The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Dr. Emily Kumpel, an assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, and co-PIs Drs. David Reckhow and Casey Brown of the CEE department, have received a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Civic Innovation Challenge Program. The goal of Kumpel’s NSF planning project is to support pioneering tools for the inspection and monitoring of small water systems and to ensure their continuity of operations during and after emergencies.

A research team led by Tongping Liu (ECE) has designed and implemented a novel tool that could automatically diagnose software issues within seconds. This tool is expected to put an end to hard-to-debug issues, especially for software running in deploy environments.

Mahidhar Sai Lakkavaram, a freshman Chemical Engineering (ChE) major and member of the Commonwealth Honors College, is already leaving a permanent mark on UMass Amherst and the College of Engineering as what the Italian Renaissance called the “Uomo Universale,” or “a man who can do all things if he will.”

Congratulations to Dragana Perkovic-Martin '08 PhD for the successful operation of the landing radar for the Mars 2020 rover, Perseverance. She led the system engineering team for the mission's landing radar, which is now in a pile of rubble somewhere in the Jezero Crater after the descent stage safely lowered the rover.

 

Yanfei Xu, an assistant professor in the Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Department and an adjunct assistant professor in the Chemical Engineering Department, is the lead author on a collaborative paper published in Composites Communications - Elsevier.

H. Henning Winter and Wei Fan (ChE) have been issued U.S. Patent 10,793,442, which is called “Exfoliation of Zeolites in Functionalized Polymers.” Winter and Fan explain that their patented new method is a groundbreaking shortcut for synthesizing zeolites that are vital for capturing carbon-dioxide (CO2) pollutants from electric power emissions using coal and natural gas, responsible for nearly one-third of total CO2 emissions in the United States.

Kara Peterman (CEE) has received the Terry Peshia Early Career Faculty Award from the American Institute of Steel Construction in recognition of her research, teaching and other contributions to the structural steel industry.

In the fall of 2020, College of Engineering Engagement Specialist Dr. Stephen Fernandez offered a course for the first time on community engagement and engineering. In it, 10 students from all engineering disciplines came together to discuss social injustices within engineering and work with community partners to enable the work they are doing.

The Arbella Insurance Foundation has announced the end of its 11-year-old Distractology program and has donated the Distractology trailer and its simulator, developed by College of Engineering researchers, to UMass Amherst, where it will be housed on campus for further opportunities to provide research, outreach, and education. Arbella will continue to fund these efforts for the next three years.

Several undergraduates in the Chemical Engineering Department won important awards in the recent student conference of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). Hansen Tjo and Nicholas Sbalbi both participated in the Student Poster Competition, and Sbalbi won the "Materials Science and Engineering" group. Sbalbi also won a smaller award, given out by the national AIChE organization, called the Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award.

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