The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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UMass alumna Karen Skolfield, a lecturer in the College of Engineering Junior Writing Program and a writer-in-residence in the college’s Career Development and Experiential Learning Center, was recently interviewed in the weekly “Ten Questions” column of the distinguished magazine Poets & Writers. Her second poetry collection, Battle Dress, was published in August by W.W. Norton, and she is also the author of a previous poetry collection, Frost in the Low Areas.

In August New England Public Radio (NEPR) posted a long article on the often misunderstood “zipper merge” in traffic. NEPR interviewed a number of experts, including two College of Engineering faculty members: Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Professor Michael Knodler, director of MassSafe; and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department Associate Professor Ana Muriel, who is also the associate department head.

The Civil and Environmental (CEE) Department is quite fortunate to welcome Dr. John E. Tobiason, P.E., as its new department head. Tobiason has over 30 years of research and professional experience in water treatment with emphasis on particles in water, coagulation, and water filtration. He has been with the UMass CEE department since 1987 and is a faculty member in the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Program.

Assistant Professor Tingyi “Leo” Liu of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is part of a team of researchers from UMass Amherst and UCLA who have developed a more cost-efficient and dependable method of manipulating small droplets on a hydrophilic surface. According to the researchers, the new method is “promising a simple and reliable microfluid platform for a broad range of applications” that could go far beyond current functions related to liquid lenses and diagnostics kits.

Doctoral student Alyssa Ryan of the UMass Civil and Environmental Engineering Department has been awarded second place in the 2019 Excellence in Highway Safety Information Systems (HSIS) Data competition for her paper: “Evaluating Crash Type Likelihood at Various Traffic Control Devices: A Multinomial Logistic Regression Approach Using HSIS Data.

Associate Professor Do-Hoon Kwon of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department has received a research award of $367,004 over three years from the Army Research Office. Kwon’s project, "Single and dual polarized metasurface cloaks for microwave invisibility and low observability,” introduces and demonstrates a new electromagnetic cloaking physics applicable to large free-standing scatterers.

In September of 2019 Dr. Richard N. Palmer, P.E., is stepping down as head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department at UMass Amherst after 11 successful and productive years. He is also the university director of the Northeast Climate Science Center (NE CASC), which he helped to establish in 2012 with a $7.5-million grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to study how climate change affects ecosystems, wildlife, water, and other natural resources. Palmer was inducted by the American Society of Civil Engineering as a Distinguished Member in 2017 and was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal in 2014 by UMass Amherst. 

Xian Du of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has received a two-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $498,764 to support his research into a novel sensing and control technology for a roll-to-roll printing process.

Peter Beltramo of the Chemical Engineering Department has received a grant of $110,000 over two years for his research project on "Interferometric Imaging and Assembly of Nanoparticles at Fluid Interfaces" from the American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund. As he says, “We will develop new imaging techniques to understand the electric field response of colloidal particles pinned at liquid-liquid interfaces. This work could lead to new strategies for oil extraction, where electric fields could be used to break down and separate water-in-oil emulsions, which is of great interest to the petroleum field.”

Assistant Professor Ashish Kulkarni of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department has been attracting media attention for his four-year, $792,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to advance his interdisciplinary lab’s promising cancer immunotherapy research. The new preclinical research focuses on urothelial bladder cancer, which has a high recurrence rate and has seen limited treatment breakthroughs in recent decades.

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