Archive for the ‘Engineering’ Category

Aroostook County Middle School Girls Visit UMaine to Learn About Engineering, Animal Science

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Students, teachers and parents from Fort Fairfield and Central Aroostook middle schools will visit the University of Maine on Tuesday, May 6 to take part in a daylong event that makes connections between engineering and animal science.

The event, which is a makeup session for some schools that were registered for this year’s Expanding Your Horizons conference that was canceled due to weather, is hosted by the Women’s Resource Center on campus as part of the Maine Girls Collaborative Project (MGCP). MGCP is a member of the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) that aims to support educators and organizations working to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Throughout the day, more than 30 students will be introduced to a variety of engineering careers in nontraditional ways, such as how engineering can be related to working with horses.

Participants will start the day at Witter Farm where Robert Causey, an associate professor of animal and veterinary sciences, and Elizabeth Carpenter, a dairy herdsperson for UMaine farms, will speak about UMaine’s work with retired race horses that live at the farm. The horses are cared for by UMaine animal science majors. A companion program uses the dynamics studied in engineering to assess the safety of racetracks. The program is an example of an emerging career field in the intersection between biological sciences and engineering. While at the farm, students will participate in workshops on anatomy and forces/dynamics, and be able to meet the animal science majors and horses.

Other activities planned include a gender equity workshop at the Women’s Resource Center, tours at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center and a hands-on robotics workshop.

Students from Greely Middle School in Cumberland participated in a similar event on May 2.

Exceptional in Their Fields: Meet UMaine’s 2014 Outstanding Graduates

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

These stellar seniors — hailing from rural Maine to Canada and China — share their UMaine experiences. Learn about their research, community service and world travels, and their plans for a very promising future.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Jinlun Bai Finn Bonderson Ariel Bothen
Jinlun Bai Finn Bondeson Ariel Bothen
     
Meaghan Bradica Jennifer Chalmers Dilasha Dixit
Meaghan Bradica Jennifer Chalmers Dilasha Dixit
     
Kayla Jones Theresa McMannus Janelle Tinkler
Kayla Jones Theresa McMannus Janelle Tinkler
     
Chi Truong Sierra Ventura  
 Chi Truong  Sierra Ventura  

UMaine’s 212th Commencement Set for May 10

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

The University of Maine’s 212th Commencement will be held May 10 in Harold Alfond Sports Arena on campus.

Held in two ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., the university’s Commencement is one of Maine’s largest graduation events. An estimated 1,660 students — undergraduates, master’s and doctoral — are expected to participate in the event.

Both ceremonies are ticketed events. All students marching were offered up to five guest tickets. Live streaming of the ceremonies will be available online for friends and family worldwide. In addition, live streaming of both ceremonies can be viewed on a big screen in the Bear’s Den in the Memorial Union on campus.

For the second consecutive year, in keeping with UMaine’s leadership as a nationally recognized “Green campus,” each graduating student attending one of the ceremonies will receive a digital Commencement program on a commemorative 2GB USB flash drive. The full program will contain the names of all degree-earning undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a welcome message from the University of Maine Alumni Association.

At the ceremonies, an abbreviated print version of the program will be available for audience members. The Commencement website that day will feature the full program with the names of all graduating students.

The 10 a.m., ceremony is for graduating students in two colleges: Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Education and Human Development. Joining them will be students graduating from the Maine Business School and the Division of Lifelong Learning.

The 2:30 p.m., ceremony is for graduates in the College of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.

The honorary degree recipients and Commencement speakers will be two icons in literature and music in Maine — international best-selling author Tess Gerritsen of Camden and singer-songwriter David Mallett of Sebec. Mallett will address the 10 a.m. ceremony; Gerritsen will address the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.

This year’s valedictorian and salutatorian are Sierra Ventura of Belfast, Maine, and Jennifer Chalmers of Foxborough, Mass., respectively. Ventura will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education. Chalmers will receive two bachelor’s degrees in English and in history. She has majored in English and history, with minors in education and Spanish, and received highest honors for her thesis.

Also being honored at Commencement and at a Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon that day are four faculty members in marine sciences, electrical and computer engineering, and computing and information science.

Mary Jane Perry, professor of oceanography and interim director of UMaine’s Darling Marine Center, is the 2014 Distinguished Maine Professor, an award presented by the University of Maine Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

J. Malcolm Shick, professor of zoology and oceanography, is the recipient of the 2014 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award; School of Computing and Information Science Professor M. Kate Beard-Tisdale is the 2014 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; and the 2014 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award recipient it Bruce Segee, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the University of Maine System Advanced Computing Group.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

WLBZ Covers Maine Wind Blade Challenge

Monday, May 5th, 2014

WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on the sixth annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge held at the University of Maine. Developed by Maine Composites Alliance, in partnership with the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative, the contest matches high school teams with Maine-based advanced composites manufacturers to research, design and manufacture model wind blades. In addition to giving presentations, high school teams from all around Maine competed to generate the most energy over two minutes. The Maine Wind Blade Challenge was designed to inspire student exploration of alternative energy and advanced materials by participating in a hands-on STEM application. Students from Portland’s Baxter Academy were this year’s champions. Their blade produced between 30 and 35 volts of electricity, according to the report.

Lausier Named NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected University of Maine student Anne Marie Lausier as a 2014 Graduate Research Fellow.

Lausier, a graduate student in civil engineering, says her research will focus on the inclusion of stakeholder equity considerations in water management and that her goal is to “help facilitate the movement of water policy closer to sustainability in a changing environment.”

“National Science Foundation graduate fellowships are the most prestigious major program in the country for graduate students,” says Dan Sandweiss, dean and associate provost for graduate studies. “Students choosing to take this fellowship here is a great indicator of the quality of our graduate faculty and programs.”

Before attending UMaine for graduate school, Lausier double majored in geography and environmental studies at The George Washington University, in Washington, D.C. There, she conducted research assessing the evolution of municipal green building legislation, with a focus on Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified public buildings.

“Anne has a stellar track record,” says Shaleen Jain, her adviser and an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. “This is a highly competitive and coveted award, and a prestigious honor for Anne, as well as a point of pride for UMaine and the College of Engineering.”

Fellowships are awarded to “individuals selected early in the graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant achievements in science and engineering,” according to the NSF. The fellowship provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period for research that leads to a master’s or doctoral degree.

“UMaine has been pivotal in establishing my interest in research,” Lausier says. “This NSF fellowship is valuable in providing me support to continue.”

Lausier is no stranger to water or research at UMaine. During her senior year at Bangor High School she interned in UMaine’s Department of Chemistry as part of the Maine Space Grant Consortium MERITS program. Her research project titled “Detection of Pharmaceuticals in 3 Maine Lakes by Synchronous-Scan Fluorescence Spectroscopy” was the 2009 Stockholm Junior Water Prize state champion and placed among the top eight at the national competition. It was subsequently published in the competition’s journal.

“Anne Marie was a star the minute she walked through the doors in honors chemistry at Bangor High School,” says Cary James, science department head at Bangor High School. “She is one of a long list of water researchers that have gone on to do great things.”

UMaine’s Mechanical Engineering Design Open House May 8

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

More than 60 mechanical engineering students will showcase their capstone projects May 8 at the University of Maine’s Mechanical Engineering Design Open House.

Students have spent the year working in groups to develop a range of projects. One team has designed a surgical device that can be used for adult circumcision, which is linked to the reduction of HIV transmission rates in Africa. Another developed a snowmobile powered by compressed natural gas.

The majority of projects have focused on the development of heat pumps and other energy-related devices. Each team of mechanical engineers has worked diligently to design, construct and test their devices.

In addition to the showcase, the afternoon will begin with a 1 p.m. lecture by UMaine professor emeritus of mechanical engineering Dick Hill titled, “Engineering as a Liberal Study.” Hill is known for his practical perspective on energy based on sound engineering principles. His talk will use examples from bricklaying to fire hydrant design to show how an engineering education changes one’s view of daily life.

The open house will take place in Crosby Lab and the adjacent Cloke Plaza until 6 p.m.

WABI, WVII Report on UMaine Students’ Lombard Steam Log Hauler Restoration

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) covered a Lombard steam log hauler restoration demonstration given by University of Maine mechanical engineering technology seniors at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley. The log hauler was invented and built in Waterville between 1910 and 1917, and was the first successful tracked vehicle. Six student teams restored the log hauler to working condition, one of only three in the world. The public was invited to learn about each team’s project and for a Lombard demonstration with compressed air. Engineering student Emmett Hodder said the restoration process was a fantastic learning experience. “I think it’s really special being one of only a couple people alive who knows how to tune one of these,” he said. Engineering student Peter Roberts told WABI he’s excited to return in 20 years to show his children the log hauler.

Media Previews Maine Wind Blade Challenge

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

AltEnergyMag and North American Windpower previewed the sixth annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge to be held May 2 at the University of Maine. Developed by Maine Composites Alliance, in partnership with the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative, the contest matches high school teams with Maine-based advanced composites manufacturers to research, design and manufacture model wind blades. In addition to giving presentations, 38 high school teams from all around Maine will compete to generate the most energy over two minutes. The Maine Wind Blade Challenge was designed to inspire student exploration of alternative energy and advanced materials by participating in a hands-on STEM application.

2014 Distinguished Maine Professor, Presidential Award Winners Named

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The University of Maine’s top annual faculty awards for 2014 will be presented May 10 to four researchers in marine sciences, electrical and computer engineering, and computing and information science.

Mary Jane Perry, professor of oceanography and interim director of UMaine’s Darling Marine Center, is the 2014 Distinguished Maine Professor, an award presented by the University of Maine Alumni Association in recognition of outstanding achievement in the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

University of Maine President Paul Ferguson announced the three Presidential Awards: J. Malcolm Shick, professor of zoology and oceanography, is the recipient of the 2014 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award; School of Computing and Information Science Professor M. Kate Beard-Tisdale is the 2014 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award; and the 2014 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award recipient it Bruce Segee, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the University of Maine System Advanced Computing Group.

“This time of year with Commencement approaching, it’s particularly rewarding to celebrate the caliber and outstanding achievements of our faculty,” said President Ferguson. “Mary Jane, Kate, Malcolm and Bruce are all well known at UMaine for the difference they make in the lives of our students, and they are recognized and renowned far beyond campus for their engagement and achievements related to their fields. They represent UMaine’s flagship difference and we take pride in their contributions.”

The award recipients will be honored at the Faculty Appreciation and Recognition Luncheon, noon–1:30 p.m., May 10 at Wells Conference Center.

The following faculty descriptions are excerpted from the nomination packages submitted to the selection committees:

2014 Distinguished Maine Professor
Mary Jane Perry, professor of marine sciences and oceanography
Interim director of the Darling Marine Center

Mary Jane Perry is an internationally recognized researcher, gifted teacher and dedicated mentor to young scientists. She teaches — and reaches — students, from marine sciences majors to Ph.D. candidates, multidisciplinary ocean scientists and the lay audience. Perry is known for her ability to effectively provide students with the necessary knowledge for understanding, but also to instill the skills and curiosity that motivate them to teach themselves. In the School of Marine Sciences, she has been helped focus the successful undergraduate program on hands-on learning, interactivity and team learning. Perry is an active member of the school’s undergraduate curricula committee, and has served multiple times as the Oceanography Graduate Program coordinator. In the laboratory, Perry has spent her career passing on her interdisciplinary oceanographic vision, careful scientific approach and high academic standards on to her graduate students. One measure of her success is reflected in the careers of her former graduate students. They include a deputy director and program manager for the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research, a program manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and department chairs at Bowdoin College and Princeton University. Perry and her students have a wide footprint on ocean science in the United States. One of the deepest influences Perry has had on students and oceanography is through the graduate-level ocean optics course she founded in 1985. The course, funded first by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, then the National Science Foundation (NSF) and now NASA, has maintained a subdiscipline of oceanography and created an international group of experts. A widely published researcher, Perry’s papers are often at the forefront of new developments and cut across disciplines, opening doors for future investigations. She is a research pioneer in the study of ocean optics and ocean biology, and the use of autonomous underwater gliders for remote ocean measurements. Since 2000, Perry’s research has brought more than $7 million to the University of Maine in sponsored funding. The diversity of funding agencies sponsoring her research and her service on advisory boards are testament to her expertise. Perry has been invited to sit on steering committees and advisory panels of such entities as NSF, the National Research Council, NASA and a number of European science programs. Perry received a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of California San Diego. She joined the UMaine School of Marine Sciences faculty in 1999, and was named interim director of UMaine’s Darling Marine Center in 2013. Perry was elected an Oceanography Society Fellow in 2010. She received NSF’s Creativity Award in 2009 and 2003, and is one of three invited plenary speakers for the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, the largest and most important gathering of aquatic scientists in the world.

2014 Presidential Outstanding Teaching Award
J. Malcolm Shick
Professor of Zoology and Oceanography

J. Malcolm Shick is a gifted educator who introduces students to “a passionate journey of scientific discovery.” In his rigorous classes, students appreciate his knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject matter, the attention to detail in his meticulously crafted multimedia lectures, and his interest in the quality of each student’s learning experience. In the classroom or the lab, Shick is a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students, and colleagues. Two decades ago, his passion for enhancing student learning in his introductory course led him to institute electronic-based practice exams, which he subsequently helped develop into interactive tools on course websites used today. Ten years ago, Shick helped to inaugurate the popular cornerstone Integrative Marine Science series — four modular core courses in the School of Marine Sciences. Similarly in 2012, he introduced a wide-ranging new graduate-level core class in marine biology for incoming graduate students. Shick’s well-known exploration of the representation of marine sciences in the visual and performing arts, and other humanities, is evident in all his classes, but especially in his course on the biology of marine organisms for first-year students. His other classes include undergraduate courses in ecology, comparative animal physiology, and an honors tutorial in “aesthetic marine biology,” and graduate seminars on such topics as photobiology, symbiosis, and physiological and ecological energetics. Shick’s teaching is informed by his research, largely funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society, that takes him around the world. His eco-physiological research of the ocean’s creatures, especially corals, helps forecast how they will be affected by environmental change. He has been a visiting researcher and instructor at such prestigious institutions as the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Plymouth (U.K.) Marine Laboratory, the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole), the Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco. In 1974, Shick received his Ph.D. in biology from Texas A&M University and joined the University of Maine zoology faculty. He received UMaine’s 1992 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award and was elected an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in 1984. Shick’s extensive publishing history includes more than 80 scientific articles and a book, A Functional Biology of Sea Anemones.

2014 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award
Kate Beard-Tisdale, professor, School of Computing and Information Science
Director of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis at the University of Maine

Kate Beard-Tisdale is an internationally recognized researcher in geographic information science. Through her research and research-based teaching at the University of Maine, she has applied GIS and spatial analysis in a wide range of applications — from the analysis of cancer incidence and mortality to emergency response services and precision agriculture. For more than two decades, her work has made significant contributions in the fields of visualization, spatial uncertainty, geo-ontologies, digital libraries, spatio-temporal modeling and event detection. Under the auspices of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, Beard-Tisdale has led or co-led several major research initiatives. Her research has received more than $10 million in funding from sources that include the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Geological Survey. In the last five years alone, she has had more than 36 funded research grants totaling more than $5 million. Beard-Tisdale was a lead cooperator in the NSF-funded Alexandria Digital Library project based at the University of California Santa Barbara. Similarly, she was the principal investigator on projects to develop digital spatial libraries for the Gulf of Maine and Maine lakes. Beard-Tisdale’s multidisciplinary research makes her the model of a modern information scientist for her students. Her leadership across disciplines landed a NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) award for a novel doctoral research program in sensor science, engineering and informatics. Beard-Tisdale’s research collaborations included an NSF-funded project to investigate the application of spatial concepts to genome mapping. Working with colleagues at The Jackson Laboratory and Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health, the research team studied spatio-temporal models for tracking exposure histories for epidemiological research. Beard-Tisdale’s extensive research publishing includes 50 journal publications, chapters in 11 scholarly books and professional presentations at more than 70 international, national and state conferences. Beard-Tisdale joined the University of Maine in 1987 after completing a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2014 Presidential Public Service Achievement Award
Bruce Segee
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director of the University of Maine System Advanced Computing Group

Bruce Segee has been actively engaged in public service since for more than two decades, assisting entrepreneurs and businesses large and small with cutting-edge instrumentation and automation systems. Since 2007, his work has focused on improving the cyberinfrastructure in Maine and the Northeast that is critical to the success of the University of Maine and the region. His interdisciplinary work ranges from development of production-ready infrastructure to the creation of new technologies for visualization, education and communication. His research and outreach efforts have improved the usefulness of laptops in K–12 education, supercomputing and cloud computing, networking and videoconferencing, and resource sharing. Segee helped spearhead the state’s Three Ring Binder project, which brought $25 million in funding, matched by $6 million in private investment, to form the Maine Fiber Company, providing unprecedented rural connectivity and job creation with the installation of more than 1,100 miles of fiber-optic cable. Three Ring Binder, completed in 2012, was followed the next year by Gigabit Mainestreet, a public-private partnership between UMaine and Great Works Internet to bring gigabit-speed connectivity to the Orono and Old Town communities and resulted in UMaine being cited as one of the top 10 universities for connectivity nationwide. Gigabit Mainestreet is part of a nationwide program named Gig.U, and Segee had a leadership role in bringing Gig.U to Maine. He has served as the director of the UMaine supercomputer, providing cost-effective, cutting-edge computational power for many significant research projects, classes and simulations for K–12 education. In addition, he directs the UMaine Cyberinfrastructure Investment for Development, Economic Growth and Research, and has been involved in the annual Maine Learning Technology Initiative of the state Department of Education. Segee holds the Henry R. and Grace V. Butler Professorship of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received the College of Engineering’s 2008 Ashley S. Campbell Award, as well as Dean’s Awards of Excellence in 2004 and 2008, Outstanding Young Faculty Research Award in 1995 and Outstanding Young Faculty Teaching award in 1994. Segee received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maine in 1985 and 1989, respectively, and was awarded the College of Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Award in 1988. In 1992, he received a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and joined the UMaine engineering faculty. His publishing has included co-writing a textbook, Microprogramming and Computer Architecture.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

UMaine, O’Brien Medical Collaboration Results in Patented Device

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

O’Brien Medical announced it has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its Electronic Tuning Fork, or ETF. The device offers a significant improvement over current methods used by doctors to detect diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a common precursor to diabetic limb loss.

The development of the ETF was made possible through a collaboration with Dr. Todd O’Brien, president and founder of O’Brien Medical, and the University of Maine.

More than five years ago, O’Brien approached UMaine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center for help developing a proof-of-concept ETF, and then worked with Bruce Segee of UMaine’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to develop the beta and commercial versions of the device.

Segee calls the project a perfect example of how the university can help grow the Maine economy.

A Maine electronics manufacturer has been selected to produce the ETF, and O’Brien expects the device will be available for purchase in late 2014.

The full news release is available online.