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UMass Amherst alums Scot Chisholm ’04 and Pat Walsh ’03 were just “a couple of average guys” when they met as undergraduates in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, but ever since they staged a “StayClassy Pubcrawl” in 2005 to raise money for cancer research, they’ve found themselves as revolutionaries in fundraising for nonprofit organizations. The original San Diego-based event, which attracted 200 pub crawlers and derived its name from the popular Will Ferrell movie, Anchorman, mushroomed into a free online platform and social fundraising service for nonprofits.

Seven years ago, Ciriaco "Cid" da Silva, a 1982 mechanical engineering alumnus, and his wife, Corinne da Silva, left the virtual world of the computer industry for the very real and earthy world of avocado farming. The outgrowth of this major career move is Bella Vado (Avocado Oil), the first U.S. manufacturer of avocado oil. Now Bella Vado is a very real Southern California treasure. In 2003, Cid resigned from his job as a software architect, while Corinne gave up her job as managing director of an Internet marketing firm, so they could purchase a 40-acre avocado grove near Valley Center in Southern California.

When a pike is attacked, the fish escapes by performing a lightning-fast jackknife, which generates a remarkable 25 Gs of acceleration for a tenth of a second – more than three times the acceleration of an Apollo launch. In order to study this amazing reflex action, Dr. Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has spent the past two years working on two generations of robotic fish, which mimic the escape mechanism of a pike.

VISTAGY, Inc., a leading global provider of industry-specific engineering software and services, has partnered with the UMass College of Engineering through the donation of 10 software licenses for the company’s FiberSIM® software. The licenses represent very sophisticated and specific software for computer aided design used to model carbon-fiber analysis. VISTAGY also donated one license of its FiberSIM® software to the college last year.

Among the media that covered the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly named Arbella Insurance Group Human Performance Laboratory on December 10 were the Springfield Republican, TV stations WSHM-TV 3 and WWLP-TV 22, and radio stations WFCR and WAMC. The laboratory’s new name celebrates a recent $150,000 gift from the Arbella Insurance Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the Arbella Insurance Group (CEO John Donohue pictured).

Anyone on dialysis knows the ravages of uncontrolled anemia: severe fatigue, hospitalization, and, in extreme cases, death. Now a team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst is collaborating with a leading kidney specialist at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., to design more effective protocols for dosing a key drug used for controlling anemia in dialysis patients. In dialysis patients the amount of the hormone erythropoietin, or EPO, produced by kidneys to manage the production of red blood cells and control anemia is significantly lower than in healthy persons, resulting in the diminished red blood cell production that characterizes anemia.

On Friday, December 10, the College of Engineering hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly named Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation Human Performance Laboratory, a driving research facility. The human performance laboratory’s new name celebrates a recent $150,000 gift from the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic branch of the Arbella Insurance Group.

On November 30, WWLP-TV 22 covered some more of the news-making research being done in the Human Performance Laboratory, with this spot focusing on how to retrain older drivers who have begun to lose some of their driving skills. Matthew Romoser, a senior research scientist in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, said that, as drivers get older, some of them have more difficulty in driving safely, but training can help them make up for lost skills and remind them what is required to prevent accidents.

In an article posted on its website November 18, financial news powerhouse Bloomberg focused on the accomplishments of College of Engineering alumnus Mark Notkin in a long article with the headline “Fidelity's Junk-Bond King Notkin Adds Stocks as Debt Rally Dies.” The high-yield mutual fund managed by Notkin, the $12.8 billion Fidelity Capital & Income Fund, beat all rivals over the past five years, but now he says the rally in junk bonds is over and stocks are a better buy. Read the article.

Hopedale, Massachusetts, resident Paul C. Washburn III was honored in October at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a College of Engineering 2010 Outstanding Senior Alumni Award for having brought recognition and honor to the college through his professional achievements, leadership, and service to his profession, university, and society. Washburn earned his B.S. degree from UMass Amherst in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research in 1981 and his M.B.A. there in 1984.

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