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Saturday , November 17 2018
Home | Tag Archives: utep college of engineering

Tag Archives: utep college of engineering

UTEP’s cSETR to Lead $3M Collaborative Grant to Foster Next-Generation Energy Workforce

The work of UTEP professors has placed the campus’ NASA MIRO Center for Space Exploration Technology Research (cSETR) at the forefront of a three-year Department of Energy (DOE) grant worth $3 million for a collaboration between five institutions.

Yirong Lin, Ph.D., and Norman Love, Ph.D., associate professors of mechanical engineering, along with Calvin Stewart, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering, were named recipients of the grant. The award is a new initiative of the DOE known as the Partnership for Research and Education Consortium in Ceramics and Polymers (PRE-CCAP).

The UTEP professors will lead the effort with counterparts from Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Tennessee State University (TSU) in Nashville, as well as Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Kansas City National Security Campus toward the project’s overall goal of establishing a sustainable pipeline of highly trained, next-generation workers and a community of technical peers to support the core mission of the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) – to enhance national security through nuclear science applications.

“The cSETR is pleased to be awarded the opportunity to steward this Department of Energy collaboration,” said Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., associate vice president for strategic initiatives of UTEP and cSETR director. “The work of Dr. Lin, Dr. Love and Dr. Stewart to strategically design our education and research efforts in collaboration with partner schools and laboratories will ensure the success of PRE-CCAP. This grant is a testament to their efforts and to the national preeminence of cSETR, the College of Engineering and UTEP as a whole. We are excited to move forward.”

At UTEP, the fund will support three doctoral students and five undergraduate students. Those students will be a focal point of PRE-CCAP’s goal of providing opportunities for minority student research internships, research skills training, intellectual collaboration between Minority Serving Institutions and DOE laboratories, and to increase visibility of NNSA related scientific activities.

“We are building a pipeline for a future generation workforce,” Lin said. “There will be many opportunities for student research here at UTEP. They will also collaborate with other students in research projects, they will go on internships to these national labs where, chances are, they will get hired upon graduation.”

To accomplish that goal, Lin said the partner schools will take a three-pronged approach to the technical aspects of the project, which is geared toward developing a new method of material systems for applications in nuclear energy. At cSETR, research will be conducted on design, synthesis and fabrication of advanced ceramics and polymers for energy applications.

FIU will focus on material characterization while TSU will carry out simulations and modeling. The laboratories will provide technical guidance as well as provide student interns with real-world opportunities to carry out their work.

“All the materials that are being developed out of this proposal are very important for high-temperature applications seen in the nuclear energy fields,” Love said. “Since we’re working on something that’s very relevant to this field, students are able to develop, model and test at our partner institutions and are marketable after graduation.”

New UTEP Engineering Dean Looks Forward to Building Opportunity

Engineers may be known for designing and building machines, but new College of Engineering Dean Theresa Maldonado, Ph.D., looks forward to building possibilities.

“I love the opportunity of being here,” said Maldonado, who was appointed dean and professor of electrical engineering effective July 1, 2017. “My parents grew up in border towns; my dad went into the military to get out. I feel like this country needs us – the Latinos, the Hispanics. We need to inspire, embrace and empower Hispanics to be leaders in this country more than they are, and I hope I can really contribute to that because there is so much intelligence and capacity. I just want to build opportunities for these students.”

Maldonado most recently served as founding senior vice president for research, innovation and economic development at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

“We are delighted to have a leader of Dr. Maldonado’s experience and stature join our team at UTEP,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “She is uniquely prepared to lead the students, staff and faculty of the college and their inclusive vision to advance engineering locally, nationally and globally.”

Starting her engineering career at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Maldonado went on to earn a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and pursue research and teaching at The University of Texas at Arlington. She also has served as associate dean of engineering at Texas A&M University, associate vice chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, and division director at the National Science Foundation.

With a distinguished career as an expert on optics, Maldonado has published her work in the Journal of the Optical Society of America, the Journal of Lightwave Technology, and Applied Optics. She has competed successfully for millions of dollars to fund research and education from federal and state sources. She has received numerous awards for teaching, research and leadership, including the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the NSF, the NSF Director’s Award for Program Management Excellence, and Outstanding Teaching Awards from both her department and college at UT Arlington.

“Dr. Maldonado’s record exemplifies academic and administrative excellence, and she is passionate about providing access to excellent engineering educational opportunities for the students we serve at UTEP,” said Howard Daudistel, Ph.D., former interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, who was responsible for hiring Maldonado. “Her broad experiences in industry, at multiple campuses of The University of Texas System, on the U.S.-Mexico border, and in Washington, D.C. lend valuable perspective to the work she will do in El Paso.”

Maldonado wasted no time in getting to work. She has been meeting with faculty and external key stakeholders, building her administrative team and discussing with her counterparts in other colleges how the College of Engineering can collaborate with them.

“I am extremely excited about the future of the College of Engineering and UTEP,” Maldonado said. “We have made great strides that have paved a positive trajectory. Our location, our expertise and our students make for some invaluable regional, national and international resources that can develop into additional untapped opportunities.”

Author:  Lauren Macias-Cervantes – UTEP Communications