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New Public Safety Initiatives Launched in College Park

September 16, 2013

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University, county and city leaders today announced a major expansion of community safety efforts in College Park.  Highlighting the effort is the expanded role of the University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD) in the surrounding community, adding new UMPD officers and vehicles that will begin patrols in a wider area of College Park, effective immediately.  The expansion of ‘concurrent jurisdiction’ is a cooperative effort between UMPD and the Prince Georges County Police Department (PGPD).

University, county and city leaders today announced a major expansion of community safety efforts in College Park. The new public safety initiatives are part the implementation of the University District Vision 2020, a plan requested by university president Wallace Loh and College Park Mayor Andrew Fellows.  They take effect immediately.

“The University of Maryland is one of the County’s largest and most important stakeholders in Prince George’s County,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “It is imperative for the safety of the students, staff, visitors, and communities around the University that collaboration amongst public safety officials is seamless.  The launch of these new initiatives is a model of positive cooperation and will ultimately serve as a significant enhancement for the citizens of Prince George’s County.”

UMPD will now join PGPD patrols in the neighborhoods of Lakeland, Berwyn, Crystal Springs, Calvert Hills and an expanded stretch of Route 1. (Click here to view the expanded jurisdiction map.) The expansion into these areas will be supported by eight new UMPD officers, new vehicles and the installation by the City of additional security cameras to detect and investigate crimes. 

“Together we make a powerful team and will keep improving our record of safety,” said Wallace Loh, president of the University of Maryland. “Safety is our first priority, and these new initiatives will contribute to the transformation of College Park into a premier college town.”

The expansion of public safety measures follows on the already-declining crime statistics in College Park.  Over the past five years, crime incidents have declined by almost 22 percent, including in areas such as burglary, robbery and motor vehicle theft.

“We’re proud that we already have a safe community – this will make our residents, visitors and work force even safer,” said Andrew Fellows, mayor of College Park.  “We’re grateful to the University and our County for partnering with us on this focus on public safety.”

Be Smart Be SafeIn addition, the university’s Code of Student Conduct will now expand citywide and beyond.  To promote responsible behavior at all times, the Code will now apply to student behavior both on- and off-campus.  A new public awareness campaign, ‘Be Smart, Be Safe,’ was also launched.

“The joint public safety strategy we announced today is a big deal,” said Senator Jim Rosapepe (D, College Park) and chair of the College Park City/University Partnership, “but it’s just one part of the University District Vision 2020.  For example, College Park Academy, the Purple Line, and redevelopment of Route 1 are all on track – and there’s more to come!"

"The University and the community are doing a great deal to cooperate to enhance public safety for students and residents alike,” said Eric Olson, County Councilmember, District 3.

The new public safety initiatives are part the implementation of the University District Vision 2020, a plan requested by university president Wallace Loh and College Park major Andrew Fellows and endorsed by the university and College Park City Council in 2012.  Details of Vision 2020 can be found here.

Exhibit Showcases Campus Radio Station WMUC

September 16, 2013

Eric Bartheld 301-314-0964

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland is paying tribute to its 65-year-old campus radio station by offering an exclusive look into the UMD student-operated station that has served as a training ground and creative outlet for students since 1948.

In 1955, students Pat Callahan (left) and Herb Brubaker played vinyl records in a programming format that mimicked the Top 40 format that was growing in popularity on commercial stations. Photo courtesy of University of Maryland ArchivesDocumenting the rich history of one of the nation’s longest continuously operating college radio stations, a new on-campus exhibit, titled “Saving College Radio: WMUC Past, Present and Future," will open on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013.

“Radio stations are hubs of cultural activity and embody local traditions and culture,” says Laura Schnitker, curator of the exhibit and sound archivist at the University Libraries. “In addition to being the voice of the campus community, WMUC is important because it provides an alternative to commercial Top 40 or talk radio.” WMUC remains the only alternative music station in the D.C. metro area.

Offering the student perspective of key historical events and campus happenings, the exhibit draws from more than 1,800 audio recordings as well as reports, administrative files, brochures and photographs. Materials in the WMUC Collection are part of the University Archives and document cultural, music, sports, and news programs.

Among the highlights of the exhibit are: early 1970s audio recordings of Vietnam War protests on campus that drew thousands of demonstrators;  a station ID, or short on-air promo, that John Lennon recorded for a WMUC deejay at the press conference accompanying the Beatles’ first U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum; station IDs recorded by other celebrities including Fats Domino, Chubby Checker, Phyllis Diller and Frank Zappa, among others; and information about Yesternow, the station’s first ongoing program to both feature and target African Americans and other student communities.

The exhibit underscores the UMD Libraries’ efforts to preserve the university’s student radio heritage. Robin Pike, manager of digital conversion and media reformatting, leads a team of specialists working to digitize the station’s audio recordings and print materials, important to the university because they are unique, at risk and irreplaceable. Quarter-inch, open-reel audio tape, for example, will be preserved according to national standards and practices and ingested to a digital collections repository, ultimately to be made available to researchers.

Preserving the items is especially challenging, she says, because of the rate at which the media degrades.

“We don’t have much time left,” says Pike says. “Most magnetic audio tape has approximately 15 years left before it degrades beyond a point where the content can be saved.”

One way to restore open-reel tapes so that they can be played and digitized is to bake them in a special oven at 120 degrees for one to two days. The oven, she says, is similar to those used in science labs, with heat lower than that of a toaster oven. “We only get a few chances to play and digitize the tapes after baking them,” Pike says.  “This doesn’t preserve the items, but it does temporarily help.”

University-sponsored radio started in the early 20th century, often by engineering departments seeking to provide students with broadcasting experience in the experimental medium. After World War I, about 200 licenses were granted to educational institutions. By 1938, however, fewer than 40 college stations were still on the air due to the rise in commercial networks and the increasing value of airwave space. 

WMUC mostly emulated commercial radio until the 1970s, when new FM technology and the freeform movement offered more experimental approaches to broadcasting ushered an era of experimental, free-form radio.  

Schnitker, an ethnomusicologist, hosts a Thursday-morning WMUC radio show Bohemian Challenge.  She appreciates firsthand the significance of college radio. “It’s such a valuable creative outlet, not only for those involved in its production but also for the listeners,” she says. “It really is a public service.”    

With a wide-ranging collection of resources documenting the history of radio and television broadcasting, the University of Maryland Libraries is the home to the National Public Broadcasting Archives and the Library of American Broadcasting. 
Admission to “Saving College Radio” is free and open to the public during the Maryland Room Gallery’s open hours (Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. – 8pm, Sunday 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.).

For additional information about the exhibit visit http://www.lib.umd.edu/special/exhibits/home.

The University of Maryland Libraries comprise the largest academic library system in the Washington D.C.-Baltimore area. The eight-library system supports the teaching, learning and research needs of University of Maryland students and faculty.

University House Achieves LEED Gold Certification

September 12, 2013

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland's University House, a 14,000 square foot facility located on the west side of campus, recently achieved LEED Gold status, as determined by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The University of Maryland's University House, a 14,000 square foot facility located on the west side of campus, recently achieved LEED Gold status, as determined by the U.S. Green Building Council.The facility, completed in August 2012, replaced the old President’s Residence which was built in 1955 and had a significant number of issues, including ineffective heating and cooling systems, poor programmatic functionality and a lack of accessibility for persons with disabilities.

The design, construction and furnishing of the new University House were funded entirely with private donations through the UMCP Foundation, on behalf of UMD. The university’s Department of Capital Projects managed the design-build team in bringing this project to life.

The University House serves two primary purposes. The first is its role as an on-campus residence for the university’s president, and the second is as an events center for programs that align with the mission of the university and the Office of the President. The events center, which comprises a majority of the 14,000 square feet, has a dedicated catering kitchen and can support formal sit-down dinner events for 120 guests or less formal gatherings of up to 300.

In its first academic year of operation, University House hosted on average two to three events per week, providing a welcoming environment for guests ranging from students of the most recent graduating class to world renowned dignitaries such as the Dalai Lama.

The facility employs a number of sustainable features to assure its compliance with UMD and the State’s recent Green Building initiatives. These features include a geothermal heating and cooling system, solar water heating, low energy lighting systems, an energy smart machine room-less elevator, and the use of a significant amount of recycled material.

University House will continue to serve its role as a significant resource and venue in the university’s advancement as a world-class institution for many years to come.

UMD, Parsons Partner to Help Produce Future Cybersecurity Professionals

September 11, 2013

Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland and Parsons, an engineering, construction, technical, and management services firm, have partnered to provide academic scholarships to current and future undergraduate students in the UMD Honors College Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES). Through a gift from Parsons, 24 scholarships will be awarded to high-achieving students during the next three years. In addition to the scholarships, Parsons will provide professional insights to students, as well as exposure to varied career options in the field of cybersecurity.

The ACES program, the first and only full four-year honors undergraduate program in cybersecurity, was launched in fall 2013 and includes a two-year living-learning component and a two-year advanced program of study in cybersecurity.

"Cybersecurity has become a national priority – and a shortage of cybersecurity professionals has created a great demand for cyber-enabled graduates," said William Dorland, director of the Honors College. "Support from Parsons will help Maryland produce students with the interdisciplinary expertise, and problem-solving and leadership skills to meet this demand."

"Parsons is pleased to contribute to the University of Maryland Honors College and the ACES program," stated Mary Ann Hopkins, Parsons group president. "Since our inception in 1944, we have supported educational institutions and organizations in the communities where we operate around the world, and we are proud to support these students as they pursue careers in cybersecurity and other related fields."

Building Trust between Minorities and Researchers

September 10, 2013

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418

The University of Maryland's Maryland Center for Health Equity (M-CHE) has launched a new online educational program—Building Trust Between Minorities and Researchers—which seeks to close the gap in racial and ethnic health disparities. The program does so by providing culturally tailored information and skills to minority communities on how to become an informed decision maker for participation in research, including clinical trials. COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland's Maryland Center for Health Equity (M-CHE) has launched a new online educational program—Building Trust Between Minorities and Researchers—which seeks to close the gap in racial and ethnic health disparities. The program does so by providing culturally tailored information and skills to minority communities on how to become an informed decision maker for participation in research, including clinical trials.

"We live in a time of great advances in medical science and public health…yet, unfortunately far too many racial and ethnic minority Americans live sicker and die younger than white Americans," says Dr. Sandra C. Quinn, senior associate director of the M-CHE in the university's School of Public Health. "The benefits of medical research advances are clearly not reaching everyone." 

There are many factors contributing to health disparities in the United States and the situation is made more complex by the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities in biomedical and public health research. Distrust of medical and public health research stems from many historical examples of racism and discrimination, including the well-known US Public Health Service Syphilis Study done at Tuskegee, as well as studies conducted on prisoners, mental patients, vulnerable women, poor people and others with diminished autonomy.  Research atrocities committed in the name of science would be easy to ignore were they not so well documented.

"We need to overcome this legacy by rebuilding trust between the minority community and researchers," urges Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, director of the M-CHE. "Community participation in research is key in contributing to the health of future generations."

Developed as part of the M-CHE’s Building Trust between Minorities and Researchers Bioethics Research Infrastructure Initiative, funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, this online resource is designed for use by community members, for researchers and their community partners, by educators as part of a course curriculum, and by health professionals and students. Throughout the program, users receive information about health disparities and the fundamentals of health research, how to make an informed decision about participating in a research study, and ways to become involved with research or researchers.

Using empirical data and state of the art instructional design, the program includes three units:

1. Importance of Research:
Users learn about health disparities and the negative health outcomes experienced by different minority groups and can view examples of disparities via an interactive US map. Examples of how research has improved health of Americans convey why research is important in developing effective health recommendations and treatments for specific groups of people and for the whole population

2. Informed Decision Making:
Acknowledging the legacy of research abuse, this section gives critical information about the guidelines, regulations, and laws in place to ensure that research is conducted ethically, and with respect, fairness, and good treatment for all participants. It guides users in factors to consider when deciding to participate in health research.

3. Research, Community and You:
This section provides examples of how people can contribute to research, not just as study participants, but in other active roles such as being a liaison between researchers and community members. This section also offers guidance on how to read, understand and act upon health news reported in the media.  Questions at the end of each page challenge users to consider the information they just learned and apply it to their own lives. 

Throughout the entire program, unique interactive exercises, provocative video clips, stimulating discussion questions, a searchable multimedia resource center, and useful downloads, make the site engaging as well as useful.  The site is designed for use by individuals or for groups exploring the issues together.

"We're proud to share this unique online resource with people all across the country," says Dr. Thomas. "It is the most comprehensive program addressing how and why to participate in research and reflects our commitment to educating communities and promoting health equity."

"The decision about whether or not to participate in research is complex and personal," Dr. Quinn acknowledges. "Rather than telling people they should run out and join the next research study they find, we provide the resources and information they need to make that decision themselves.  The other key is to make sure that they have the opportunity to be asked to join a study." 

The program was created as part of the M-CHE's Building Trust between Minorities and Researchers bioethics research infrastructure initiative, and in collaboration with the design team at Interactive Knowledge, Inc.

Visit the Building Trust website: http://www.buildingtrustumd.org.

UMD, Vanderbilt Team Up for a New Wrinkle in MOOCs

September 9, 2013

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland and Vanderbilt University will introduce a significant, new wrinkle in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) next year – a two-part, two-semester collaboration offered through Coursera. It begins with Maryland faculty and concludes with Vanderbilt's.

The project demonstrates a collaboration that would be unmanageable outside of a MOOC platform, the organizers say.

"We're offering students a one-two punch by pairing these courses," says UMD computer scientist Ben Bederson, who serves as special advisor on technology and educational transformation. "Students will get to create and examine, from end-to-end, an app that integrates mobile devices with cloud computing platforms. It promises to be useful tool, for example, in collecting international data."

The MOOC sequence begins at Maryland in the coming academic year with "Programming Handheld Systems with Android," taught by computer science professor Adam Porter.The MOOC sequence begins at Maryland in the coming academic year with "Programming Handheld Systems with Android," taught by computer science professor Adam Porter. Then, the sequence continues with Vanderbilt computer science professor Douglas Schmidt and electrical and computer engineering professor Jules White, who will teach "Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture." This will focus on connecting mobile applications to the computing cloud.
"Creating such an opportunity for Vanderbilt and University of Maryland students alone would be incredibly complex in a traditional environment. With the MOOC platform, not only is it possible, it will now be available to learners globally," says Schmidt. "This trans-institutional and interdisciplinary MOOC sequence will provide an exemplar of how intentionally coordinated MOOCs can create learning communities that cut across traditional institutional and disciplinary boundaries."

Porter adds, “Although Doug Schmidt and I have collaborated on research for over 25 years, collaborating on education was just too complicated. MOOCs have changed that.”

Maryland and Vanderbilt each joined Coursera last September. They are deepening their involvement in the rapidly developing domain.

"This kind of innovation and experimentation is absolutely vital for us to realize the full potential of MOOCs, online education and the blended classroom," University of Maryland President Wallace Loh explains. "By creating interdisciplinary teams and collaborations between institutions, we will create unique learning communities that could not easily be managed outside the MOOC world."

UMD MOOC Expansion
Maryland will nearly double its MOOCs next year – introducing four new ones on Coursera, and bringing back four of the five offered this past spring. In addition to Porter's MOOC on programming handheld devices, the new courses will be:

  • Understanding the Terrorist Threat, (Gary LaFree, UMD-based National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism);
  • Practicing Tolerance in a Religious Society, (Bernard Cooperman, Jewish studies); and
  • Making Better Group Decisions, (Eric Pacuit, philosophy).

The returning Maryland MOOCs include:

  • Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies (James Green, Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute);

UMD MOOC Evaluation
University of Maryland educators have concluded that the first experiments with MOOCs this year are already having an impact on teaching on the campus.

"There are numerous conversations about pedagogy, and the use of technology to decrease the amount of time devoted to lectures in classes to make room for more discussion and active learning," says Ben Bederson, who is spearheading planning and evaluation of the new technological initiatives at Maryland. "Several instructors are repurposing their MOOC videos for their on-campus classes."

One of them is Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute professor James Green, who taught a popular entrepreneurship MOOC twice so far, reaching a total of 150,000 students.

"We are creating a repository of interchangeable content and resources that can be deployed for multiple audiences and multiple purposes," Green says. "Not everything is fully reusable, but the bulk of it is applicable to MOOCs, online for-credit courses, flipped classrooms on campus, and limited enrollment non-credit online courses. All the while we're accumulating the know-how for integrating this material in these various settings."

Green plans to use this experience to enhance for-credit online courses through a mini-lecture approach with online assessments; increase flipped classroom model for face-to-face courses; and create a recruitment opportunity to attract entrepreneurial students to UMD.

To view the University of Maryland's MOOC offerings, visit https://www.coursera.org/umd.

UMD Kicks Off Semester with Expanded Innovation Fridays

September 6, 2013

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

Kicking off the fall semester, the University of Maryland is giving the thousands of innovative minds across campus new ways to share and explore their fearless ideas. Starting today, the university is expanding its popular "Innovation Fridays," which give students the opportunity to meet with experienced innovators and entrepreneurs, get free and impartial advice, brainstorm strategies, and learn about available resources and funding.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Kicking off the fall semester, the University of Maryland is giving the thousands of innovative minds across campus new ways to share and explore their fearless ideas. Starting today, the university is expanding its popular "Innovation Fridays," which give students the opportunity to meet with experienced innovators and entrepreneurs, get free and impartial advice, brainstorm strategies, and learn about available resources and funding.

"We are committed to cultivating a community of innovators on campus," says Dean Chang, UMD's associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship. "Similar to Google's 20 percent time, which gave the world innovations like Gmail by encouraging employees to spend one day a week pursuing bold projects that were not necessarily related to their job description, we want to encourage students to take one day a week—Fridays—to pursue their own fearless ideas. The expansion of Innovation Fridays will allow more students across all disciplines to do just that."

Originating last year as a partnership between the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation Fridays now includes two new collaborators—the Center for Philanthropy and Non Profit Leadership (CPNPL), and Center for Social Value Creation (CSVC).

Innovation Fridays will run every Friday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the following locations:

  • McKeldin Library Room 2113
  • Van Munching Hall, Dingman Center Suite, Room 2518
  • Engineering Library Conference Room A, Room 1403

Driven by the university's Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Innovation Fridays align with UMD's ongoing commitment to creating a university-wide culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, providing a collection of signature resources now available across the entire campus for all students.

UMD is a pioneer in educating the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, ranked as one of the nation's top schools for entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2012, the University of Maryland ranked No. 14 and No. 24 in The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Top 50 Entrepreneurship Colleges and Business Schools” for its undergraduate and graduate programs, respectively.  In addition, the university celebrates an annual “30 Days of EnTERPreneurship,” awarding more than a quarter million dollars for the best ideas and innovations in technology, business, healthcare, social value, and clean energy.

For more information on the university's resources for innovators across campus, visit innovation.umd.edu.

Scientists Find Heat "Fingers" Under Earth's Surface

September 5, 2013

Heather Dewar 301-405-9267

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Scientists seeking to understand the forces at work beneath the surface of the Earth have used seismic waves to detect previously unknown "fingers" of heat, some of them thousands of miles long, in Earth's upper mantle. Their discovery, published Sept. 5 in Science Express, helps explain the "hotspot volcanoes" that give birth to island chains such as Hawai'i and Tahiti.

Many volcanoes arise at collision zones between the tectonic plates, but hotspot volcanoes form in the middle of the plates. Geologists have hypothesized that upwellings of hot, buoyant rock rise as plumes from deep within Earth's mantle - the layer between the crust and the core that makes up most of Earth's volume - and supply the heat that feeds these mid-plate volcanoes.

 Finger-like structures carrying heat deep beneath the oceans interact with plumes rising from the mantle to affect the formation of hotspot volcanic islands. Illustration: Scott FrenchBut some hotspot volcano chains are not easily explained by this simple model, a fact which suggests there are more complex interactions between these hot plumes and the upper mantle. Now, a computer modeling approach, developed by University of Maryland seismologist Vedran Lekic and colleagues at the University of California Berkeley, has produced new seismic wave imagery which reveals that the rising plumes are, in fact, influenced by a pattern of finger-like structures carrying heat deep beneath Earth's oceanic plates.

Seismic waves are waves of energy produced by earthquakes, explosions and volcanic eruptions, which can travel long distances below Earth's surface. As they travel through layers of different density and elasticity, their shape changes. A global network of seismographs records these changing waveforms. By comparing the waveforms from hundreds of earthquakes recorded at locations around the world, scientists can make inferences about the structures through which the seismic waves have traveled.

The process, known as seismic tomography, works in much the same way that CT scans (computed tomography) reveal structures hidden beneath the surface of the human body. But since we know much less about the structures below Earth's surface, seismic tomography isn't easy to interpret.  "The Earth's crust varies a lot, and being able to represent that variation is difficult, much less the structure deeper below," said Lekic, an assistant professor of geology at UMD.

Until recently, analyses like the one in the study would have taken up to 19 years of computer time. While studying for his doctorate with the study's senior author, professor Barbara Romanowicz at the University of California, Berkeley, Lekic developed a method to more accurately model waveform data while still keeping computer time manageable, which resulted in higher-resolution images of the interaction between the layers of Earth's mantle.

By refining this method, a research team led by UC Berkeley graduate student Scott French found finger-like channels of low-speed seismic waves flowing about 120 to 220 miles below the sea floor, and stretching out in bands about 700 miles wide and 1,400 miles apart. They also discovered a subtle but important difference in speed: at this depth, seismic waves typically travel about 2.5 to 3 miles per second, but the average seismic velocity in the channels was 4 percent slower. Because higher temperatures slow down seismic waves, the researchers infer that the channels are hotter than the surrounding material.

"We estimate that the slowdown we're seeing could represent a temperature increase of up to 200 degrees Celsius," or about 390 degrees Fahrenheit, said French, the study's study lead author. At these depths, absolute temperatures in the mantle are about 1,300 degrees Celsius, or 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit, the researchers said.

Geophysicists have long theorized that channels akin to those revealed in the computer model exist, and are interacting with the plumes in Earth's mantle that feed hotspot volcanoes. But the new images reveal for the first time the extent, depth and shape of these channels. And they also show that the fingers align with the motion of the overlying tectonic plate. The researchers hypothesize that these channels may be interacting in complex ways with both the tectonic plates above them and the hot plumes rising from below.

"This global pattern of finger-like structures that we're seeing, which has not been documented before, appears to reflect interactions between the upwelling plumes and the motion of the overlying plates," Lekic said. "The deflection of the plumes into these finger-like channels represents an intermediate scale of convection in the mantle, between the large-scale circulation that drives plate motions and the smaller scale plumes, which we are now starting to image."

"The exact nature of those interactions will need further study," said French, "but we now have a clearer picture that can help us understand the 'plumbing' of Earth's mantle responsible for hotspot volcano islands like Tahiti, Reunion and Samoa."

The National Science Foundation and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center helped support this research.

UMD Team Wins First Place in MaxTech Competition

September 5, 2013

Jennifer Rooks 301-405-1458

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – For the second straight year, a team of University of Maryland students has won the Max Tech and Beyond Design Competition for Ultra-Low-Energy-Use Appliances and Equipment. The team, UMD Dryer, advised by Yunho Hwang, associate director of UMD's Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, received the first place gold medal for developing an energy saving, two-stage heat pump clothes dryer.

Team in Action. From left to right: Xiaojie Lin, Anto Peter , Amer A.R. Charbaji. Courtesy of Team UMD Dryer. Current residential electric clothes dryers consume approximately four percent of total annual residential electricity use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration.

Unlike most appliances, clothes dryers are not currently listed in the ENERGY STAR® database since most models consume similar amounts of energy. Electric powered and gas fired clothes dryers dominated the U.S. residential market in 2010, but heat pump clothes dryers have only recently been emerging in the European and Japanese markets.

Heat pump dryers typically consume about one-third less energy than conventional electric and gas-powered clothes dryers, but the UMD team's two-stage heat pump dryer may improve energy savings another 10 to 20 percent over the average European heat pump clothes dryer, and 40 to 46 percent over the average U.S. electric dryer.

Team UMD Dryer. Courtesy of Team UMD Dryer. According to Hwang, his students were "really interested in improving energy efficiency, more than just taking a class." Students on the team spent extra lab hours and weekends working on constructing the dryer prototype and testing.

"Our students are terrific," said Hwang. "Our team success stems from our talented students, who are eager to tackle engineering challenges, and from the support of our department chair, graduate office, undergraduate office, and CEEE staff. I greatly appreciate all of their efforts and support."

As part of their win, the team will have the opportunity to showcase their prototype at the Solar Decathlon being held October 3-13, 2014 in Irvine, Calif. 

The Max Tech Design competition supports faculty-led student design teams at U.S. universities to design, build, and test ultra-efficient product prototypes to reduce energy consumption in buildings and/or prototypes that greatly reduce the cost of such ultra-efficient products. The dual objectives of the competition are to support the development of next-generation prototypes as well as the next generation of scientists and engineers who will design them.

For more information on team UMD Dryer and their energy efficient dryer, visit their team page on Max Tech's website.

UMD Named Top 20 Teach for America Contributor

September 4, 2013

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

Teach for America LogoCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has been recognized by Teach for America in its annual ranking of the colleges and universities contributing the greatest number of graduating seniors to its 2013 teaching corps. In the sixth annual rankings, UMD is ranked in the top 20 for large colleges and universities.

UMD made its debut on the top contributors list in 2008. This year, the university comes in 14th place, contributing 42 graduates to the incoming corps. Approximately four percent of UMD's senior class applied to Teach For America's 2013 corps and throughout Teach For America's 23-year history, 334 UMD alumni have taught as corps members. 

"We are grateful to the outstanding colleges and universities that cultivate graduates with the leadership skills and deep commitment necessary to expand educational opportunities for students facing the challenges of poverty," said Elisa Villanueva Beard, co-chief executive officer of Teach For America, in a press release. "Our corps members bring a vast array of experiences and accomplishments to the classroom, and they are poised to make a meaningful impact in the high-need schools and communities where they will be teaching."

Teach For America corps members are top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. Teach For America recruits on more than 850 college campuses, seeking seniors and graduates from all academic majors and backgrounds who have demonstrated achievement, perseverance, leadership, commitment to educational equity, and a deep respect for diverse experiences and backgrounds.

The full list of top contributors is available here.


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