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DPO Holds Annual Diversity Celebration

The Diversity Programs Office (DPO) held its annual Diversity Celebration, honoring outstanding individuals and society programs, as well as saluting various people who enriched the DPO experience this year. DPO Director Paula Rees handed out individual awards to Jason Asirifi of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department and Jenn Badylak-Reals of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department as the Exceptional Seniors. Then Dr. Rees gave awards to two Emerging Leaders, Xuyen Mai of the CEE department and Italo De Souza of the MIE department. The DPO also recognized the UMass chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers for the Best Outreach program, the UMass Society of Women Engineers for the Best Workshop, and the UMass chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers for the Best Team Building.

During the Diversity Celebration, Rees also gave special recognition to the staff, tour guides, and student employees in the college Office of Student Affairs, to the DPO student staff, to the tutors and Study Jam Leaders, and to the Outreach Leaders.

Speaking of outreach, DPO outreach students saw the fruits of a two-semester-long project on April 11 at the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club in Holyoke and on April 12 at the Gerena Elementary School in Springfield, where school students showed off the E-textile Projects they had been fabricating with the help of our engineering students.

The young students from grades 5 through 8 had the opportunity to design, build, and program their own e-textile creations as part of their afterschool program. E-textiles, also known as electronic textiles or smart textiles, are fabrics that enable computing, digital components, and electronics to be embedded in them. Part of the development of wearable technology, they are known as intelligent clothing or smart clothing because they allow for the incorporation of built-in technological elements in everyday textiles and clothes.

The e-textile program is being supported by a $20,000 grant from Google, received by the Diversity Programs Office. (May 2013)