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Professor Surita Bhatia of the Chemical Engineering Department was one of 24 women academics who attended a meeting on May 12 and 13 dealing with the issues of female academics in nanoscience fields. Some problems addressed at the meeting included the pressures placed on young assistant professors during the years when they are having children and trying to make tenure at the same time, the disadvantages women face by taking maternity leave, childcare issues, and the increasing underrepresentation of female undergrads in nanoscience fields.

Dr. Paul Dauenhauer of the Chemical Engineering Department received word of a $149,234 grant from the 2011 Northeast Sun Grant Initiative (NESGI) Competitive Grants program, bringing to almost $1 million the total funding he has been awarded from three sources in little more than a month. From early March until mid-April, his dovetailing research projects were also funded with an $800,000 Early Career Award in Basic Energy Sciences from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), plus $15,000 from a highly selective 3M Nontenured Faculty Award.

Ray Sehgal, a Ph.D. student in chemical engineering who is advised by ChE Professors Dimitrios Maroudas and David Ford (pictured), has been selected to attend the 2011 Open Science Grid (OSG) Summer School at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in June, as well as the TeraGrid 2011 Conference this July in Salt Lake City. Admission to the OSG summer school is highly competitive, with only 27 percent of the applicants accepted this year.

It’s official. The Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE) and its Director, Professor Susan Roberts of the Chemical Engineering Department, have unveiled the first campus graduate certificate targeting the critical interface between engineering and the life sciences. The certificate also gives students a big edge when applying for jobs. The 19-credit curriculum for this concentration includes new courses, a diverse array of electives, a graduate seminar series, a student-run journal club and research seminar, ethics training, hands-on lab modules, and professional development activities.

Nationally recognized “green gasoline” researcher and advocate George Huber, from the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been selected for an esteemed Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, which includes an unrestricted research grant of $75,000. Dr. Huber becomes the third member of the Chemical Engineering Department’s current faculty to win this highly selective national award in the chemical sciences.

Dr. Paul Dauenhauer of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a prized Early Career Award in Basic Energy Sciences from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The award will provide $800,000 for five years to support his research on “Natural and Primary Catalysts for Molten Cellulose Pyrolysis to Targeted Bio‐oils.” “Our ability to provide fuels and chemicals in a sustainable manner for future generations presents the largest global challenge for reaction engineering in the 21st century,” says Dauenhauer.

Dr. Jessica D. Schiffman, who is currently a postdoctoral associate in the Environmental Engineering Program and Chemical Engineering Department at Yale University, will join the faculty of our Chemical Engineering Department in September of 2011. Before arriving at Yale, Dr. Schiffman completed her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University. Dr. Schiffman has received Drexel’s Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award and was named “Best of the MatPac” based upon her graduate research.

Peter Monson, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and currently on sabbatical leave, has been awarded a Piercy Visiting Professorship from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota. He will visit Minnesota during April and May, working with colleagues on the synthesis and characterization of new catalysts for energy efficient chemical transformations.

Senior chemical engineering student Niva Ran is the lead author of a cover story entitled “Organic single-crystal lawns” for an upcoming issue of Materials Today, the international review magazine for all researchers with an interest in materials science and technology. Her co-authors are postdoctoral scholar Qingshuo Wei and Assistant Professor Alejandro L. Briseño from the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering. 

Chemical Engineering Professor William C. Conner, Jr. has won the 2011 Senior Faculty Award, and Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Eric Polizzi has won the 2011 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. They will both receive their awards at the Senior Recognition Ceremony on May 14, starting at 9:00 a.m. in the Recreation Center. Assistant Professor Marinos Vouvakis of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was previously announced as the winner of the 2011 College Outstanding Teaching Award, and he will also receive his award at the ceremony on May 14.

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