University of Maryland Department of Mechanical Engineering
Newsletter | Spring 2018
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Spring 2018 Newsletter

We are excited to share that the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been ranked 16th for our Graduate Program in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Ranking and were ranked within the top 25 Mechanical Engineering programs worldwide in 2017 Shanghai Ranking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, a high point we have reached on the eve of our 125th Anniversary. The Department is thankful for the support of our faculty, alumnae, students, and peers who have supported the education and cutting-edge research that takes place here in College Park. With this announcement, we bring you another edition of the Mechanical Engineering newsletter. This issue has pieces on new research in the department, faculty accomplishments, and a feature on our female students, faculty, and alumni for Women's History Month. We are thankful for your continued support of the Department and hope you take the time to visit with us if you are ever in the area.

Research News


UMD Researchers Create Super Wood Stronger than Most Metals
Associate Professor Teng Li and a team of UMD engineers in collaboration with Materials Science and Engineering's Liangbing Hu have found a way to make wood more than ten times times stronger and tougher than before, creating a natural substance that is stronger than many titanium alloys.

University of Maryland Receives $5M National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant to Support Next Generation of Cyber Leaders
UMD has been awarded a grant totaling $5 million over five years from NSF’s CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) program to address today’s workforce demand by funding scholarships for students in UMD’s Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES) program, led by Director and Associate Professor of Reliability Engineering, Michel Cukier.

ME Researchers Discover Methods to Mediate Membrane-Nanoparticle Interactions
A team of graduate students, led by the Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Siddhartha Das, has published findings on how electrostatics control interactions between the membrane and nanoparticle in Applied Physics Letters. Ph.D. students Shayandev Sinha and Haoyuan Jing and M.S. student Harnoor Singh Sachar were co-authors on this publication.


ME Researchers Receive Boeing Funding for "More Electric" Aircraft
Professor Patrick McCluskey is in collaboration with Electrical and Computer Engineering's Alireza Khaligh to develop an innovative Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductor-based modular power electronic solution for more electric aircraft. This project continues the collaboration between Maryland Power Electronics Laboratory and Boeing, which has already yielded a Silicon Carbide-based RTRU that is 40 percent lighter and 8 percent more efficient than the current state of the art.

Women's History Month Feature

March is Women's History Month, and we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to highlight some of the inspirational women in the Department, which this year has the highest number of female faculty members in our almost 125 year history. For this feature, we interviewed faculty, alumnae, and students of Mechanical Engineering to discuss their experiences as engineers and share some advice about their lives and careers.

Laleh Jalali

Degree: B.S. '89
Current Occupation: Co-Founder and Shareholder at Alliance IP, LLC, a virtual law firm, where she is also Senior Patent Attorney and Director of Marketing
What is one piece of advice you would give to young women pursuing engineering?
The same advice I give to my teenage daughters Ariana (15) and Sophia (13):  you have a choice as to whether you accept or reject the version of yourself offered to you by society, and you can choose your own version:  the version of yourself that has no reason whatsoever to be intimidated by anything, including math and science. 

Jelena Srebric

Current Occupation: Professor, Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland
How has a woman mentor made an important impact on your education or career?
Women mentors helped every step of my career with their insights and experiences. A senior woman actually made a huge difference in my first academic job by regularly stopping by my office and asking me how I was doing. Her continuous care for my progress was a great reason to persist and stay in the profession that I am in.

Susan Ojo

Degree: BS '17
What are your plans after graduation?
Operations Management Leadership Program with GE Healthcare.
What advice would you give high school women who might be interested in pursuing engineering?
Make sure you're pursuing engineering because it's what you want or at least because it's something you're willing to try. It is not an easy pursuit and there will be tough days. But also remember that you'll likely be the most proud of yourself during those times that you've faced your fears head on and succeeded...which you will. Never be afraid to shake things up because the field needs some new and different faces. 

Katrina Groth

Degree: B.S. '04, M.S. '08, Ph.D. '09
Current Occupation: Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had shared with you before pursuing a career as a woman in engineering? There are so many paths within engineering. Give early consideration to the type of environment you want to work in and the people you want to surround yourself with. Being in the right organizational culture will enable you to do greater things.

Haroula Tzamaras

Degree: B.S. '18
Plans after Graduation: I will be working with Stanley Black and Decker's power tools engineering group doing new product development. I will be working in Towson for 6 months, and then taking a 5 month rotation in Suzhou, China. I hope to return to school in a few years and eventually become a professor at a university. 
What advice would you give high school women who might be interested in pursuing engineering?
I would tell them to do it! Don't be intimidated by the word "engineering." If you are interested in math and science, or the way that people can manipulate the world around them, definitely do some research about the different fields of engineering and give it a shot!

Veedoola Ramkalawon

Degree: B.S. '95
Current Occupation: I manage a large team of network engineers responsible for managing and upgrading the Verizon network nationwide. 
What excites you about engineering at the moment? I am super excited to see how engineering directly affects the quality of life of people through products emerging from the Internet of Things, clouds,and smart cities.  I have always been passionate about making a difference in someone's life and I feel that with engineering, we have a magical tool that allows us to do just that.

Interested in hearing more about these women? Click here to read their full responses: and to share your own story, email Natalie Grandison, Director of External Relations at

Department News

C.D. Mote Named a Fellow in the National Academy of Inventors
C.D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., President of the National Academy of Engineering and a Regents’ Professor, former president of the University of Maryland and Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Mechanical Engineering has been named a Fellow in the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Colleagues noted his work as a researcher, inventor, educator, mentor and as a leader.

Bar-Cohen Named President of IEEE Electronic Packaging Society
Distinguished University Professor Avram Bar-Cohen has been elected as the inaugural president of the newly renamed Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Electronic Packaging Society (EPS). Previously known as the IEEE Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology (CPMT) Society, this change in name marks a shift to better represent expanding interests in the fields of microsystem packaging and integration.

Department Hosts Inaugural Ford Future of Transportation Lecture
Sherif Marakby (MSEE '90), VP Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification at Ford, was featured during the February 21st Future of Transportation Lecture Series kickoff event. This new multidisciplinary series, sponsored by Ford, exposes students to the challenges and opportunities within the transportation field featuring industry, government and academic experts.

Larsson Named Associate Editor of AIAA Journal
Assistant Professor Johan Larsson was named to the editorial board of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Journal. He will serve in this role through the end of his term in 2020.

2018 ARPA-E Summit Showcases Department Innovations
2018 U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Innovation Summit featured several Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty members and their research. Presenters included Professor Hugh A. Bruck and David Hymas, PhD student, who demonstrated a Polymer Composite Heat Exchanger enabled by a novel Additive Manufacturing technique. Director of the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering (CEEE) Reinhard Radermacher and Professor Michael Ohadi, currently on leave to serve as a Program Director at ARPA-E, also presented.

Our Mechanical Engineering Scholarship Golf Tournament will be held at the University of Maryland Golf Course on April 20, 2018. Proceeds benefit student scholarships within the Department of Mechanical Engineering. For more information, including how to register, visit our website!

Student Corner

Five Mechanical Engineering Graduate Students Named Future Faculty Fellows
Five graduate students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering have been named to the 2018 A. James Clark School of Engineering Future Faculty cohort. The Future Faculty program selects current doctoral candidates and prepares them for long-term career success in the academic world as educators and researchers.

Mechanical Engineering Places Third in 2018 Alumni Cup
The team of Mechanical Engineering undergraduates created a Disney EPCOT themed Rube Goldberg machine designed to sink a one-meter putt. The team placed third behind Electrical and Computer Engineering and Fire Protecti Engineering.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Zupnik Lecture Hall, 1110 Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742

Thursday, April 12, 2018
6:30-8:30 PM

VISArts at Rockville Town Square
155 Gibbs St., Rockville, MD 20850

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
6:30-8:30 PM

The Forum at A. James Clark Hall
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742

FEATURED FUND: Department of Mechanical Engineering Faculty Gift Fund

The Mechanical Engineering Faculty Gift Fund provides resources for faculty activities and other departmental needs such as, hiring research fellows, seeding novel research projects, and acquiring new supplies and equipment.

To contribute to this fund today, visit
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