University of Massachusetts Amherst

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On May 7, College of Engineering alumnus Krikor Ermonian ’52 passed away after leading a life rich in engineering accomplishments and generous philanthropy to the causes he believed in, including his alma mater. He was a career civil engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, retiring after nearly 30 years of designing critical flood control structures throughout New England. See obituary

Dr. Eleni Christofa was named the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies Outstanding Young Member Award for her exceptional service to the Transportation Research Board and achievements in the transportation profession. The TRB Outstanding Young Member Award, which was established in 2012, recognizes a distinguished younger member of a TRB standing committee who has demonstrated exceptional service to TRB and achievements in transportation research, policy, or practice. The award, which is administered by the Young Members Council, may be presented annually to a TRB volunteer who is 35 years of age or younger on April 15 in the year of the award. Nominations for this award are solicited broadly from the community. The award consists of a plaque and a $2,500 cash award supported by Stantec, Inc.

 

 

 

Professors John E. Tobiason and David A. Reckhow of the UMass Civil and Environmental Engineering Department were the co-principal investigators/directors of the UMass Amherst implementation for the MassDEP-funded “Massachusetts Assistance Program for Lead in School Drinking Water” (see report), which was covered extensively on May 3 through May 5 by three long feature articles in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. See Gazette, 5/3/17, Gazette, 5/4/17, and Gazette 5/5/17. Tobiason also did a presentation on the report’s findings at the Annual Water Quality Symposium of the New England Water Works Association on May 10.

On April 24 to 28, the UMass Amherst and the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department hosted a World Bank training workshop for water managers from developing countries. According to a UMass News Office release, participants from six countries learned about risks associated with climate change and their potential long-term impacts on water infrastructure. CEE Associate Professor Casey Brown, one of the organizers of the training, said that “The engineering profession is at a change point. We need to design infrastructure to be resilient in a world of change. We had water planners from around the world here to learn how.” See Satellite PR News.

The College of Engineering has chosen Professor Don DeGroot of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department as the 2017 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award winner and Assistant Professor Jessica Schiffman of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department as the 2017 recipient of the Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. The winners will be recognized during the college’s Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

Dr. Chul Park, an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his former Ph.D. student Dr. Dong-Hyun Chon were recently awarded a U.S. Patent on their pioneering technology to decrease the production of sludge, the byproduct produced from wastewater treatment. See patent information »

Congratulations to the UMass ASCE student chapter Steel Bridge Team placed fourth overall at the ASCE Northeast Regional Competition hosted at UConn! The UMass Amherst bridge design was one of only five of 15 competitors to successfully hold the competition load of 2500 lbs.  The team designed a 249 lb, 20 ½ ft truss bridge with a cantilever and was awarded first place in Stiffness, second place in Aesthetics, and was the lightest truss design before infractions were added to their score.  The team built the bridge in 22 minutes and 38 seconds using launched construction to span the “river,” receiving creativity and safety thumbs-up from the judges. Zachary Bartula, Dan Clasby and Trent Guihan led the 17 member team, entirely comprised of first time participants. 

ElectroPure, a venture created by Ph.D. candidate Julie Bliss Mullen of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, won the $26,000 first prize in the finals of the University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge on April 6. Mullen has developed a water treatment device at a competitive price and aimed at homes and small community systems such as schools to combat diverse water quality issues.

The UMass Amherst Institute for Teaching Excellence & Faculty Development, or TEFD, has informed Assistant Professor Caitlyn Butler of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department that its Selection Committee has chosen her as one of eight campus recipients of the 2017-18 Lilly Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. Among several other benefits, the fellowship involves $14,000 in funding split between Butler and the CEE department. “This is a significant achievement given the high volume and quality of nominations this year, which the committee members described as ‘truly astounding,’” said Brian Baldi of TEFD.

Richard Palmer, the head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the university director of the Northeast Climate Science Center, has been elected to the grade of Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). As the ASCE letter to announce the honor said in part, “You will also be interested to know that, prior to this year's election of nine new Distinguished Members, only 688 civil engineers in the 165-year history of ASCE have been similarly honored, and there are only 228 Distinguished Members among the Society’s current membership of over 150,000 people.”

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