List of Announcements (details below):


·         This Week at the Volgenau School

·         VSE in the News

·         Photo of the Week

·         Upcoming Events at the Volgenau School

·         Seminar: Engineering a Green Future (Tue Apr 11)

·         Summer Internships: US Army Material systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA)

·         Funding Opportunity: World Modelers BAA (DARPA)

·         Funding Opportunity: Career Development Award in Bio Informatics & Data Science (NIH)

·         Funding Opportunity: Simulated … Data for Infrastructure Modeling (NSF)

·         Kathleen Wage Receives Funding from ONR




This Week at the Volgenau School


On Friday I attended the PhD defense for Damindra Bandara.  She passed, and will receive her PhD in Information Technology in a few weeks.


It was the first of ten such defenses that I’ll be attending in the next few weeks.  I am program director for two of our PhD programs, and this is part of my oversight of these programs.  As we approach the end of the academic year, many students are working hard to finish their degrees in time for spring graduation.


I’ve known Damindra for several years.  She was in my dissertation proposal class a couple of years ago.  I’ve attended research presentations related to her work with professors Duminda Wijisekera and Paolo Costa. And I see her from time to time as I wander around the School.


It is gratifying to watch as our students grow as researchers.  At first they may find research a mysterious and daunting challenge.  I like to think that my dissertation proposal class can clear up some of those mysteries and give them a clearer idea of what to expect and how to get started. 


I may not see the students much between my class and their defense, so often there is a remarkable transformation.  All the hard work of the research, the writing, and the rehearsing of the presentation is hidden from me.  I get to see the finished product.


Damindra was impressive.  She works on radio technologies that underlie modern train control systems, so-called Positive Train Control.  The federal requirements for such systems have the goal of reducing or eliminating accidents and derailments.  There is a deadline of 2020 for implementing these systems nationally.


Damindra has developed a system that more than meets the federal requirements, and that deals with issues such as radio congestion, noisy environments, and jamming attacks.  She has published numerous papers, and attracted attention from the rail companies through her conference presentations.


She’ll be a great ambassador for our School.  We can all be proud, but especially Damindra herself.



VSE in the News

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


Beyond Mason

·         The Journal: Mason engineers research how to help rural residents with technology.

·         Fairfax Times: Picks up story about Mason’s wearable health technology.

·         Roanoke Times: Mason students among those using new ‘cyber range’ to practice hacking.

·         Federal News Radio: Dr. Steve Rieber, the program manager of the IARPA CREATE program, spoke about this program where George Mason is one of the four performers.


On the Mason News site:

·         NASA grants to fund research of airline accident prevention technology. The Center for Air Transportation Systems Research in the Volgenau School of Engineering was recently awarded two grants from NASA to study modern airline accidents and prevention strategies.

·         Regaining mobility after a spinal cord injury, with help from an exoskeleton. Bioengineering professor, Siddhartha Sikdar, along with collaborators at George Mason and the University of Pittsburgh, is developing hybrid exoskeletons for people with spinal cord injuries.

·         Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference hosts Mason’s first 3MT competition: Volgenau student wins People’s Choice. Four Volgenau PhD students rose to the challenge of describing their research in three minutes and one earned the honor of winning the People’s Choice. (This story also appeared on the Volgenau news site.)


On the Volgenau site (

·         For empowered female Systems Engineer Caroline Abramson, no star is out of reach. Caroline Abramson finds empowerment through her academic and professional endeavors.

·         Quantifying resilience of critical infrastructure. Elise Miller-Hooks, the Bill and Eleanor Hazel Endowed Chair in Infrastructure and her team are looking at how disasters would impact a healthcare system.

·         The KidWind Challenge competition, held at Mason, allows students to explore renewable energy. Students from across Northern Virginia participated in the KidWind Challenge March 25. The KidWind Challenge is a competition for elementary, middle, and high school students, which incorporates engineering, science, alternative energy, and sustainability.


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


Photo of the Week


Students from the Department Electrical and Computer Engineering display their Senior Design project, “Active Shooter Technology.” Research projects like this will be on display next week at the Annual Undergraduate Research Celebration on April 10. (Photo by Evan Cantwell)




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.


April 3, 5:00 p.m. – Special Lecture, Aging Society, Special Needs and Robotics

April 7, 3:00 p.m. – ECE Distinguished Seminar, Treating Atoms and Molecules as Electrical Devices: From Nanoprocessors to Hypercapacitors

April 10, 1:00 p.m. – Examination of Wicked Problem-National Security Implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution

April 10, 5:30 p.m. – Undergraduate Research Celebration

April 18, 7:00 p.m. – Cybersecurity Innovation Forum


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




Seminar: Engineering a Green Future (Tue Apr 11)


The Office of Sustainability and the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers (VSPE NOVA Chapter) are co-hosting a full day seminar, "Engineering a Green Future" in less than two weeks: 11 April 2017. Join them in the JC Meeting Room E to hear talks on topics such as reducing the environmental footprint, drones, sensors, smart buildings and cyber security.


Contact Heidi Wolff-Sharif today at [log in to unmask] to register and get more information.




Summer Internships: US Army Material systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA)


The following Summer Research Program is available with the U.S. Army Material Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA). Located on Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, AMSAA is sponsoring an amazing opportunity for 15-17 post graduates and 15-17 students to start around May/June.  Qualified candidates should be pursuing degrees in the following fields: Computer Science, Engineering, Math, Physics, and Statistics.   This opportunity will be administered by ORAU via the ORISE Research Participation Program.


Application Deadline: April 9, 2017.


AMSAA Summer Internship Webpage:


AMSAA's studies and analyses directly support both Strategic and Operational readiness while enabling the vital development and dynamic integration of critical capabilities for our U.S. Army's Future Force. It provides a broad spectrum of analytical support throughout each stage of a materiel system's life-cycle from development to fielding. AMSAA turns data into information for Decision Makers to solve the U.S. Army's top challenges in readiness, sustainment, and risk. In doing so, tools are delivered to our Warfighters ensuring they are an expeditionary force, anywhere, anytime.


Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen, enrolled in an accredited college or university and in good academic standing (over all GPA 2.5 or higher); must have the ability to pass a security investigation and obtain a Secret Clearance.




Funding Opportunity: World Modelers BAA (DARPA)


On March 27, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Innovation Office (I20) released the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the World Modelers Program, led by program manager Dr. Paul Cohen.  The corresponding Proposers Day was held on February 3, 2017.


The goal of the World Modelers Program is to construct technology that allows the rapid building of models to address questions pertaining to both national and global security.  The program will focus on food insecurity as an initial test case in phase 1 with the aim to build models that can predict future food insecurity in specific geographic locations.  Questions for analysis should be developed at a subnational level and look one to five years into the future.  Models built should be, ‘comprehensive, targeted, causal, quantitative, probabilistic, and timely enough to recommend specific actions that could avert crises.”  There are five Technical Areas (TAs) of focus:

·         TA1: Build Qualitative Models from Online Sources – construct “qualitative, causal analysis graphs semi-automatically.”

·         TA2: Workflow Compiler (for Integration of Quantitative Models) – compile open-source quantitative models pertaining to the proposers’ selected use case and integrate models into a graphical analysis.

·         TA3: Parameterize Models – address the challenge of automating techniques to “convert data into values of parameters of quantitative models, aligned with specific analyses.”

·         TA4: From Scenarios to Actions – define ways in which “specifying scenarios and analyzing actions will be shared between machines and humans.”

·         TA5: Uncertainty Reports – provide analysts and clients “reasons to believe (or disbelieve) analyses.”


Eligible applicants may submit proposals addressing more than one TA.  Additionally, multiple proposals may be submitted to any one TA.  Proposals should consist of two volumes: volume 1 should address the technical and managerial side of the proposal, while volume 2 should outline the cost of the proposed project. 


Funding and Awards: Although multiple awards are anticipated, the exact level of funding for individual awards has not yet been determined.


Eligibility: The World Modelers Program is open to “all responsible sources capable of satisfying the Government's needs, including academia (colleges and universities); businesses (large, small, small disadvantaged, etc.); other organizations (including non-profit); entities (foreign, domestic, and government); federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs); minority institutions; and others.”


Submission Deadlines: Proposals are due by 12:00 PM EDT on Thursday, May 11, 2017.


Sources and Additional Information:

·         The announcement for the World Modelers Program BAA is available at:

·         Additional information about the program manager, Dr. Paul Cohen, is available at:

·         The World Modelers Proposers Day website is available at:

·         Slides from the World Modelers Proposers Day are available at:




Funding Opportunity: Career Development Award in Bio Informatics & Data Science (NIH)


Opportunity Title:  NLM Career Development Award in Biomedical Informatics and Data Science (K01)

Sponsor:  National Library of Medicine/NIH/DHHS

Deadline Date:  07-May-2017

Program URL:


Synopsis:  National Library of Medicine (NLM) invites applications NLM Career Development Award (K01) in Biomedical Informatics and Data Science. The purpose of the award is to provide support and "protected time" (up to three years) for an intensive career development experience in biomedical informatics and data science leading to research independence. NLM invites K01 applications from junior investigators, who have either a health professional or research doctorate and who are in the first three years of their initial faculty positions. Candidates who received their training at one of NLM's university-based biomedical informatics training programs are encouraged to apply. This FOA will utilize the NIH K01 Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training mechanism.




Funding Opportunity: Simulated … Data for Infrastructure Modeling (NSF)


Opportunity Title: Dear Colleague Letter: Simulated and Synthetic Data for Infrastructure Modeling (SSDIM)

Sponsor: National Science Foundation

Deadline Date:  01-Jun-2017

Sponsor Website :


Synopsis:  With this Dear Colleague letter (DCL), the National Science Foundation (NSF), in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announces its intention to fund EArly-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals as well as supplements to existing relevant NSF awards from the Directorate for Engineering and the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering in support of research to develop and make available simulated and synthetic data on interdependent critical infrastructures (ICIs), and thus to improve understanding and performance of these systems.




Kathleen Wage Receives Funding from ONR


Kathleen Wage of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department received $8K from the Office of Naval Research for her project, “Partial Underwriting for the 2017 IEEE Underwater Acoustic Signal Processing Workshop.”




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