Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The College of Engineering’s Michigan Engineering Zone (“The MEZ”) at the U-M Detroit Center is featured in the new Planet Green miniseries, "Detroit in Overdrive." The miniseries, which reports on efforts shaping the city’s future, highlights MEZ in its first episode. The segment focuses on Detroit Finney High School student Jacob Durrah (shown above, with a Discovery camera man). Jacob is one of approximately 175 Detroit Public School students at the MEZ designing and building robots alongside Detroit’s professional engineers and U-M student mentors for the national FIRST© Robotics Competition. “Detroit in Overdrive” premieres 8-11 p.m. Aug. 4 on Planet Green, available on cable and satellite TV. (Photo courtesy of

Former Ford School dean becomes acting commerce secretary
Former Ford School Dean Rebecca Blank now will serve as acting secretary of the U.S. Commence Department. She assumes the role after Commerce Secretary Gary Locke formally resigned Tuesday to be sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the next U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China.

U-M, Shanghai Jiao Tong University fund new round of energy, biomedical projects
U-M and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have chosen six research teams to win a share of $1.05 million in funding for renewable energy and biomedical technology projects in the second year of a joint program that teams up investigators from both schools.

Students share impact of recent assaults during campus forum
U-M students gathered Monday night to discuss the recent attacks near campus and to to receive support. About 50 students attended the forum, which was organized by the Division of Student Affairs. Also participating were the Department of Public Safety and the Ann Arbor Police Department.

Greg O’Dell hired as U-M chief of police
Bringing more than 31 years of law enforcement experience in a range of settings, long-time Ann Arbor resident Gregory O'Dell will serve as U-M’s executive director for the Department of Public Safety, and the university’s chief of police.

Equipment donations form basis for research breakthroughs
Faster innovation and increased auto safety are just some of the benefits that will be made possible through an IBM Employee Matching Grants Program. Donated equipment worth $120,000 was awarded to 10 U-M research teams launching new efforts in science and technology.

NSF grants to digitize biological collections
Timothy James, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Rich Rabeler, assistant research scientist, have been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation as part of an initiative to integrate and digitize information for biologists, policy-makers and the general public.

The Michigan Difference

In a new land
School of Public Health alumni are the paving the way, doing the urgent and even joyful work of helping immigrants and asylum-seekers find health and hope in new land. Erika Willacy, left, (MPH ’04) serves refugees and immigrants from places like Nigeria, Peru, Myanmar (Burma), and Iraq, and Vidya Ramanathan (MD, MPH ’98) speaks on behalf of asylum seekers at the immigration courts in Detroit.