The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Westford, Mass., resident Patricia Fox, a graduating senior in civil engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was one of 25 women who recently qualified for the New England Patriots Cheerleaders. Fox, who was a member of the UMass Amherst Dance Team for four years, is a Renaissance woman whose passions range from historic preservation – the field she desires to work in as a professional engineer – to the UMass Amherst chapter of Engineers Without Borders, an idealistic organization that works in Third World countries to create engineering projects such as clean water systems.

In the summer of 2009, Cisco Systems, Inc. hired more graduates from our Electrical & Computer Engineering Department (ECE) than from any other university, school, college, or department in the nation. Department Head Kris Hollot affectionately refers to the new hires as the "Cisco Kids." One of the Cisco Kids, Austin Cormier '09, wanted to give something back to the department right away. So he and three of his '09 classmates (Doug Frazer, Scott Richard, and Ivan Bercovich) pooled their resources and, with the generous support of Cisco, created "The Cisco Young Alumni Senior Design Project Award." 

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.

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