(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 annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
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.