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UMD Researchers Identify Structure of Blue Whirls

August 14, 2020
Contacts: 

Robert Herschbach 410- 245-8959

COLLEGE PARK MD. – “Blue whirls”—small, spinning blue flames that produce almost no soot when they burn—have attracted great interest since their discovery in 2016, in part because they represent a potential new avenue for low-emission combustion.

Blue Whirl soot-free flameNow, a team of researchers at the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University have identified how these intriguing whirls are structured. Published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances on August 12, 2020,  their findings serve as a fundamental base for further investigations into how to create the blue whirl in a more controlled way.

The team includes now-graduated UMD aerospace engineering PhD students Joseph D. Chung and Xiao Zhang, working with Professor Elaine S. Oran, who is TEES Eminent Research Professor at Texas A&M University and previously Glenn L. Martin Professor at UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, and Dr. Carolyn R. Kaplan of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at UMD.

Using high-performance computing methods at the University of Maryland’s Deepthought2 cluster and other computer systems, the researchers showed that a blue whirl is composed of three different flames—a diffusion flame and a premixed rich and lean flame—all of which meet in a fourth structure, a triple flame that appears as a whirling blue ring. The researchers also found that vortex breakdown—a fluid instability that occurs in swirling flows--enables the blue-whirl structure to emerge. 

“The flame and flow structure revealed by the simulations serves as a fundamental base to further investigate how to create the blue whirl in a more controlled way,” said Zhang. “It leads pathways to answering more complex questions.”

“Examples of such questions are: How to create blue whirls in different scales? Can we bypass the transitional, sooty, dangerous fire whirl stage and create the stable and clean blue whirl directly? The newly developed algorithms and models also provide great exploring tools to find these answers,” Chung said.

Blue whirls were initially discovered in 2016 by Oran, working with Professor Michael Gollner, previously of the Fire Protection Engineering Department and now at University of California, Berkeley, and Professor Huahua Xiao, previously in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at UMD and now at the University of Science and Technology in Hefei, China. At the time, they were investigating the behavior of a known phenomenon—the fire whirl, also known as fire tornado—when it occurs on a water base. 

“Blue whirls evolve from traditional yellow fire whirls,” Oran said. “The yellow color is due to radiating soot particles, which form when there is not enough oxygen to burn the fuel completely.”

“Blue in the whirl indicates there is enough oxygen for complete combustion, which means less or no soot, and is therefore a cleaner burn. We now know that blue whirl will burn all of the fuel available as it exits a burner or from a surface.”

Support for the new study was provided by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the Army Research Laboratory, and the Minta Martin Endowment Funds in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, and the TEES Eminent Professorship at TAMU. Computations used in the new study were performed on the University of Maryland, Deepthought2 cluster, Thunder from the Air Force Research Laboratory, and Stampede2 from the Texas Advanced Computing Center.

 

University of Maryland Partners with Big Ten Academic Alliance in Online Course Sharing Program

August 12, 2020
Contacts: 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland will participate in the Big Ten Academic Alliance Course Sharing Program, a new collaborative initiative offering undergraduate students of participating Big Ten Institutions the opportunity to diversify their learning experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and take online courses from other Big Ten universities.

Maryland is one of seven Big Ten institutions that make up the inaugural course-sharing cohort for the 2020-2021 academic year. Other participating universities include: Indiana University, Michigan State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University and Rutgers University-New Brunswick. 

“We recognize the need to think of new and innovative ways to approach teaching and learning this semester and beyond,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “As members of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, we are happy to find yet another collaborative opportunity with our fellow Big Ten institutions to support our students through this pandemic.”

Beginning immediately, undergraduate students may begin to register for one shared course per semester with no additional charges for tuition or fees from the partner institution. Completed courses will be treated as transfer credits on official transcripts. The current course options cover a variety of topics and disciplines. 

Some of Maryland’s course offerings include:

• Causes and Implications of Global Change
• Why Good Managers Make Bad Decisions
• Black Diaspora Literature and Culture 

Examples of courses offered at other institutions include: 

• Music of War and Peace
• Anthropology of the Great Plains
• Personal Finance
• Dracula: Facts and Fictions
• Critical Issues in Sports Media. 

More information about Maryland’s shared course offerings is available here: go.umd.edu/BTAACourseShare 

For more information on the Big Ten Academic Alliance Course Sharing Program, please visit: https://www.btaa.org/resources-for/students/online-course-sharing-program/introduction

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About the University of Maryland
The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students,10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 59 members of the national academies. The institution has a $2.1 billion operating budget and secures more than $1 billion annually in research funding together with the University of Maryland, Baltimore. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

University of Maryland Joins Common Application for 2020-2021

August 12, 2020
Contacts: 
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Students applying to the University of Maryland will now have the ability to do so through the Common Application, also known as the Common App. The online college application platform currently serves more than three million applicants, teachers, counselors and advisors across all 50 states and around the world each year.
 
“We remain committed to expanding access to potential future Terps by offering them another option to apply through the Common App, in addition to the existing MyCoalition platform,” said Shannon Gundy, executive director, UMD’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “We are very proud to receive tens of thousands of applicants each year, and we constantly reassess ways to streamline pathways for a wide population of diverse and academically talented students to apply to be part of the Terrapin community.” 
 
The Common App helps reduce common barriers to the college application process, including making the fee waiver process more efficient for students in need. It also connects students and those who support students through Common App to additional tools and services, such as  financial aid and scholarship information, virtual mentors, online portfolios, and a vast library of counselor resources available in English and Spanish. Common App also offers 24/7/365 technical support to all applicants and recommenders using the system. 
 
Starting August 12, 2020, the Common App will be available to students applying to the University of Maryland. Future first-year students can choose to apply through the Common App or the institution’s existing MyCoalition platform, a free and accessible platform of online tools to streamline the experience of planning for and applying to college. Students seeking to transfer to the University will be able to submit their application through MyCoalition in mid-October. 
 
Common App is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. By becoming a Common App member, the University of Maryland aims to streamline the application process for students interested in applying to multiple institutions, and gain exposure to students who may not have otherwise considered UMD. Each year, more than one million applicants use the Common App. One-third of those applicants are the first in their family to pursue a college degree. 
 
"The diversity of our membership helps us forge a direct and unambiguous path to a viable future for all students,” said Jenny Rickard, President & CEO of Common App. “Through membership with Common App, University of Maryland has demonstrated a shared commitment to pursuing access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. Thanks to our members, all students have the opportunity to easily apply to the college or university that will help them achieve their best future.” 
 
The Common App, as well as the MyCoalition platform, enhances UMD’s holistic approach to the admissions process, considering 26 unique factors. The review process for both application platforms consider all aspects of each applicant’s academic achievements and potential in the context of the opportunities and challenges they faced. Admission is offered  to the most competitive applicants to build an entering class that will best complement the existing student body and meet the university’s mission objectives.

 

UMD Announces SAT/ACT Tests Optional for Spring and Fall 2021 Admission

July 17, 2020
Contacts: 

COLLEGE PARK, Md - The following announcement was made by the university’s Office of Enrollment Management today: 


The University of Maryland will make SAT and ACT scores optional for the spring and fall 2021 freshman and transfer application processes. As a result of the unprecedented disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that many students will not be able to access the SAT and ACT tests that are traditionally required in order to apply for admission. While these tests have proven to be valuable components of our holistic application review, we are committed to ensuring that students who have already been negatively impacted by COVID-19 are not further disadvantaged. 

"The pandemic has caused suffering and loss, as well as barriers to students taking the SAT/ACT to complete the college application process. In reviewing our policies and choosing test optional for 2021, we aim to support and reassure students at this difficult time,” said Shannon Gundy, UMD’s executive director of undergraduate admissions. “We have always sought to attract a wide applicant pool of highly talented and motivated students, and we believe this decision will create a clearer pathway for students who want to pursue a degree at Maryland."

Prospective students will have the ability to choose on their application whether they plan to submit SAT or ACT test scores to be considered as a part of their application review. If students choose to submit test scores, those results will be incorporated into our holistic review as one factor among the many that are considered in our evaluations. Students who choose not to submit scores or are unable to access test administrations will also receive a holistic review and will not be disadvantaged in the application review process. This process will also include a review for living and learning programs and merit scholarships. The university’s English proficiency requirements will remain in place.

The university remains committed to recruiting, admitting, and enrolling a class of academically talented, diverse and engaged students and are confident that this decision will allow us to continue to do so for the class of 2025.

University of Maryland Solidifies Commitment to International Students

July 14, 2020
Contacts: 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Following the announcement of new federal regulations earlier this month to deny international students taking online-only classes residency in the United States, the University of Maryland is executing a multi-faceted approach to provide support and pursue legal action on behalf of its international students. 

In a letter released by the University System of Maryland (USM) on July 13, 2020, it was announced that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh will represent the State of Maryland and the USM as a plaintiff in a multi-state lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and that every USM institution, including UMD, is working with its international students to ensure they can remain enrolled and compliant with ICE guidance. 

President Darryll J. Pines is working closely with the Maryland Congressional delegation and national higher education associations to pass a legislative fix to protect the immigration status of the campus community’s international students for the upcoming fall academic semester. Continued support from the university additionally includes working closely with the office of the Maryland Attorney General, implementing academic solutions for in-person opportunities and collaborating with its Big Ten university peers to provide a safe, inclusive and enriching environment for its students.

More information on how the university is currently planning to handle academic instruction can be found here. To read the statement released by the University System of Maryland regarding the lawsuit, please visit their website.

Commission Reaffirms UMD’s Accreditation

July 8, 2020
Contacts: 

Natifia Mullings  301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has reaffirmed the University of Maryland’s accreditation, following a nearly yearlong review.

In a July 1 letter to university President Darryll J. Pines, commission President Heather F. Perfetti stated that as a result of its virtual visit to campus this spring, it found that the university is now in compliance with Standard VII (Governance, Leadership and Administration). It said the university had made corrective measures and showed evidence of a clearly articulated and transparent governance structure that outlines roles, responsibilities and accountability for decision-making by UMD, the University System of Maryland and the Board of Regents.

The next evaluation is scheduled for 2025-26.

University of Maryland Named No. 1 College in U.S. For LGBTQ+ Students

June 18, 2020
Contacts: 

Hafsa Siddiqi hafsa@umd.edu 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland was named the No. 1 college in the nation for LGBTQ+ students, according to rankings released this week by Campus Pride and BestColleges.

The annual state and national rankings, announced during LGBTQ Pride Month, weigh inclusivity, academic support and affordability to determine which colleges provide the best support for LGBTQ+ students. Maryland moved to the top spot from No. 5 last year.

"This recognition validates our intersectional and collaborative approach to supporting LGBTQ+ students," said Luke Jensen, director of UMD’s LGBT Equity Center. "It is an honor—and a welcome challenge to maintain and improve our leadership in LGBTQ+ campus inclusion as we face broad collective challenges related to health and social justice."

The center supports students, faculty, staff and alumni of all sexual orientations and gender identities through educational and outreach events as well as resources for LGBTQ+ people.

Most recently, staff in the center have focused on ensuring full implementation of campus policies, including those on inclusive language for university communications, students’ personal data in university databases and all-gender restroom availability around campus.

Other center programs include Quelcome, a social and networking event at the beginning of the academic year; Q Camp, a community-building retreat; the Lavender Leadership Honor Society for advocates of LGBTQ+ rights—the first of its kind in higher education; and the traditional Lavender Graduation.

The ranking recognizes efforts far beyond the work of the LGBT Equity Center. For example, over a dozen campus units have named liaisons to LGBTQ+ communities. These liaisons conduct outreach and work with colleagues in their units to promote good practices in service of LGBTQ+ people.

The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students ranking recognizes U.S. schools that have established the highest standards for inclusive environments while maintaining strong academic programs. (Others in the top five nationwide are the University of Washington, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University and Tufts.) The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students in Each State offers a guide for prospective LGBTQ+ students to identify schools that are culturally inclusive, affordable and closer to their geographic location.

“Every student deserves to go to a college that is inclusive and a safe space to learn, live and grow,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. “This June for Pride Month we want to show our ‘campus pride’ for all the campuses working hard to create safer, more LGBTQ-friendly learning environments.”

The rankings combine BestColleges’ traditional methodology of academic support and affordability data along with the Campus Pride Index score, which considers eight LGBTQ+ inclusive factors. The rankings also include descriptions of unique campus resources that provide support to students of various gender and sexual identities.

“We commend all the universities listed on these LGBTQ+ rankings for creating educational environments that allow students of different gender and sexual identities to feel safe and welcome,” said Stephanie Snider, general manager of BestColleges.

 
To view the full ranking list, please visit this link

UMD Leads $10M USDA Project to SustainCorn Belt Agricultural Production

June 18, 2020
Contacts: 

Abby Robinson 301-405-5845

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland researchers will lead a five-year, $10 million project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to help farmers in the Corn Belt navigate efficient water and nutrient use in order to increase crop production.

The researchers plan to develop a Dashboard for Agricultural Water use and Nutrient management (DAWN) that will help maximize corn, soybean and bioenergy crop production in the Midwestern United States. They expect DAWN to identify innovative ways of increasing land- and water-use efficiency given competing resource demands and varying water availability and quality.

“Our goal is to create a predictive tool that translates complex system science into reliable, usable information for agricultural decision-makers so that they can optimize pre-season, in-season and longer-term practices,” said the project’s lead investigator Xin-Zhong Liang, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD with a joint appointment in the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). “To do this, we have to link local land-use and water-use practices to large-scale feedbacks and deliver that information effectively to stakeholders.”

Routine decisions such as crop choice, fertilizer use, irrigation scheduling and reservoir operations can have wide-ranging and long-term impacts on water availability, nutrient loss, agricultural production and sustainability. The changing climate and enhanced extremes also threaten production—rainfed crops are vulnerable to droughts, heat stress raises water demand, and floods threaten crop growth and water quality.

“We will build models and decision support tools that represent the complex interactions among agriculture, climate, land and water use, and economic and environmental impacts,” Liang said. “If we can find ways to increase agricultural productivity and reduce input costs and losses due to environmental and biological stresses, and thus increase profitability, this project will be a success.”

According to Liang, current decision support tools evaluate only conditions and tradeoffs at individual points and fail to capture larger system feedbacks. DAWN will include data from large-enough scales to capture feedbacks across different regions, times and sectors.

The project team includes researchers, extension specialists, educators and stakeholders. Partners in the project include researchers at Colorado State University, the University of Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska and FamilyFarms Group. 

DAWN will be designed collaboratively with end-users to provide short-term forecasts for real-time decision-making, seasonal outlooks for mid-range planning, and scenario projections for long-range planners and policymakers to address adaptation strategies for improving agricultural and food system sustainability.

“Ultimately, we hope DAWN will be a holistic framework of tools that will help bridge the gap between advanced modeling systems and the practical needs of crop producers, water managers and policymakers,” Liang added.

In addition to Liang, investigators on the project from UMD include Applied Environmental Health Professor and Director of CONSERVE and UMD Global STEWARDS, Amy R. Sapkota;  Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Professor and Chair and ESSIC Director Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm; ESSIC Assistant Research Professors Michael Gerst and Thomas Wild; ESSIC Visiting Research Scientist Xuesong Zhang; ESSIC Project Manager Michael Maddox; ESSIC Assistant Research Scientists Junyu Qi and Mitchell Schull; and ESSIC Postdoctoral Associates Yufeng He, Chao Sun and You Wu.

 

University of Maryland Celebrates Virtual Commencement

May 22, 2020
Contacts: 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Following an uncommon end to the spring semester, the University of Maryland honored graduates in a virtual commencement ceremony on May 22, 2020. Thousands of viewers tuned into the main ceremony, which streamed on multiple platforms. 

University President Wallace D. Loh presided, offering words of pride and encouragement to the graduates who earned more than 8,500 bachelor's, master’s and doctoral degrees from various programs. 

“I regret that the end of the semester was disrupted, and students had to be separated from friends and campus activities,” said Loh. “But I’m heartened and proud by how Terps responded, with grit and determination, and with concern for others, finding ways to stay connected and help each other.” 

In his last commencement before retirement in June, President Loh also conferred honorary doctorates to Hiram Whittle, the first African-American male undergraduate student admitted to UMD in 1951 and to Elaine Johnson Coates, the first African-American female student to earn a bachelor’s degree from UMD. 

The commencement address was delivered by U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer ’63, majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives and congressman for Maryland’s 5th District. He urged students to take the fearlessness they learned at Maryland and apply it to their futures. 

“Challenge and uncertainty present us with an opportunity to prove that the light of our vision and hope reaches farther than the shadow of our challenges,” said Hoyer. “Class of 2020, I know that you will meet today’s challenge and those you face in the years ahead with resilience and resolve. More than most graduating classes, the class of 2020 has had to be fearless.”

Student speaker Citrupa (Kat) Gopal '20, a biological sciences major, addressed her fellow graduates and also encouraged them to confidently accept the challenges ahead. Additional remarks were made by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and University System of Maryland Regent Gary Attman. Graduates and families were also treated to surprise appearances by special guests and notable UMD alumni Kevin Plank ‘96, Scott Van Pelt ‘88, Maury Povich, Connie Chung ‘69 and WWE’s Mojo Rawley ‘08 throughout the program.  

“It is my sincere hope during your time in College Park that you come to understand that Maryland pride is a very real thing,” Van Pelt shared. “I hope you leave school with it, and I hope you know that all of us that have preceded you across this stage, we have it in you.”

Ahead of the ceremony, graduates received a care package, which included a turtle pin, posters, a commencement program and, for undergraduates, a cap and tassel. All graduates were encouraged to use these items and more to share their UMD memories on social media. More than 1,500 Terps shared more than 3,500 posts on social media using the hashtag #UMDgrad, including photos, videos and their favorite Maryland memories. Many of these memories were shared during the ceremony. 

Individual colleges and schools also hosted their own virtual commencement ceremonies on May 22, featuring remarks from deans, displaying the names of every graduate. In addition to the virtual ceremonies, spring 2020 graduates are invited to attend and be recognized at the Maryland Football game on September 12, 2020, and participate in the December 2020 in-person commencement ceremony. The university continues to closely monitor guidance from state and local leaders, the USM chancellor, and public health officials and will announce additional details when they are available, keeping the health and safety of the university community as the top priority.

To rewatch the full ceremony, visit commencement.umd.edu

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The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students,10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 59 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

Memorial Chapel to Go Red and Blue to Celebrate University of Maryland and Prince George’s County Grads

May 20, 2020
Contacts: 

Golshan Jalali, gjalali@umd.edu

 

The University of Maryland’s (UMD) Office of Community Engagement (OCE) will sponsor the lighting up of the Memorial Chapel with red illuminating lights on the evenings of May 22-24 to celebrate UMD students' graduation.
 
The office will also help turn the chapel blue from May 29-31 in honor of high school seniors in Prince George's County, whose graduation will be held virtually on May 30 and 31. 
 
With graduation being virtual, this is a unique gesture to celebrate UMD and PGCPS grads with an iconic UMD monument. 

Anna Lee, owner of Stripe 3 Adidas and active member of the College Park community, reached out to OCE with the idea of lighting up the chapel so that seniors and their families had a physical representation of their accomplishment. 

“We are in this together. By illuminating the chapel, we want to support students and provide hope as they begin a new journey,” said Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, director of the Office of Community Engagement. “Although they finished the semester under challenging circumstances, they remain in solidarity.”  

Graduates are encouraged to capture a photo under the lights while following social distancing guidelines. 


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