A pair of engineering professors from The University of Texas at El Paso have been selected to take part in an academic exchange and exploration of Israel through an opportunity offered by the Jewish National Fund.
Luis Rene Contreras-Sapien, Ph.D., associate professor and undergraduate program director in UTEP’s Department of Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering; and Calvin M. Stewart, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Material at Extremes Research Group under the direction of UTEP’s NASA MIRO Center for Space Exploration Technology and Research (cSETR), are among a group of 24 professors from universities and colleges throughout the United States selected for the Jewish National Fund’s 2018 Winter Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel from December 26, 2018, to January 8, 2019.
Participants will travel throughout Israel, meet Israeli professors from their respective disciplines and with the same, or similar, research interests, all with the goal of developing collaborations, research projects, co-authoring articles, and establishing exchange programs between faculty and students.
“I am humbled and elated to be selected to take part in this fellowship,” Contreras-Sapien said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for UTEP to help facilitate collaborations on research and education between the United States and Israel. We hope to share all of the vital work we have conducted in the College of Engineering, while meeting and learning from international scientists working in the same research areas.”
The tour, in which more than 250 researchers have already taken part, is a fully-paid intensive program to Israel for full-time U.S.-based academics from a recognized university/learning institution.
The Jewish National Fund also runs the annual Caravan for Democracy Student Leadership Mission to Israel, for which 80 college students will travel to Israel in December; the Winter Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel, and a host of other trips and missions.
“This fellowship is a major opportunity for UTEP to foster international research collaboration with Israel,” Stewart said. “International collaborations are often difficult to foster due to distance and time. This intensive fellowship will give me the opportunity to travel across the entire country and meet with Israeli researchers at all the major and minor institutions. Considerable high-quality research is being conducted in the country. I am interested in fostering collaborations in high-strain rate and hypervelocity impact testing of materials, an area of research of considerable interest in Israel. Upon returning to UTEP, I hope to continue my discussions with Israeli researchers, write collaborative research proposals, and foster student exchange.”
Along with UTEP, other participating U.S.-based universities include Temple University; the University of California, Davis; Arizona State University; Stetson University; Cornell University; Fort Hays State University; Washington State University; the University of Florida; Stevens Institute of Technology; Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Arkansas and Loyola University-New Orleans.