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On May 3, when the The Stonewall Center held its 20th Annual Rainbow Graduation Dinner and LGBTQIA+ & Ally Recognition Ceremony in the Amherst Room on the 10th Floor of UMass Campus Center, undergraduate Phoebe Bisnoff of our Chemical Engineering Department received an LGBTQIA+ Student Leadership Award. Bisnoff, who will be back at UMass Amherst next year, was recognized for being the founder and president of our student chapter of oSTEM.

Aiste Balciunaite, a senior in our Chemical Engineering Department and an outstanding rower on the UMass Amherst Women’s Rowing Team, has been chosen as the university’s 2018 Female Spring Scholar-Athlete Award winner. In the Spring of 2017, Balciunaite, whose hometown is Rosemont, Pennsylvania, helped lead UMass to its third Atlantic-10 Championship in four years as the Minutewomen received the A-10’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. Balciunaite was born in Uppsala, Sweden, to Darius Balciunas and Jorune Balciuniene.

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The latest innovative enterprise from Sustainability Projects Abroad (SPA), a brilliant and idealistic consortium of UMass students led by some of our engineering undergraduates, is called “PowerPass,” which, according to its creators, is a sort of “power bank” and “walk-in, solar-powered kiosk that dispenses portable batteries for students to charge their phones on the go.” SPA has set up a MinuteFund, lasting until May 23, in hopes of supporting the installation of PowerPass on campus.

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Professor Friederike Jentoft of the Chemical Engineering Department has been awarded the 37th annual "Excellence in Catalysis Award" from the Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York (CSNY), which is a regional organization, but the awardee pool is national in scope. The award, sponsored by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, consists of a plaque and a $1,500 gift. According to the CSNY, the award “is granted to an individual or a research team from North America to recognize outstanding contributions in either applied or basic research in either homogeneous or heterogeneous catalysis.”

The high-performance team of chemical engineering students Dan Bell, Yusuf Mohamad, Pat Ritchie, Ricardo Valdés, Nick Thomas, and Matt Lok – collectively calling themselves the “Squid Squad” – finished in third place among 21 competing teams at the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) Chem-E-Car Northeast Regional Competition, held on April 7 and 8 in Rochester, New York.

Congratulations to eight exceptional engineering students who will be receiving alumni scholarships and awards. The students were recognized by the UMass Amherst Alumni Association at a reception on Sunday, April 22, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Five of the best and brightest academics from the College of Engineering (COE) have been chosen to receive COE’s 2017-2018 Outstanding Faculty Awards. Professor Russell Tessier was selected for the Outstanding Senior Faculty Award. The review committee designated Assistant Professors Caitlyn Butler and David Irwin as joint awardees for the Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Finally, Professors Matthew Lackner and Shelly Peyton were named the co-recipients of the COE Outstanding Teaching Award. All five award winners will be recognized during the COE Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 12, 2018.

Irene S. Kurtz, a Ph.D. candidate in the research lab of Professor Jessica D. Schiffman from the Chemical Engineering Department, was one of nine recipients nationally to receive an Eli Lilly Travel Award. The award is sponsored jointly by the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and Eli Lilly & Company to increase the participation of women in the chemical sciences. Funding provides female graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to travel to a national meeting and present their research.

The College welcomes Krish Thiagarajan – Professor, Endowed Chair in Renewable Energy, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department; Peter Beltramo – Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering Department; Tingyi “Leo” Liu – Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department; and Xian Du – Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department.

By some estimates, more than 1,000 American citizens have lost their lives in Puerto Rico as one chilling aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 17, 2017, and the whole island is still imperiled by the immediate risk of waterborne illness due to lack of purified water. In answer to this national emergency, a group of dedicated, highly-principled, and brilliant students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst raised enough money to visit Puerto Rico from January 2 to 14 and carry out an intensive campaign of water purification, water contamination education, the distribution of food and medical supplies, and other forms of physical and emotional support for the ravaged island.

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