List of Announcements (details below):


This Week at the Volgenau School

[Starting this week, I’m adding two regular features to my weekly announcements.  This one will be used to talk about activities or issues that are important to the School but that may not rise to the level of “news”.  The other, “Upcoming Events at the Volgenau School” will list events in the next few weeks that might be of interest; you can find it below.]

This might seem a quiet time for the Volgenau School.  We just re-opened after a two-week break.  Classes don’t start until January 23.  Few students are on campus.  It’s easy to find a parking space.  It’s not so easy to get a latte. 

But this is one of the busiest times for the School’s Student Services office.  The grades from the fall semester can have an impact on our students’ academic plans.  We are admitting hundreds of new students for the Spring semester.  We had a December 15 deadline to apply to our PhD programs for Fall 2017, and we are working to get decisions and offer letters out.  Here and there department chairs are scrambling to handle various academic crises that must be resolved before the first day of classes.

As I look outside my window the campus is serene.  But inside our offices there is a buzz of activity. 


VSE in the News

Here is a list of news stories about VSE that have been posted:

Beyond Mason

On the News at Mason page (

On the Volgenau site (

If you have suggestions for other stories, please submit them to Martha Bushong, [log in to unmask].


Photo of the Week


Officers of the Volgenau School’s Society of Women Engineers in front of the Nguyen Engineering Building.


Upcoming Events at the Volgenau School

Whether you're looking for a specific event or browsing, our calendar lets you know what’s happening at Volgenau. Here is a sample of what’s coming in the next several weeks. For more information visit our calendar on the web. From this page you can share the event on social media, get updates, forward to friends, or save it to your own calendar.

Jan. 24 – 8:00 a.m. Mason NVTC Social Media Conference
Jan. 25 – 5:30 p.m. Celebrate Technology Basketball Game & Alumni Networking Event
Feb. 10 – 2:00 p.m. ECE Distinguished Speaker
Feb. 19 – 8:00 a.m. Engineering Youth Conference

For information on getting your event posted via 25Live, please visit


NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Deadline:  February 15, 2017

National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST's) Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program for students majoring in science, engineering, and mathematics

This program is hosted at NIST’s Boulder, Colorado, campus and NIST's Gaithersburg, Maryland, campus.

Applications for participation in the SURF program are accepted only from colleges or universities and not from individual students or faculty. I recommend that you contact Art Pyster ([log in to unmask]) so that he can coordinate applications from VSE.  Art will work with Mason’s Office of Sponsored Programs to prepare a single proposal to the SURF program. (A separate proposal is required for SURF Boulder and SURF Gaithersburg.)

For detailed information about the application process, download a copy of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) at the following websites:
  SURF Program:

Application due date:  Friday, February 15, 2017 (**Only electronic application submissions will be accepted via until 11:59 p.m. (ET) on the due date)

Eligibility Requirements:

Research Opportunities Matching

Students applying to the SURF Boulder program will be matched to opportunities in the Boulder divisions:

Students applying to the SURF Gaithersburg program will be matched to opportunities in the Gaithersburg laboratories:

For additional information and application materials about the NIST SURF Program, please visit:

Note: The SURF Program will host webinars on January 11, 2017 and January 24, 2017. Please visit for exact times and registration information.


Funding Opportunity: BIGDATA (NSF)

An updated NSF program solicitation (NSF 17-534) is now available:
Critical Techniques, Technologies, and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA)

Please see
for details.

Full Proposal Window:  March 15, 2017 - March 22, 2017

From the program synopsis:

The BIGDATA program seeks novel approaches in computer science, statistics, computational science, and mathematics, along with innovative applications in domain science, including social and behavioral sciences, education, biology, the physical sciences, and engineering, that lead towards the further development of the interdisciplinary field of data science.

The solicitation invites two categories of proposals:


Funding Opportunity:  … Data Intensive Research in Education (NSF)

Opportunity Title:  Building Community and Capacity in Data Intensive Research in Education (BCC-EHR)
Sponsor:  Directorate for Education and Human Resources/NSF
Deadline Date:  15-Mar-2017
Program URL:

Synopsis:  As part of NSF's Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) activity, the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) seeks to enable research communities to develop visions, teams, and capabilities dedicated to creating new, large-scale, next-generation data resources and relevant analytic techniques to advance fundamental research for areas of research covered by EHR programs. Successful proposals will outline activities that will have significant impacts across multiple fields by enabling new types of data-intensive research. Investigators should think broadly and create a vision that extends intellectually across multiple disciplines and that includes - but is not necessarily limited to - areas of research funded by EHR.


Funding Opportunity:  Cybersecurity of Traffic Management Systems (TRB)

Opportunity Title:  NCHRP Request for Proposal - Cybersecurity of Traffic Management Systems
Sponsor:  Transportation Research Board
Sponsor Number:  NCHRP 03-127 [RFP]
Deadline Date:  14-Feb-2017
Program URL:

Synopsis:  With over 400,000 traffic signals deployed throughout the United States, traffic signal operations have a profound impact on the safety and efficiency of traffic flow for all road users. Recent threats in cybersecurity have made our industry more aware of potential damage that such threats can cause. Multiple researchers have found that our existing traffic signal systems, if not protected properly, can be easily hacked. For example, sometimes systems are used without any encryption for communication between a central traffic control management system and field traffic signal control units, allowing an attacker to directly change traffic signal indications. Another example involves wireless detectors that could be manipulated to feed traffic control systems with fake data and trigger incorrect options in their operations. …


Funding Opportunity:  Cyber-Physical Systems (NSF)

Sponsor:  Directorate for Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering/NSF
Deadline Date:  06-Mar-2017
Program URL:

Synopsis:  The goal of the CPS program is to develop the core system science needed to engineer complex cyber-physical systems that people can use or interact with and depend upon. Some of these may require high-confidence or provable behaviors. The program aims to foster a research community committed to advancing research and education in CPS and to transitioning CPS science and technology into engineering practice. By abstracting from the particulars of specific systems and application domains, the CPS program seeks to reveal cross-cutting fundamental scientific and engineering principles that underpin the integration of cyber and physical elements across all application sectors. To expedite and accelerate the realization of cyber-physical systems in a wide range of applications, the CPS program also supports the development of methods, tools, and hardware and software components based upon these cross-cutting principles, along with validation of the principles via prototypes and testbeds. The sponsor has also seen a convergence of CPS technologies and research thrusts that underpin Smart & Connected Communities (S&CC) and the Internet of Things (IoT). These domains offer new and exciting challenges for foundational research and provide opportunities for maturation at multiple time horizons.


Funding Opportunity:  STEM + Computing Partnerships (NSF)

Opportunity Title:  STEM + Computing Partnerships (STEM+C)
Sponsor:  Directorate for Education and Human Resources/NSF
Deadline Date:  29-Mar-2017
Program URL:

Synopsis:  As computing has become an integral part of the practice of modern science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the STEM + Computing Partnerships program seeks to address the urgent need to prepare students from the early grades through high school in the essential skills, competencies, and dispositions needed to succeed in a computationally-dependent world. Thus, STEM+C advances the integration of computational thinking and computing activities in early childhood education through high school (pre-K-12) to provide a strong and developmental foundation in computing and computational thinking through the integration of computing in STEM teaching and learning, and/or the applied integration of STEM content in pre-K-12 computer science education.


Funding Opportunity:  … Using Robotics … for Individuals with Disabilities (DHHS)

Opportunity Title:  Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: Using Robotics and Automation to Improve Accessible Transportation Options for Individuals with Disabilities
Sponsor:  Administration for Community Living/DHHS
Sponsor Number:  HHS-2017-ACL-NIDILRR-DPGE-0205
Deadline Date:  09-Feb-2017
Program URL:

Synopsis:  The Administrator of the Administration for Community Living establishes a priority for the funding of a DRRP for Using Robotics and Automation to Improve Accessible Transportation Options for Individuals with Disabilities to (a) advance the application of robotics and automation to enhance accessible transportation for travelers with disabilities and (b) improve opportunities for a seamless travel chain that meets the needs of the diversity of travelers with disabilities, e.g., mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities. One of the outcomes of this work will be the identification of technology solutions in robotics and automation that enhance and improve transportation alternatives for individuals with disabilities including veterans with disabilities and older adults. Products should emphasize principles of universal design and inclusive information and communication technology (ICT).


George Tecuci, Mihai Boicu, Dorin Marcu, Patrick McKnight, Vivian Motti, & Thomas Winston Receive Major Funding from IARPA

The Learning Agents Center (LAC) has received a major award from IARPA.  The researchers:
    George Tecuci (LAC and Computer Science Department)
    Mihai Boicu (LAC and Information Sciences and Technology Department)
    Dorin Marcu (LAC)
    Patrick McKnight (Psychology Department)
    Vivian Motti (Information Sciences and Technology Department)
    Thomas Winston (Information Sciences and Technology Department)
received $7.4M from IARPA for their project, “Co-Arg: Cogent Argumentation System with Crowd Elicitation.”

[A news story about this award is in preparation.]


Itamara Lochard Receives Funding from NATO

Itamara Lochard of the C4I & Cyber Center received $70K from NATO for her project, “Senior Leadership ATC on Military and Defence Aspects of Border Security in South East Europe.”


Jessica Lin & Huzefa Rangwala Receive Funding from Strategic Analysis Inc. & NRL

Jessica Lin and Huzefa Rangwala of the Computer Science Department received $44K from Strategic Analysis,Inc. and the Naval Research Laboratory for their project, “Trajectory Pattern Mining and User Behavior Characterization on Large-Scale Track Data.”


Mike Hieb Receives Funding from EOIR Technologies Inc. & Dept. of Defense

Mike Hieb of the C4I & Cyber Center received $54K from EOIR Technologies, Inc. and the Department of Defense for his project, “Simulation Interoperability to Mission Control (SIMCI).”


Celso Ferreira Receives Funding from Virginia Inst. of Marine Science & Dept. of Commerce

Celso Ferreira of the Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering received $5K from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the U.S. Department of Commerce for his project, “Assessing Future Storm Surge Flooding with Projected Climate Change and Sea Level Rise: Bringing Ecosystem Services into Mainstream Decision Making Processes for a Climate Resilient Coastal Virginia.”


Tod Levitt & Kathy Laskey Receive Funding from Opto-Knowledge Systems Inc. & Missile Defense Agency

Tod Levitt & Kathy Laskey of the C4I & Cyber Center received $78K from Opto-Knowledge Systems, Inc. and the Missile Defense Agency for their project, “Post Intercept Assessment (PIA).”

Stephen G. Nash
Senior Associate Dean
Volgenau School of Engineering
George Mason University
Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2500
Mailstop 5C8
Fairfax, VA 22030

[log in to unmask]
Phone: (703) 993-1505
Fax: (703) 993-1633