The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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In the spring semester of 2020, undergraduates Katherine (Kat) Nilov and Sanjana Manghnani of the Chemical Engineering Department participated in Engineer Engagement Specialist Dr. Stephen Fernandez’s pilot course on “Learning through Community Engagement and Bridging Engineering Theory and Practice.” Recently, the Campus Compact Website posted an interview with Nilov and Manghnani, in which they very eloquently articulated the impact of the course on their worldview about engineering itself and using their future profession to engage with surrounding communities.

Assistant Professor Anuj K. Pradhan of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department was one of 10 experts from universities around the country featured in WalletHub's recent piece about the “Best States for Teen Drivers.”

Assistant Professor Jeremy Gummeson and his Ph.D. student Noor Mohammed, both of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, are members of a UMass Amherst team that has designed a charge-free, wearable device called “Shazam,” which uses the skin of the human body to charge smartwatches and other wearable devices.

Marlise van Tonder, who graduated from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department in May, has qualified to go to the Tokyo Olympics as a reserve on the South African field hockey team, as announced by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. As she wrote to MIE Department Head Sundar Krishnamurty, “I appreciate the support UMass has given me during the buildup towards the Games.” She will be traveling to Tokyo with the team and staying with Team South Africa in the Olympic Village.

Professor Sergio F. Breña, the associate department head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, was honored as a new Fellow by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) at the organization’s May of 2021 convention. He has also received the 2019 PCI Distinguished Educator Award, the 2011 PCI Young Educator Award, is past chair of the PCI Student Education Committee, and currently serves as a voting member of the PCI Student Education Committee, PCI Design Handbook Committee, and the PCI Design Specification Committee.

Jose Lemus, a senior mechanical engineering student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, was highlighted as a “Key Collaborator” in the May issue of the PTC Digital Transformation Technologies Newsletter. As the newsletter said about Lemus, “This semester, he worked in an independent study to understand product integration and industrial automation using Vuforia Studio [Augmented Reality] by simulating the Pilot Process Machine. The machine automatically dispenses the desired color and quantity of Skittles for users.”

Assistant Professor Shannon Roberts of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department was lead author for a chapter on “Automation, Work, and Racial Equity: How Human Systems Engineering Can Shape the Future of Work” in an edited volume that has been recognized as the winner of the "Outstanding Academic Title" by the Choice organization.

In their recent article in The Conversation, Professors Erin Baker and Matthew Lackner of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department wrote that the U.S. government’s approval of the country’s first big offshore wind farm, to be located near Martha’s Vineyard, is a breakthrough for the industry. Baker and Lackner are both faculty with the Wind Energy Center at UMass Amherst.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the College of Engineering and the College of Information and Computer Sciences has received a $5,000 2021 UMass Amherst ADVANCE Mutual Mentoring grant to help lay the groundwork for a collaborative center of excellence in robotics.

Xiaomeng Liu, a doctoral candidate in the research lab of Assistant Professor Jun Yao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, has received a prestigious, two-year, $61,000 Link Foundation Energy Fellowship to support his innovative research on the Yao Research Group’s pioneering “Air Generator” (or Air-Gen), which constantly harvests electricity “out of thin air” from the atmosphere.