(Dec. 11, 2009)--When undergraduate engineering student Joseph Becerril and undergraduate science student Carla Groshel joined the UTSA Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), neither expected to be learning about research in Budapest, Hungary. But, that's exactly what happened when they both earned the trip through LSAMP's annual essay competition.
Last month, Becerril and Groshel went to the World Science Forum in Hungary with 17 other LSAMP students from across the University of Texas System. The conference gave the students a global perspective on research collaboration. Its presenters included the president of Hungary, members of the Hungarian government and members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences with sessions conducted in the ornate Hungarian Parliament.
"They had to tell us what the trip would mean for their research careers," said Darrell Balderrama, director of outreach programs in the UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives. "Both Joseph and Carla are very dedicated to the LSAMP program. We've seen a lot of growth in their research, and we believed this opportunity would complement their success in the laboratory."
Becerril, a senior pursuing a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, applied to attend the World Science Forum because its 2009 theme was sustainability. He researches Web-based manufacturing systems and technology with Can Saygin in UTSA's Manufacturing Systems and Automation Laboratory in the College of Engineering but also is interested in energy and green technology.
"I'm still undecided about my path after graduation because I'm interested in both energy and manufacturing," he said. "But, regardless of what I choose, the World Science Forum opened my eyes to worldwide collaborations. Scientists and engineers need to work together. We need to collaborate with people from other sectors and use all of the resources that are available to us in our research."
"During the conference, the CFO of The World Bank spoke to us," said Groshel, a biology major and Honors College student. "He challenged everyone -- the scientists, specifically -- to think globally and to approach science in terms of how it can help humanity. He wanted us to know the world depends on scientists to save us from ourselves from global warming, from starvation, from disease. It's a heavy burden. It's the responsibility of every scientist to think globally."
A married mother of two, Groshel hopes to be a part of that solution. She is researching Arabidopsis thaliana hormone interactions in the laboratory of plant biology professor Valerie Sponsel. But, she hopes to translate that knowledge into a career that helps scientists better understand how human hormone therapies can be used to treat cancer.
"While most students who attend conferences do so in the area of their scientific subspecialty, participating in the World Science Forum was an opportunity for our students to listen to and interact with scientists in many disciplines and from all over the world," said Sponsel, who also attended the conference. "Many important issues that affect society as a whole were addressed including problems such as climate change and overuse of resources for which scientists must find solutions that are acceptable to policy makers. It was an enlightening experience for us all."
The UTSA LSAMP program offers research-based opportunities and support to students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). New participants join the program each semester.
For more information, contact Darrell Balderrama at 210-458-2697.
The UTSA community is invited to the Community Networking events hosted by the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion during Roadrunner Days. Various opportunities will be available that will focus on our diverse population.
H-E-B University Center Ballrooms (HUC 1.104 and HUC 1.106), Main Campus
Start in the Paseo then branch out around campus so you know where to go on the first day of classes.
University Center Paseo, Main Campus
This event offers a preview of the UC’s programs and services that students can enjoy throughout the year. There will be food and giveaways too.
University Center Paseo, Main Campus
There will be a special UCinema showing following Kickback at the UC at 9pm in Retama Auditorium (located on the 2nd floor of UC North).
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
The Honors College welcomes all new freshmen to UTSA. Join them for breakfast and meet Honors College administrators, staff, and connect with other new Honors students.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
Convocation is UTSA’s ceremony to launch the new academic year. Attendance is mandatory for all incoming freshmen because it marks the first step students will take in their higher education journey of discovery. It is also highly recommended for transfer students as they continue their higher education journey at UTSA and become members of the Roadrunner Family.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
Visit your College to explore your major before the first day of classes.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
Successful first-year students at UTSA are those who learn how to utilize resources, recognize and resolve problems, and prepare themselves to take advantage of their time on campus. The Student Success Series promotes this achievement by offering workshops on the common concerns and questions first-year students have during their transition to university life.
University Center Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.