University of Maryland Department of Mechanical Engineering
Newsletter | December 2016
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December 2016 Mechanical Engineering eNewsletter

As the year draws to a close, we tend to reflect on the past and look forward to a bright future. The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland has been around for over 100 years, a rich and vibrant history that makes us proud to be where we are today. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our alumni, friends, and sponsors whose generous support enables us to continuously expand education and research opportunities to our students and faculty. With your help, we look forward to the opportunity to educate the next generation of engineers for another 100 years to come.

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In This Issue

Department News
Research News
Alumni News
Student Corner
How You Can Help

UMD Engineering for Social Change Class Awards Non-Profit V-LINC $10,000 Grant to Support Custom Assistive Technology Program

During a ceremony held December 12, 2016 on the University of Maryland (UMD) campus, students in the Engineering for Social Change course awarded Baltimore based non-profit V-LINC a $10,000 grant to support their Custom Assistive Technology Program. Read more.


Gupta Named 2016 AAAS Fellow
Distinguished University Professor Ashwani Gupta named 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow.

Schmidt Named 2016-2017 Undergraduate Studies Faculty Fellow
Professor Linda Schmidt has been chosen as a University of Maryland (UMD) Undergraduate Studies Faculty Fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year. This program is sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Studies to foster a faculty learning community that addresses UMD’s issues of importance to undergraduate education.

Maryland Robotics Center Receives NSF Funding for REU Site in Bioinspired Robotics
The Maryland Robotics Center (MRC) has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support 30 undergraduate researchers over the next three years as part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site in Bioinspired Robotics. The program is being led by Professors Hugh Bruck (ME/ISR) and Sarah Bergbreiter (ME/ISR), and applications are now being accepted for summer 2017 projects. 

Gabriel invited speaker at three European energy-related workshops this fall
Professor Steven Gabriel was an invited speaker at three European energy-related workshops in September and October this year.

Vaughn-Cooke Participates as Panelist at Virtual Reality Meets Capitol Hill Event
Assistant Professor Monifa Vaughn-Cooke and a team of students from the University of Maryland Hybrid-System Integration and Simulation (HSIS) Laboratory participated in the Virtual Reality Meets Capitol Hill event held August 2, at the U.S. Capital Building in Washington D.C.

Professor Jin-Oh Hahn, along with two other A. James Clark School of Engineering faculty, attended the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) 2016 Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) Symposium.

Design Day
Thank you to the many event and project sponsors, guest judges, faculty, staff, and students who continue to make our twice annual Design Day events such a success. The culmination of Mechanical Engineering's capstone
Integrated Product and Process Development Course, Design Day features project presentations from 30 teams that highlight the talents and creativity of our mechanical engineering students.

In addition, the course offers opportunities for regional organizations to leverage the engineering ingenuity of our students to help solve challenges they are facing. Children’s National Health System was pleased to serve as an external mentor for two Design Day projects: a hippotherapy simulator and a low cost oxygen blender. Kevin Cleary, Ph.D., Technical Director of the Bioengineering Initative at Children’s National, and who served as a the mentor for both projects, had this to say, “It is inspiring to see the creativity of the Maryland students. Both teams did an outstanding job of reviewing the literature and developing prototype designs. This legwork has positioned us well to continue these projects for the benefit our pediatric patients."

This year's event sponsors included Bell Helicopter, Intralox, and Boeing. As part of local outreach, high school students from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute visited and spoke to seniors about their prototypes.

In case you missed it, or it hasn't hit your mailbox yet, be sure to check out the latest issue of the department's annual magazine, METRICS.


Could Standing on a Scale Give You Better Insights into Your Cardiovascular Health?
Assistant Professor Jin-Oh Hahn and his team, which includes research associate Chang-Sei Kim and graduate student Stephanie Ober, have spent the past several years exploring ways to mathematically model some of the human body's cardiac functions to create algorithms and tools aimed at both improving current cardiovascular monitoring tools—like blood pressure cuffs—and creating unobtrusive ways to monitor patient vitals as well as health and disease.

Exploration of Graphene's Wetting Dynamics Could Open New Possibilities
in Fluid Mechanics of Two-Dimensional Materials

A team of student researchers led by Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Siddhartha Das, has published new findings on the wetting dynamics of graphene in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (PCCP). In addition, their paper, "Wetting dynamics of a water nanodrop on graphene," was highlighted as PCCP's inside front cover article in the September 14, 2016 issue. The research was also featured by the New York Times in July.

Newly Discovered Blue Whirl Fire Tornado Burns Cleaner for Reduced Emissions;
Could Lead to Better Oil Spill Cleanup

Fire tornados, or ‘fire whirls,’ pose a powerful and essentially uncontrollable threat to life, property, and the surrounding environment in large urban and wildland fires. But now, a team of researchers at Maryland, which includes Mechanical Engineering affiliate faculty member Elaine Oran, say their discovery of a type of fire tornado they call a ‘blue whirl’ could lead to beneficial new approaches in reduced carbon emissions and improved oil spill cleanup.


Alumna Maria Korsnick Elected President and CEO of NEI
Alumna Maria Korsnick (B.S. Nuclear Engineering ’86) has been elected to the position of President and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), which is the policy organization for the United States nuclear energy industry. She has served as their COO since May 2015.

Alumnus Alex Mehr (Ph.D. '03), founder and former Co-CEO of Zoosk, was one of four UMD alumni who presented at UMD's Digital Disruptors event. The TED-style event featured alumni sharing insights on how emerging technologies will impact our future. It was held November 10th at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Md.


Krueger Selected as 2016-2017 Phillip Merrill Presidential Scholar
Senior Christina Krueger has been named a Phillip Merrill Presidential Scholar. The University of Maryland (UMD) program honors seniors from various departments across campus, and the university faculty and K-12 teachers who have contributed to their success.

Kendall Receives Ford Mulally Leadership in Engineering Scholarship
Senior and Terps Racing Team Leader Austin Kendall has been named a recipient of the prestigious scholarship from the Ford Motor Company.


Thank you to the many alumni, friends and corporate partners who have supported the department over the past year. Donations and support like this enables us enhance and expand the experiential and research opportunities we are able to provide our students.

FEATURED FUND: Department of Mechanical Engineering Gift Fund

The Mechanical Engineering Gift Fund provides resources for student activities and other departmental needs.

To contribute to this fund today, visit:

Inspiration. Boldness. Curiosity. Passion. These are the values that have elevated the University of Maryland to become one of the world’s top academic and research institutions. These are the values that unite our alumni, students, faculty, staff, families and friends—a community committed to Fearless Ideas that improve the lives of millions around the globe. With your support, we can inspire the next leader, launch the next great business, make a world-changing research breakthrough and strengthen passion and pride in our university.

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