Peritz and String Named Winners of Presidential Citizenship Award
Senior Ethan Peritz and master's student
Gabrielle String were named 2013 recipients
Presidential Award for Citizenship and Public Service. As a fellow in Tisch College’s
Project PERIS Somerville
program, Peritz worked with the CEEO
to develop a four-year
pre-engineering curriculum for Somerville High School.
Shahbazi Fellow, was given the award for her work with
Engineers Without Borders on a water purification project in
Stemming the Tide
In April 2013,
Darryl N. Williams joined Tufts as
Associate Dean for Recruitment, Retention, and Community
Engagement and the new director of the Center for STEM
Diversity at Tufts School of Engineering. Williams takes
over from Travis Brown, now the director of the Quantitative
Skills Center at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. Julia
C. Keller, Communications Director for the School of
Engineering, sat down for a conversation with Williams and
Brown to hear their professional opinions about the state of
STEM programs designed to keep underrepresented students in
the pipeline, their personal experiences in pipeline
programs, and the future of supporting STEM diversity at
Kurinsky Named 2013 Goldwater Scholar
Noah Kurinsky, E14, was named a 2013
Scholar as part of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and
Excellence in Education Program. Noah's career goals include
conducting research in particle physics or high energy astrophysics
and teaching at the university level.
Dean Abriola Named Drexel Engineering Leader of the Year
Linda M. Abriola was named Drexel
University's 2013 Engineering Leader of the Year. A Drexel
engineering alumna, Abriola is the first woman to receive
the honor and joins a prestigious group of engineering
luminaries. Abriola will be honored for her leadership in
environmental engineering, her commitment to the National
Academy of Engineering (NAE) and her contributions to
engineering in an effort to better society.
Read the story in the
Souvaine Named Tufts Vice Provost for Research
On November 28, 2012, computer science Professor
Diane Souvaine was named
Tufts' Vice Provost for Research. Diane has extensive
experience as a member of the 24-person
National Science Board,
a prestigious body charged with governing the National
Science Foundation (NSF) and advising the President and
Congress. In an
announcement, Provost and Senior Vice President David
Harris, says "Her experience on the National Science Board
will serve Tufts well as we seek to expand our research
success in what will be a challenging federal funding
Panetta Receives IEEE Award for Distinguished Ethical Practices Karen Panetta was selected by the IEEE Board of Directors to
receive the 2013 IEEE Award for Distinguished Ethical
Practices, which is given for exemplary ethical behavior and
practices and/or persuasive advocacy or promotion of ethical
behaviors and practices by an IEEE member or organizations
employing IEEE members. Specifically, the citation for
Karen's award is "For exemplary
contributions and leadership in developing ethics and social
responsibility in students."
What Would R2-D2 Do?
At the moment, our interaction with social robots is
completely one-sided. These devices simply don’t have the
means to understand our words and gestures. That’s something
Matthias Scheutz, associate professor of computer
science, wants to change. If we can create devices that seem
more humanlike in their response to us, he reasons, they may
be well suited for more complex work with people, such as
tending to the basic needs of hospital patients or the
elderly at home.
Can Dynamic Mapping Reveal Clues about Flu Seasonality?
Influenza outbreaks in the United States typically begin
with the arrival of cold weather and then spread in seasonal
waves across geographic zones. But the question of why
epidemics can vary from one season to the next has baffled
Elena Naumova, professor of civil and
environmental engineering, and collaborators from the United
States and India suggest that the search for answers has
been thwarted, in part, by the lack of standardized research
methods. In a
recent paper, the team concludes that newly
emerging technologies like dynamic mapping can be used in
concert with traditional approaches.
Let Your Life Speak
Freshman applications were up again this year, representing
the sixth consecutive record-breaking applicant pool. The
Class of 2016 includes a combat engineer with the
Singaporean Air Force's explosive ordinance and disposal
unit and a mechanical engineer who compares the bearing load
of a Gothic buttress to the arch of her shoes. As one
freshman said Tufts "is a place where comedy meets
intellectual inquisitiveness, where hungry minds meet
Learn more about the Class of 2016!
David Harris Named Provost
David R. Harris, former senior associate dean at Cornell
University's College of Arts and Sciences and a former
deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, became Tufts' provost and senior vice
president, effective July 1, 2012. Harris, 42, is an expert
on race and ethnicity, social stratification and public
policy. In addition to his deanship, he has previously
served as Cornell's vice provost, deputy provost and interim
provost. Read more about
Golden Age of Aerospace
In the 1950s, Howard Hughes, the eccentric aviation magnate,
left the company he had founded in 1932. Under new management,
Hughes Aircraft Company went on to become the world’s premier
military electronics business. From lasers to geosynchronous
satellites to signal processors, the company's innovations
became part of the fabric of modern life. In his exhaustively
researched book, Hughes After Howard; author Kenneth
past president of Hughes Aircraft Company, recounts those accomplishments.
Nan Yi Wins Student Award from the Materials Research Society Nan
Yi, a chemical and biological engineering graduate
student in Professor Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos' Nano
Catalysis & Energy Laboratory (NanoCel),
received the Graduate Student Silver Award from the
Materials Research Society (MRS).
This award is "intended to honor and encourage graduate
students whose academic achievements and current materials
research display a high level of excellence and
distinction." Nan is the first Tufts graduate student to win
Matt Panzer Wins Grant from Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) named
assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and
Biological Engineering, as one of several researchers to
receive a grant under the
MassCEC Catalyst Program, which supports the
commercialization of game-changing clean energy. Panzer will
use the MassCEC funding to build an ionogel-based
supercapacitor device prototype and to assess its energy
storage and delivery capabilities.
Reversing a Birth Defect
The work of biomedical engineer
K. Kuo could advance
the treatment of orthopedic deformities before a baby is
born. Clubfoot, one of the most common orthopedic birth
defects in the United States, affects more than 4,000
newborns each year. Exactly what goes wrong in these tendons
is still unclear, but Catherine K. Kuo is trying to figure
that out by studying how they form in a developing embryo.
Fresh Water for Shilongo
Thanks to some enterprising undergraduates involved in
Engineers Without Borders (EWB),
the village of Shilongo has a water storage tank that holds
up to a full day’s supply of clean drinking water for all
800 villagers. Instead of pumping the water by hand, a pump
powered by a stationary bicycle gets the work done
faster—with a dash of fun for the kids who usually do the
Eric Miller Elevated to IEEE Fellow
Professor Eric Miller has been named an IEEE Fellow for
contributions to inverse problems and physics-based signal
and image processing. In his Lab for Imaging
Science Research Miller's research methods are
applied to a range of problems associated with environmental and medical sensing.
In the environmental space, he is working closely with Professor
Linda Abriola and Assistant Professor Andrew Ramsburg in the
development of processing methods for the characterization
of regions of subsurface contamination based on hydrological
as well as geophysical data sets. In the biomedical imaging
field, Miller has been looking at statistically driven
geometric image segmentation methods to help doctors better
understand MRI images.
Panetta Wins Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring
On Nov. 15, 2011, President Obama named Karen Panetta,
Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, among nine
individuals and eight organizations recipients of the
Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics,
and Engineering Mentoring. The award recognizes the crucial
role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal
development of students studying science and
engineering—particularly those who belong to groups that are
underrepresented in these fields.
Researchers, including Research Associate Professor Robert
Peattie in biomedical engineering and Associate Professor
Luis Dorfmann in civil and environmental engineering are
building flexible models to calculate the odds that potentially fatal
abdominal aneurysms will rupture.
On a sunny matriculation day, we welcomed our largest and
most selective undergraduate class in our school's
history—223 undergraduates were received as the newest SOE
Jumbos by our new President, Anthony Monaco. We also
welcomed our largest graduate cohort ever, including 51
entering Ph.D. students, at our first formal graduate
Let Your Life Speak
Freshman applications were up by more than 13 percent this
year, representing the fifth consecutive record-breaking
applicant pool. The undergraduate Class of 2015 includes a
computer engineer from Providence who rock climbs while
blindfolded and a computer whiz from New York City who has
already developed 30 iPhone and iPad apps that have been
downloaded over 2 million times! Watch Undergraduate Dean
Lee Coffin welcome the Class of 2015.
Rubik's Cube's Math Secret
Andrew Winslow, EG14, a doctoral student in theoretical
computer science, and a group of Boston-area researchers
decided to figure out how a computer might most efficiently
solve the Rubik's cube—and not just the standard one with
three squares per row, but ones with up to 17 squares per
row. They came up with some surprising findings that relate
to real-world problems.
An Engineering GEM
Through participation in the National Consortium for
Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science,
or GEM Consortium, Tufts grants fellowships to highly
qualified students from underrepresented groups to pursue
their graduate degrees.
Ninrat Datiri joins Tufts University School of Engineering
as the first GEM Fellow.
What's the best web browser to use?
Ming Chow, E02, EG04, a lecturer in computer science, reveals
his favorite web browser. In his class on web development, students use
and develop for all browsers, not just one. But for web
browsing, he suggests going with Google Chrome. Find out
A Window on Research
As part of the Leadership Alliance program,
Tufts engineering faculty and grad students host Morehouse College
undergrads who are tracking Twitter trends and using brain
imaging technologies to explore human cognition.
A Less Painful Colonoscopy
Scientists and engineers are continually researching new
methods of screening to reduce patient discomfort while also
ensuring the accuracy of a colonoscopy exam. Researchers at
the School of Engineering led by Associate Professor of
Mechanical Engineering Caroline G.L. Cao, have developed a
device that could potentially do both. Tufts endoscopic
fiber optic shape tracker (EFOST) technology is a possible
solution to the problem that occurs when the endoscope is
inserted into the colon during routine screening.
Dr. Charles Vest to Deliver Commencement Address
Dr. Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of
Engineering and president emeritus of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, will deliver Tufts University's
commencement address on Sunday, May 22, 2011. Dr. Vest will
receive an honorary doctorate from Tufts and will join the
engineering ceremonies for the hooding of doctoral
candidates and the presentation of graduate degrees.
Tufts Seniors Join the Order of the Engineer
In early May, our Tufts engineers participated in the Order
of the Engineer ceremony spearheaded by our Engineering
The Order of the Engineer was initiated in the United States
to foster a spirit of pride and responsibility in the
engineering profession, to bridge the gap between training
and experience, and to present to the public a visible
symbol—a ring worn on the fifth finger of an
engineer's writing hand. The ring acts as a reminder to act
ethically in engineering practice. More than sixty engineers
participated in the ceremony, including 55 graduating
Flexible, Rolling Robot Copies Caterpillar's Escape Mechanism
Tufts researchers designed a robot that mimics the behavior
of caterpillars in order to better understand the mechanics
of "ballistic rolling." In a report published in
Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, graduate student Huai-Ti
Lin, Gary Leisk, senior lecturer and research assistant
professor in mechanical engineering, and biology professor
Barry Trimmer report that their GoQBot mimics two
caterpillar modes of locomotion: inching along like a worm
or ballistically rolling at comparatively high speeds.
Spanning the Distance: Engineers bridge theory and practice
Structural engineers in Tufts ASCE chapter spent their senior year designing and
constructing bridges—and putting their classroom knowledge
to the test in the real world by participating in the annual
steel bridge competition sponsored by the ASCE and the American Institute
of Steel Construction. The competition challenges student
teams to design bridges and build them on-site at the competition in
less than 45 minutes.
Omenetto Named Guggenheim Fellow
Fiorenzo Omenetto, professor of biomedical
engineering, received a fellowship from the John Simon
Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Omenetto received the only
Guggenheim fellowship in engineering. The prestigious award
will support Omenetto's efforts to demonstrate the first
implantable and fully bioresorbable optical and electronic
components that seamlessly integrate into living tissue.
On Fire: Robotics Club Participates in Firefighting Competition
With financial support from the School of Engineering Dean’s
Grant Program, the Tufts Robotics Club recently competed in
the Trinity Firefighting Competition held at Trinity College
in Hartford, Conn. on April 9-11, 2011. With their two
robots, Precipitating Pachyderm v2.0 and Jumbo Shrimp v1.0,
the team won first place in the written exam, and eighth in
Panetta Named 2011 Women of Vision
The Anita Borg Institute named
Karen Panetta, Professor in the Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering, the
2011 Women of Vision Award winner in
the Social Impact category. She is recognized not only for her
contributions in both academia and industry but also as one of the
leading U.S. experts in innovating successful low-cost methods for
disseminating engineering and science to youth, parents, educators
and the general public to help recruit young women to the STEM
Vandervelde Wins NSF CAREER Award for Thermophotovoltaic Research
New research on converting heat to electricity has earned
Assistant Professor Tom Vandervelde, the John A. and Dorothy
M. Adams Faculty Development Professor in the Department of
Electrical and Computer Engineering, a NSF CAREER Award.
Vandervelde conducts research on thermophotovoltaics—cells that
convert thermal radiation, or heat, into electricity—with
implications for a new class of green energy technologies.
Meserve Named First Recipient of Vannevar Bush Dean's Medal
Tufts School of Engineering will name Dr. Richard A. Meserve (A'66), president of the Carnegie Institution, the first recipient of the Vannevar Bush Dean's Medal awarded to an
internationally recognized technology leader who has
contributed substantially to the betterment of society
through not only extraordinary technical achievement but
also significant contributions at the intersection of
engineering and other fields.
Hidden in Plain Sight Remco
Chang uses visual analytics to puzzle out secrets from financial
fraud to terrorism. In essence, Chang says, the emerging field of
visual analysis is a way of sorting through a sea of data to find
patterns and outliers that might otherwise have gone undetected.
Burn Like the Sun Luisa Chiesa, Assistant Professor in
mechanical engineering, is
testing superconducting cables
for fusion power plants of the future. When most people
think about using the sun's energy, they envision dark solar
panels quietly soaking up rays. But engineers such as Chiesa
see another way to harness the power of the sun—by
recreating it, in small doses, here on Earth.
Vandervelde Earns Air Force Grant for Photodetection Research
Tom Vandervelde, Assistant Professor in the Department of
Electrical and Computer Engineering, received an Air Force
Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) grant for his work on
exploring and increasing the capabilities of photodetectors
with applications for advances in biomedical diagnostics,
health care, and sustainable energy.
Citizen Engineer Allison St. Vincent Models the Effects of Air Pollution
Graduate student Allison St. Vincent has been researching
ultrafine particles in air pollution as part of the
Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH)
initiative, led by Professor Doug Brugge at the Tufts School
of Medicine and John Durant, Associate Professor of Civil
and Environmental Engineering. Currently a second year Ph.D.
candidate, her work has already earned her numerous
accolades, including an EPA STAR Graduate Fellowship.
Endy Gives Inaugural Lecture for Kim Knox Lecture Series in Engineering Ethics
Stanford University biologist Drew Endy delivered the
inaugural Knox Lecture in Engineering Ethics, sponsored by
the Tufts Gordon Institute. According to Endy,
biotechnology can play a role in solving problems like
dependence on oil, but the biologist cautions that
developments in the field may create new ethical dilemmas
with which the public will have to grapple.
As cholera makes a comeback, Maimuna Majumder, E'12, seeks
ways to combat it. Majumder spent the summer in Bangladesh,
beginning a study of 10 years worth of cholera patient data
to see which variables seemed to play a role in protecting
people from the disease.
McNamara Delivers Fall Lyon & Bendheim Alumni Lecture
Engineering consultant Pamela McNamara (E'81) returned to
the Hill to speak with students about the significance of
critical thinking and problem solving in the workplace,
skills that she called essential to engineers and liberal
arts students alike.
Tufts Launches Water Diplomacy Doctoral Program
The National Science Foundation has
awarded a $4.2M, five-year grant to Tufts' Integrative
Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT)
initiative to create an interdisciplinary doctoral program
in water diplomacy. Tufts' IGERT team, led by Professor
Shafiqul Islam, comprises 17 faculty members from three
schools, with eight U.S. partners and five international
Stanković Named Alvin H. Howell Professor in Electrical Engineering
Aleksandar Stanković has been named the inaugural Howell
Professor in Electrical Engineering. Stanković's research on
electric energy processing has applications for power
systems. He recently received an award from the National
Science Foundation to improve the containment of complex
system-wide events such as blackouts.
Engineering Welcomes New Faculty Members
This year, the School of Engineering has
recruited six new tenure-track faculty members, four of whom
have started in fall 2010. Computer Science Associate
Professor Matthias Scheutz’s (left)
current research and teaching interests focus on complex
cognitive and affective robots with natural language
capabilities for natural human-robot interaction.
Meet the Incoming Engineers
This was another banner year for Tufts School of
Engineering, with freshman applications up by more than 5%.
This represents the school's fourth consecutive
record-breaking applicant pool, with a total increase in
applications of 32% since 2006. The number of graduate
applications to the school also grew substantially,
increasing nearly 20% over last year.
Get Your Motor Running
Friday afternoons are notoriously quiet on college campuses, but not inside a work space at Bray Laboratory.
In a back room, a group of students were working on a Formula-1 style race car as they did every Friday afternoon,
preparing for the fourth annual Formula Hybrid Competition.
Graduate Students Win Top Tufts Awards
Graduate students Adam Carberry (left) and
Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan received Tufts Presidential Awards
for Citizenship and Public Service for their research
and "outstanding civic achievement."
A Brain-Recording Device that Melts into Place
David Kaplan and
Fio Omenetto have helped develop a brain implant that
essentially melts into place, snugly fitting to the brain's
surface. The technology could pave the way for better
devices to monitor and control seizures, and to transmit
signals from the brain past damaged parts of the spinal
cord. Photo credit: John Rogers
Safety Hits Home
Geotechnical engineer Gabrielle Rigaud, EG'10, was part of a 10-member team
led by the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering
Research (MCEER) to assess post-earthquake infrastructure damage in Haiti.
from the Internet May Help Solve Energy Crisis
According to Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, the pressing global need
for cheap and clean energy can be met by using networking concepts from the
development of the Internet. If the Internet is any guide, when we are done
solving energy, we are not going to use less energy but much, much more--a
squanderable abundance, just like we have in computation, says Metcalfe.
Junior Faculty Receive Prestigious Awards
In Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professors, Sameer Sonkusale
and Valencia Joyner have received early CAREER awards from the National Science
Foundation. Valencia Joyner will continue research in wireless optical sensors
for high resolution imaging of biological structures. Sameer Sonkusale will
pursue research in nanoelectrochemical systems. In Mechanical Engineering,
Assistant Professor Luisa Chiesa received an early career award from the U.S.
Department of Energy for her work in superconducting technology for magnet
systems in fusion machines.
Homegrown Talent Heads Up CEEO
Starting this spring, three engineering graduates will assume leadership positions
within the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO). Engineers
Merredith Portsmore, Ethan Danahy, and Morgan Hynes will enhance the School
of Engineering's research and educational programs at the CEEO.
McDonnells Pledge $3 Million to Enhance
The James S. McDonnell Family Foundation and members of the McDonnell family have
pledged $3 million to support the growth of the Center for Engineering Education
and Outreach (CEEO) and to endow the McDonnell Family Professorship in Engineering
Education at the School, pending Trustee approval. This generous gift will enhance
the School of Engineering's research and educational programs in engineering
education innovation, one the school's strategic areas.
First Haber Professor of Sustainability Named
Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, whose
research into fuel processing catalysts will make it less expensive to produce clean
energy, has been named to the Robert and Marcy Haber Endowed Professorship in Energy
Sustainability in the School of Engineering.
Dr. Bernard Gordon, known as the father of analog-to-digital conversion and for
breakthroughs such as the fetal heart monitor and portable CT scan, has given a
transformative gift to the School of Engineering to advance its engineering
leadership education programs.
Kofi Aninakwa (E'11) uses the Summer Scholar program to combine medicine and engineering
through the creation of a wearable health monitor. Working with Sameer Sonkusale,
electrical and computer engineering assistant professor, Aninakwa has spent this past
summer building electrical circuits for this health sensor.
STOMP Goes to Google
The Center for Engineering Education and Outreach's program called STOMP--Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program--now has a branch called iSTOMP in which Tufts students train industry engineers, like those at Google, to reach out to local schools and improve existing science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum using LEGO.
Mapping the Technological Edges
Graduate student, Shahan Nercessian's research gives computers the 'vision' to make advances
in medical and security imaging. The algorithms that Nercessian writes help computers determine
the edges of an object, like the outline of a tumor in an MRI scan or a suspicious package in
the airport security scanner.
Graduate Student Diversity Day Successful
This summer, more than 140 undergraduate students from underrepresented groups visited Tufts campus to learn more about advanced degrees from Tufts' professional schools, as well as programs in Arts, Sciences and Engineering. This conference provided a window into higher education possibilities for students who, traditionally, make up a small percentage of the graduate student population in the United States.
Solar House Teaches Tufts Students Sustainability
Engineers Dante DeMeo (E'08), Matt Thoms (E'10), and Mike Sidebottom (E'10) are three of the students working on the design and construction of an affordable and energy-efficient solar house as part of the 2009 Solar Decathlon competition. Tufts University, in conjunction with Boston Architectural College, has begun building the 800-sq ft. home for display on Washington, D.C.'s National Mall.
Engineer Wins Environmental Scholarship
Matthew Thoms (E'10) has been named a Morris K. Udall Scholar for 2009. Candidates are selected based on commitment to environmental research and issues. As an engineer passionate about sustainability, Thoms' focus is on renewable power generation and his current research involves increasing the efficiency of solar panels.
Alumna Named a New Face of Engineering
Sarah Freeman (E'05, EG'08), a water resources engineer for the Louis Berger Group, has been named as one of the 2009 New Faces of Engineering by the National Engineers Week Foundation. Freeman recently conducted a two-year study using global water data sets and GIS to give a much richer picture of water availability in Africa than traditional studies have shown.
Engineering Innovation Gives Electric and Hybrid Cars a Boost
Technology developed by Ronald Goldner, Engineering Professor Emeritus, could recharge the batteries of any hybrid electric and electric-powered vehicles, thereby increasing the miles per gallon or total driving range performance of vehicles like the Honda Civic by 20 to 70 percent. The technology actively uses the weight of a vehicle for energy recovery and could help speed the expansion of the hybrid and battery electric vehicle market from cars to vehicles of greater size, weight and payloads.