Category Archives: Events

M5 TALK: Christ Montoya, EE ’06 – “Capacitors! Real vs. Ideal”

M5 TALK on Friday, 2 March 2012 at 3:30 PM
Chris Montoya, EE ’06
“Capacitors! Real vs. Ideal”
time: Friday, 2 March 2012 at 3:30 PM
speaker: Chris Montoya, Principal RF Engineer at Test Evolution (TEV,
location: Euler’s Good Room in M5, UMass Amherst, Marcus Hall, Room 5 (Lower Level)
tickets: FREE at eventbrite. DOOR PRIZES FOR REGISTERING!
Please join us for refreshments after the talk.
Have you ever wondered how real capacitors differ from their ideal cousins? Have you ever wondered how to choose between electrolytic, tantalum, thin film and ceramic capacitors? Why does Digi-Key carry over 65,000 capacitors? Alumnus Chris Montoya will shed some much-needed light in this mysterious corner of the circuit design world.
Mr. Chris Montoya graduated from UMass Amherst in 2006 with the BSEE. For his Senior Design Project Chris and his teammates, designed and built a 3D computer mouse called The Bat. It used ultrasound sensors to resolve the mouse position. His first engineering position was with Kollmorgen in Northampton, Mass. He is currently the Principal RF Engineer at a small start-up called Test Evolution (TEV, in Hopkington, Mass. His most ambitious design to date is the AXRF automated test system, a low-cost general-purpose RF semiconductor tester.

UMass Amherst engineering students get into Intel sponsored competition

In exactly 5 months and 7 days, two senior design project teams along with their faculty advisers from our ECE department will be participating in the Intel-sponsored Cornell Cup USA competition that will be taking place at Disney World!!!!!

The two teams are the Automated Aero-Painting System (AAPS) and the Augmented Reality teams, whose advisors are Professor Moritz (with Professor Grupen from the Compsci department serving as co-advisor) and Professor Wolf, respectively. To find out more about these teams and their projects visit the links bellow:


Augmented Reality –

For those who don’t know about the Intel sponsored college-level embedded design competition please visit The competition is a great way to apply the skills you attained throughout your college career, and it is an exciting way to wrap up your college career as well. I mean its Disney World!!!



-Edmar G.

Linux Workshop

“An older computer of mine once had a string of blue death screens and so I deleted Windows. Then installed Ubuntu. Then was happy again :)” ~ Sean Klaiber

On Saturday November 19th, Sean Klaiber hosted the second Linux workshop ever in M5, followed after the first one on Thursday the 17th. With a really cool PowerPoint presentation Sean took 12 engineering students through the basics of Linux based operating systems. Students engaged in basic yet very important command line actions that involved creating/deleting files/directories, directory navigation, sorting words within a text file and more.

So, Sean, why Linux?

Well…”Linux has been hugely successful as far as efficiency is concerned but remains difficult to use for most”. With this workshop Sean hoped to clear away some of the confusion and give students the opportunity to “boost their resume skills, teach them enough that all UNIX like systems will make less confusion, and expose the awesomeness of the command line”.

The presentation slides will be posted on M5’s website soon for those of you who would like to take a peek at them. For more info, reach out to Sean.

Attenders: Shamit Som (EE ’14), Matthew Wojick (EE ’15), Trevor Elkins (CSE ’13), Fabien Ahmed (EE & Physics ’13), Michael Brown (EE ’15), Colin Morrisseau (EE ’15), Andrew Sousa (EE ’15), Scott Arnold-Stanton (EE ’14), Guillermo Velasco (CSE ’14), Sharon Santana (CSE ’15), Chris Paika (CSE ’15) and Christian Haughwout (PoliSci & ChmE ’15).

-Edmar G.



Did ya know? – Saturday Hacker Day Workshops

Hey everyone, did you know that every Saturday afternoon,  M5 is open for you to either make/build/hack/concoct any projects or participate in a workshop? Well now you do.

M5 is open almost every Saturday, from 12:00pm to 3:30pm. During this time, Sean Klaiber (EE’11), Edmar Goncalves (CSE’12), and I (CSE’12) facilitate a workshop on a particular topic. Previous topics that we’ve covered include: EagleCAD, the “Hidden-Sounds Band”, and most recently, the Arduino. The last Saturday, the workshop taught the basics of the awesome prototyping platform Arduino. We covered how to set it up, as well as digital and analog input and output.

But, just because there’s a preset workshop, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing you can do. You can also work on your personal electronics project–and we’re here to help with that too! Just let us know, and we’ll help you make something cool. For more information about the coming workshops, keep an eye out on Sean’s blog posts (it’s usually labeled “The Future”),  or contact him by email: smklaiber (at)

-Rodrigo Bismonte

The Future – Linux

An older computer of mine once had a string of blue death screens and so I deleted Windows. Then installed Ubuntu. Then was happy again 🙂

This Thursday 6-9pm and Saturday 12-3pm, I’ll be hosting the first of two Linux workshops. This first week will be an intro to linux based operating systems and a couple of hugely important but relatively basic command line actions. We’ll be using live CDs running Ubuntu for both weeks.

Linux has been hugely successful as far as efficiency is concerned but remains difficult to use for most. Come to this workshop to clear away the confusion! It will boost your resume skills, teach you enough that all UNIX based systems will make less confusion, and expose the awesomeness of the command line!

Send any questions to smklaiber (at)



The Future – Arduino Workshop

Ahh, the Arduino. M5 loves it. It has sort of become to us what wikipedia is for new topic research. It’s been described on the Arduino homepage as “an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments”. Since I often find myself describing gadgets by their functionality, I struggle with this one just because it has tendrils in so many different places. At it’s core is an 8-bit microcontroller but its success comes mostly from how simple it is to program and get electronics projects working quickly.

This Thursday from 6 to 9pm and Saturday from noon to 3pm, I’ll be hosting an Arduino workshop. Anyone can come to the workshop but due to limited resources there will be a sign-up. Expect an email within the next fews days with more details.

If you’re confused what the Arduino can do, here‘s a (slightly) aged list of some of the best projects as listed by



Did ya know? – Documentary Nights

Hey everyone, did you know that every Friday night, a few students gather in M5 to watch documentaries? Well now you do.

Haiyan Xu (EE’12) organizes the weekly documentary night (soon to be titled), and everyone’s welcome to attend. Past selections have included Zeitgeist, Food Inc., Death of the Electric Car, and most recently, we watched Planet Earth: Fresh Water. Following each showing, the group discusses the issues mentioned in the film. Anything is free game, from discussing the political reasons that led to the “death” of the electric car, to the “cute” 2-meter long salamanders that gobbled up fish in Japan’s rivers. So come join in the fun and thoughtful discussions. For more information, contact Haiyan by email:  xu (at)


The Future – Make Your Own PCB

This upcoming Thursday from 6-9 and Saturday 12-3 (aka, the “hacker times”), ALL INTERESTED STUDENTS have the opportunity to learn how to fabricate their own PCB’s using the ‘toner transfer method‘! Even if you missed the maker times for learning how to design PCB’s with Eagle, you can still come to this.

No matter what field of electrical or computer engineering you’re interested in, home PCB fabrication like we’ll be doing will be useful at some point in time (probably a good deal of times).


PCBs or Printed Circuit Boards are the ‘board’ part of every ‘circuit board’. If you open the case on any electronics device, you will find a circuit board inside. Strip off all of the components on the circuit board (if you have lots of spare time) and you will be left with the PCB. Learning how to make these at your home will save lots of time and money when making high quality circuits. Or if you’re in SDP and don’t have time or money before FDR…

Also, M5 is getting a laminator to make the process easier than ever before!

Above is an example of what we’ll be making

Hoping your living arrangement has heat,



Lutron recruiting visit

For those who do not know who Lutron is, Lutron is a company based in Coopersburg PA that specializes in lighting solutions. In fact they are the world leaders in the lighting industry. In 1959 Joel Spira, founder of Lutron, was the inventor of the world’s first solid state dimmer. There is not a large UMass presence at the company, there are no more than three full time employees that graduated from UMass, and the summer of 2011 was the first time that Lutron hired interns from our school, but the future is bright. On Thursday three Lutron employees including two UMass alums spent the entire day recruiting.

From 9 am to 10 am there was an M5 visit. Breakfast was served, people brought in resumes and questions. The setting was informal, great for getting to know the recruiters more.

From 10 am to 1 pm they spent their time recruiting in the Marcus Atrium.

From 2 to 4 pm there was a Coffee and Careers session in the career offices (Marston 114). They collected resumes as well as conducted mock interviews.

Finally from 5 to 6:30 pm there was a great technical talk in the Gunness Student Center about Power Saving Strategies for Embedded RF Devices and Android Software Development. The technical talks allowed people to get to see what is the scope of the technical work involved with developing consumer electronics. Their presentations showed that there is a lot more than people would think that goes into shades or dimmers. Pizza and drinks were served at the technical talk and people got a chance to ask questions and get to know the company better.

After a long day of recruiting, the 3 Lutron engineers made their way back to Pennsylvania and they got a chance to get some of the Massachusetts snow before they embarked on a 4:30 hour drive.

Lutron is interested in your resumes, it’s a great company to work for but most importantly it’s one of the best companies to intern at.

If you are interested in working at Lutron, send an email along with your resume to Jordan Crafts is CSE, EE alum (2005). Connections are the best thing to have in the job market, and a UMass alum like Jordan is a great connection to have. You can get his email address from me or professor Soules in M5.

Visit to see a list of products they provide and learn more about the company.


Have a warm Saturday!