U.S. News, Colleges Work to Engage Women, Minorities in STEM Fields, Penny Rheingans

Delece Smith-Barrow of U.S. News & World Report, recently wrote about the importance of engaging women and minorities in STEM fields. Smith-Barrow interviewed UMBC’s Penny Rheingans, director for the Center of Women in Technology (CWIT).

Smith Barrow wrote: “If students struggle in class and have few peers and faculty that look like them, it’s easy for them to think, “maybe I’m not supposed to be here, either,” says Penny Rheingans, director for the Center for Women in Technology at the University of Maryland—Baltimore County.

Prospective college students who are women or underrepresented minorities can determine if a school can help them in their STEM endeavors by finding out what resources colleges offer these kinds of students.

The Center for Women in Technology at UMBC​ provides mentoring services, ​seminars that discuss topics such as networking and time management and a number of other resources, Rheingans says. A living and learning residence community provided through the program caters to women and men in STEM, but the former group dominates.

“Eighty-five percent of students who live on our floor are women,” she says.

Rheingan encourages prospective students to keep an eye out for school environments that have structures in place that support women. “You’re looking for a community,” she says. Visiting the college and talking to current students is one way to find out about the community, she says.”

 

 

Warren DeVries, COEIT, Elected Honorary Member of ASME

Dean Warren DeVries of the College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT) has been elected an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

DeVries will be recognized in November for his “distinctive contributions to engineering education and research as a professor, for dedication to advancing the frontiers of discovery and innovation through public service, and for striving to advance the recognition of engineering’s contributions to humankind through leadership in professional societies.” Honorary membership is ASME’s oldest award and just five members are selected annually to receive this special recognition.

DeVries will step down as dean of COEIT on August 1, 2014, after eight years of outstanding service to the UMBC community.

UMBC Partners With Newcastle University in Urban Water Quality Study

Upal Ghosh, professor in chemical and biochemical engineering, has partnered with Newcastle University in the project:

Development of Sustainable Technologies to Investigate, Restore and Protect the Urban Water Environment. Newcastle University, University of Maryland Baltimore County (US), Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil), Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (India) and CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute Nagpur (India)

The grant instituted through Newcastle University will support student and faculty research exchanges among the partnering institutions.

The project will examine urban water quality and was summarized by the researchers:

Urban water quality is under enormous pressure around the world because of increasing population density and economic activity in cities. Pollution disturbs the ecosystem functioning of urban streams, rivers, ponds and lakes; poses a risk to public health; decreases the value of surface waters for public recreation; and makes water more costly to treat for use. While faecal and industrial chemical pollution remain substantial challenges, new threats to urban water quality are emerging in highly populated areas from chemicals in widely used consumer and household products such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and biocides. At the same time, existing water pollution control infrastructure is costly and very energy-intensive (i.e. consumes 1.4% of national electricity in the UK) and should be replaced with more energy-efficient or net energy producing alternatives. In their infrastructure expansion, emerging economies like India and Brazil are presented with golden opportunities to leapfrog beyond the traditional wastewater treatment models and install more sustainable technologies that also address emerging challenges. The proposed global partnership between environmental engineers from Newcastle University (NCL), UK, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), USA, the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil, the CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) in Nagpur, India, and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD), India, will pool knowledge, skills, technology testing and analytical facilities, and access to field sites and the facilities of industrial partners for the development of innovative methods to detect and monitor existing and emerging threats to the urban water environment, and sustainable technologies to reduce identified pollution releases and to remediate existing pollution deposits. This initiative will seek to recover urban water resources and their recreational and health values for the people living in cities, thus creating more desirable urban neighborhoods and providing new business opportunities.

Curtis Menyuk, William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award, COEIT

Curtis Menyuk recently received the The IEEE Photonics Society William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award. The award is given to recognize an exceptional single scientific contribution which has had a significant impact in the field of lasers and electro-optics in the past 10 years. The award is given for a relatively recent, single contribution, which has had a major impact on the Photonics Society research community. It may be given to an individual or a group for a single contribution of significant work in the field. Menyuk received the award, “For seminal advances in the fundamental understanding and mitigation of polarization effects in high-performance optical fiber communication systems.” 

Menyuk received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from MIT in 1976 and the Ph.D. from UCLA in 1981. He has worked as a research associate at the University of Maryland, College Park and at Science Applications International Corporation in McLean, VA. In 1986 he became an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and he was the founding member of this department. In 1993, he was promoted to Professor. He was on partial leave from UMBC from Fall, 1996 until Fall, 2002. From 1996 – 2001, he worked part-time for the Department of Defense, co-directing the Optical Networking program at the DoD Laboratory for Telecommunications Sciences in Adelphi, MD from 1999 – 2001. In 2001 – 2002, he was Chief Scientist at PhotonEx Corporation. In 2008 – 2009, he was a JILA Visiting Fellow at the University of Colorado. For the last 25 years, his primary research area has been theoretical and computational studies of lasers, nonlinear optics, and fiber optic communications. He has authored or co-authored more than 230 archival journal publications as well as numerous other publications and presentations, and he is a co-inventor of 5 patents. He has also edited three books. The equations and algorithms that he and his research group at UMBC have developed to model optical fiber systems are used extensively in the telecommunications and photonics industry. He is a member of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the IEEE. He is a former UMBC Presidential Research Professor.

Ant Ozok, Information Systems, on The Kojo Nnamdi Show

photo 3Technological advancements such as direct deposit, ATMs and cell phone apps have changed the way people bank. A recent news report found that 50% of the population had not visited a bank branch in the last month.

Ant Ozok, associate professor of information systems, visited WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show to discuss technological innovations that have transformed personal banking. Ozok, who specializes in human computer interaction, emphasized the importance of a positive user experience, saying, “Banks need to take the precautions that are necessary so that users do what they need to do in an efficient way.”

Click here to listen to “Personal Banking Technology” on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

COEIT Uses Constellation Energy’s Education Award For Undergraduate Research

UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology is using an Energy Education Award from Constellation Energy to provide energy research opportunities for a significant number of undergraduate students.

This semester, students in IS 420: Advanced Database Development received technology to collect the power consumption data of different appliances and devices. They are also working to build a web-portal (GUI), which will capture human actions, energy behavior and footprint over a specific period.

Project involvement encourages the students to think differently about energy systems and promotes advanced study and career preparation in the energy industry. The Constellation project helps students gain a greater sense of social awareness and deeper understanding of energy system technologies, as well as enhance their basic research and development skills through this hands-on experience. By combining their intrinsic research abilities and inspiration, the students will become conscious about the importance of being a responsible energy user in their daily lives and beyond.

Read more about the Energy Education Award here.

U.S. News Ranks UMBC’s Information Systems Online M.S. as a Top Program

Congratulations to UMBC’s Department of Information Systems for being ranked a top online graduate program in information technology by U.S. News & World Report. The UMBC program was ranked #19 in the nation, and is one of just two programs in Maryland to appear on the list.

See the rankings.

Learn how U.S. News & World Report calculated the rankings.

Gymama Slaughter, CSEE, Receives NSF CAREER Award

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on December 11, 2013 that Gymama Slaughter, an assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering (CSEE), received an NSF CAREER Award.

NSF notes, “The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

“We are delighted about this NSF CAREER Award to Dr. Slaughter,” says Dr. Karl Steiner, Vice President for Research at UMBC. “This prestigious award recognizes Dr. Slaughter’s rapidly growing reputation as a productive and promising researcher and teacher and it also reflects well on UMBC’s ability to attract and nurture top faculty talent as embodied by Dr. Slaughter.”

Slaughter will use the $400,000 award to “fabricate and characterize a self-powered biosensing microsystem that simultaneously generates bioelectricity and monitors glucose.”

Read more about Gymama Slaughter.

 

First hackUMBC concludes successfully

“Held in the UMBC Skylight Room from 7:00pm Friday to 7:00pm Saturday this past weekend, UMBC’s first-everhackathon was open to all UMBC students of any skill level, from innovators and explorers to designers and hardcore coders. Its purpose was to allow students to mingle and collaborate for 24 continuous hours of community exploration to grow technology projects from scratch while expanding their connections to other students, industry leaders, and faculty. Admission was free and attracted students from across the UMBC campus community, including CS, CE, EE, IS, Biology, Biotechnology, Math, Physics, and Media Studies.”

Read the full story