UMass Lowell Wins ADVANCE Grant

With great pride, I want to share that the National Science Foundation has awarded UMass Lowell an ADVANCE-IT grant for its proposal “ADVANCE: Institutional Transformation: Making WAVES: Disrupting Microaggressions to Propagate Institutional Transformation.” According to the proposal’s abstract, the goal is

“to create an academic environment that supports STEM women to achieve to their highest potential by disrupting interpersonal and institutional microaggressions that undercut their productivity and well-being. Despite increasing numbers, women faculty are still underrepresented in academic STEM, predominantly at higher ranks and in leadership. Recent research suggests that microaggressions, as a particular expression of subtle biases, have a powerful, cumulative negative impact on access to research support and advancement.”

The Institutional Transformation program WAVES (Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM) proposes to holistically tackle this critical barrier for women in STEM with interventions including surveys, an informational campaign, bystander training, alternative networks for STEM women, and increased transparency and accountability initiatives.

meg-sobcowicz-kline_opt_tcm18-38785Congratulations to the investigator team, including UMass Lowell Chancellor  Jacqueline Moloney, Ed.D.; Julie Chen, Ph.D.; Meg Bond Ph.D.; Marina Ruths, Ph.D.; and Meg Sobkowicz-Kline, Ph.D.

Dr. Sobkowicz-Kline, Plastics Engineering, will serve as Engineering’s liaison for the WAVES program. To date, $1.6 million has been awarded for this effort.

Welcome Francis College of Engineering, Class of 2020!

Classes have officially started and the campus is buzzing again with activity. It is truly great to see. Having been in the education “business” for over two decades, I truly enjoy the renewal each fall season.

14192052_1464515000242073_6133718795296890739_nThe College welcomes 829 new undergraduate students this year, with 577 freshmen and 252 transfer students. The total represents a 6 percent increase in new undergraduate students over last fall, including a 13 percent increase in the freshman class. The boost in enrollment was aided by the launch of our new Biomedical Engineering program, with an inaugural class of 40 students.

The Biomed freshmen class boasts the highest High School GPA and second highest SAT score of any incoming major on campus! Additionally, it has an equal number of men and women.

Mechanical Engineering remains the most popular major, with 137 freshmen and 81 transfer students, for a total of 218 new majors. However, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is seeing the greatest increase in students among its two ABET accredited degrees, with 240 (159 freshman and 81 transfers).

14225574_1464508170242756_6198948552047997955_nWhile the growth in our programs is exciting, as it validates the hard work of our Faculty in delivering high quality programs, I am more excited about the continued growth in the quality of our students. The incoming freshmen class has an average High School GPA of 3.7 and an average SAT of 1221. Additionally, this class is 19 percent female, representing a 3.6 percent increase over last year and a 5.1 percent increase over two years ago. This is a trend that I hope to see continue.

I look forward to a wonderful 2016-17 academic year!

— Joe Hartman

 

2016 comes to an end…

Our graduating students went out in style this past Friday!

First, we held the final presentations of our Interdisciplinary Senior Design Projects, sponsored by Raytheon, EMC, MACOM, United Technologies, and Vibram. One observer, from a company planning to sponsor a project next year, commented “Overall, I was very impressed with the student’s work. Actually, I was stunned by some of it. They should all be commended for their work.” Thank you to all the faculty advisors and our sponsors for making this pilot program a tremendous success.

We concluded our day by presenting Department and College awards at our Graduating Student Reception at the ICC. Ellen Gerardi of Civil Engineering was awarded the Dean’s Service Award while Mike Kerouac (Plastics, 1983), President of EMC Global Product Operations, and David Preusse (ME, 1985), President of Wittmann Battenfeld, were inducted into the Francis Academy of Distinguished Engineers. Thank you to all who attended, and Ms. Nancy Ficarra for organizing a splendid evening.

On a final note, it is a good time to gauge our incoming class, as the May 1 deadline for deposits has passed. To date, we have 604 prepaid students, a 16 percent increase over last year. The students have an average GPA of 3.69 and SAT of 1226 (essentially the same as last year) and the class is 18.7% female (compared with 14.2% last year).

See you at graduation!

— Joe Hartman

FRC5962 “perSEVERE” shows First Robotics Competition they came to play

Alumnus Mike Johnston is at the culmination of an incredible rookie year with Merrimack Valley Robotics and the FRC 5962 team. At the start of this school year his team was just a small group of local kids hoping to add FIRST into their robotics club project. With 25 days before registration was due for the 2016 season, they were informed that the team could not be supported by the school. They were homeless, but, they were determined.

The students shifted their focus, and aimed to create a team that was a collaboration of numerous local communities – rather than one town. Full of passion, they came to UMass Lowell, and asked for help. We were happy to offer our new Makerspace, which included many of the tools that would be needed to construct the robot.  FRC 5962 then partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, and reached out to local schools to seek team members and additional mentors. Their recruiting efforts paid off, and the team grew to include students from Lowell, Dracut, Haverhill, Methuen, North Reading, Chelmsford, Tewksbury, and Tyngsboro MA and Salem NH.

By December 1, more than 30 middle-school and high-school students had “moved in” to the Makerspace, prepared to spend the next six weeks (at times I’m sure it seemed 24-7!) designing and building a robot for the international FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition.

The students put their technical skills to the test by constructing a robot that can complete a variety of tasks and games. Their creation, named “Scorpio,” is built with materials — and limited instructions — provided by the contest’s organizers. During the six-week period, team members learned to use power tools and run sophisticated computer programs under the guidance of engineers from companies such as Analog Devices, Kronos Inc. and IBM. Many of these mentors are UMass Lowell alumni.

Student-designed robotScorpio measures approximately 2½ by 2½ feet and stands 18 inches high. The unit weighs about 120 pounds and is powered by a 12-volt rechargeable battery.

Though the season has come to an end, FRC 5962 has made a significant contribution to the FIRST competition, and garnered an impressive number of awards. Their final ranking for the robotics season includes:

Rookie All-Star Award – North Shore District Event: Celebrates the rookie team exemplifying a young but strong partnership effort, as well as implementing the mission of FIRST to inspire students to learn more about science and technology.

Gracious Professionalism Award – UNH District Event: Celebrates outstanding demonstration of FIRST Core Values such as continuous Gracious Professionalism® working together both on and off the playing field.

Highest Rookie Seed Award – UNH District Event: Celebrates the highest-seeded rookie team at the conclusion of the qualifying rounds.

Rookie Inspiration AwardNew England District Championship: Celebrates a rookie team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as in their community.

Ranked 48 of 181 teams – FIRST Robotics Competition 2016, New England District

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We are extremely proud of the dedication of PerSEVERE’s students and mentors and their AMAZING finish in their very first contest. It has been fun to witness the students’ energy and excitement for engineering while working away in our campus lab over the past several weeks. We look forward to more building in the future!

-Joe

Mechanical Engineering junior shaping minds and changing lives in Boston’s South End

Samariah (Sammy) Jacobs, a UMass Lowell Mechanical Engineering junior, is doing amazing work getting inner city Boston youth creatively engaged in technology and engineering, as a mentor in the 14 year old Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program at the South End Technology Center @ Tent City. 

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Sammy, fellow L2T/T2L college mentors and youth teachers just won an international Google RISE award for their work and the National Science Foundation is studying their work as national best practices in a Digital Literacies research project.  

Each year, 36 teenage youth teachers, who are selected to represent Boston, learn 6 different technology and engineering modules, build projects that solve community issues, then offer free 3-4 week STEAM camps for 700+ Boston elementary and middle school youth at 25 community organizations who would not otherwise offer STEM enrichment.  

SquishaySoccerSamRafaelSammy was a youth teacher when she was in high school and now is in her second year of working as a college mentor in the program.  Last year, Sammy developed a solar energy activity where youth soldered up solar circuits to power the propeller on their own lasercut wood airplane.  She just developed two activities and began teaching them to new youth teachers:  Teh Squish-ay (using conductive dough to teach electricity and circuits with LEDs, motors, tilt switches, photocells) and Blinkie Paper (uses linkages with circuit stickers to create light up cards).  

 

My sincere appreciation to Dr. Susan Klimczak, L2T Director of Special Programs, for calling attention to Sammy’s inspiring community contributions. She is a shining example of just one of the many reasons why I am so proud to be Dean of the College of Engineering. Look for more information on Sammy and her work at Tent City in future posts.

E-Week Alumni Night draws record breaking crowd!

Many of you participated in the culmination of Engineering Week with our celebration at the hockey game — attended by over 12376763_1310567682303473_8959743336590872366_n450 alumni! I sincerely thank you all for showing your support of our college.

Team “UnCIVILized” took home the crown by winning the sled race, just ahead of our faculty team comprised of Drs. Sukesh Aghara, Meg Sobkowicz-Kline, Juan Pablo Trelles and Jay Weitzen. Thank you to the faculty for being good sports and participating in the sled race!

Team “The Today Show” pleased the crowd with their winning T-shirt launcher. And yes, if you were present, you saw my hair turn a royal shade of blue — fulfilling my promise to dye it at the game if we received donations from 500 new donors, including spring graduates, to the College. While it took four washes to get out, I’m thrilled that we have increased our donor base! 1913936_1310567722303469_3035155582226387625_n

Tremendous thanks to Nancy Ficarra, Erin Caples and Sally Washburn, for pulling off a great event (and week). It was fitting that our hockey team beat BC to clinch a bye week in starting our bid for a Hockey East title.

More photos from E-Week and the UML vs. BC game to come! Be sure to follow us on twitter at @umlengineering and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/umasslowellengineering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

E-Week, Leadership Colloquium and Faculty Tech Venture Competition, OH MY!

We are full swing into the spring semester and I am happy to report we have LOTS going on! I swear I can hear the office humming some days.

Beginning Monday, we celebrate annual Engineering Week. Six student teams will vie for the coveted Dean’s Cup through five days of challenges and contests. Tuesday, we welcome alumna Robin Antonucci ’79 back to campus as our Dean’s Leadership Colloquium speaker  and we will induct over 100 seniors into the Order of the Engineer.

Finally, on Saturday the 27th, we welcome our Engineering Alumni (all of you!) back to the Tsongas to watch the River Hawks take on the BC Eagles (takes a breath). Tickets are still available for the reception in the Talon Club and the game. Click Here to purchase.

If that’s not enough, TONIGHT we are kicking off a new Faculty Tech Venture Program and Competition! 

The program will feature six interactive sessions covering various topics that are core to commercializing university technologies using start-up mechanisms. Topics include customer discovery, market research and validation techniques, concept feasibility testing, technology roadmapping and pricing and revenue model development. Sessions are hands-on and interactive, and will be facilitated by the New Venture Development staff and Manning School of Business faculty.

The goal of the program and competition is to help interested faculty (and their research teams) move an idea, invention, or start-up company forward. The winner will be awarded a two-course release in the fall along with additional resources to pursue their project.

The competition will culminate with a Tech Venture Pitch on May 5th. I truly look forward to learning more about faculty projects and supporting their commercialization efforts.Stay tuned for photos of tonight’s event and more information on our faculty projects.

-Joe

Giving Tuesday and the #francis500

I must say, I am pretty excited to announce our plans for #GivingTuesday 2015!              US News and World Report defines alumni engagement as a core metric in its university ranking system. To that end, we are determined to recruit 500 NEW alumni donors IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER.

GIFTS OF ANY VALUE, IN SUPPORT OF ANY FUND in the Francis College of Engineering count towards our goal. I am confident we can make this happen – but we need help from you, our alumni.  Here is how you can help:

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WEF Board President to Speak Tonight

It’s a busy day on campus! We love it when the office is buzzing with activity!

We also want to welcome Mr. Ed McCormick, President of the Board of Trustees of the Water Environment Federation, the largest water quality professional association in the world, back to campus. Mr. McCormick will deliver a talk on sustainability entitled, “Utilities of the Future,” TONIGHT, beginning at 5:00PM in Alumni Hall (North Campus). Mr. McCormick’s visit is part of a combined Civil and Environmental Engineering Colloquium and ASCE Guest Lecture.

Mr. McCormick graduated in 1977 from the University of Lowell/LTI with a BS in Civil Engineering. In 1979, he received his MS in Sanitary Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.


For more information on alumni engagement/speaking opportunities, please contact the Dean’s Office at 978-934-2572, or email erin_caples@uml.eduFor more information on our Civil and Environmental Engineering Program, click here