News

Charlene Nalubega, a junior industrial engineering major whose family now lives in Ashland, Massachusetts, is spending much of her time in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department working toward a noble goal. Nalubega came to the United States in 2009 from Uganda, and someday after she has become a professional engineer she would like to return there to help her country’s development and progress. “I wanted to do industrial engineering because there are a lot of systems in my country that are developed, but they need improvement,” says Nalubega. “As an industrial engineer, I would have the tools and the education to help make those improvements. I would be especially interested in renewable energy or recycling, which both need improving in Uganda. Someday I would like the opportunity to help my country in that way.”

The Arbella Insurance Foundation has awarded a grant of $50,000 to the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory as part of its “50 to 25” program, which presented one-time grants of $50,000 to 25 local charities throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. The “50 to 25” program was created in recognition of the Arbella Insurance Group’s 25th anniversary and the important role the foundation plays in supporting the communities Arbella serves. The Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory is a multi-disciplinary research facility at the UMass Amherst College of Engineering. The lab’s research focuses on understanding driver behavior, on identifying factors in and outside of the vehicle which affect driver safety, and on developing training programs to improve driving skills.

In the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Innovation Shop at UMass Amherst, we challenge students to develop real solutions to real problems every day. Now we’re pleased to announce a challenge for YOU. Altra Industrial Motion, led by President and CEO Carl Christenson ('82 B.S., '84 M.S., Mechanical Engineering), has made a generous challenge grant that will double every gift to the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department’s Innovation Shop up to $50,000. What this means is that your gift today will have twice the impact on future engineers and the practical experience they get in the Innovation Shop. For every dollar you give, Altra will contribute a dollar – doubling the funds that will help expand opportunities for students, and keeping the shop state-of-the-art. Come and take the Altra Ultra Challenge!

Associate Professor Steve de Bruyn Kops of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst leads one of two teams awarded inaugural Frontier Project grants from the Department of Defense (DoD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP). de Bruyn Kops’ project, entitled Multiscale Interactions in Stratified Turbulence, will use high performance computers to simulate turbulence in fluids strongly affected by gravity.

Stephen Malkin, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department at UMass Amherst, passed away on August 19. An announcement on August 20 from MIE Department Head Donald Fisher noted that “On a sad note, Steve Malkin passed away yesterday, Tuesday, at his home in Boston. Steve was a very important figure in the recent development of this department and was a well-respected engineer and teacher. We will miss his friendship, leadership, and companionship.” Among Professor Malkin’s many honors was his election to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions afforded to any engineer. In announcing the election, the academy cited Professor Malkin “for pioneering research in and the implementation of grinding-system simulation and optimization.” Services were held on August 21.

Doctoral students Cheryl Ann Nicholas of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department and Jordon D. Bosse from the College of Nursing have been named the 2013-2014 Hluchyj Fellows at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Hluchyj Graduate Fellowship was started by Dr. Michael Hluchyj, a 1979 alumnus of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and his wife, Theresa “Terry” Hluchyj, a 1977 alumna from the College of Nursing.

The College of Engineering welcomes five new faculty members for the fall semester of 2013: Boris Lau and Gouping (Gregg) Zhang, who will join the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department; Christos Dimitrakopoulos, joining the Chemical Engineering Department; Zlatan Aksamija, who will be a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; and Stephen Nonnenmann, in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. The college is very fortunate to employ these new faculty members with such diverse backgrounds, outstanding academic performance, and cutting-edge research experience.

The key to sustainable alternative energy sources such as biofuels, hydrogen, synthetic hydrocarbons, and fuel cells is the catalytic processes that drive the energy conversion pathways. Now Ashwin Ramasubramaniam, a faculty member in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has received a five-year, $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to study electocatalysts in direct methanol fuels cells and proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cells and then suggest revolutionary ways to improve them.

Donald Fisher, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and director of the Arbella Human Performance Laboratory, was the prime source in a June 28 New York Times article about schools using driving simulators for driver’s education. In the article, Fisher championed the use of driving simulators, such as the ones developed in his lab, and explained why teenagers in particular need the software instruction. “I call it the Lake Wobegon Effect — everyone learning to drive believes they are above average,” Fisher told the Times. “But we now know that if you’re texting and driving, you are 23 times more likely to crash, which is horrifying.”

The UMass Supermileage Vehicle (SMV), a streamlined, three-wheel car with a featherweight aluminum frame and a plastic shrink-wrap shell, rolled smoothly through the Society of Automotive Engineers Supermileage® competition in Marshall, Michigan, while getting a tightfisted 1,010 mpg and finishing in fourth place out of 28 colleges. “We ended up rebuilding, significantly improving, and competing in the car we drove last year,” says faculty advisor Jonathan Rothstein of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. “The main upgrade was rebuilding last year’s engine from the ground up.” During the competition, not only was the UMass SMV a model of efficiency, but the UMass SMV team was a model of sportsmanship.