Tag Archive | "college of engineering"


E-Week Celebrates the Engineering Profession


High schoolers will tour College of Engineering labs during Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on February 23.

The University of Miami’s Engineering Week (E-Week), which is designed to create awareness of the profession, as well as to highlight the scholarship and expertise of the University’s present and future engineers, kicked off on Friday with a Build-It event hosted by the UM chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for more than 300 high school students who visited campus to learn about the fundamental skills necessary to succeed in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields through problem-solving and creativity. Superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools Alberto Carvalho delivered opening remarks.

Activities for the always popular week continue at noon on Monday, February 20, when the UM chapter of Eta Kappa Nu (HKN), the honor society of electrical and computer engineers, hosts a Raspberry Pi Competition open to students from all STEM disciplines within the University. Contestants will show off their innovative prowess—from helping people with physical impairments operate everyday technology and computers to inventing wearable technology to enable better learning. The competition is a core part of UM’s ongoing work to make a difference in our community. The competition gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with engineering.

On Wednesday, February, 22, at 6:30 p.m., the UM chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) will present the STEM Diversity-A Forum, a dialogue between students and UM President Julio Frenk and College of Engineering Dean Jean-Pierre Bardet. They will discuss the challenges in higher education and at the U in recruiting African-American and minority faculty, and establishing and nurturing a culture of belonging and progress in supporting students of color to become technology leaders. Joining President Frenk and Dean Bardet will be a panel of graduate students, as well as representatives from Black Technology Weekend.

On Thursday, February 23, at 8 a.m., the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will host UM’s celebration of National Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. The U takes great pride in having female enrollment in engineering at 28 percent, far above the approximately 19 percent nationwide average. This event will welcome more than 150 girls from high schools in South Florida for a day of lectures, lab tours, and design activities designed to kindle their interest in the world of engineering. The forum will be held at the Donna E. Shalala Student Center ballrooms.

The celebration of National Engineers Week was started in 1951 in conjunction with the birthday of President George Washington, who is considered the nation’s first engineer, notably for his survey work. For more information about E-Week visit coe.miami.edu/eweek.



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COE Distinguished Speaker Series Presents ‘Biologically Inspired Engineering: From Human Organs-on-Chips to Programmable Nanotherapeutics’ on March 6


Donald E. Ingber

Donald E. Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and a member of the National Academy of Medicine, will present a seminar entitled “Biologically Inspired Engineering: From Human Organs-on-Chips to Programmable Nanotherapeutics” at 3:30 p.m on Monday, March 6  in the Storer Auditorium at the School of Business Administration.

His  presentation will highlight the recent advances his team has made in engineering “organs-on-chips”—microfluidic devices lined with living human cells that are created with computer microchip manufacturing techniques that recapitulate organ-level structure and functions as a way to replace animal testing for drug development, mechanistic discovery, and personalized medicine.

This seminar is part of the College of Engineering Distinguished Speaker Series. For more information, call 305-284-2445 or email a.delllano@miami.edu.

This presentation will be broadcast live. To sign up for the live broadcast, please visit the event link: coe.miami.edu/speaker/Ingber



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College of Engineering Distinguished Speaker Eugenia Kalnay Presents ‘Modeling Sustainability: Coupling Earth and Human System Models’ February 6

Eugenia Kalnay

Eugenia Kalnay

Eugenia Kalnay, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland Baltimore, who served as branch head at NASA Goddard and as director of the National Weather Service’s Environmental Modeling Center of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, will present “Modeling Sustainability: Coupling Earth and Human System Models” on Monday, February 6, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the McArthur Engineering Annex, room 202. Her talk will describe a prototype of a fully coupled Earth System model. For more information, call 305-284-2344 or email d.berio@miami.edu.

This presentation will be broadcast live. To sign up for the live broadcast please visit the event link: coe.miami.edu/speaker/kalnay.


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Celik Receives Presidential Early Career Award


Celik Receives Presidential Early Career Award

Special to UM News


Nurcin Celik

Outgoing President Obama honored Nurcin Celik, associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Industrial Engineering, with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Celik is the first University of Miami recipient to be honored with a PECASE. The award recognizes her federally funded research into smart cities – specifically the use of dynamic data-driven multi-scale simulations for distributed energy systems in those cities.

“I congratulate these outstanding scientists and engineers on their impactful work,” President Obama said when he presented the awards. “These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy.”

Celik is one of 102 PECASE recipients for 2017. The awards recognize some of the nation’s finest scientists and engineers, who show exceptional potential for leadership in advancing scientific knowledge and engineering in the 21st century.

“All of us at the College of Engineering are excited to congratulate Nurcin on this extremely prestigious, well-deserved recognition. This award is a great honor to Nurcin, the industrial engineering department, the College of Engineering and the entire University of Miami,” said Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the University of Miami College of Engineering. “The PECASE is highly competitive, and recognizes not only the excellence and significance of Dr. Celik’s research contributions, but also her potential for future leadership and research impact.”

As part of her presidential award, the U.S. Department of Defense will grant Celik funding of $200,000 per year for five years to advance her research. She will also receive a citation and a plaque.

The awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology, as well as their commitment to community service – as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

To see the full list of the 102 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, click here.

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Surveys Explore Sad State of Water in Cuba

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Surveys Explore Sad State of Water in Cuba

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

MIAMI, Fla. (January 17, 2017)—When Evaristo lived in his native Cuba, hardly a day went by where he wasn’t dealing with water-related problems such as contaminated drinking water, leaky pipes or streets flooded with raw sewage.

The 60-year-old emigrated to the United States two years ago, leaving those problems behind. But when he returned to Cuba recently to visit his daughter in Havana, he discovered matters hadn’t improved but worsened—he still had to drink bottled water, shower late at night when the water pressure was sufficient, and avoid swimming in dirty rivers and streams.

“Everything in the island needs refurbishing,” he told University of Miami student Nancy Mendoza while waiting for a friend at Miami International Airport (MIA). “Water is no different.”

His story is a recurring one for Mendoza, a Miami Law student who for the past year has been conducting surveys of newly arriving travelers from Cuba to document the water problems on the Communist island.

Her work is part of an interdisciplinary study by College of Engineering Professor Helena Solo-Gabriele, School of Communication Professor Joseph Treaster and Catholic University of America sociologist Enrique Pumar to determine the state of the water in Cuba.

“The information we have on Cuban water is old and the data that is available is not peer-reviewed,” said Solo-Gabriele, who is of Cuban descent but has not visited the island. “We wanted to know the state of the water on the island.”

Initially funded by the UM Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) and the School of Communication, the study hopes to quantifythe availability of water, its quality and the impact it may have on people’s health, said Solo-Gabriele.

So far Mendoza and other UM students participating in the study have logged 500 interviews through a 43-question questionnaire. They hope to finish 100 more for the study to be completed. The interviews are taking place at Miami International Airport so as to avoid the restrictions Cuba would impose on external scrutiny of thecountry’s infrastructure, said the scholars.

Cuba water issues stem from an obsolete and deteriorating infrastructure. The original water and sewage systems on the island were installed prior to the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Very little maintenance has been done on the system in the five decades since, said Solo-Gabriele.

Daily water shortages, leaky pipes, non-working toilets and contaminated water is common. This may surprise many people, especially tourists who are visiting the island by the thousands since renewed relations between the U.S. and Cuba were established in 2014, said Treaster, who has worked on other water-related projects and visited Cuba several times in the ‘80s as a reporter for the New York Times.

“First thing I thought was Cuba has a great reputation for public health, what water problems could there be,” said Treaster, but then he remembered that as a visiting journalist in the ‘80s he only drank bottled water.

Tourists who visit the island encounter a very different reality with water issues. Hot baths and potable water is available around the clock for those who visit Cuba and stay at hotels, said Solo-Gabriele. But for every day citizens the reality of dealing with water issues can be daunting.

A large part of the problem in Havana stems from the aquifer underneath the Almendares River, said Solo-Gabriele. “The river is receiving all of the sewage and river water infiltrates into the aquifer, putting the drinking water at risk.”

Among the initial findings of the study:

  • Water scarcity affects Cuban citizens almost daily.
  • The outdated pipes are so corroded that often the water is contaminated.
  • Most Cubans have cisterns or water tanks in their yards to store water because official water systems usually provide running water for a few hours a day.
  • Water pressure is an issue in many buildings, requiring residents to use buckets to bathe themselves.
  • Disposal of garbage is spotty. Often, the trash ends up in the water, causing health problems.

Pumar, who was born in Cuba, and has visited the island in the ‘70s and ’80s, said that he was surprised by the extent of the water problems, noting that their interviews of newly arrived visitors cover folks who have come from several cities on the island.

“We have even heard of people getting sick from bottled water that they bought on the black market,” he said. “One journalist got sick because he ordered ice in a restaurant.”

Often, water bottles sold on street are filled with tap water and sometimes ice cubes are made with purified water, but they become contaminated by bartenders and waiters who failed to wash their hands after using the bathroom, said Treaster.

The scholars have an invitation to present at the Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas at UM in the spring. Their study will be published in the journal Cuba in Transition, and they will write an article on the study for the journal Cuban Affairs.

Pumar said the scholars presented their findings at the July 2016 conference of the Study of the Cuban Economy in Miami.

They plan to launch a website with all the data to help organizations and businesses interested in investing in the island to become acquainted with the challenges.

On the practical side, the researchers want the website to be useful to the Cubans on the island and Cuban-Americans who visit their families and friends. Pumar believes that a push to educate both populations with tips such as how they should boil water and store it and the use of water filters would be very beneficial.

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