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ORONO– Graduate students from Surry and Orono and an administrative assistant from Eddington joined engineering professors from Old Town and Orono in receiving awards from the University of Maine College of Engineering on November 5. The College held its 25th annual Edward T. Bryand Recognition Banquet at Penobscot Valley Country Club.
Karen Merritt of Surry received the college’s 2004 Graduate Research Assistant Award. A recipient of a highly competitive three-year fellowship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Merritt is working with Aria Amirbahman, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, on technology to improve mercury detection in sediments. She presented her work on Capitol Hill in October and has received additional research funding from the Sea Grant College Program.
Linda Liscomb of Eddington, administrative assistant in the School of Engineering Technology, won the Leila S. Lowell Award for service to the school. Since coming to UMaine in 1998, she has worked closely with students, faculty, and alumni and is known and appreciated for her courtesy and her prompt resolution of issues. Liscomb’s work with graduate and alumni databases is a critical component of the school’s assessment processes, continuous improvement plan and strategic initiatives.
Edwin Nagy of Orono received the Graduate Assistant Teaching Award. A Ph.D. student in the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nagy’s innovative work in 3D imaging of material microstructure has led to five refereed journal publications. He has taught courses in steel design, timber design and general graphical design in structural engineering. Nagy has worked as a structural engineer in Arizona and brings his experience to the classroom where students have praised his enthusiasm and rigorous approach.
Mauricio Pereira da Cunha of Orono received the Early Career Research Award. Pereira da Cunha studies a new class of electronic sensors based on langasite crystals. He has received more than $3 million in research grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In addition to conducting research that has garnered the attention of the international scientific and engineering community, he has integrated his research into his undergraduate and graduate classes, inspiring the next generation of electrical and computer engineers.
Jean MacRae of Orono received the Early Career Teaching Award. She applies expertise in biological approaches to environmental engineering problems and teaches a required course in environmental engineering. Using a variety of leading edge teaching techniques, such as cooperative and active learning exercises, she has raised the level of interest in environmental engineering among UMaine students. She has also been one of the university’s strongest promoters of the Center for Teaching Excellence. She has led Learning Circles and organized workshops on topics such as “Identifying Techniques to Help At-Risk Students” and “Challenges Facing Women Teaching Primarily Men.” She is working with Bangor area teachers to incorporate arsenic and water quality issues into middle school science and high school chemistry classes.
Douglas Ruthven of Old Town received the College’s Ashley S. Campbell Award, given to the faculty member whose achievements have brought distinction to the engineering profession and education. Ruthven is the world’s leading expert on the adsorption and diffusion in molecular sieve zeolite and other adsorbants that are important in catalysis and chemical reaction engineering. He has authored numerous publications and has presented hundreds of invited lectures over his career. His textbook “Principles of Adsorption and Adsorption Processes,” published in 1983, remains the standard reference text in this field.
Doug Hall, UMaine graduate (Chemical Engineering, 1981) and resident of Newtown, Ohio, received the Edward T. Bryand Distinguished Engineering Award. Hall has distinguished himself as a triumphant entrepreneur and master inventor. Corporations turn to him to revitalize their products. An engineer at heart, Hall works on pinpointing principles, systems, and marketing approaches underlying the capitalist creativity. He turned his creativity guru practice into the Trailblazer Training Business. Today, in addition to his work with large corporations, Doug uses his Merwyn Technology, an artificial intelligence system to help small businesses and non-profits around the world. His interest in the creative process led to his first book, Jump Start Your Brain (1995). It was followed by Making the Courage Connection and Jump Start Your Business Brain in 2001 and Meaningful Marketing in 2003.