The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Four outstanding College of Engineering undergraduates from two different departments are being honored with assorted awards at Commencement on May 10 and the College of Engineering Senior Recognition Celebration on May 11. Awardees from our college include three 21st Century Leaders and one Welch Scholar. The college also has one junior designated for the prestigious Goldwater Scholar.

Yanfei Xu is co-author of a study that shows how to build polymer films that conduct heat as well or better than some metals and ceramics. The researchers say they can transform polymers that usually function as thermal insulators, into highly efficient thermal conductors that can transfer heat four times higher than stainless steel.

Assistant Professor Jinglei Ping of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has received a Discovery Award of over $270,000 from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. The goal of Ping’s research is to develop a miniaturized device for precise quantification of heavy metals in a drop of human blood at the point of care.

Senior industrial engineering major Rebecca Castonguay, a Commonwealth College honors student, has been selected among six undergraduates from across the campus to receive the spring UMass Amherst Rising Researcher Award (Six Undergraduates Named Spring 2019 Rising Researchers). The Rising Researcher program celebrates undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. Learn more about the Rising Researchers here.

“Imagine a world in which half of our electricity is generated renewably by offshore wind farms,” as a recent article by Shayla Costa '19 posed in Research Next. “Now imagine a powerful hurricane hitting the coast where that farm is located. If developers, engineers, and policy makers haven’t prepared for this event, the coast could face major consequences such as blackouts and brownouts.”

Thanks and a tip of the hat to Chemical Engineering (ChE) Professor Sarah Perry, who for two years now has been advocating the creative artistry of her lab student, Savannah Szemethy, a graduating ChE senior with a gift for turning her science into astonishingly fine art. In 2017 and again this year, Szemethy placed her science-based artwork in the finals of the Science as Art Competition at the Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting and Exhibit in Phoenix. Saemethy is also a powerful advocate for the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) movement, which teaches that the arts should be incorporated into STEM-based curricula.

Professor John Tobiason of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department has been awarded the 2019 Charles R. O’Melia Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors (AEESP) Distinguished Educator Award. Tobiason was also recently selected to receive the 2019 College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award and in 2015 won the College of Engineering Senior Faculty Award. In addition, he earned the James L. Tighe Outstanding Teaching Award from CEE alumni in 2003.

Assistant Professor Jungwoo Lee of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department has won the President Young Investigator Award from the Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers (KIChE). According to the KIChE, “The award is intended to recognize Korean and Korean-American scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge in the general field of chemical engineering.”

Professor David Reckhow of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department has won the 2019 A.P. Black Research Award from the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The citation reads, in part, “Dr. Dave Reckhow has made significant contributions to the field of drinking water through his outstanding research that has helped to identify and understand the mechanism of formation of various halogenated and non-halogenated disinfection byproducts (DBPs).”

As Acting Dean for the College of Engineering Christopher Hollot announced last week, “Please join me in congratulating Doctors Christos Dimitrakopoulos, Eleni Christofa, and Stephen Nonnenmann for being selected as outstanding faculty in the College of Engineering in 2019.” Professor Dimitrakopoulos of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department was selected for the Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, while the review committee chose Assistant Professors Christofa of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department and Nonnenmann of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department as joint awardees of the Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award.  

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