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Yellen leads study that shows historically unprecedented erosion from tropical storm Irene

Brian Yellen, a PhD student in Geosciences, and Jonathan D. Woodruff, Geosciences, lead a a team of scientists that have been using sediment deposits in New England lakes to evaluate erosive destruction of historic floods. Their study, published in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, reveals that erosion from tropical storm Irene flooding in 2011 caused the most severe erosion of the historic record. Read more

Gershenson co-leads science workshop for regional Girl Scouts troop

Anne Gershenson, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, joined UMass Amherst Pastry Chef Simon Stevenson and chemical engineer Sarah Perry in a Girl Scout outreach event. The January workshop attracted 11 girls, ranging from second to fourth grade, from the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.and used exciting, educational, and entertaining projects to inform Girls Scouts about the rudiments of chemistry, electronics, and engineering. Read more

Whitbourne Elected President of Eastern Psychological Association

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Psychological and Brain Sciences, has been elected president of the Eastern Psychological Association, the largest regional psychological association in the United States. Read more

Stinson receives grant to study climate change impact on maple syrup quality

As maple sugaring season approaches, Kristina Stinson, Environmental Conservation, recently received a two-year, $149,800 grant to study the impact of climate change on the quantity and quality of sugar maple sap, including its chemical composition, and of sap from red maples, a species less sensitive to climate change. Read more

Stockbridge School of Agriculture offers online Associate of Science in Sustainable Food and Farming

The Stockbridge School of Agriculture is now offering a fully online associate of science degree in sustainable food and farming. Beginning in September, the 60-credit associate degree will allow students to study sustainable food and farming from anywhere in the world. Read more

Brigham-Grette states need for new heavy icebreaker for the Coast Guard in Nature article

Julie Brigham-Grette, Geosciences, is quoted in a story in Nature about President Obama's proposed budget increases for research in the fiscal 2017 budget he has drafted. Brigham-Grette says she and other scientists who work in the arctic regions would like the Coast Guard to get another heavy icebreaker. She says the new vessel is needed, "so that no matter what the season, even in midwinter, we have the capability to go where we need to go." Nature

Grotevant to give Distinguished Faculty Lecture on New Worlds of Adoption

Hal Grotevant, Psychological and Brain Sciences, has been selected as a 2015-2016 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. He will discuss "New Worlds of Adoption: Navigating Contact between Adoptive and Birth Families from Placement to Adulthood" on Monday, February 22, at 4 pm in the Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Building. This lecture will frame research findings on the nation's changing attitudes and values about adoption. Since the 1970s, the confidentiality traditionally maintained between the child's adoptive family and birth relatives has given way to "openness," in which - either directly or indirectly, as through an adoption agency - contact occurs. Grotevant will draw from four waves of longitudinal data to trace findings regarding such outcomes for the children as mental health, identity, and adjustment, and trace the dynamics of relationships within adoptive kinship networks.

UMass hackathon seeks to unravel mysteries of PVTA bus performance

CNS students, including Ankita Shankhdhar, a master’s student in applied mathematics, participated in a UMass Hackathon organized by the UMass Graduate Researchers interested in Data club, or GRiD. Over the course of a weekend, an interdisciplinary group of 90 students from the Five Colleges tried to make sense of hundreds of thousands of rows of numbers, asking and attempting to answer questions about how the PVTA operates and whether there are ways it can improve. Daily Hampshire Gazette

Astronomy majors take research trip to Arizona's Kitt Peak National Observatory

Astronomy majors Alissa Roegge '17, Tim Costa '16, Teddy Kareta '17, and Steve Wagner '17 took a research trip to Arizona's Kitt Peak National Observatory, where they operated a 0.9 meter diameter telescope and collected and processed data. "When you sign up to do astronomy, this is the kind of thing you dream about," says Kareta. The students will spend spring semester reducing and analyzing their data, then present their findings at a departmental poster session in April. The experience has given them practice in "real observing," preparing them for the high level of work, reasoning, and research they will encounter in grad school and beyond.

Rich's Laboratory of Medical Zoology gets grant to test ticks in Cape Cod

The Laboratory of Medical Zoology, directed by Stephen M. Rich, Microbiology, is featured in a news story that highlights a grant from the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Program to test ticks in Cape Cod to see if they are carrying a variety of infectious diseases including Lyme disease. Rich says the tick testing service helps people get proper medical treatment and gives scientists an idea of where the infected ticks are located and where they are moving. Cape Cod Times

Mangan's class, Food Systems in Cuba, includes research trip to Cuba

Frank Mangan, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, led a research trip to Cuba as part of his new course, "Food Systems in Cuba: Production, Logistics and Marketing." During the 16-day trip, students learned about agriculture and agricultural systems and their place in the larger context in business and sociology. They also stayed with local families and learned first-hand about food as a daily challenge. CNS students included Stephen Hilyard, a masters student in Sustainability Science, senior Adam Banks, majoring in sustainable horticulture, and junior Anna Amrich-Hankins, majoring in Sustainable Food and Farming.

Whitbourne writes that being a perfectionist in the workplace doesn't have to be toxic

Susan K. Whitbourne, Psychological and Brain Sciences, writes about how being a perfectionist in the workplace doesn't have to be difficult for the individual or the other workers. She says the impulse to be perfect is complicated and often is rooted in internal insecurity and a constant need for validation by people in authority. Quartz

Bloniarz selected for a 2016 CESL Faculty Fellowship

David Bloniarz, Environmental Conservation, has received one of 10 CESL Faculty Fellowships from UMass Civic Engagement and Service-Learning. Bloniarz is developing a new course, "Urban Forestry: Structure, Function and Value" that will integrate classroom learning with community-based learning. Read more

McCoy '12 awarded NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship

Jake McCoy '12 Astronomy and Physics, was recently awarded a coveted NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship to find missing matter in space. While a student at UMass, McCoy developed an interest in radio astronomy, and his NASA-sponsored research relating to missing matter will apply his knowledge of electron beam lithography toward building better x-ray spectroscopy instruments. Read more

Byers comments in a Smithsonian article about songbirds in Zambia

Bruce E. Byers, Biology, comments in a Smithsonian article about recent speculation that songbirds in Zambia spend winters practicing their singing for the breeding season in the spring. He believes it seems plausible, but would like to see more evidence. Smithsonian

Whitbourne comments in Washington Post about Trump's behavior after coming in second in the Iowa caucuses

Susan K. Whitbourne, Psychological and Brain Sciences, comments in a Washington Post news story about how Donald Trump handled coming in second in the Iowa caucuses, falling short of his goal of winning. She says his response is "a great optics lesson in how not to lose." She says it's a normal instinct to dislike losing, but people have to learn how to manage their feelings when it happens. Whitbourne says Trump's ego was bruised because he had bragged about always being a winner, but then failed to meet his goal. Washington Post

New Center for Biological Physics launches Website

The new Center for Biological Physics facilitates interactions between physicists and life scientists and to engender physically sophisticated research on biological systems. Its mission is to bring physical insight and the tools of physical measurement to the study and understanding of biological systems, from single biomolecules to functional biomolecular assemblies to living cells. The new Website highlights research findings, interdisciplinary workshops, seminars, and courses.

Weaver's article selected in the "Editor’s Choice" section of Science magazine

Gabriela Weaver, Chemistry, and Director of the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, had a recent article published in the Journal of Chemical Education, "Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Flipped Format General Chemistry Course," selected as an "Editor’s Choice" in Science. Read more

Astronomy Major Patrick Drew Receives AAS Chambliss Award

Astronomy major Patrick Drew '16 is the recipient of the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement (AAS) Student Award for his poster presentation at the American Astronomical Society, held on January 4-8, 2016. Read more

Narayanan, Grosslein, featured in Gazette article about the Event Horizon Telescope

Gopal Narayanan, Astronomy, and Ron Grosslein, Astronomy Research Engineer, were featured in a story about their efforts to synchronize a number of powerful telescopes around the planet to create an instrument capable of studying the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The project, called the Event Horizon Telescope, will utilize the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico, created in partnership with UMass Amherst. Daily Hampshire Gazette

CNS hosts Neuroscience Summit February 8-9--all are welcome

CNS will host a Neuroscience Summit on Monday, Feb. 8 from 9 a.m.-12-30 p.m. and on Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Amherst Room, 10th Floor, Campus Center. The summit is an opportunity for the neuroscience research community of scholars, students and administrators from this campus, the Five Colleges and UMass Medical School to gather to discuss opportunities for advancing neuroscience research and training at the university and beyond. This interactive two-day program includes presentations by UMass faculty and pre-eminent visiting neuroscientists and offers opportunities for discussion and input among attendees. The summit is free and open to all and seeks to include input from the larger academic community, so all are encouraged to attend.

Blaustein and Zoeller named Public Engagement Faculty Fellows

Jeffrey D. Blaustein, Psychological and Brain Sciences and R. Thomas Zoeller, Biology are two of seven faculty members who have been named Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP). They will draw on their substantial research record to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. The fellows, who will receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, will also travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers.

Rosie Cowell receives $599,000 CAREER grant to study brain function

Rosie Cowell, Psychological and Brain Sciences, recently received a five-year, $599,619 NSF CAREER award to develop and test a theory of how memory interacts with fine-grained visual perception and how both brain functions depend on the medial temporal lobe (MTL), which once was thought to be critical for memory but not for visual perception. Using computational modeling plus memory experiments with human volunteers, she seeks "to understand how brain activity is linked to behavior, in particular in the MTL, at a level not seen before." Examining amnesia caused by brain damage and more moderate memory loss caused by normal aging, Cowell's project will investigate whether these two forms of memory loss can be explained by the same mechanisms.

Hardy records lowest snow accumulation on Peru's Quelccaya Ice Cap

Douglas R. Hardy, Geosciences, says he has recorded the lowest snow accumulation in the 12 years he has been monitoring it on the Quelccaya Ice Cap in Peru. It is the largest glacier in the tropics. Hardy says, "We are seeing 40 percent more melting than any other year since measurements started in 2002." Scientists believe the El Niño effect in the Pacific Ocean is a key cause in the melting of the glaciers. New Scientist

Rawlins discusses the impact of climate change on this year's warm winter on WGBY's Connecting Point

Michael Rawlins, Geosciences, spoke with 22 News Meteorologist Brian Lapis and Carolee McGrath on WGBY's Connecting Point to discuss the El Nino effect on climate change and how the world’s climate patterns are constantly changing as time goes on. Connecting Point