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WGGB-TV ABC 40 in Springfield has aired an interview with Dr. Michael Zink about the relatively unusual phenomenon of tornados in New England. Dr. Zink is the deputy director of the Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). He cited tornados in Suffield, Connecticut, in 1979 and great Barrington, Massachusetts, in 1995. But the closest and most recent was a so-called “gustado” in 2009 that picked up a tobacco barn in Sunderland and moved it into the middle of Route 47. Dr. Zink said that the technology behind CASA’s network of four Distributed Collaborative Adaptive Sensing (DCAS) radars, now being tested in Oklahoma, would help evacuation people to save lives and property. Watch the video.

Hot on the heels of its annual Senior Design Project Day on April 29, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst held its second annual Circuits and Codes event on April 30. Circuits and Codes is described as “a celebration of technology, engineering, science, mathematics, creativity, and the students who are designing and building the products and systems of the future.”

On Friday, April 29, the 21st annual Senior Design Project Day at the University of Massachusetts Amherst unveiled 13 clever, creative, and useful electronic inventions produced by seniors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE). The event is a high-tech floor show for the electronics of the future. Past projects have included everything from home automation systems and wireless drumsticks to assistive robots. This year’s inventions go by such intriguing names as the Wait Watcher, the Weed Warrior, and the Mechanical Autonomous Robot Companion (pictured).

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.

A paper co-authored by Associate Professor Do-Hoon Kwon of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has been selected by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Antennas and Propagation Society to receive the inaugural 2011 IEEE Antennas and Propagation Edward E. Altshuler Prize Paper Award. Dr. Kwon was the lead author of the paper, entitled "Transformation Electromagnetics: An Overview of the Theory and Applications," published in the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, Vol. 52, No.1, pp. 24-46, February 2010.

Students from the College of Engineering have won four William F. Field Alumni Field Scholarships and two Senior Leadership Awards from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Alumni Association. The awardees represent all four departments at the college. Our Field Scholars are: Daniel Abrams, civil engineering; Zachary Brentzel, chemical engineering; To Chong, computer engineering; and Carlo Domaoan, mechanical engineering. Caitlin Bogdan, mechanical engineering and classics, and Xiaoliang Yao, industrial engineering and operations management, won Senior Leadership Awards

Senior Sean Busch continued to rake in the accolades in March when, in the space of a few days, he shattered the UMass record in the pole vault and was tabbed as the Atlantic 10 Student-Athlete of the Year for the indoor track and field season. The award follows a 2011 A-10 Title in the pole vault, brought home by Busch on February 18th. The Stow, Mass., native had tied the old school record of 15-9 twice this season and finally broke it on March 5 by soaring over 16 feet and a fraction of an inch.

A team of seven students from our Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and our student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) won the Ethics Competition at the 2011 IEEE Region 1 Student Conference from March 25-27 at Boston University. The competition was sponsored by the IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee and developed for use at IEEE student events to encourage the study and awareness of professional ethics by IEEE student and graduate student members.

Michael Zink of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department co-chaired the first DFG/GENI doctoral consortium, held March 13-15 in conjunction with the 10th GENI Engineering Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The consortium was jointly organized by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

David McLaughlin has been named to a National Academy of Sciences panel assessing the National Weather Service's Modernization Program. Dr. McLaughlin is the associate dean at the College of Engineering, the director of the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), and a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. During the 1980s and 1990s, NOAA launched a major program to modernize the National Weather Service (NWS), investing $5 billion to modernize NWS technologies and advance weather forecasting.

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