News

We’ve all seen the problem: Food service employees struggling to tug on those cumbersome, rubbery, hygienic gloves required by law. We’ve all asked ourselves the same question. How many times per day must they yank them on and off? Now a team of seniors from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department has created an automatic mechanism to help them do it. The “Delicatessen Glove Donning Machine” won first place in the senior capstone design contest, held on April 30, when 23 teams from the MIE department demonstrated the prototypes of their useful, inventive, and brilliant designs for all to see. Second place went to a “Wick Centering Device Cleaning System” for the Yankee Candle Company, while third place was a tie between an “Elderly Assisted Standing Device” for someone in an independent living facility and an “Integrated Hood Cooling System” for cars.

Bob Barron, a Ph.D. candidate in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, has been selected for the 2014 Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP) of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria. Barron’s participation in the YSSP will be funded by the National Science Foundation in cooperation with the National Academy of Sciences. The YSSP is a three-month research program for around 50 advanced Ph.D. students whose interests correspond with IIASA's ongoing research. IIASA is an international research organization that conducts inter-disciplinary scientific studies on environmental, economic, technological, and social issues in the context of human dimensions of global change.

On April 30, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., 23 student teams of seniors from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will demonstrate the prototypes of their useful, inventive, and brilliant designs for all to see. Visitors are welcome to this capstone event, which will be staged in the Gunness Student Center of Marcus Hall, and includes groundbreaking projects created by both mechanical engineering and industrial engineering seniors. Projects from mechanical engineering students include a wax-cleaning device for the Yankee Candle Company and two custom-built assistive devices for local senior citizens. One distinctive industrial engineering project is a new system to help healthcare workers at Baystate Medical Center generate more complete and accurate lists of patient medications.

Matthew Lackner of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department was recently featured on Research Next, the web magazine about research, scholarship, and creativity at UMass Amherst. As the Research Next article noted, “The UMass Wind Energy Center, a leading wind energy research institution since 1972, is what drew Lackner to UMass Amherst a decade ago—it was one of the few institutions offering programs focused solely on wind energy. Now, as a member of the center and an executive faculty advisor for the campus’s federally funded IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) Offshore Wind Energy program, Lackner is researching the next generation of offshore wind turbines.” Read full story: http://www.umass.edu/researchnext//blade-runner.

Dean Tim Anderson is pleased to announce the appointment of three faculty members and one administrator as the new associate deans for the College of Engineering. The new appointments are: Professor John Collura, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, as the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation; Professor David Ford, Chemical Engineering Department, as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor Tilman Wolf, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, as the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Operations; and Kathleen Rubin, the current Assistant Dean, as the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Administration. The College of Engineering is indeed fortunate to have these dedicated individuals available to serve in four key positions at this crucial time of growth, evolution, and advancement within the institution.

Evan Gaertner, a graduate student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has been selected from a pool of several highly qualified applicants to receive the 2014-15 Edwin V. Sisson Doctoral Fellowship, starting this coming September (2014). Sisson is a 1968 alumnus from the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, and his fellowship fund is geared toward first-year doctoral candidates from any of the four departments in the College of Engineering who do research in sustainable energy or other environmental subjects, the main areas of the donor’s concerns. His graduate research, performed under faculty advisor Matthew Lackner of the MIE department, is focused on modeling unsteady aerodynamics of floating offshore wind turbines.

Tony McCaffrey, a former postdoctoral researcher and current collaborator in the Center for e-Design at our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has produced a short video to explain the new “Brainswarming” tool he has created for Innovation Accelerator, Inc., the company he founded with its CEO, James O. Pearson, an alumnus of the MIE department. Brainswarming, consisting of software that provides a better, more efficient process as an alternative to brainstorming, is the latest tool to emerge from McCaffrey’s research and will soon become an online platform for remote group work. A game version of Brainswarming is also available. Watch the video for more information on what Brainswarming is and how you can implement it: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/03/why-you-should-stop-brainstorming/.

The Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department seeks to raise a minimum of $30,000 to fund the Stephen Malkin Annual Lecture Series in honor of the late Professor Malkin (1941-2013), a visionary, a leader, and, above all, an excellent mentor, who was the MIE department head for more than six years. The purpose of the Malkin Lecture Series will be to attract a wide variety of expert speakers, who will inspire our learning community on issues of innovation and progress in engineering fields involved with manufacturing. Several of Malkin’s academic and professional colleagues have already contributed to the endowment, with more than $10,000 raised. Now you can help us grow the fund to a sustaining level of $30,000 and thus enable this wonderful lecture series. Will you join us in making a contribution to the Stephen Malkin Lecture Series Endowed Fund?

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Alumni Association has announced the recipients of its annual student scholarships and awards, and six high-achieving undergraduates from the College of Engineering were among them. The engineering recipients were: Industrial Engineering major Avery Stroman ’16, who won a $750 Alumni Merit-Based SAA Scholarship; Mechanical Engineering major Aaron Annan '15, Computer System Engineering major Michael Bjorge '15, Civil Engineering major Marissa Shea '15, and Chemical Engineering major Marianne Sleiman '15, who all received $750 William F. Field Alumni Scholarships; and Electrical Engineering major Joshua Hodge ’14, who received a $500 Senior Leadership Award.

Justin Calderara, an undergraduate in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, figured prominently in a video about Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, chairman of Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Advisory Council, when the congressman toured the recently completed University of Massachusetts Amherst Life Science Laboratory and Integrated Sciences Building. Calderara took part in lively student discussions with Congressman Kennedy concerning the university’s STEM Diversity Institute and its Integrated Concentration in Science (ICONS) program. After trading observations with Calderara and a tableful of other UMass undergrads, Congressman Kennedy called the group “tremendously impressive.” View the video at http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/congressman-joseph-p-kennedy-iii-tours.