University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Four College of Engineering undergraduate students were among the eight so-called “Rising Researchers” throughout the whole university campus as designated by the UMass Amherst website Research Next (Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity for a Brighter Future). All four engineering winners were recently profiled, along with the four other Rising Researchers from across the UMass campus, on Research Next. See entire article.

Professional Technician (II) Rick Winn of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department has been selected as one of the 10 staff members at UMass Amherst to receive the 2016 Chancellor’s Citation. Winn is responsible for the supervision of the entire MIE student shop, recently upgraded and renovated into the Altra Industrial Motion Innovation Shop, and has worked in the MIE department since 2002. Even though the MIE enrollment has increased from 219 in 2006 to 521 in 2015, Winn has continued to manage the shop with no additional support.

According to the Bloomberg Business Wire, the Arbella Insurance Foundation has recommitted to another five-year period of its Distractology 101 program, based on original driving simulations created by the UMass Amherst Human Performance Lab. The Bloomberg article noted that “The program, one of the first in the country to address distracted driving with young, inexperienced drivers, is relaunching this week with updated training scenarios and an eye-catching new look. To date, more than 11,000 teenagers have completed the Distractology training. Drivers who have completed Distractology are proven to be 19 percent less likely to have an accident and 25 percent less likely to get traffic violations.”

As the baseball season approaches with the speed of a 98 mph fastball, we are reminded that batting .500 would be a Hall of Fame batting average for anyone. That’s exactly what the College of Engineering will be hitting on April 7, when up to $65,000 in funding will be at stake during the annual Shark Tank-style contest taking place at the University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge Final Competition. There, three of the six finalists will be teams featuring engineering students! You can be there to hear the final teams pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges who will award big-money prizes to various deserving winners.

During the spring semester of 2016, seven students from the Chemical, Mechanical and Industrial, and Civil and Environmental Engineering Departments are participating in the college’s study abroad program by spending five months at Heriot Watt University, located in Edinburgh, Scotland. We say “thanks” and give the tip of a hat to Professor Sarah Perry for nominating two of the students and asking one of them, Meaghan O’Brien, to write her impressions of her experiences overseas.

Professors Erin Baker and David Schmidt of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department adapted a variation on the theme of “divide and conquer” to make their introductory engineering course much more user-friendly for the 192 students taking the very large class in the fall of 2015. They used UMass Enhancement Funds to divide much of the coursework for “Engin 113 Introduction to Mechanical and Industrial Engineering” into a “team-based learning” (TBL) approach to make it much easier for their students to “conquer” their work. TBL is the use of learning teams to enhance student engagement and the quality of student learning.

Talk about a grand slam! Five College of Engineering Undergraduates from all four engineering departments have won key awards and scholarships from the UMass Amherst Alumni Association. See complete list

On February 20 UMass distance swimmer Alessandro Bomprezzi, a senior from Rome, Italy, in our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, led the UMass Swimming Team to an Atlantic 10 Championship, aided and abetted by two other engineering majors. Bomprezzi has a couple of pressing ambitions in his young life as a Renaissance scholar/athlete. In the short term, Bomprezzi is ending his college swimming career with a powerful finish, while, in the long term, he’s working on revolutionizing automobile engine design.

This Monday, February 29, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm. the 36-foot-long newly relaunched Distractology mobile classroom will visit the UMass Amherst campus.  Look for it by the Campus Center. 

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