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The UMass News & Media Relations Office has produced two very informative and complimentary videos about The Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) and our campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). The videos demonstrate quite graphically how CASA and EWB are both making big waves reaching far beyond campus. The CASA video describes the organization’s revolutionary new weather-sensing radar networks, while the EWB video (UMass Engineers Without Borders Head to Kenya) covers the group’s new well, installed this fall in Western Kenya.

Work done by the college’s Human Performance Laboratory for the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, a program called Distractology 101 that teaches novice drivers how to pay attention at the wheel and forgo using electronic devices, was featured on the Today Show. The creation of Distractology 101 was directed by Donald Fisher, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and director of the Human Performance Laboratory.

Thomas Sebastian, a graduate student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, has won the Solar Energy Division Graduate Student Award for 2010, as presented by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The international award is representative of the top graduate student in renewable energy, including wind energy. Sebastian’s research deals with floating, offshore, wind turbines.

Precision Slip – a team led by mechanical engineering graduate student Robert Daniello and his faculty advisor, Dr. Jonathan Rothstein of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department – has won the $50,000 grand prize in the University of Massachusetts Amherst Innovation Challenge Final Business Plan Competition. The winning team plans to produce drag-reducing marine coatings, a nanotechnology developed by Rothstein that will dramatically cut fuel consumption and significantly increase speed of watercraft.

Engineering students make up two of the five teams in the finals of the two-stage University of Massachusetts Amherst Innovation Challenge, to be held on Thursday, April 22, in the Campus Center. Judges will hand out up to $50,000 in prize money and other incentives to the chosen winners among the five finalists in the annual contest. The Innovation Challenge is designed to reward the most promising enterprises conceived by teams of students, faculty, and recent alumni of the university.

Three College of Engineering juniors – Daniel Bercht in Computer Systems Engineering, Brian Goss in Mechanical Engineering, and Saranthip Rattanaserikiat in Civil Engineering – have each received $750 scholarships from the UMass Amherst Alumni Association. The William F. Field Alumni Scholars Program was established in 1976 to recognize and honor 60 third-year students for their academic achievements at UMass Amherst. 

According to research in the Human Performance Laboratory of the Mechanical and Engineering Department (MIE), texting while driving makes it 20 times more likely you’ll crash. The research, recently covered in feature articles for the Greenfield Recorder and Hampshire Gazette, shows that most accidents attributed to texting drivers involve crashing into something directly ahead, such as a stopping car or a pedestrian in the roadway.

Jennifer Suglia Kramer, the administrative officer in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, has been chosen to receive a 2010 Chancellor’s Citation. The annual Chancellor's Citation Award recognizes and honors employees who have demonstrated exemplary and outstanding service to the university in one or more of the following ways: original contributions; attainment of high-priority objectives; service "beyond the call of duty"; significant improvements in productivity and/or operational savings.

Mechanical Engineering alumnus Mark Notkin (B.S. ’86) has brought off an enviable coup during an unenviable time in the stock market. Notkin was the manager of 2009’s best-performing high-yield-bond fund, Fidelity Capital & Income, according to a recent article in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine (motto: “timely, trusted personal finance advice & business forecasts”). As the article reports, “From the time he took the fund’s helm in mid 2003 through January 14, it returned 9.6% annualized, beating more than 99% of its peers.”

The name of the sleek vehicle with the teardrop design is Vroom Vroom Carbon Fiber 1, or VV-CF1. It was reportedly named by the four-year-old son of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Professor David Schmidt, faculty advisor for the University of Massachusetts Amherst Supermileage Vehicle Team, which will compete in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) national supermileage competition in Marshall, Michigan, this June 10 and 11.

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