The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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On July 29, a behind-the-scenes article by Robert Coolman, a graduate student in the lab of George Huber of the Chemical Engineering Department, was posted on the popular LiveScience website in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF). Coolman’s article explained the groundbreaking research on green gasoline being performed in Huber’s lab, which has been described in such prominent publications as Scientific AmericanScience, and MIT’s Technology Review. His work is being supported by large grants from the NSF, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy.

Stories about the safety course called Distractology 101, which uses a driving simulator to demonstrate the dangers of driving while texting or talking on cell phones, were run last week in the Boston Globe and on WSHM-TV 3. The technology for Distractology 101 was developed under the leadership of Donald Fisher, the head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and the director of the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory.

UMass Transit is teaming up with the College of Engineering's Transportation Center and Hartford-based CTTRANSIT to offer a first-of-its-kind certificate in transit management and operations. The new program was covered last week in Boston.com, the Hampshire Gazette, the Boston Herald, and WWLP-TV 22. The program is being funded with a $127,284 federal grant announced by U.S. Transportation Department Secretary Ray La Hood and is aimed at training the next generation of the transit workforce, offering students training in many aspects of transit management.

What if we could save lives with a more accurate early detection radar system for tornadoes such as the one that recently hit Springfield? Or what if we could help amputees walk more easily by giving them a better “feel” for their artificial limbs? Or replace our unsustainable oil supply with sustainable biofuel? Or cure a group of child-killing diseases known as lysosomal storage disorders. Are these just pipedreams? Not for 52 undergraduate engineering and science students doing summer research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

According to a status report from Public Television Station WGBY, a 30-second recruiting spot produced by that station for the College of Engineering has been aired 72 times since February 15, 2011. The spot will continue to air on WGBY until it has been shown 127 times. The promo captures several of the diverse experiences and projects of our students and is currently being run repeatedly during WGBY’s weekly schedule, airing during such programs as PBS Newshour, the Nightly Business Report, Washington Week, This Old House, and other popular shows.

New England Environmental, Inc. (NEE), with almost one-third of its workforce having graduated from UMass Amherst, recently received a Platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, one of only five issued in Massachusetts and 245 in the country. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. NEE, headquartered here in Amherst and in Concord, New Hampshire, has hired 11 UMass graduates out of its 34 employees.

Melissa Paciulli, a Ph.D. candidate in Transportation Engineering in our Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, recently received the Women in Transportation (WTS) Boston Ann M. Hershfang Graduate Scholarship. She was also nominated for the Helene M. Overly Memorial Scholarship, offered through WTS International. The Hershfang Graduate Scholarship is awarded to a woman currently enrolled in a graduate program within a transportation-related field with plans to pursue a career in the transportation industry.

On July 19, the Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE), whose Director is Susan Roberts of the Chemical Engineering Department, is staging an outreach event for 10 local high school students designed to introduce them to the complex and fascinating world of cellular engineering. “Essentially, the students are high school students from Springfield and Holyoke,” says ICE Program Manager Shana Passonno, “and students from the Institute for Cellular Engineering are organizing a day of laboratory demonstrations and activities, lab tours, and an undergraduate panel session about life as a college student.”

On July 12, the Salem News published a well-written feature story on the Distractology 101 driving simulator, a program to train inexperienced drivers about the perils of distracted driving. Distractology 101, housed in a 36-foot-long trailer, is a collaboration between our recently renamed Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory and the Arbella Insurance Company. Our laboratory developed the Distractology program under the leadership of Don Fisher, its director and the head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department.

An event initiated last year by the Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE) has mushroomed this summer into a campus-wide career exploration forum for graduate students and post-docs. “The First Five Years: What to Expect?” was held on Wednesday, July 13, in the Integrated Sciences Building on campus. “Are you hoping to start your career on the right path?” the program's poster asked. “Gain valuable insights from accomplished industrial and academic professionals, as they reflect upon their early career experiences.”

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