Science News Round-Up from UMass Amherst

Rivera to Head UMass Minority Engineering Program

AMHERST, Mass. - Vanessa Rivera has been hired as director of the minority engineering program at the University of Massachusetts. Rivera, of Amherst, has a doctorate in bilingual counseling and higher education administration from UMass, and 10 years of experience in teaching and programming for minority students. Rivera served as director of student support services at Mount Wachusett Community College prior to accepting the position at UMass. In announcing the appointment, College of Engineering Dean Joseph I. Goldstein said that Rivera comes to UMass with "an excellent background and a real enthusiasm for improving our recruitment and advising activities for minority students."

Professor to Attend "Frontiers in Engineering"

AMHERST, Mass. - Michael Tsapatsis, of Amherst, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, has been selected to participate in "Frontiers in Engineering," a symposium sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering. He is one of just 82 young engineers from across the country to receive the honor. "Frontiers in Engineering" is an annual symposium aimed at bringing together the country''s top engineers, ages 30 to 45, who conduct leading-edge research. The participants were chosen from a field of more than 270 applicants. The symposium will be held Sept. 18-20 in Irvine, Calif. Tsapatsis''s research focuses on synthesizing and perfecting thin films - some as thin as a human hair - which serve as sieves on the molecular level during chemical reactions. He has been a member of the UMass faculty since 1994.

UMass Names Engineering Events Coordinator

AMHERST, Mass. - Lorraine Robidoux, of Ware, has been promoted to coordinator of events and programs for the UMass College of Engineering. She has worked in the Dean of Engineering''s office since 1988. She earned a bachelor''s degree from UMass and a master of education degree from Cambridge College. "I know Lorraine will be a great asset to the College in her new position," says College of Engineering Dean Joseph I. Goldstein. "The College has substantially increased the number of events it holds for faculty, staff, alumni, and other visiting groups. Lorraine will be responsible for helping us maintain a high level of quality in our activities."

Mathematics Professor Lectures at Cambridge University

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts professor James E. Humphreys, mathematics and statistics, spent June as a member of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University in England. Humphreys, of Amherst, gave an invited lecture on the opening day of a two-week NATO Advanced Study Institute, which concluded a six-month program on representations of algebraic groups and related finite groups.