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Sergio Breña and Cathal Kearney Named 2021 STRIDE Faculty Fellows

 Sergio F. Breña  and Cathal Kearney

 Breña and Kearney 

Two engineering faculty members, Sergio F. Breña of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Cathal Kearney from the Biomedical Engineering Department, were among the 24 STRIDE Faculty Fellows announced recently by Amel Ahmed, associate provost for equity and inclusion, as part of the 2021 STRIDE Faculty Fellowship Program.

The STRIDE Faculty Fellowship provides UMass Amherst faculty with the opportunity to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in faculty recruitment. STRIDE stands for Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence.

STRIDE Fellows have a one-year appointment, with the goal of continued engagement either through STRIDE or other recruitment initiatives developed during the fellowship year. Among other provisions, Fellows are awarded a $2,000 stipend, they co-lead two, two-hour STRIDE Workshops over the course of the 2021-22 academic year, and they cultivate faculty members from their colleges and departments to become future STRIDE Faculty Fellows.

The STRIDE Faculty Fellowship Program is sponsored by the Provost’s Office and the Office of Equity and Inclusion and complements other efforts to support faculty diversity.

“Through the Fellows program,” the Office of the Provost says, “we wish to ensure that the STRIDE Faculty Recruitment Workshops continue to be faculty centered and faculty driven, examining challenges of recruitment in different contexts…We aim to select a cohort of faculty representing the range of diversity on our campus.”

Breña has over 25 years of experience in laboratory and field testing of structures and structural systems. Breña’s research interests include design and behavior of reinforced and prestressed concrete structures, use of fiber-reinforced materials in civil infrastructure applications, and field performance of bridges and buildings.

Additionally, Breña has more than six years of structural design experience in projects involving seismic rehabilitation of existing buildings and structural design of underground structures and tunnel liners, among others.

Breña was elected a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute in 2009 and the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) in 2021. He has also received the 2019 PCI Distinguished Educator Award and the 2011 PCI Young Educator Award.

In addition, Breña has served as a visiting professor at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaiso, Department of Civil Engineering, in Chile; and at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, in Switzerland.

Breña earned his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and B.S. degree from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.

Kearney heads the Kearney Lab, which aims to engineer tools to understand and mimic natural biological-cue timing to enhance tissue repair and regeneration. As he explains, “We develop technologies to deliver therapeutics at specific time points and use them to probe the role of timing in repair processes. We also think about timing in terms of age and the effects of aging on tissue, cells, and repair.”

Among other positions, Kearney has served as a senior lecturer and a senior research fellow at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, an investigator at the Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research Center and at Trinity Biomedical Engineering, and a postdoctoral researcher at the Mooney Lab and Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

Kearney earned his Ph.D. at Harvard/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Division of Health Sciences and Technology, his S.M. in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, and his B.A. and B.A.I. in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. (October 2021)