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.
UMass alumnus Brett Towler (B.S. in Civil Engineering, 1996) recently received a prestigious award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for his work to advance the science of fish-passage engineering. He received one of just three national science awards given each year to the service’s employees for their extraordinary contributions to conservation science. Towler, a hydraulic engineer, took home the Sam D. Hamilton Award for Transformational Conservation Science, presented during a ceremony at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources conference in Denver on March 7, 2019.
On February 24, a Springfield Republican business story looked at Aclarity, a company started at UMass Amherst that uses electrochemical technology to remove pathogens, metals, and other impurities from water. Doctoral student Julie Bliss Mullen of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is co-founder of the company, and the headline of the Republican story noted that “UMass-born Start-up Aclarity Pioneers Path to Purifying Water.”
David A. Reckhow of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was interviewed on Radio Station WGBY-TV 57 in February about how to interpret a recent finding of slightly elevated levels of haloacetic acids in Springfield’s drinking water. Interviewed on the local public television show Connecting Point, Reckhow said the temporarily elevated levels are caused by the interaction between organic matter in the water, as produced by excessive rainfall over the last few months, and chlorine that is added. He said there should be no alarm about this issue on a short-term basis.
For the spring semester of 2019, the College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is offering a brand new online course that uses a traditional open-source wind-turbine modeling software called OpenFAST, developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, to simulate turbines and their dynamics quite accurately. The online course is ongoing and will be offered at least once per year.
The College of Engineering is recognizing its 26 most accomplished, first-year, doctoral students with the distinction of Dean’s Fellows for 2018-19, a program which rewards entering Ph.D. students with financial support, academic acknowledgement, and career-making research opportunities. Since enrolling here last September, these diverse students have shown unlimited potential, as demonstrated by their impressive range of backgrounds.
Inside UMass reports that three research projects at UMass Amherst, all awarded to engineering researchers, are among 13 at colleges and universities across the state sharing $195,000 in seed funding from the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) Acorn Innovation Fund. The seed grants are for $15,000 apiece. See entire article: Faculty Receive Seed Funding as Part of MTTC Acorn Innovation Fund.
Professor Sanjay Arwade of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is a co-principal investigator on a multi-disciplinary, inter-institutional team of engineers, scientists, and social scientists that last August was awarded a $100,000 NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) Planning Grant to identify with industry partners the key priorities for offshore wind research. As the abstract for the NSF award explains the vast potential for offshore wind energy (OWE), “The U.S. OWE resource is enormous and could provide 10 to 20 times the national need for electricity.”
Inside UMass reports that three members of the College of Engineering faculty have contributed to a seminal white paper issued by the Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Research (POWER-US). The report (“Reaching Convergence in U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Research: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Innovation”) concludes that the U.S. can tap into a vast offshore wind energy resource and better steward its marine environment by organizing large-scale research and fostering public-private partnerships.
Researchers from the UMass College of Engineering and the University of Waterloo in Canada won the outstanding paper award at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on January 15. The winning paper describes their research into virtual-reality headsets to simulate and measure drivers’ hazard-anticipation performance. As the authors say, such research is desirable because virtual headsets are “several orders of magnitude less expensive” than other simulators and “could greatly extend the powers of simulation.