Archive for the ‘Engineering’ Category

UMaine Hosts 70 High School Students for Stormwater Research Institute

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

About 70 high school students and teachers from Portland, Bangor, Auburn and local Native American communities will gather at the University of Maine for a five-day UMaine Stormwater Management Research Team (SMART) Institute.

UMaine scientists and students, city water planners, and representatives from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and businesses including Woodard & Curran and IDEXX will also take part in the institute that runs from Monday, June 23 through Friday, June 27.

The SMART Institute aims to engage a diverse group of students and teachers in training for the implementation of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) core values in their schools while addressing an important environmental issue.

The institute is supported by a more than $735,000 grant awarded by the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to empower female and minority high school students, their teachers and communities to create innovative solutions to the environmental problems related to stormwater management.

Throughout the conference, students will take part in hands-on projects led by STEM professionals in areas such as engineering design, science, computer modeling and information technology to monitor and map water quality. Participants will tour UMaine labs and stormwater areas on campus, hear from guest speakers, and learn how to use wireless sensors to test water, as well as collect, enter and analyze data.

The institute will cap off with a field trip to the Arctic Brook watershed area in Bangor where students will install the wireless sensors they built and collect data as citizen scientists. An awards ceremony will be held on campus before students depart.

IEEE Spectrum Interviews Dagher About Offshore Wind Project

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The University of Maine’s DeepCwind Consortium was featured in an IEEE Spectrum article about developments in prototype testing of offshore wind turbines. UMaine’s prototype offshore turbine, currently floating in Penobscot Bay, is one of only five in operation around the world and the only one in the U.S. Habib Dagher, director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and leader of the consortium, was interviewed for the article and discussed the powerful capabilities of the turbine, which is in hopes to cut the cost of offshore wind power by more than half by the mid-2020s.

UMaine Students’ Lombard Steam Log Hauler Restoration Mentioned in BDN Article

Monday, June 9th, 2014

A University of Maine mechanical engineering capstone project was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about the new executive director of the Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley. The museum recently completed a new machinery hall, which will house a machine shop and two Lombard steam log haulers, according to the article. One of the log haulers was the subject of a UMaine capstone project in which students restored the machine to working condition. The log hauler was invented and built in Waterville between 1910 and 1917, and was the first successful tracked vehicle.

Peterson in New York Times Article About Track Safety in the Runup to the Belmont Stakes

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Mick Peterson, professor of mechanical engineering, was quoted in a New York Times story on the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes and the intense maintenance process involved in ensuring the safety of the mile-and-a-half-track — the longest in North America. Peterson is executive director of the Orono-based nonprofit Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory. In the article, Peterson noted: “The biggest difference on racetracks, which is much more important than the sand or the surface composition, is the moisture. And one of the things that makes Belmont quite a bit different is the time of year when they’re racing and how they maintain that.”

Frances Foehrenbach: Engineering Positive Impacts

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

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Every year the Society of Automotive Engineers sponsors the Clean Snowmobile Challenge — an intercollegiate design competition that encourages students to reduce emissions and noise by modifying snowmobiles to run on ethanol. Inspired by the competition, University of Maine mechanical engineering student Frances Foehrenbach of Saco, Maine, and her 11 teammates converted a snowmobile to run on compressed natural gas.

In April, the team displayed the snowmobile at the 2014 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress in Detroit, Michigan, where many of the automotive industry’s top companies gathered. There, in competition with 11 other engineering universities, the UMaine team took third place for its snowmobile design.

The team’s snowmobile was also shown at the New Hampshire SnoDeo, one of the Northeast’s premier snowmobile events held to bring snowmobilers together near the season’s end to test new sleds.

Foehrenbach and another teammate were in charge of the team’s technical report writing. She also was the team’s sole Web designer — a task she had never done before the project.

In May 2011, Foehrenbach began working at the Bangor-based engineering consulting firm Woodard & Curran. Since graduating in May 2014, she has begun a full-time job with the company in the food and beverage service line, where she works on process piping to integrate new systems as well as adding equipment to existing systems.

Foehrenbach is a Tau Beta Pi engineering honors society and Pi Tau Sigma mechanical engineering honors society member. She was named one of two outstanding seniors in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

More information about Foehrenbach and her team’s project is online.

Why is engineering important to you?
Engineering is important for me because I have always had a desire to learn about the world around me, and I feel that my education in engineering will allow me to make a positive impact on the world.

What have you learned about yourself while doing this project? What has the project taught you about engineering?
Since I am the secretary for the team as well as the Web designer, I have discovered my strength of organization. Additionally, I have developed some Web designing tools and have found that I enjoy the aspect of creating and maintaining Web pages.

How does the project relate to your job with Woodard & Curran?
My job has certainly helped with this project. Having worked at Woodard & Curran since my freshman year of college, my experience in the consulting industry has helped me better understand how to go about the designing aspects of this project.

Why did you choose to work at Woodard & Curran after graduation?
I enjoy how the consulting industry has a variety of projects, which allows for continued learning in many aspects of engineering. Additionally, Woodard & Curran has a great atmosphere and truly values the well-being of its employees.

What excites you most about entering the workforce?
Entering the engineering workforce as a full-time engineer instead of an intern is exciting because it allows me to have more ownership over the projects I work on, and I will also have the opportunity to see a project through from design to completion.

Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who has made your UMaine experience better, if so how?
I have worked closely with a few professors, but my senior project adviser, Mick Peterson, has been a great asset for our team. He clearly cares about the senior capstone projects and wants his students to get the most of their experience at UMaine. He has also hired me to do extra work for him, which has allowed me to make some extra living money.

What is the most interesting, engaging or helpful class you’ve taken at UMaine? Why?
I took controls with professor Senthil Vel, which was an engaging class as it taught us how control systems work and incorporated feedback loops. The most valuable part of this course was the Arduino Micro boards that we were able to use along with fans and LEDs in order to learn how to program our own feedback loops.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
Make your time here worthwhile. Get involved in as many different clubs and activities as you can. It is incredibly important to get an internship as early as possible, so start applying freshman year.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has shaped the way you see the world?
Attending UMaine has showed me that everything I love can be found in my own backyard: the outdoors, mountains, lakes, friendly people, great adventures, etc. As someone who grew up in Maine, I had lost sight of all Maine has to offer, and attending UMaine has brought back my love for this great state.

UMaine Lobster Shell Research Focus of Working Waterfront Article

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The Working Waterfront carried an article about two University of Maine-based research projects involving lobster shells.

The article featured UMaine food science graduate Beth Fulton and associate professor of food science Denise Skonberg who determined that pigment from lobster shells rich in carotenoid can be extracted and used for coloring in food for farm-raised salmon. The lobster shell pigment could be a natural alternative to synthetic carotenoids. While Fulton’s grant money is depleted, the article reported that she hopes another researcher will advance the project.

The article also included an update on a project first covered in 2011 when UMaine graduate Carin Poeschel Orr hit on the idea of a golf ball made of lobster shells that could legally be hit from cruise ship decks. Orr shared the idea with Robert Bayer, executive director of the University of Maine Lobster Institute, and Bayer consulted with others, including David Neivandt, director of UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering. The article reported that Neivandt said the biodegradable lobster shell golf ball is patented and ready to be marketed.

UMaine Offshore Wind Project Focus of Working Waterfront Editorial

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The University of Maine’s proposed offshore wind pilot project was the focus of the Working Waterfront editorial, “Changing wind direction should not blow Maine off course.” The project was recently chosen as an alternate for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Program and will receive $3 million for further research and development. It will be considered for more funding should it become available. “The potential benefits of offshore wind generation are too great to put on the shelf,” the editorial reads.

Ward Interviewed for WLBZ Report on UMaine Offshore Wind Project

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Jake Ward, the University of Maine’s vice president for innovation and economic development, spoke with WLBZ (Channel 2) for a report about the university’s proposed wind project off the coast of Monhegan Island. The project, known as New England Aqua Ventus, was recently chosen as an alternate for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Program and will receive $3 million for further research and development. It will be considered for more funding should it become available. Despite some opposition from island residents, Ward says the project has a lot of support and is confident that a full-scale unit will be built.

Peterson Quoted in MPBN Report on University System Budget Talks

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Michael “Mick” Peterson, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report on University of Maine System trustees working to develop a plan to close a budget gap. Peterson told the trustees that while 31 percent of the system’s budget is dedicated to instructional costs, the figure doesn’t reflect the true value of those services. “When we start looking at our similar peers — and certainly our aspirational peers — they’re spending 40 percent on instruction, we’re spending 30 percent — that’s a big difference,” Peterson said.

Third Annual Advancing Women in Academia Networking Conference May 20

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Colleagues in STEM and social-behavioral sciences from around the state are invited to attend a day of networking and discussion of issues relevant to career advancement for women in academia Tuesday, May 20 in Bangor.

The University of Maine’s ADVANCE Rising Tide Center will host the “Advancing Women in Academia: 3rd Annual Networking Conference” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The day includes poster presentations, networking sessions and workshops. Workshop topics include: Fostering Collaborations Across Institutions; Effective Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Women Faculty; and Social Media for Outreach, Collaboration and Networking.

Daryl Smith, a senior research fellow and professor emerita of education and psychology at Claremont Graduate University in California, will deliver the keynote, “Diversifying the Faculty for the Next Generation: Debunking the Myths.” Other presenters and workshop facilitators include Michelle Hale, director of Maine Career Connect; Linda Silka, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center; and Jacquelyn Gill, an assistant professor of terrestrial paleoecology at UMaine.

The conference is free. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration and more information is available online, by calling 207.581.3439 or emailing risingtide@maine.edu.

The event is presented with support from the National Science Foundation and UMaine’s ADVANCE Rising Tide Center partners Maine EPSCoR, Colby College, Maine Maritime Academy, University of Southern Maine and the University of New Hampshire.

The ADVANCE program, funded by the National Science Foundation, seeks to develop systemic approaches to retaining and advancing women faculty in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and social-behavioral science careers. The ADVANCE Rising Tide Center seeks to implement strategic initiatives at UMaine and within the University of Maine System that will embed transformation in a focused, sustainable institutional regime to create “a rising tide that will lift all boats.”