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On Friday, September 30, the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will hold its seventh annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Celebration during Homecoming Weekend. The college’s celebration will include be held in the Marriott Room on the 11th floor of the Campus Center at UMass Amherst. The Homecoming Reception & Awards Celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. During the reception, the College of Engineering will present its Outstanding Senior and Junior Alumni Awards to eight individuals who, through exemplary accomplishments, epitomize the potential of an education at the UMass Amherst College of Engineering.

An event on August 26 signaled a revolutionary new trend in offshore wind energy throughout Massachusetts and beyond. The Massachusetts Research Partnership in Offshore Wind received $300,000 in funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)’s Renewable Energy Trust. Wind energy pioneer Professor James Manwell of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is UMass Amherst’s principal investigator (PI) for the new partnership, made up of six Massachusetts academic and research institutions – Northeastern University, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Rising senior Alex Finestone from Billerica, Massachusetts, enters his final year in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department having already accumulated enough honors as a student/athlete to stagger anyone’s imagination. Think about it. Finestone is the co-captain of the UMass Minuteman Track & Field Team who also carries an outstanding 3.658 GPA in the rigorous mechanical engineering curriculum, has landed on the  Dean’s List five times, and, just for good measure, has been named five times to the Atlantic-10 Athletic Conference Commissioner Honor Roll.

Richard N. Palmer, the head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, commented in a story on August 26 by the Boston Globe about illegal lawn watering in the suburbs of Boston during the current drought. As the Globe story explained “Some water under cover of darkness, waiting until night’s protective curtain has fallen to turn on their sprinklers while the neighbors slumber. Some are wealthy enough that, even when busted, they simply pay repeated fines and continue watering their lawn. And still others resort to deception, putting up bogus ‘well water’ signs so they can blast their sprinklers without drawing nasty scowls from neighbors and tickets from local officials.”

When the UMass Rising campaign began in 2010, the College of Engineering set its sights on raising $33 million to support talented students, first-class faculty, buildings and infrastructure, research and programs, and the Annual Fund. By the time the campaign ended on June 30 this year, the college had exceeded that ambitious goal, achieving a total of $34,618,236 in gifts and commitments from alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, friends, corporations, and foundations.

Professor David Reckhow of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department recently told the Wall Street Journal that officials and scientists are reconsidering the use of chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, as a disinfectant in drinking water. “We’re questioning the wisdom of using chloramines as much as we do in this country,” said Reckhow, a national expert on the treatment of drinking water and the head of the UMass Amherst Water Innovation Network for Sustainable Small Systems (WINSSS), funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Professor Robert Hyers of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department has received a $600,000, four-year grant from NASA for a project investigating “Thermophysical Properties and Transport Phenomena Models and Experiments in Reduced Gravity.”     

Hao Cai, a Ph.D. Student in the Network Systems Laboratory of Professor Tilman Wolf in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, received the best student paper runner-up award at the 25th International Conference on Computer Communication and Networks (ICCCN 2016), run by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers from August 1 through 4 at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort Hotel in Hawaii.

An article appearing in the Washington PostIdaho Statesman, and Charlotte Observer, among other publications, recently sang the praises of Distractology 101, the life-saving program developed by engineers at UMass Amherst and the Arbella Insurance Foundation. Distractology 101, a program designed to teach novice drivers the dangers of distracted driving, was developed under the leadership of Emeritus Professor Donald Fisher, the retired department head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department (MIE), in MIE’s Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation Human Performance Laboratory.

Senior Chemical Engineering (ChE) major Julie Boshar from North Andover, Massachusetts, is a straight-A student “with a passion for improving healthcare,” the recent winner of a $1,000 Hannah Frilot Memorial Scholarship and $10,000 William M. Bulger Presidential Scholarship, and a member of the prestigious Commonwealth Honors College. But this highly thoughtful, idealistic, and talented young woman can trace her accomplishments to her beloved Giddo (Arabic for grandfather) and his kitchen.

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