Points of Pride: March 2014

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Dean's Message

The College of Engineering just received a major boost from the influential 2013 Leiden Ranking (http://www.leidenranking.com/) of more than 500 universities worldwide when UMass Amherst was rated 25th out of 115 U.S. research institutions and 28th out of 478 world institutions in "publication impact for natural sciences and engineering."The Leiden Ranking indicated that 18.5 percent of UMass publications in the natural sciences and engineering are among the top 10 percent most cited in their fields.

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Gazette Article Focuses on Invention by MIE Students
A long feature story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette looked at Ryan Wade, a five-year-old Northampton boy who has a new mechanical arm he uses to feed himself because a genetic abnormality prevents him from full use of his arms and elbows. Students from Professor Frank Sup's MIE 415 Senior Capstone Design course in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department invented the device. The students are Brian Cormier, Andrew Friedlieb, Catherine Paquin, and Kyle Morrell. Nursing student Emily Gardner was also involved in the project. The team of students also recently won the capstone course's end-of-semester poster contest, describing their invention to improve the quality of life for children with Pediatric Multiple Synostosis Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by multiple bone fusions involving the face, limbs, and middle ear.
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NSF CAREER Research Will Upgrade Cryogenic Sensors
Joseph Bardin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a five-year grant of approximately $400,000 from the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. Bardin's research will greatly improve the cryogenic electronics used in scientific instruments, thereby enabling new and more powerful experimental tools for scientific researchers.
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EWB Amherst Chapter Makes Ninth Trip to Kenya
In January of 2014, a team of six students from UMass Amherst and one from Hampshire College, who all belong to the Engineers Without Borders-USA UMass Amherst student chapter, traveled to Namawanga, Kenya, with their faculty advisor Professor John Tobiason of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department and CEE graduate student mentor Joseph Gikonyo. This was the ninth trip to Kenya for the EWB-USA UMass Amherst student chapter since 2006. The project was established to prevent the spread of waterborne disease in the Namawanga rural farming community of several thousand people in Western Kenya by supplying safe drinking water. The purpose of the 2014 trip was implementing an iron-removal system for a well installed by the chapter several years ago at the Machakha Youth Polytechnic School, located within the community.
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Chemical Engineering Team Publishes Paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry
The research team of Andrew Robert TeixeiraChun-Chih ChangTimothy CooganRoss KendallWei Fan, and Paul Dauenhauer of the UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering Department published a paper entitled "Dominance of Surface Barriers in Molecular Transport through Silicalite-1"in the Journal of Physical Chemistry(http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp4089595). Read the entire article: PDF [3053 KB]. As the article's abstract explained: "Development of microporous materials with hierarchical structures of both micro/mesopores leads to molecular transport at nanometer length scales. For novel microporous materials including three dimensionally ordered mesoporous imprinted (3DOm-i) zeolites and zeolite nanosheets, particle dimensions are below 35 nm resulting in surface-dominated structures."
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Ganz to Install Electronic Navigation System for Visually Impaired in MBTA
Imagine being blindfolded and then turned loose to navigate the complex Boston subway system. Your plight might recall The Man Who Never Returned, that classic Kingston Trio song about a guy named Charlie whose fate on the subway was to "ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston."Now imagine you can never take off that blindfold. That's the real-life predicament of any visually impaired person who enters a busy subway station, and University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Aura Ganz has a brilliant solution. Called PERCEPT, Ganz' invention is a seeing-eye directory for the blind and visually impaired which will provide them with verbal directions, electronic signs, and a virtual information booth for finding their way around the subway station.
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Corporate Partnerships Are Win-win for Everyone
Organizations that recruit UMass Amherst engineers often ask us about ways to improve their visibility and recruitment efforts on campus. The answer is through a $5,000 Corporate Partnership. The Engineering Career and Student Development Center offers a unique opportunity for your organization to strengthen its status on campus, while also supporting the professional development of potential future employees. The Corporate Partnership Program gives companies multiple resources to promote their brand and to develop lasting relationships with students, faculty, and the Engineering Career Center staff while on the UMass Amherst campus.
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UMass Grad Wins Prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship
Jorge L. Salazar, a doctoral graduate from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was awarded a prestigious National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Advanced Study Program Postdoctoral Fellowship. The postdoctoral program provides an opportunity for recent Ph.D. scientists and engineers to continue to pursue their research interests in atmospheric and related sciences. Salazar is currently working at the Earth Observing Laboratory at NCAR in Boulder, Colorado, developing an emerging technology for two-dimensional, electronically scanned, and dual-pol phased array radars for use in atmospheric research.
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Ribbon-cutting Ceremony Celebrates Naming of the Altra Industrial Motion Innovation Shop
On Thursday, January 30, the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst hosted the ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Altra Industrial Motion Innovation Shop, which provides space outfitted with the latest industry tools, instruments, and computers to support MIE projects, including all their design, modeling, manufacturing, and testing activities. The groundbreaking shop was named in honor of Altra Industrial Motion for its lead gift to support a fundraising effort to modernize the space.
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ECE 361 Students Take Their Smart Cars on a Wild Ride
On December 6 in the Campus Center Auditorium, 170 junior and senior students in the ECE 361 Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering course showed off some 40 model "smart cars"they had designed during the course as collision-avoiding vehicles. This course is intended to provide non-electrical engineering majors, in this case students from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, with the relevant electrical and electronic engineering concepts and device knowledge to work effectively in multi-disciplined design, development, and manufacturing teams. View You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tJwOuOdzlQ
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MIE Alumnus Honored with Prestigious UMass Salute To Service Award
Dr. Marshall Jones, an alumnus of the UMass Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and an engineer at GE Global Research, was a recipient of the 2013 UMass Amherst "Salute to Service"award in Boston (read articles in Digital Journal and Dealbreaker.com). Since joining General Electric Global Research Center in 1974, Jones has received 54 U.S. patents and 32 foreign patents; authored or co­authored over 45 publications; and presented numerous talks at national and international technical conferences. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1965 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UMass Amherst in 1972 and 1974, respectively. See UMass Salute to Service Awards: http://umassalumni.com/salutetoservice/award_recipients.html
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Palmer Delivers Distinguished Faculty Lecture on February 4
On February 4, Professor Richard Palmer delivered a University of Massachusetts Amherst Distinguished Faculty Lecture entitled "Climate Change and the Sustainability of Cities and Natural Resources: Characterizing Uncertainties for Citizens and Decision Makers."Palmer is the head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the university director of the Interior Department's Northeast Climate Science Center, which provides tools, information, and support for land and resource managers in the face of climate change. This was the 40th year of the Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series at UMass Amherst.
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Schiffman Becomes First Recipient of James Douglas Early Career Faculty Development Award
Assistant Professor Jessica D. Schiffman of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the initial recipient of the Professor James Douglas Early Career Faculty Development Award. Douglas was a former faculty member and department head in the UMass Amherst ChE department. The award is being made "in honor of Professor Douglas' research innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and ability to tackle complex problems using innovative and non-traditional approaches to achieve results.”
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Two Engineering Ph.D. Students Receive Eugene M. Isenberg Scholarships
Two College of Engineering graduate students were among the 10 UMass recipients of the Spring 2014 Eugene M. Isenberg Scholarships. The engineering awardees were Michael Prokle, studying Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, and Akshaya Shanmugam of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department. This gift was established by Eugene M. Isenberg, a 1950 graduate of UMass Amherst and the retired CEO of Nabors Industries, Inc., and his wife Ronnie Isenberg. The scholarships are awarded to UMass Amherst graduate students who demonstrate academic merit and a commitment to the integration of science or engineering with management.
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Glass Estate Supports Innovation Challenge with Demonstration Grants
The estate of Robert Glass and his wife Sandra Glass has established an endowment of $575,000 to support the UMass Innovation Challenge competition, its programming, and its participants. One of the first uses of the Robert and Sandra Glass Innovation Fund will be to support "demonstration"awards of up to $2,500 for the most promising teams of competitors in the Innovation Challenge. The demonstration awards will enable teams to advance their product concepts prior to the finals of the Innovation Challenge competition in April of each year.
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