The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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At the 2018-2019 Innovation Challenge Final on April 4, two engineering majors – Yizhuo (E.J.) Chen (chemical engineering) and Avi Benmayor (pre-engineering) – were on team Renovare, which took home $20,000 in seed money as the second-place finisher. Renovare is turning the simple bandage into a device that not only protects wounds but also heals them twice as fast without the use of drugs.

From March 29 to 31, the University of Massachusetts Amherst chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) hosted the 2019 Eckhardt Northeast Student Regional  AIChE Conference. The event attracted about 200 attendees from 19 different universities in the northeast U.S. and Canada; all coming to network, participate in workshops, and compete in several events, including the regional Chem-E-Car Competition, a Jeopardy-style chemical engineering quiz for student teams, a poster contest, and a paper competition. The UMass team won the Jeopardy contest, and UMass ChE students Josh McGee and Jake Bradner (collaborating for second) and Sarah Duquette (third) placed in the poster contest.

Four outstanding College of Engineering undergraduates from two different departments are being honored with assorted awards at Commencement on May 10 and the College of Engineering Senior Recognition Celebration on May 11. Awardees from our college include three 21st Century Leaders and one Welch Scholar. The college also has one junior designated for the prestigious Goldwater Scholar.

Thanks and a tip of the hat to Chemical Engineering (ChE) Professor Sarah Perry, who for two years now has been advocating the creative artistry of her lab student, Savannah Szemethy, a graduating ChE senior with a gift for turning her science into astonishingly fine art. In 2017 and again this year, Szemethy placed her science-based artwork in the finals of the Science as Art Competition at the Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting and Exhibit in Phoenix. Saemethy is also a powerful advocate for the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) movement, which teaches that the arts should be incorporated into STEM-based curricula.

Assistant Professor Jungwoo Lee of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department has won the President Young Investigator Award from the Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers (KIChE). According to the KIChE, “The award is intended to recognize Korean and Korean-American scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge in the general field of chemical engineering.”

Whitney Mctigue Blocher, PhD Candidate working in Sarah Perry's Research group, has won a PPG Fellowship with her proposal "Motivation: Stabilizing vaccines and therapeutics outside the cold chain."  Whitney joined Dr. Perry's research group in 2015. 

As Acting Dean for the College of Engineering Christopher Hollot announced last week, “Please join me in congratulating Doctors Christos Dimitrakopoulos, Eleni Christofa, and Stephen Nonnenmann for being selected as outstanding faculty in the College of Engineering in 2019.” Professor Dimitrakopoulos of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department was selected for the Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, while the review committee chose Assistant Professors Christofa of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department and Nonnenmann of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department as joint awardees of the Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award.  

Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student Ryan Carpenter has received an AACR-Bristol-Myers Squibb Scholar-in-Training Award in the amount of $1,500 from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), based on the quality of his award application and abstract entitled “Implantable tumor attracting niche models to study disseminated tumor cell biology.”

Sanjay Raman, associate vice president for the Virginia Tech National Capital Region and president and CEO of the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation, has been named the new dean of the College of Engineering.  He begins his duties at UMass Amherst in August.

Assistant Professor Ashish Kulkarni of the Chemical Engineering Department has been selected as one of 10 NextGen Stars by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). As a NextGen Star, Kulkarni will present his groundbreaking research project – titled Immunotheranostic probes for monitoring cancer immunotherapy response – at the “Advances in Diagnostics and Therapeutics” session on Molecular Imaging for Cancer Immunotherapy, scheduled for April 2 at the AARC Annual Conference in Atlanta.

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