The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Competitive Full Year Fellowships

The College of Engineering awards five Dean’s First Year Fellowships plus the Sisson Fellowship. The Dean’s First Year Fellows program recognizes outstanding new PhD students who show potential for excellence in research, innovation, contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Sisson supports an incoming first-year PhD candidate whose research focuses on renewable and alternative energy, climate change, or other environmental topics. These students have unlimited potential, as shown by their impressive backgrounds. Congratulations to the Fellows of 2020–21!


2020–2021 Fellows


The Sisson Fellow


Amanda Carneiro Marques, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Amanda Marques is currently pursuing her PhD in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She received her Bachelor of Science in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering from Federal Fluminense University, Brazil, with a Minor Degree in Sustainability Studies from Roger Williams University. Amanda received her Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Brazil. Her work there as a graduate research assistant was to investigate water demand and supply projections under climate change scenarios, aiming to come up with sustainable ways to manage multiple water uses within one of Brazil’s most challenging watershed. She is a first year PhD student at UMass Amherst, working with Dr. Kumpel and Dr. Guzman, researching water quality in the Wachusett and Quabbin reservoirs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


The Dean’s First Year Fellows


Daniela Caraeni, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Caraeni earned her Bachelor and Master’s Degree in mechanical engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Her past research experience includes level-set and extended finite element methods applied to the supercooled large droplets and their impact in the aviation industry. She is a Ph.D. student in Professor Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi’s Fluid-Structure Interactions group, and her current research focuses on applying proper orthogonal decomposition and reduced-order modeling to study the physics behind shells of revolution, as well as in medical applications like aneurysms and stenoses. She is an active member of UMass Graduate Women in STEM (GWIS) where she enjoys being part of community outreach activities with local schools.

Kaitlyn Koehler, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Kaitlyn received her B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University. Her past research involved modeling the transport of airborne particles inside the International Space Station to inform the health of astronauts. Currently, Kaitlyn is in her first year of her PhD in Dr. David Schmidt research group. She is working with an interdisciplinary team to develop an effective and energy efficient light-driven wastewater treatment technology using oxygenic photogranules (OPGs). Kaitlyn’s research focuses on using computational fluid dynamics to model the OPGs in the wastewater treatment system.

Efthymia “Fay” Kostopoulou, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Kostopoulou joined UMass Amherst in the fall of 2020 as a PhD student in Transportation Engineering, advised by Dr. Eleni Christofa. She received a Diploma in Civil Engineering from National Technical University of Athens, in Greece. The topic of her thesis was on the investigation of the impact of autonomous vehicles on urban road networks using microscopic models. Fay is very interested in developing signal control strategies that account for multiple user types and their performance measures in order to design an equitable and efficient traffic management system. She currently works on a research project funded by the Massachusetts Department Transportation, which focuses on assessing the effectiveness of bike boxes on intersection safety improvements.

Mousa Moradi, Biomedical Engineering 
Mousa is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering and advised by Dr. Yu Chen. Through his previous undergraduate and Master’s research work, Mousa completed a variety of brain imaging and software development projects, ranging from fNIRS system development for brain mapping in the Neuro-Robotic Laboratory to MATLAB/Python- based GUI for image processing and classification of brain imaging data. He has presented his research at numerous national and international conferences, as well publish journal articles. Mousa’s Ph.D. dissertation will focus on developing a fully automatic deep learning-based algorithm for processing, pattern recognition and segmentation of kidney images. Since this past fall, He has enjoyed mentoring undergraduates for developing imaging techniques as well as collaborating with grad students in the LAB.

Vivian Ogechi Nwadiaru, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Vivian Ogechi Nwadiaru is a PhD student in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research advised by Prof. Erin Baker in the E3Lab. She received a BEng in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and an MS in Energy Engineering from the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences. She has worked for the African Union Commission and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) as a consultant on projects relating to climate change, energy and capacity building. Prior to joining UMass as a PhD student, she completed an International Climate Protection Research Fellowship funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Technical University of Berlin and University of Oxford. Her research will focus on optimizing energy systems and consumer preferences for improved reliability and energy access in low-income communities. Vivian enjoys threading the line between engineering and policy and is also dedicated to bridging the skills gap for STEM students in Nigeria through STEMJets an NGO she cofounded.