On March 26, the newest faculty member in our Mechanical Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, Dr. Woodrow W. Winchester III, lectured at Gonzaga University on “Afrofuturism as a Design Lens for Inclusive Technological Innovation” during the Gonzaga Student Body Association’s Intersectionality Week. A press release issued by Gonzaga reported that Winchester talked about how to address racial biases in the design and engineering of technological products and systems such as soap dispensers that only recognize pale hands, facial recognition sensors that can’t see dark faces, or health-tech gadgets that won’t sense a pulse through black skin.
Professor Joshua Yang of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department was a co-principal investigator on a multi-disciplinary research team from UMass Amherst, UCLA, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the University of Tennessee that was awarded a $7.5-million grant ($1 million to UMass Amherst) from the Department of Defense (DoD) for a study of brain-inspired memristive networks. Yang’s grant was one of 24 multidisciplinary university research initiative (MURI) awards selected from 295 proposals this year.
A UMass team of undergraduate and graduate students from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) and the College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) placed third in the MITRE Cyber Academy Collegiate Embedded Systems Capture the Flag Competition, which is an embedded systems cyber security attack and defense competition.
The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reports that UMass Amherst and the University of South Africa (UNISA) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will establish a framework for future research, as well as faculty and student exchanges, between UMass and UNISA, the largest university system in Africa. The relationship between the two university systems has been nurtured by Professors David Reckhow and John Tobiason of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department.
Following a search for the most inventive college students in the land, graduate student Julie Bliss Mullen of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was one of the national winners of the 2019 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize Program, which recognizes young inventors who have dedicated themselves to solving global problems. Mullen was rewarded for her Electrochemical Water Purification Technology and Chlorine Generator. See press coverage: Boston Herald, Associated Press (AP).
At the 2018-2019 Innovation Challenge Final on April 4, two engineering majors – Yizhuo (E.J.) Chen (chemical engineering) and Avi Benmayor (pre-engineering) – were on team Renovare, which took home $20,000 in seed money as the second-place finisher. Renovare is turning the simple bandage into a device that not only protects wounds but also heals them twice as fast without the use of drugs.
From March 29 to 31, the University of Massachusetts Amherst chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) hosted the 2019 Eckhardt Northeast Student Regional AIChE Conference. The event attracted about 200 attendees from 19 different universities in the northeast U.S. and Canada; all coming to network, participate in workshops, and compete in several events, including the regional Chem-E-Car Competition, a Jeopardy-style chemical engineering quiz for student teams, a poster contest, and a paper competition. The UMass team won the Jeopardy contest, and UMass ChE students Josh McGee and Jake Bradner (collaborating for second) and Sarah Duquette (third) placed in the poster contest.
Associate Professor Chul Park and Senior Research Fellow Dr. Sona Dolan of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department have been issued U.S. Patent 10,189,732 B2, entitled “Algal-sludge granule for wastewater treatment and bioenergy feedstock generation.” Park and Dolan’s new patent presents a new phototrophic process that could substantially reduce energy usage for wastewater treatment and recover chemical energy from wastewater in the feedstock.
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.