The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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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.

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named Professor Christos Dimitrakopoulos of our Chemical Engineering Department as one of 66 academic inventors in the inaugural class of NAI Senior Members. Dimitrakopoulos, who joined the university as a professor in 2013, holds 87 U.S. patents and has authored or co-authored more than 90 publications in journals and proceedings, with a total citation count of more than 21,000.

Professor Friederike C. Jentoft (Principal Investigator) and Associate Professor Wei Fan (Co-PI) of the Chemical Engineering Department have received a two-year, $110,000 grant from the American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund. Their collaborative research aims to identify and investigate organic-inorganic surface sites capable of converting methane to higher alkanes at mild conditions. The objective is to design new catalysts and optimize the entire process.

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