University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Professor John Klier, the head of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department, and ChE Associate Professor Shelly Peyton were awarded a $25,000 grant from the University of Massachusetts system’s Tech Development Fund, which helps bring cutting-edge UMass research to market. Klier and Peyton were funded for their project to study “Novel associative hydrogels,” aimed at developing new microgel additives for dramatically enhancing coating performance and appearance and enabling new types of water-based coating systems.

On April 5, Chemical Engineering (ChE) major Cory Thomas of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, was honored as the 2017 UMass Amherst Male Winter Scholar-Athlete. During his highly productive undergraduate education at UMass Amherst, Thomas has run several of the fastest times in the history of the university, maintained a 3.2 GPA in the challenging ChE curriculum, completed two demanding internships, and devoted himself to pursuing a pharmaceutical engineering career motivated by his mother’s spirited fight to overcome cancer.

The College of Engineering has chosen Professor Don DeGroot of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department as the 2017 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award winner and Assistant Professor Jessica Schiffman of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department as the 2017 recipient of the Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. The winners will be recognized during the college’s Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

Prior to the 2017 Materials Research Society (MRS) Spring Meeting and Exhibit in Phoenix from April 17 to 21, Chemical Engineering (ChE) Professor Sarah Perry and two of her undergraduate students submitted a piece of scientifically related art work that was selected as a finalist for the MRS Science as Art competition, whose purpose was to show the aesthetic beauty of scientific images. Perry’s participating students are Savannah Szemethy, a sophomore ChE major, and Matthew Gagnon, a senior in mathematics. Szemethy and Gagnon’s MRS submission, titled Bloom, is a micrograph of DNA/lipid films that was recolored into an image of blooming flowers (see accompanying image).

Mike Malone, vice chancellor for research and engagement and the Ronnie and Eugene M. Isenberg Distinguished Professor in engineering,  has been named an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus by Penn State’s College of Engineering. Malone received his award, along with 11 other recipients, at a ceremony April 20 at Penn State’s University Park campus.

Chemical Engineering (ChE) senior Ashley Kaiser is one of six UMass undergrads whose research accomplishments have been deemed “inspiring and notable” enough for the students to be honored with the Rising Researcher award in Research Next, the online magazine at UMass Amherst. The Rising Researcher award, sponsored by the Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Research and Engagement, recognizes exceptional UMass Amherst undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. See Research Next article

Professor David Schmidt of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department and Professor Sarah Perry of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department have been selected to receive the two 2017 Outstanding Teaching Awards in the College of Engineering. Schmidt was cited by the selection committee for his commitment to redeveloping both of the first-year courses in MIE and for his history of mentoring undergraduate and graduate research students. Perry was recognized for her approach and success in teaching first-year students and for her development of a novel course in microfluidics. The two awards will be celebrated during the COE Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

Over Spring Break, from March 11 to March 18, a group of four chemical engineering sophomores painted and repaired damaged houses in New Orleans as part of the ServeUP InterVarsity Christian Fellowship program, a ministry of campuses in New England committed to exposing students to the intersection of faith and service. The four ChE students joined two teams of 14 students from UMass Amherst and about 66 students from the Five College area in the annual service program. The four ChE students were Bryan Chua, Navin Sundaramurthy, Ricardo Valdes, and Kyaw Htet Paing.

A team of researchers from UMass Amherst headed by Professor Dimitrios Maroudas of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department has found a way to reduce the surface roughness of conducting thin films used in microelectronics, potentially boosting their ability to conduct electrical and thermal energy. According to a press release by the American Institute of Physics (AIP), surface roughness reduction is “a really big deal when it comes to fundamental surface physics and while fabricating electronic and optical devices.”

Assistant Professor Jessica Schiffman, a faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the sole Principal Investigator for a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to test a “potentially transformative concept,” as NSF reviewers have stated, that “if successful, would provide a new approach for limiting biofouling of water-treatment membrane materials, which is a significant and ubiquitous problem.”

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