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The results are in for the annual Senior Design Project Day, when 20 creative, useful, and socially conscious electronic inventions were unveiled by seniors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) and judged on their technical design, understanding of realistic constraints, and other criteria. The judges awarded Team Ganz first place, Team Jackson second place, and Team Siqueira third place. The Senior Design Project provides a capstone experience for undergraduate students in the ECE department, when students work in teams of four during a year-long course to design and build systems of their own conception.

Paul Siqueira of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been selected to serve on the Science Definition Team for DESDynI, a NASA space-borne radar mission meant to study “Earth Deformation, Ecosystem Science, and the Dynamics of Ice,” as the title of the project indicates. DESDynI is intended to be launched before the end of the decade. The Science Definition Team is a group of 15 scientists nationwide who are considered experts in their fields and who will help direct the formulation of the mission.  

The College of Engineering has chosen Professor Sandip Kundu of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department to receive its 2012 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award and Assistant Professor Jenna Marquard of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department to receive its 2012 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Associate Professor James Rinderle of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department was previously selected to receive the 2012 Outstanding Teaching Award.

On Friday, April 20, the 22nd annual Senior Design Project Day at the University of Massachusetts Amherst unveiled 20 creative, useful, and socially conscious electronic inventions produced by seniors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE). The event was a high-tech floor show for the electronics of the future. This year’s inventions included devices that assist special needs students perform important everyday activities independently. Other inventions teach sign language electronically, monitor vital safety factors for firefighters, and make drivers aware of pedestrians and cyclists in the road.

Associate Professor Paul Siqueira of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has received a Charles Bullard Fellowship in Forest Research, worth more than $40,000 for the 2012-13 academic year, from Harvard University. The Bullard Fellowship program supports “advanced research and study by individuals who show promise of making an important contribution, either as scholars or administrators, to forestry and forest-related subjects from biology to earth sciences, economics, politics, administration, or law.” Professor Siqueira’s specialty is in the design, development, and use of remote sensing techniques for applications in terrestrial ecosystems. The base for Siqueira’s Bullard Fellowship research will be at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts.

Five highly accomplished engineering students will be honored on April 1 by the UMass Amherst Alumni Association at its Scholarships & Awards Reception, held at 10:00 a.m. in the Marriott Center on the 11th Floor of the Campus Center on campus. Chemical engineering major Aidan Gilchrist ’13, electrical engineering major Dustin Lagoy ’13, civil engineering major Timothy Light ’13, and mechanical engineering major Natalie Zucker ’13 will receive William F. Field Alumni Scholarships, while mechanical engineering major Andrew Erwin will receive a Senior Leadership Award.

On April 4, Professor David J. McLaughlin from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering presented "Chasing Interdisciplinarity while Chasing Tornadoes" as part of the 2011-2012 UMass Amherst Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series. McLaughlin also received the Chancellor's Medal, the highest honor bestowed to faculty by the campus. The Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, conceived by Professor McLaughlin and his collaborators, comprises a dense network of small radars that communicate with one another to sense hazardous weather patterns and distribute accurate warnings to people who need them. McLaughlin articulated the social, policy, behavioral, and technical interface issues around the use of CASA in weather-determined decision making and response.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Sacramento Bee recently ran a long feature story on the radar system being installed by the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. The CASA radars are much better than existing weather detection radars at providing high-resolution views of ground-level and low-level weather events and help provide quicker warnings of severe weather events. Dallas-Fort Worth's 6.5 million people and volatile weather made it the perfect urban test site for CASA's next five-year study phase, after the system was tested over the last four years in Southwestern Oklahoma. "What we were looking for was a large enough metro area and one that experiences a variety of hazards,” said Brenda Philips of CASA.

On February 21, the Springfield Republican published a long feature article on Krysten Moore, a 22-year-old electrical and computer engineering major, national anti-bullying spokesperson, and founder of a non-profit organization called Students Helping Instill New Esteem. She has spoken at more than 100 schools about the dangers of bullying. Bullied in middle school, she now visits schools as a spokeswoman for Love Our Children and STOMP Out Bullying to tell young people about the pain and anguish caused by bullying. Moore is also the current Miss Bergen County in New Jersey and will compete for Miss New Jersey in June hoping to advance to the Miss America Pageant.

Professor Qiangfei Xia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department unveiled his “Art in Nanoengineering” exhibition during an opening on February 16 at the Smith College Campus Center. Professor Xia gave a slide presentation from 6:00 until 6:25 p.m., followed by a reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Nolen Art Lounge, where the art exhibition was held. Ten fantastic pictures that were totally unexpected from his previous research were on display. The purpose of the exhibition was to connect nanoengineering and art, while disproving two of the primary clichés that the two fields hold about each other: Engineering is boring, and art is stupid.