Aditya Vegesna, Matthew Overby,
Pete Willemsen (center with laptop),
Jack Gilbert, and Gai Geng.
Strap on a headset and walk on the surface of Mars. Move a building closer to trees on a computer screen and calculate how much cooler a real building will be if it's built near a park. Slip on Smart Shoes in a laboratory and feel the difference between walking on grass and walking on concrete. Welcome to the world of Pete Willemsen, associate professor, UMD Department of Computer Science. Willemsen teaches computer graphics, computer networks, and human computer interaction for virtual environments and is the advisor to nearly a dozen undergraduate and master degree students. He and his students are pushing science fiction closer to reality by creating and learning from virtual worlds. "Computer science is much more than running programs in a room by yourself," Willemsen said. "Our most significant work comes from collaborating with engineers, urban planners, psychologists, robotic engineers, meteorologists, and other scientists." (continue reading) (wrttten by UMD External Relations, Cheryl Reitan with Princess Awa-Ada Kisob, June 2013)
Dr. Carmen Latterell
The North Central Section of the Mathematical Association of America announced that Dr. Carmen Latterell UMD's Department of Mathematics and Statistics was selected as their 2013 Distinguished College or University Teacher of Mathematics.
Carmen inspires students of mathematics and mathematics education at UMD as well as K-12 teachers and fellow colleagues. Carmen's love of mathematics and learning is a continuous process throughout her career, in which she is a leader in curriculum reform. She received a $3 million, five year NFS grant, entitled K-12 Fellows in Science and Mathematics Education, to improve mathematics and science teaching in K-12 schools. Carmen's teaching and related activities to mathematics education are an inspiration to us all.
How will Northern forests react as our climate changes and temperatures rise? It's a question both practical and of increasing relevance, especially in northern Minnesota. A demonstration project to be launched this summer by UMD and The Nature Conservancy seeks answers to what, exactly, the forest of the future will look like.
The project is called "Adaptation Forestry in Minnesota's Northwoods" and it has an ambitious agenda—to plant 88,000 trees on 2,000 acres of land in Minnesota's north woods.
"Our goal is to create more complex ecosystems," says Julie Etterson, UMD associate professor of biology. "By planting a mix of native species and using genetic material from a wide geographic range, we will see healthier, more resilient forests." Read the full article here (by UMD External Relations staff Cheryl Reitan)
New SCSE students will register for their first math course based on either their prior college math experience, or their math sub-score from the ACT or SAT. Click here for further information.
Members of the UMD Student Branch of IEEE mentored high school students participating in the Lake Superior Regional FIRST Robotics Competition held March 8-10 in Duluth. SCSE offers three scholarships for incoming students who have participating in FIRST. Read the full article here (by UMD External Relations staff Korin Olgaard, Madiha Mirza and Cheryl Reitan)
Brian Kobilka, who graduated Summa Cum Laude from UMD in 1977 with degrees in biology and chemistry, shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry for studies of protein receptors that let body cells sense and respond to outside signals. Such studies are key for developing better drugs. About half of all medications act on these receptors, so learning about them helps scientists develop better drugs.
Kobilka praised his college experience at UMD. "It's in a relatively small campus and I was very comfortable there," he said. "I was able to start research fairly early on with professor Conrad Firling, and that, I think, really started my interest and passion in research."
Kobilka is a Little Falls, Minn., native and says that his experiences as an undergraduate at UMD made him want to pursue a research career.
In 2005, Kobilka was inducted into the SCSE Academy of Science and Engineering. He is now a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.