The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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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).

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.

“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.”

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.

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.  

Sanjay Raman, associate vice president for the Virginia Tech National Capital Region and president and CEO of the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation, has been named the new dean of the College of Engineering.  He begins his duties at UMass Amherst in August.

On World Water Day, the Baker-Polito Administration announced$759,556 in grantsto support six innovative technical advancements for wastewater treatment facilities across the Commonwealth. One of those grants went to the Town of Amherst and Blue Thermo Corporation, receiving $103,179 in funding, which will be used to install, monitor, and commission a wastewater source heat pump to provide renewable and consistent heating, cooling, and hot water to the Amherst Wastewater Treatment Plant from a renewable source.

The winners of the UMass College of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award for 2019 are Professor Stephen Nonnenmann of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department and Professor John Tobiason of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department. Both of these highly accomplished teachers, researchers, and academics have made a lasting impact on the education of the engineering workforce for many years to come.

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