University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Majdouline Touil is hoping to ride her very productive internship with the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, maker of the Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters, right into her future. The multi-talented industrial engineering major, who is also active in the UMass Amherst Theatre Guild and the Society of Women Engineers, has already made her mark at the Sikorsky plant in Stratford, Connecticut, where she was an INROADS intern this past summer. She hopes it will leave a lasting impression.

On September 24 at 3:00 p.m., the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department will be holding a poster competition open to all current graduate students. The posters will be displayed and judged in the Gunness Student Center. Light refreshments will be served. The MIE department will provide easels, poster board, and printing assistance, as well as cash prizes. The first prize is $300, $150 for the second prize, and the third prize is $50.

This fall, the College of Engineering welcomes two new faculty members and one former faculty member. The new members are Dr. Wei Fan of the Chemical Engineering Department and Dr. Frank C. Sup of the Mechanical Engineering Department. We are also happy to welcome back a former longtime member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE), Dr. William J. Leonard, who served variously as a research associate, senior research associate, lecturer, research assistant professor, and research associate professor in the department from 1988 to 2009.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Wind Energy Center (WEC) recently made news when it was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution for its gift of the historic Wind Furnace #1 to the National Museum of American History. Built at UMass Amherst in the 1970s, the 25-kilowatt facility was at one time the largest electricity-producing wind turbine in the world. It featured the first design to include several technologies now standard in modern utility wind turbines.

The “Distractology 101” driving simulation test created by the Human Performance  Laboratory was praised by an editorial in the Fall River Herald-News, while the lab’s Director, Don Fisher, was interviewed about distracted driving for the second time this summer by WWLP-TV Channel 22 News. “Thumbs up to the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Arbella Insurance Group’s charitable foundation,” said the Herald-News editorial, “which spent more than $500,000 and two years developing a simulated program that mimics real-life driving.”

What if we could cure diabetes, save the Great Lakes, relieve sleep deprivation in surgeons, and figure out a faster way to rescue disaster victims, all in one summer? In fact, those goals were only part of the agenda when 25 undergraduate students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst presented posters and talked about their summer research projects on July 30 in the Gunness Engineering Student Center.

Professor Don Fisher, head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and director of the Human Performance Laboratory, was interviewed on Sunday by Laura Hutchinson of the WWLP-TV Channel 22 “In Focus” program about the new Massachusetts state law that bans texting while driving for everyone and phoning while driving for drivers under 18. “Texting while driving is dangerous for two reasons,” Dr. Fisher said during the interview.

Mechanical engineering major Brian Goss joined ExxonMobil Development Company on June 1 as a summer engineering intern in the Subsea Riser Flowlines Group. Goss’ introduction to the energy industry has been a unique one. During the worst oil spill catastrophe in U.S. history, he has the rare opportunity to experience first-hand an inside technical perspective amidst a storm of media controversy and public outrage. Goss is supporting the Julia Project, a subsea tie-back to Chevron’s Jack St. Malo platform, located in the Gulf of Mexico.

Researchers from UMass Amherst, led by a team from our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department (MIE), received the 2010 Liberty Mutual Award for their scientific paper, “Can Younger Drivers Be Trained to Scan for Information That Will Reduce Their Risk in Roadway Traffic Scenarios That Are Hard to Identify as Hazardous?” The paper, published in Ergonomics (Vol. 52, No. 6, p.p. 657-673, June 2009), discusses a scientific investigation aimed to reduce the risk of vehicle crashes for younger drivers (18-21 years).

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