Alper Kiziltas, a doctoral student in the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources, was named by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) as the recipient of the 2013–2014 PerkinElmer Graduate Scholarship.
The PerkinElmer Instruments Co., in conjunction with the Composites Division of SPE, sponsors the annual $2,000 scholarship dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of information on the science, engineering fundamentals and applications of advanced polymer composite materials. This year, more than 40 applications were reviewed and judged by six members of the SPE Composites Division.
Kiziltas will accept the award in April during SPE’s annual technical conference — ANTEC 2014 — in Las Vegas. His research, as described in the winning abstract, will be presented at the conference.
Kiziltas conducts research at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center under the supervision of Douglas Gardner, professor of forest operations, bioproducts and bioenergy, and in collaboration with Hemant Pendse, department chair of chemical and biological engineering.
Kiziltas is currently working in composite material development and processing, including nanocomposites and reinforced engineering plastics for automotive applications. His particular interest lies in the development of sustainable composite materials sourced from recyclable materials such as bio-based resins, cellulose, discarded carpet fibers and natural fibers that serve as reinforcements for bio-based micro- and nanocomposites. His work is supported by UMaine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Alper’s research skills span over diverse fields such as nanomaterials, polymer processing, bio-based composites and sustainability. He is extremely innovative, unpretentious, collegial and cooperative,” says Gardner.
Kiziltas spent the 2013 summer and fall semesters working in plastics research at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich. While at Ford, he studied ways to extend the use of soy in polyurethane flexible foams for seat cushions and seat backs as well as sustainable nylon composites for under-the-hood applications.
Kiziltas is the author of more than 10 publications in journals such as Applied Nanoscience and the Journal of Nanoparticle Research. He has presented results of his research in several national and international conferences and has won more than 15 awards including Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) Graduate Scholarship Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), the Dean’s Undergraduate Mentoring Award at UMaine’s 2013 Grad Expo, first place in the 2012–2013 SPE ACCE poster competition, and 2013 outstanding Ph.D. student in UMaine’s College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
Rep. Mick Devin of Newcastle who is also a researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center was interviewed for a WLBZ (Channel 2) report titled “Crabs and climate change pose threat to Maine shellfish.” Researchers at the Darling Marine Center say climate change is putting more carbon in the ocean which lowers the pH level and makes the water more acidic. Devin said ocean acidification will hurt more than clams because all marine animals are used to living and evolving in a certain pH range. He said scientists and the shellfish industry need to learn a lot more in order to cope with ocean acidification.
The Times of London interviewed Len Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging and professor in the UMaine School of Social Work, for an article about healthy aging for men. Kaye and Edward H. Thompson Jr., a professor emeritus of sociology and former director of the women and gender studies program at the College of the Holy Cross, co-wrote “A Man’s Guide to Healthy Aging: Stay Smart, Strong, and Active.” The book discusses issues related to the mind and body in relation to aging and presents the latest medical and psychological advice on actions men can take to stay healthy. Kaye said aging men are more likely to enjoy life if they’re in the best possible health.
The Bangor Daily News published the sixth article in a yearlong series by Sandra Butler, a professor of social work at the University of Maine, and Luisa Deprez, a professor and department chair of sociology and women and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine. “First a parent, then a scholar: How this Maine woman finally completed college,” is the pair’s latest column to share stories of Mainers struggling in today’s economy. The article focuses on UMaine graduate student Elizabeth “Liz” Franck.
Mainebiz published a Q&A with Carrie Enos, the University of Maine Pulp & Paper Foundation’s new president. In January, Enos formally took over leadership from Jack Healy, who is retiring in the spring. Enos graduated from UMaine in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and has worked in the paper industry since 1997. She said she sees the appointment as her opportunity to give back to the foundation and industry.
WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) interviewed Jenny Shrum, a Ph.D. candidate in the ecology and environmental sciences graduate program in the University of Maine School of Biology and Ecology. Shrum is researching the biophysical relationships between weather and sap flow. Her goal is to better understand what drives flow and how expected trends in climate may affect the processes and harvesters in the future. Shrum showed the reporters two of her research sites where she is tapping and has set up weather stations. The Weekly also carried a report on Shrum’s research.
A Portland Press Herald article about proposed waterfront concert venues in South Portland and Westbrook cites a study by Todd Gabe, an economics professor at the University of Maine. Gabe’s study found Bangor’s Waterfront Concerts have generated more than $30 million in local spending in the first three years of the series.
A Maine Public Broadcasting Network report titled “Bill to protect Maine lakes sparks disagreement,” cited information from former University of Maine graduate student Ian McCullough’s study on water clarity in Maine lakes. The study found the clarity in Maine’s lakes has declined since 1995.
Marc Cryer, director of the University of Maine’s Bureau of Labor Education, was quoted in a Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting article titled “Tax ‘game’ allows some towns to protect their state at expense of other towns.” The report states every year the state shares money it collects in taxes with Maine’s schools and municipalities. The state determines which communities get how much by a formula that includes the size of the town and the total value of its real estate. According to the article, an exception that lets some richer municipalities and school districts look poorer to get more money is tax increment financing, or TIF. Cryer said he’s not aware of any data that shows TIFs improve local economies or increase jobs in Maine. The article also cited a 2000 report by the state’s Economic Development Incentive Commission that quoted UMaine economist Todd Gabe who found “there is not a statistically significant relationship between employment growth and an establishment’s participation in the TIF program, all other things being equal.” The Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald also carried the report.
The Penobscot Bay Pilot reported on a handheld device developed by University of Maine researchers to quickly detect disease-causing and toxin-producing pathogens such as algal species that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. The device — called a colorimeter — could be instrumental in monitoring coastal water in real-time, thereby preventing human deaths and beach closures. Janice Duy, a recent graduate of UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering led the research team that included UMaine professors Rosemary Smith, Scott Collins and Laurie Connell.