University of Massachusetts Amherst

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The latest innovative enterprise from Sustainability Projects Abroad (SPA), a brilliant and idealistic consortium of UMass students led by some of our engineering undergraduates, is called “PowerPass,” which, according to its creators, is a sort of “power bank” and “walk-in, solar-powered kiosk that dispenses portable batteries for students to charge their phones on the go.” SPA has set up a MinuteFund, lasting until May 23, in hopes of supporting the installation of PowerPass on campus.

Support the SPA PowerPass project »

Professor Friederike Jentoft of the Chemical Engineering Department has been awarded the 37th annual "Excellence in Catalysis Award" from the Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York (CSNY), which is a regional organization, but the awardee pool is national in scope. The award, sponsored by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, consists of a plaque and a $1,500 gift. According to the CSNY, the award “is granted to an individual or a research team from North America to recognize outstanding contributions in either applied or basic research in either homogeneous or heterogeneous catalysis.”

The high-performance team of chemical engineering students Dan Bell, Yusuf Mohamad, Pat Ritchie, Ricardo Valdés, Nick Thomas, and Matt Lok – collectively calling themselves the “Squid Squad” – finished in third place among 21 competing teams at the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) Chem-E-Car Northeast Regional Competition, held on April 7 and 8 in Rochester, New York.

Doctoral student Christopher Merola of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department has been notified that he is a finalist out of 171 entries in the 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Antennas and Propagation Society (AP-S) Student Paper competition, taking place on July 10 at the 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation and USNC-URSI Radio Science Meeting in Boston. Merola’s paper is titled “A Class of Cavity-Based UWB Multi-Beamformers with Applications to Sub-6 GHz 5G,” and his advisor is ECE Professor Marinos Vouvakis.

Undergraduate student Leigh Hamlet of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department is one of nine UMass Amherst students to earn a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Hamlet’s three-year NSF award will provide her with an annual stipend of $34,000 and a yearly $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution she will attend.

Congratulations to eight exceptional engineering students who will be receiving alumni scholarships and awards. The students were recognized by the UMass Amherst Alumni Association at a reception on Sunday, April 22, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Assistant Professor Kara Peterman of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department has won the prominent Norman Medal, the highest honor granted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for a technical paper that "makes a definitive contribution to engineering science." As CEE Department Head Richard Palmer said about her accomplishment, “I congratulate Dr. Peterman on the outstanding award. ASCE has been giving it for over 100 years, so that puts her in very, very good company.”

A feature story written by Michael Connors in the April 8 Daily Hampshire Gazette looked at a group of six students from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department who are developing a drone for their senior capstone project that can deploy agricultural chemicals safely and very precisely to control pests such as mosquitoes. The students are teaming up with the Hampshire County Radio Controllers Club, a local group of remote-controlled flying vehicle hobbyists, who will give the MIE seniors hands-on training on how to operate drones.

Two teams spearheaded by doctoral students in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department were among the three winners of the University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge Final on April 5, when $65,000 in seed money was distributed to the prizewinners. eBiologics finished in first place, winning $30,000 and led by Alexander Smith, a doctoral student in MIE. The other prizewinning MIE team was Kinase, Inc., which finished in third place and won $15,000. Kinase is headed by Nariman Banaei, a doctoral student in MIE, and MBA student Amir Ali Jazayeri of Hofstra University.

It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of retired UMass Amherst Professor Mireille Treuil Clapp, who was a pioneer among women to obtain tenure in the College of Engineering. She passed away on March 7 after a long battle with cancer. Professor Clapp was a faculty member for 16 years in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and also an internationally renowned sculptor and scientist.

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