separate in 1946 into two separate departments, again Agricultural and Civil.

Even as Hurricane Earl was bearing down on the East Coast with winds of 135 mph, a special radar designed at the Center for Advanced and Communications Antennas (CASCA) was playing a key role in NASA's largest experiment ever launched to study the formation of hurricanes. The High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Profiler, or HIWRAP, is a unique antenna system designed in 2008 by Justin Creticos as part of his Ph.D. research in the Antenna and Propagation Laboratory of CASCA.

One surprising trait in Bill Woodburn, who earned his B.S. from our Chemical Engineering Department in 1956, is his admiration of history, and especially Winston Churchill. That’s why he likes to tell this anecdote. Once, when asked how history would view him, Churchill responded, “Quite well, since I plan to write most of it myself.” No wonder, then, that Woodburn was so enthusiastic about recalling his memories at the College of Engineering from 1952 to 1956. That way, just like Churchill, he gets to write part of the history himself.

Fiftieth Anniversary, College of Engineering, UMass Amherst

Did you know that…

In May of 1947, the name of Massachusetts State College was changed by legislative action to the University of Massachusetts.

In September of 1947, a School of Engineering was established. There were 16 faculty hired. To accommodate the surge of veterans at that time, classes were conducted at two locations; 120 students enrolled on the campus, but the bulk of engineering students received their first two years of instruction at Fort Devens.

Brian Post, an undergraduate student in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, was the recipient of the 2010 Steve L. and Pamela C. Massie Undergraduate Scholarship through the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Post, who will be a senior in the fall, was one of only two students from Massachusetts who received an award from the AGC Education and Research Foundation. Scholarships were awarded to 120 students from across the country enrolled in civil engineering or construction management programs.

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