July 15, 2019

Engineering awards go to several UMaine students, faculty

ORONO – Graduate students from Surry and Orono and an administrative assistant from Eddington joined engineering professors from Old Town and Orono to receive awards from the University of Maine College of Engineering recently during the college’s 25th annual Edward T. Bryand recognition banquet at Penobscot Valley Country Club.

Karen Merritt of Surry received the college’s 2004 Graduate Research Assistant Award. A recipient of a highly competitive three-year fellowship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Merritt is working with Aria Amirbahman, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, on technology to improve mercury detection in sediments. She presented her work at Capitol Hill in October and has received additional research funding from the Sea Grant College Program.

Linda Liscomb of Eddington, administrative assistant in the school of engineering technology, won the Leila S. Lowell Award for service to the school. Since coming to UMaine in 1998, she has worked closely with students, faculty and alumni and is known and appreciated for her courtesy and prompt resolution of issues. Liscomb’s work with graduate and alumni databases is a critical component of the school’s assessment processes, continuous improvement plan and strategic initiatives.

Edwin Nagy of Orono received the Graduate Assistant Teaching Award. A doctoral student in the department of civil and environmental engineering, Nagy’s work in 3-D imaging of material microstructure has led to five journal publications. He has taught courses in steel design, timber design and general graphical design in structural engineering. Nagy has worked as a structural engineer in Arizona and brings his experience to the classroom where students have praised his enthusiasm and rigorous approach.

Mauricio Pereira da Cunha of Orono received the Early Career Research Award. Pereira da Cunha studies a new class of electronic sensors based on langasite crystals. He has received more than $3 million in research grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

In addition to conducting research that has garnered the attention of the international scientific and engineering community, he has integrated his research into his undergraduate and graduate classes, inspiring the next generation of electrical and computer engineers.

Jean MacRae of Orono received the Early Career Teaching Award. She applies expertise in biological approaches to environmental engineering problems and teaches a required course in environmental engineering. Using a variety of cutting-edge teaching techniques, such as cooperative and active learning exercises, she has raised the level of interest in environmental engineering among UMaine students.

Douglas Ruthven of Old Town received the college’s Ashley S. Campbell Award, given to the faculty member whose achievements have brought distinction to the engineering profession and education.

Ruthven is the world’s leading expert on the adsorption and diffusion in molecular sieve zeolite and other adsorbents that are important in catalysis and chemical reaction engineering. He has written articles for many publications and has presented hundreds of invited lectures. His textbook “Principles of Adsorption and Adsorption Processes,” published in 1983, remains the standard reference text in the field.

Doug Hall, UMaine graduate, chemical engineering, 1981, and resident of Newtown, Ohio, received the Edward T. Bryand Distinguished Engineering Award. Hall has distinguished himself as an entrepreneur and master inventor. Corporations turn to him to revitalize their products.

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