The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Brandon Tory, who graduated from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department in 2010, has traveled a long and perilous journey from living as a teenager in a Brockton, Massachusetts, homeless shelter to working as a senior software artificial intelligence engineer at Google in Southern California and moonlighting as a well-known rapper. His poignant and inspiring story has most recently been featured in the Brockton Enterprise, but in the past has made the pages of Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.

According to a release by the UMass News Office, Assistant Professor Jeremy Gummeson and his Ph.D. student Noor Mohammed, both of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, are members of a UMass Amherst team that has designed a charge-free, wearable device called “Shazam,” which uses the skin of the human body to charge smartwatches and other wearable devices.

Xiaomeng Liu, a doctoral candidate in the research lab of Assistant Professor Jun Yao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, has received a prestigious, two-year, $61,000 Link Foundation Energy Fellowship to support his innovative research on the Yao Research Group’s pioneering “Air Generator” (or Air-Gen), which constantly harvests electricity “out of thin air” from the atmosphere.

Writing in Forbes, a leading international expert in weather and climate referenced a groundbreaking study published by the Electricity Growth and Use in Developing Economies (e-GUIDE) Initiative as led by Assistant Professor Jay Taneja of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department. “A new analysis by scientists reveals that minority populations were greater than four times as likely to suffer from an energy blackout than predominantly white areas,” wrote Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd.

A research team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst has created an electronic microsystem that can intelligently respond to information inputs without any external energy input, much like a self-autonomous living organism. This is possible because the microsystem is constructed from a novel type of electronics that can process ultralow electronic signals and incorporates a novel device that can generate electricity “out of thin air” from the ambient environment.

Lixin Gao, University Distinguished Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, has been named the 2021–22 Katherine Hampson Bessell Fellow as part of the celebrated Harvard Radcliffe Institute fellowship program. Among 1,383 international applications, only 2.4 percent were accepted as fellows for the Radcliffe program.

In late April, UMass Alumna Amy Bunszel ('91 M.S.) of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was honored by the National Diversity and Leadership Conference as one of its “2021 Top 50 Women in Tech.” As executive vice president of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Design Solutions at Autodesk, Bunszel manages product strategy and execution for the company’s 3D design portfolio, including the Autodesk Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Collection, AutoCAD family, Autodesk Revit, and more.

Undergraduate Patrick Thompson (ECE) has received a United States Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to undertake his second, intensive, all-expenses-paid, eight-week, Chinese language program abroad this summer. He is already fluent in Mandarin Chinese and aspires to work in the semiconductor industry in a career that requires frequent travel to Asia. 

Professor David Irwin (ECE) is part of an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional team that has been awarded $3 million to make cloud computing more low-carbon, sustainable, and “green” by addressing its huge energy output.

 

Ali Abdel-Maksoud ’21, electrical engineering, and Nicholas Sbalbi ’21, chemical engineering, have been named Rising Researchers by UMass Amherst Research Next.

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