On Friday, April 28, seniors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst displayed and demonstrated 28 creative electronic inventions for the public. ECE hosted its 27th annual Senior Design Project Day on campus, when 28 teams of seniors unveiled a high-tech floor show for the electronics of the future. The public review of these senior design projects happened at the Gunness Engineering Student Center of Marcus Hall on the UMass Amherst campus from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., when students displayed their devices, demonstrated their functions, and answered questions from visitors on an individual basis. See full descriptions of all projects.
On May 2 the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department will hold its annual Senior Design Project competition, the climax and showcase event for this MIE capstone course, “MIE 415: Design of Mechanical Systems.” The course and its year-end competition are considered “the integrative culminating experience” of the education in the MIE department. This required course for every mechanical engineering (ME) senior is designed as the zenith of the entire undergraduate engineering education for every student in the department. The event, which is free and open to all visitors, will take place from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium on the UMass Amherst campus.
ElectroPure, a venture created by Ph.D. candidate Julie Bliss Mullen of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, won the $26,000 first prize in the finals of the University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge on April 6. Mullen has developed a water treatment device at a competitive price and aimed at homes and small community systems such as schools to combat diverse water quality issues.
Two of the three prize-winners in the Graduate School’s recent inaugural Three Minute Thesis (3MT) contest were from the College of Engineering, which also boasted five of the 10 finalists. The runner-up, whose prize was $500, was Seydeh Shirin Montazeri of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, and her 3MT dealt with “Future Telescopes Will Reveal the Hidden Universe.” The People’s Choice Award of $500 was taken by Destenie Nock of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, doing a 3MT on “Where Should Our Electricity Come From?”
On March 25, our generous alumnus and donor Kenneth Lloyd visited his alma mater with his family and was hosted by Professor Sundar Krishnamurty, the head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department. In 2012 Mr. Lloyd established the Kenneth A. Lloyd Fellowship, awarded annually to a qualified incoming doctoral student in the MIE department who shows exceptional potential for success in his or her field, with a preference given to female applicants. Mr. Lloyd of Duxbury, Massachusetts, graduated from the College of Engineering in 1973, having majored in mechanical engineering.
The UMass Amherst Institute for Teaching Excellence & Faculty Development, or TEFD, has informed Assistant Professor Caitlyn Butler of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department that its Selection Committee has chosen her as one of eight campus recipients of the 2017-18 Lilly Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. Among several other benefits, the fellowship involves $14,000 in funding split between Butler and the CEE department. “This is a significant achievement given the high volume and quality of nominations this year, which the committee members described as ‘truly astounding,’” said Brian Baldi of TEFD.
Richard Palmer, the head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the university director of the Northeast Climate Science Center, has been elected to the grade of Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). As the ASCE letter to announce the honor said in part, “You will also be interested to know that, prior to this year's election of nine new Distinguished Members, only 688 civil engineers in the 165-year history of ASCE have been similarly honored, and there are only 228 Distinguished Members among the Society’s current membership of over 150,000 people.”
Over Spring Break, from March 11 to March 18, a group of four chemical engineering sophomores painted and repaired damaged houses in New Orleans as part of the ServeUP InterVarsity Christian Fellowship program, a ministry of campuses in New England committed to exposing students to the intersection of faith and service. The four ChE students joined two teams of 14 students from UMass Amherst and about 66 students from the Five College area in the annual service program. The four ChE students were Bryan Chua, Navin Sundaramurthy, Ricardo Valdes, and Kyaw Htet Paing.
UMass Amherst alumnus Marshall Jones, who earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame on May 4 for his pioneering work on industrial lasers. At the organization’s 45th annual induction ceremony in May, Jones will join the likes of other inductees such as Tesla, Edison, and the Wright Brothers. The induction ceremony is billed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame as “The greatest celebration of American innovation…Here we honor and celebrate the world’s foremost inventors and their contributions to society.”
A team of researchers from UMass Amherst headed by Professor Dimitrios Maroudas of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department has found a way to reduce the surface roughness of conducting thin films used in microelectronics, potentially boosting their ability to conduct electrical and thermal energy. According to a press release by the American Institute of Physics (AIP), surface roughness reduction is “a really big deal when it comes to fundamental surface physics and while fabricating electronic and optical devices.”