University of Massachusetts Amherst

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By some estimates, more than 1,000 American citizens have lost their lives in Puerto Rico as one chilling aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 17, 2017, and the whole island is still imperiled by the immediate risk of waterborne illness due to lack of purified water. In answer to this national emergency, a group of dedicated, highly-principled, and brilliant students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst raised enough money to visit Puerto Rico from January 2 to 14 and carry out an intensive campaign of water purification, water contamination education, the distribution of food and medical supplies, and other forms of physical and emotional support for the ravaged island.

UMass Amherst student Nicholas Fournier was recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) as the New England University Transportation Center (NEUTC) 2017 Outstanding Student of the Year for region one. This prestigious award by U.S. DOT honors outstanding students from each participating University Transportation Center. Students are selected based on a competitive selection process reviewing students’ research, academic records, professional experience, and student leadership.

The Arctic region is among the places on earth most profoundly impacted by recent climate changes. For example, according to the New York Times, each year Greenland loses 270 billion tons of ice as the planet warms, a rate that would contribute about two inches to sea level rise by the end of the century. Now Assistant Professor Colin Gleason of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a five-year grant of $529,000 from the prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program to make a groundbreaking study of the Arctic hydrologic cycle by using a combination of field work, remote sensing, and computer modelling.