News

Doctoral students Cheryl Ann Nicholas of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department and Jordon D. Bosse from the College of Nursing have been named the 2013-2014 Hluchyj Fellows at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Hluchyj Graduate Fellowship was started by Dr. Michael Hluchyj, a 1979 alumnus of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and his wife, Theresa “Terry” Hluchyj, a 1977 alumna from the College of Nursing.

Alumnus Greg Strelzoff, who earned his B.S. in Computer Systems Engineering from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, is consumed by two high-profile occupations that each depend on speed, precision, and high performance. Strelzoff is the CEO of ZeroLag, a Los Angeles based dedicated hosting company that allows its customers to enjoy full leverage of all their server resources, including customization of storage, memory, or networking configurations to suit their needs. In addition to running ZeroLag, Strelzoff is also a racecar driver.

On June 25, about 22 electrical and computer engineering alumni living in the San Diego area gathered at the Morehouse Campus of Qualcomm to catch up on old times, network, share life stories, and enjoy each other’s company. The hosts for the event were Roberto Padovani ’83 MS, ’85 PhD, the executive vice president and a fellow of Qualcomm, and Christopher Hollot, head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. The conversation and good fellowship were enhanced by a tasty selection of wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres, as well as a fine selection of old friends reuniting.

The College of Engineering welcomes five new faculty members for the fall semester of 2013: Boris Lau and Gouping (Gregg) Zhang, who will join the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department; Christos Dimitrakopoulos, joining the Chemical Engineering Department; Zlatan Aksamija, who will be a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; and Stephen Nonnenmann, in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. The college is very fortunate to employ these new faculty members with such diverse backgrounds, outstanding academic performance, and cutting-edge research experience.

In 2001, electrical enginineering alumnus James M. Smith, who was at that time the CEO of the EDO Corporation, established the James M. Smith ’67 Scholarship Fund at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Today, the fund, established to support excellent engineering students in need of financial assistance, has helped 206 Smith Scholars earn their degrees from the College of Engineering. In addition, Smith has sponsored numerous summer research projects for undergraduates seeking enrichment beyond the academic year. In recognition of this generous support of students at UMass Amherst, his prominent business career, and his contributions to national defense, the university presented James Smith with an honorary degree in 2007. 

Graduate student Krzysztof A. Orzel of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and the Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory (MIRSL) was interviewed on WGGB-TV 40 about the dangers faced by those who study tornadoes and other severe weather. Orzel was on teams from MIRSL in 2009 and 2010 that tracked tornadoes throughout the Great Plains. “I wouldn’t call it scary,” Orzel told Channel 40, “but you really have to stay on the safe side, and it’s easy to follow the excitement and cross the line.He also said scientists in the field always have to weigh the danger of being close to tornadoes and the chance to gather invaluable information. “Everybody is cognitive of the risk, and we make an extra effort to be safe,” said ECE Professor Stephen Frasier, the director of MIRSL. See TV clip: WGGB-TV 40.

The Journal of Chemical Physics has identified an article written by Eric Polizzi and his graduate student Brendan Gavin of our Electrical and Computer Engineering Department on the list of its “Top 20 Most Read in May 2013.” Gavin is the first author of the manuscript, entitled "Non-linear eigensolver-based alternative to traditional SCF methods." As Marsha I. Lester, the editor of The Journal of Chemical Physics, wrote to Polizzi, “This is an impressive accomplishment with which you must be very pleased. The Journal of Chemical Physics ranks number one in total citations by the ISI with an impact factor of 3.33 in the category of Atomic, Molecular and Chemical Physics.” A link to Polizzi’s manuscript is featured on The Journal of Chemical Physics website at: http://jcp.aip.org/features/most downloaded

Alumna Leslie Jelalian, VP of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance at BAE Systems, has been named by Mass High Tech as one of its 20 “Women to Watch” in 2013. Jelalian is a 1988 graduate of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Now in its 10th year, the annual Women to Watch program recognizes women in tech and life sciences who are judged to be leaders in their field and shaping the future of their industries for years to come. According to Mass High Tech, “Leslie Jelalian has become part of BAE’s DNA. The vice president of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance at one of the largest defense companies in the nation has been with the company since college. In fact, it is where she landed her first job.” Read Mass High Tech article on Jelalian: jelalian.html

An enterprising team of student innovators from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was the object of an admiring feature story on Yahoo! News (black-box-html). Though the UMass team did not win any prizes for its Personal Black Box as one of 30 finalists in the 2013 Cornell Cup competition during the first weekend in May, Yahoo! News judged that “The Amherst black box for humans was perhaps the most intriguing idea on display.” The team—comprised of Brett Kaplan, Jack Vorwald, Mike Burns, and Ryan Holmes, with assistance from advisors Professor David Irwin and Professor Tilman Wolf—presented its black box prototype at the annual competition hosted by Cornell University that challenges engineering students to create new technologies of their choosing using embedded Intel chips.

A weather-radar unit developed by the Engineering Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), a consortium based at UMass Amherst, has been installed at the University of North Texas in Denton. According to CASA, the radar installation at the Discovery Park campus of the University of North Texas is part of a multi-sensor network, called the CASA DFW Urban Demonstration Network or CASA WX, that will help local emergency managers, National Weather Service forecasters, and weather-sensitive industries save lives, as well as reduce injuries and the economic costs of tornadoes, flash floods, hail, and high-wind events. The installation was covered by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, NBC TV NBCDFW.com, and Fox TV foxdfw/casa-radar, among other media.