The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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“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.

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.

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