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Donald Fisher, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, director of the Human Performance Laboratory, and expert on distracted driving, was interviewed on January 13 by WFCR public radio about the dangers of texting while driving. “Drivers of all ages are 17 to 20 percent more at risk when they’re texting than when they’re not texting,” explained Professor Fisher. “And that increased risk comes because they glance down longer than two seconds.” Dr.

Assistant Professor Ashwin Ramasubramaniam of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has been chosen by the Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS) as one of two recipients for the 2012 TMS EMPMD Young Leader Professional Development Award. His nomination was recently approved by the TMS Electronic, Magnetic, & Photonic Materials Division Award Committee.

A feature story in the January 3 Springfield Republican looked at the Sneakers 4 Success program started by mechanical engineering undergrad Samuel Del Pilar at the Renaissance School in Springfield to teach urban children about real-world business through what he calls “sneaker culture.” Del Pilar developed Sneakers 4 Success as an educational program that teaches city students real-life marketing, design, and business skills through their affinity for basketball sneakers.

Six teams containing engineering students or faculty members scored prize money in the recent Executive Summary & Elevator Pitch phase of the University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge, which handed out $10,000 to promising teams of aspiring entrepreneurs. Innovation Challenge competitors are interdisciplinary teams developing marketable business concepts while working in consultation with faculty members and external advisors. SMASH, based on a new software technique to reduce the energy consumption of battery-powered devices, nailed one of the four top prizes of $1,750 apiece.

On December 9, seven teams of mechanical engineering students gathered in the second-floor hallway of the ELab Building to present their useful, practical, and inventive projects for the “Senior Capstone Design Project.” The Senior Capstone Design Course, taught by Professor Frank Sup of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, acts as a proof of concept for the MIE curriculum.

Imagine being a summer intern and being thrust into the cleanup planning for one of the three most famous nuclear events in history. That’s what happened last summer, when senior mechanical engineering major Richard Lau was doing an internship for The Shaw Group office in Stoughton, Massachusetts, and suddenly found himself on a team working on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

A $27,500 endowment created by alumnus Charles “Chuck” Machlin, who graduated in 1982 with an Industrial Engineering and Operations Research degree, has been set up “in perpetuity” to support the worthy international work done by our campus chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). Machlin’s gifts have previously supported other funding priorities at the College of Engineering, including unrestricted funds to be used at the dean's discretion, and funding for our summer Research Experience for Undergraduates.

Therapeutic Systems, a company cofounded by Brian Mullen (right) when he was a graduate student in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, has won $50,000 in the MassChallenge award competition. The concept for Therapeutic Systems was a vest developed by Mullen to help calm people with autism. He cofounded the company with fellow UMass Amherst alumnus Chris Leidel (left). Therapeutic Systems was among 26 startups from around the world that split $1 million in awards through the challenge.

Last semester, 17 enterprising students from all four departments in the College of Engineering took advantage of the UMass Amherst Study Abroad Program to take courses in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Israel, Australia, China, and the United Arab Emirates. Among these international students were civil engineering major Megan Rodgers and mechanical engineering major Igor Galis (pictured). Ask all these engineering students why they chose to study overseas and you’ll probably get 17 different answers.

On Thursday, October 20, Dr. Edwin L. “Ned” Thomas ’69, The William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering in the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University, delivered the 12th annual Tang Lecture on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The title of his lecture was “The Role of Design-Build Competitions in Enhancing Leadership Skills in Engineering Students.” The Tang Lecture was delivered in the Cape Cod Lounge of the Student Union Building. Dr. Thomas, a Massachusetts native, received his B.S.

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