Every year, the NCAA awards a Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship to only two student-athletes selected from a nationwide pool of applicants. Byers Scholars are recognized for outstanding academic achievement as well as for potential for success in postgraduate study. This year, Tufts senior and three-time 800-meter national champion Mitchell Black is one of the two national awardees. Double-majoring in mechanical engineering and astrophysics at Tufts, Black plans to pursue his doctorate in aerospace engineering at either Georgia Tech or the University of Michigan.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced $3 million in state support of the Cluster for Advanced Nanomanufacturing of Smart Sensors and Materials (ANSSeM) — a consortium of Massachusetts businesses and universities led by Northeastern University that includes Tufts University School of Engineering and University of Massachusetts Boston. Associate Professor Sameer Sonkusale in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor Igor Sokolov in the Department of Mechanical Engineering will purchase equipment for developing nanoscale sensors and for measuring nanomechanical properties, respectively.
In the recent $100k New Ventures Competition organized by the Gordon Institute, mechanical engineering alumna Alexandra Zimmerman, E09, was on the BrainSpec team, which won first place in the Health and Life Sciences track. BrainSpec is a software platform that enables the accurate and non-invasive diagnosis of brain disorders, using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. It can help diagnose neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and brain tumor progression.
Mechanical engineer Lily Buechler, E17, received an Honorable Mention in the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the most prestigious undergraduate awards in the STEM fields.
Assistant Professor Erica Kemmerling writes for The Conversation about fabricating physical models to study how cardiovascular devices affect blood flow. Now 3D printing technology is advanced enough to build realistic models of human blood vessels, and pulsatile-flow pumps can drive flow through these vessels to mimic the heart’s pumping. Since the vessel models are synthetic, there are no ethical issues associated with damaging them to take flow measurements.
Assistant Professor Kristen Wendell was named a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. She will receive her award at a Washington, D.C. ceremony in the spring.
The 105 awardees were selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.
Professor and Chair Chris Rogers was interviewed about his educational philosophy by Owen Smithyman, a blogger for Other Machine Co., a company that produces CNC machines.
Read more of the “LEGO and Super Soakers” interview:
What are some things that you do in your Mechanical Engineering classes to ensure that students learn the material, that you would like to see more of in higher education?
Nonstandard projects. We always talk about people trying to get the “right” answer, which would be a solution diversity of zero — everybody having the same answer — as opposed to giving a problem where people can come up with their own answers.
One year in my robotics class, the problem was to build robots that play acoustic instruments. And so there were robots that played the bagpipes, the trombone, the mandolin, the piano, the xylophone, the ukulele. Because there are all these different solutions, they’re all learning different skills, and then they teach them to each other.
So instead of trying to have everybody learn the same information, how can we develop courses where everybody learns different information and learns how to talk to each other and leverage each other, just like we do in the business world? Why do we want everybody to learn the exact same thing in Fluids class or in Controls class or whatever? Wouldn’t it be far more powerful if we taught them how to talk to one another but then had them specialize and have their own expertise and have different projects?
On December 13, 2015, Professor Bill Messner spoke with the the Boston Metro about the possibility of driverless trains in the public transportation system, commenting on the recent “Ghost Train” mishap where a Red Line train left a T station without its driver. “From a technology standpoint, it’s certainly doable. It’s a question of expense, really, and of course public acceptance of autonomous trains.” Messner commented that the MBTA is not a good case for “robotic retrofitting” because it was never designed to be an autonomous system.
Tufts Summer Scholars program announced the 2015 Summer Scholars.
The Tufts Summer Scholars Program is funded by the Office of the Provost and by generous gifts from: Mr. Andrew Bendetson in honor of Laura and Martin Bendetson; Steven J. Eliopoulos A89 and Joyce J. Eliopoulos; Mr. George and Ms. Susan Kokulis; Mr. John L. Kokulis; Ms. Ashleigh Nelson; and the Board of Trustees in honor of former Chairman, Mr. Nathan Gantcher.
The Program is also supported by the Schwartz-Paddock Family Fellowships in the Visual and Performing Arts, the Helen and Werner Lob Student Research Fund in Economics, the Hopkins Summer Scholar Fund, and the Christopher Columbus Discovery Summer Scholarships for research spanning disciplinary boundaries. Summer Scholars is administered by the Office of Undergraduate Education.
Congratulations to all our engineering summer scholars!
Elim Na will work with Professor David Kaplan on his project on the “Evaluation of Silk Fibroin Stabilization of Doxorubicin and Vincristine.”
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Sylvia Lustig will work with Professor Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos on her project on the “The Selectivity and Efficiency of Various Single Atom Metal Alloys as Catalysts for the Dehydrogenation of Methanol.”
Kevin Ligonde will work with Associate Professor Robert White on a project to “Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasound Transducers for Mars Anemometry.”
Avita Sharma will work with Professor Soha Hassoun on a project on “Who is Doing What? Functional Matching between Metabolites and Genomics for Bacterial Pathways.”
Caleb Helbling will work with Professor Kathleen Fisher on a project to “Resequence: A Global Fine Grained Software Repository.”
Collins Sirmah will work with Assistant Professor Ben Shapiro on his project to “Peer Based Learning in Distributed and Parallel Computing Among High School Students.”
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Pengxiang (Jerry) Hu will work with Associate Professor Sameer Sonkusale on a project to “Study and Build Instrumentation for Saliva Diagnostics.” Peter Wu will work with Professor Jeffrey Hopwood on his project to “Improve Vintage Synthesizers for Increased Temperature Based Pitch Stability.”
Matthew Eakle will work with Professor Peggy Cebe on a project to “Understanding the Interactions Between Liquid Crystals and Carbon Nanotubes.”
Mechanical engineering alumna, Tufts University Trustee and Engineering Board of Advisor Member Ellen Kullman, E78, was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), which is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Kullman, Chair of the Board and CEO of DuPont, was elected “for leadership in the business growth and transformation of a global science and engineering company.”
Kullman is also the 2015 recipient of the International Palladium Medal from the The Société de Chimie Industrielle–American Section for her distinguished contributions to the chemical industry and thereby to the enhancement of the international aims and objectives of the Société de Chimie Industrielle.
Kullman was named Drexel University’s 2015 Engineering Leader of the Year. She was honored for her leadership in the development of technology-based solutions to societal problems, and as a role model for current and future generations of engineers. Kullman is the second woman after Linda M. Abriola, to receive the award.