Julia Ross, Dean of the College of Engineering and IT, receives $3 million grant for engineering education

Julia Ross, Dean of the College of Engineering and Information and Technology along with her colleagues: Jon Singer and Chris Rakes from the Department of Education at UMBC and Richard Weisenhoff from Baltimore County Public Schools, received an NSF $3 million grant for engineering education.

Dr. Julia Ross (UMBC)In this study UMBC will partner with the Baltimore County Public School System to implement a professional development model that incorporates engineering curriculum in high school biology and technology classrooms.

Anne Spence, Mech. Engineering, to Participate in Rep. Cummings’ Roundtable Discussion

Anne Spence, mechanical engineering, will participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by Congressman Elijah Cummings.

The panel is part of a Congressional initiative to learn about issues women educators encounter in building and sustaining economic security. The discussion will also focus on strategies to increase the number of women pursuing STEM fields. Spence has conducted extensive research on engineering education and seeks to identify best practices for educating teachers and engaging students.

The discussion will take place on August 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the University of Maryland Biotech Park Conference Center. Click here to learn more about Spence’s research.

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.